How to manage online apartment reviews. From the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference last week.

“People are going to have these conversations with or without you,” Wade Hewitt, vice president, said. “Engagement can really be a difference maker.”

AIM panel discusses apartment reviews and how to manage them.

In addition to steering the conversation about your property, reviews can also be used to see what other communities are doing right. “Use reviews to find out about your competitors and about what people like,” Erica Galos-Alioto, vice president, local, Yelp, said.

Negative reviews can also be useful to property managers. “Every review has some truth,” Patrick Grandinetti, head of real estate, Google, said. “If not, someone wouldn’t have posted it. Getting a bad review is a fact of life… so if you get a bad review, it helps ground you in reality,” he said.

Ultimately the panelists agreed that the most important thing is to engage your residents. Continue reading How to manage online apartment reviews. From the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference last week.

Apartment Building Investment Sales Jump 31% in Q1 2012 says Real Capital Analytics.

Apartment building investment sales continued their ascent in the first quarter of 2012, jumping 31 percent over the same time frame in 2011, according to New York–based commercial real estate research firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA).

  • Garden properties, totaling $7.1 billion in sales, drove most of the volume
  • High-rises rose $4.8 billion.
  • Both sectors jumped 30 percent from a year ago.
  • Portfolio deals also boosted the first-quarter totals, with 52 transactions involving 185 properties adding $2.6 billion in volume.
  • Distressed sales provided 13 percent of total sales, a 9 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2011.

The volume trends are consistent across tertiary, primary, and secondary markets, but cap rate trends vary. In secondary markets, they remain unchanged; in tertiary markets, they’ve increased slightly; and in major markets, they’ve compressed.

See the whole MFE article: Apartment Sales Jump 31 Percent in Q1 2012

Tertiary markets still represent a value opportunity and at Ashworth Partners we’ve identified a few markets with unique drivers that catch the upswing. Contact us to find out more.


The secret to owning income producing apartment building investments in your IRA.

From the NY Times:

THE past couple of years have left many people staring in disbelief at the returns on their individual retirement accounts. Consider last year, when the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index finished the year essentially where it started.

So it makes sense that people are looking for ways to earn more for retirement — or to make up for losses. Yet when I heard that an increasing number of people were moving money from traditional I.R.A.’s to self-directed I.R.A.’s that focused on real estate, I was skeptical that this was a good idea.

First, I wondered, how could this be done with retirement money? Was it even legal? And were people who had worked and saved money for their retirement really putting it into real estate so soon after the bubble burst?

Could you really have a conservative investment in your IRA today that earns 6, 7, 8% or higher? That’s legal? Yes you can, here’s the secret that your Wall St. broker and banker don’t want you to know: You can open a Self-directed IRA. That is an IRA account set up with an independent Custodian who makes the investments you direct it to (clever name huh?) instead of steering you into the products that earn them the biggest commissions and bonuses.

Own income producing aprartment building investments in your IRA

Of course there are some limits on the kind of investments but we’re not looking to corner the market on Greek reverse CDO squared repos (whatever those are). We’re looking for good income, inflation protection and Continue reading The secret to owning income producing apartment building investments in your IRA.

Denver Job Growth catching up with Apartment Building occupancy and rent gains.

Apartment building investment buoyed by job growth in Denver

Video via Property Management Insider:

Apartment fundamentals are strong essentially across the board in Denver, which ranked among the nation’s best with year-over-year rent growth of 6.5%

The 10 Commandments of Network Building by Duke Long

Duke is one of the top thought leaders on how commercial real estate (CRE) and online social networking should work together… and where they don’t. HE posted this on his blog 10 Real World Examples of How I Built My Commercial Real Estate Network and in an ironically karmic sort of way I just saw it on Klout’s homepage today. It is so good and to the point in true Duke style that it would be a great guest post. I believe these steps work online and off, in CRE or any other industry so take it away Duke:

Duke Long commercial real estate investments

1.What are the relevant commercial real estate communities of interest?  What are the needs wants of the participants within these communities?

I started simply looking for the groups and associations that I already had and affiliation with. My state commercial board.  NAR because I had already made several connections over the years. CCIM,SIOR,IREM,BOMA etc. Why connect? Hell, why go to the meetings and get on the conference calls, why volunteer? I needed build and cultivate a network. Online connection was a revelation. I would listen learn and ask simple questions. The needs and wants were pretty obvious.People wanted to connect to make deals. But then something interesting started to happen.Human interaction.

2.Participate where your presence is advantageous and mandatory, don’t just participate anywhere and everywhere or solely in your own domains (Facebook,LinkedIN, Twitter conversations related to your brand, etc.)

Seems pretty obvious does it not? Let me give you and example. I do everything in my power to eliminate and and all feeds emails discussions and spam from lenders. You say What? We need that lender connection. Not me. All and I mean all they do is spam and pitch. How does this help me or my clients. You would think lenders pitching brokers is a natural fit. Wrong. Go find the client before they get to me and leave me the hell alone. The “we only are taking clients in the 30-75 mil bracket ” pitch is total bullshit. So, your are in commercial real estate who and where should you be ? Start-ups, Logistics Companies, Medical Associations,Industrial Data Centers…let your brain flow.Maybe some other brokers also they need to know what your stuff is but not in a spammy way!

3. Determine the identity, character, and personality of your Continue reading The 10 Commandments of Network Building by Duke Long

M&M Apartment Building Investment call: Opportunities exist in secondary mkts & value add, tertiary still lagging

Marcus & Millichap Q1 call on the apartment building investment climate this morning:

  • Year over year manufacturing jobs grew 238k. Manufacturing = 20% of GDP but gets no press, where as single family housing < 2% gets all the coverage.
  • There is a historic % of 18-34 Y/Os still living ‘with the parents’ but they are also getting a larger proportion of the new jobs. (See chart) Good for apartment building investors as these people typically become renters when they do move out.

pent up apartment building demand

Do you know the Walk Score for your Multifamily property? Should you check before your next acquisition?

How do apartment building residents actually want to live? Do they want sidewalks in front of their apartments and actual places to walk to—“Leave the car in the garage!” is a common refrain on real estate sites—or are Americans happy, as transportation analyst Alan Pisarski puts it, to “drive to where they can walk?”  The truth is there are relatively few places in America that today would pass what architect Hal Box has dubbed the “Popsicle Rule”—“a child must be able to walk safely from home to buy a Popsicle within five minutes.”

How ‘walkable’ is your property? Your next apartment building investment? How do you figure that out?

Walk Score is a website that takes a physical address—enter yours here—and computes, using proprietary algorithms and various data streams, a measure of its walkability. More recently it’s started tracking how transit-friendly neighborhoods are too. What drives the score is choice and proximity—the more amenities (restaurants, movie theaters, schools) you have around you, and the closer they are, the higher your Walk Score.

How walkable is your apartment building investment?

“In most metropolitan areas, only 5 to 10 percent of the housing stock is located Continue reading Do you know the Walk Score for your Multifamily property? Should you check before your next acquisition?

Portland Apartment Building Market: occupancy drops but rents still rising according to report

Apartments are a little easier to come by in the Portland area, but that’s not slowing down rent increases across much of the market.
According to the Metro Multifamily Housing Association which released its latest survey Wednesday:

  • Vacancy across the metro area grew to 3.72% from 3.34% late last year.
  • Rents climbed 3% in the same period, reaching $1 a square foot per month across the metro area.
  • Average two-bedroom unit now rents for $771, up $28 a month compared with six months earlier.

Portland Apartment Building Investment Cycle Occupancy and Rents
The Portland area has one of the lowest Continue reading Portland Apartment Building Market: occupancy drops but rents still rising according to report

Six lessons on the financial crisis that help explain why we’re still in one.

Six lessons on crisis that help explain why we’re still in one:

  1. When you don’t reinvent institutions at a time of systemic failure, the problems they’re creating don’t just magically disappear.
  2. When you prop up (read: bail out) the institutions causing the crisis, instead of reinventing them, the crisis will deepen.
  3. When dysfunctional institutions prop one another up, prosperity’s a house of cards. Crisis becomes stagnation.
  4. When propping up failed institutions has drained your resources, you’ve turned a crisis into a catastrophe.
  5. The longer it takes you to see a crisis for what it truly is, the disproportionately worse it’s likely to get.
  6. When people who are prisoners of the

a post capitalism look at how to run the business of life

Continue reading Six lessons on the financial crisis that help explain why we’re still in one.

Will REO-rentals Really Compete With Apartment Building Investments?

Greg Willett, VP of research over at Real Page wrote a nice piece on that which covers it nicely; take it away Greg:

Will REO rentals compete with Apartment Building Investments?

Thanks to one sentence uttered by Warren Buffett and some major overplay by the media, single-family rentals are a hot investment choice now.  Thus, the analysts at MPF Research are fielding a constant stream of inquiries about whether the bulk sale of bank-owned single-family homes to investors who will operate them as rentals will impact the apartment sector.

Our take is that Continue reading Will REO-rentals Really Compete With Apartment Building Investments?