Behind The Leasing Desk
Ideas Set Upon the World from Seattle, Taking a Closer Look at the People Side of the Property Management World
Behind The Leasing Desk . Com

Retro Tech Trend - InstaPhotos

I was in a store with my nephews a few holidays ago Christmas when one of them pointed to a Polaroid camera and asked me what it was. After painfully realizing that I’m now an old person who gets to use the phrase, “back in my day,” I explained that it was a camera that gave you instant prints. His response: “Who would want that?  That’s what cell phones are for, Auntie Heather.”

 

Well, it turns out, that a lot of people are starting to hanker for the days of the old Polaroid cameras. Ironically, a device developed by Baby Boomers syncs with the instant gratification desires of Generations Y and Z. There is just something undeniably cool about the way those cameras would take the pictures and spit them out, and the sound that my Grandfather’s camera made while doing so is etched in my brain for all time.<< MORE >>

You DON'T Feel Their Pain

I've recently discovered that I have been giving some bad advice to people.  Maybe it's not bad advice, but perhaps a better way to phrase it is "Incomplete Advice."  I'd like to take this opportunity to remedy that oversight.

As with most epiphany moments in my life, this one begins with a story.  At the end of September of this year, I was given some pretty frightening news from my doctors - they suspected that I had a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis.  I'd been having headaches and blurred vision and balance problems, and it seemed despite my insistence to the optometrist and my regular MD that it was just an eye glass prescription issue, I was saddled with this incomplete diagnosis and period of emotional and mental uncertainty and turmoil.<< MORE >>

Net Neutrality: Not Just A Nerd Thing - A (Marketing) Freedom Thing

I’m not normally an alarmist or a “conspiricist” who whips out her tin foil hat without hesitation, so bear that in mind when I tell you this:

 

The impending net neutrality judgment from the DC Circuit has got me very frightened, and no, this isn't just some nerd thing. This could affect how we do business in the multifamily housing industry in a less than positive fashion.

 

A lot of people don’t know what “Net Neutrality” is, or why it’s important, so let’s start there. In 2010, the FCC made a ruling that the owners of cable and DSL/FiOS lines were not allowed to throttle back bandwidth on services just because they wanted to – ie, Comcast isn't allowed to make the information packets from Netflix run slow on your network so that you’ll change your mind and watch their crappy OnDemand services instead.

 

The FCC said that the internet was neutral ground, and the netizens rejoiced in the ruling, because for the first time in our capitalist society, we had an even playing field where innovation, content creation and dispersal, and communication of information and opinion could happen without having to go through the social and economical bureaucracies that have been in place for years.<< MORE >>

Micro-Trend Alert: Ingress

I know about a secret world that exists right on top of the one you and I live in. It’s a place torn by civil war over the dissemination of information, and driven entirely by Google based technology.

It’s called Ingress.

Sure, some people might dismiss it as a game. These are the people who haven’t played past level 3, or the grumpy people with iTech.<< MORE >>

Check it out! UNITS - March 2013

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A follow up for my friends at Allied Residential!

I had the honor of presenting my "Spring Clean Your Service" keynote for their Annual First Quarter Meeting yesterday.  What a great group of multifamily professionals!


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Make Your Free Throws

 March Madness is quickly rolling up on the basketball loving populous, who are fervently watching the early games and still filling out their brackets with pencils. Now, outside of college football, I’m not the world’s most “sports oriented” person, but I’ll admit that March Madness gets to me every year…right until the K-State Wildcats leave the court. Then I’m done for the year.

 

What makes me scream the occasional expletive from the couch when I watch the games, more than anything, is the number of times someone is fouled, they step up to the top of the key, take the free throw shot …AND MISS.

 

It annoys me to no end.<< MORE >>

Putting a "Chip on Your Shoulder" For the New Year

"There's a chip on my shoulder,
and it's big as a boulder.
with the chance I've been given, 
I'm gonna be driven as hell!
I'm so close I can taste it,
So I'm not gonna waste it!
Yeah, there's a chip on my shoulder...
You might wanna get one as well."

For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of musical theatre.  There's something amazing about the communication of thematic ideas that happens via song from the stage.  That's the magic of theatre - A message can hit you in a much deeper way because, perhaps, you're not expecting it.

So I give you this message from the show Legally Blond for the new year:


"With the chance you've been given, why are you not driven as hell?"

I wonder about this often when is watch people treading water in their career.<< MORE >>

Holiday Cookie Swap

It's a last minute idea for this year, but if you don't have it in your budget to do a full blown holiday party this year, why not hold an event that's fun and helpful to your residents?

I'm one of those weird people who likes to bake during the holiday season.  I don't think of it as a habit, but, rather, as more of a holiday survival skill.  In fact, one year my flight - 302 very cranky people - managed to get snowed in at SEATAC on our attempted holiday trek home to Kansas City, and after the shops and restaurants had all closed in the airport, it was my 3 carry on bags full of cookies and candies and other treats that everyone munched on.  I just set them up, buffet style, there in the terminal.  The 28 different kinds of cookies I'd made didn't make it home that year, but I like to think they served a higher purpose.<< MORE >>

"We are NEVER getting back together. Like, Ever."

We've all had that day - You know the one I'm talking about.  Hopefully we wait until we're home before we kick off our shoes, sit down with a glass of wine and let the tears start to fall.  Bad days, in any job, are inevitable.  But if this is your evening more than 4 times a month, it's time to have a really serious conversation with yourself.

It might be time to break up with your job.<< MORE >>

Make ‘Em Suffer

As a lot of the folks who follow me on Facebook already know, I like to pretend that I’m a gardener. The truth is that I’m someone who plants stuff, and if it grows food, I eat it, but if it gets sick or the crop fails, I have no idea how to fix it or nurse it back to health. This year’s greatest failure came in the form of acorn squash and gooseberry bushes, both of which died in an attempt to spite me.

 

Successes, however, can be found in my tomatoes. I, not being a real gardener, planted far too many (22 plants), so to call what I got a “bumper crop” might not be a fair assessment, but it sure does feel like one.<< MORE >>

Pin This

If you're a social media junkie, then Pintrest is old hat to you by now.  I find it amazing how something that is less than 2 years old can be considered "old hat," but in the world of technology, if you aren't an early adopter, then you're already late to the party.  I resisted the urge to pin, saying that I had too many sites, too many profiles, too little time... but my dear friend LisaLisa Trosien Trosien told me that it would be worth it.  << MORE >>

Making Fridays Motivating

It's Friday!!! 

If you're like most people, you're already pretty motivated today...to end the day and get home for your weekend. Heck, even if you're a leasing consultant, a position that traditionally works the weekend days, you're still motivated to end this day and get home because odds are, you have plans for tonight.

But is that really the motivation that you want to have, or to model to your staff?  After a long week, or even a shortened holiday week like this one, it's too tempting to try to sprint the last 100 yards of the race to the finish line.

It's human nature - so why fight it?  Let's make it work for us.

A lot of companies are doing just that.<< MORE >>

Take a Stand – On Wearing the Right Shoes!

Coming from a girl who would wear flip-flops and yoga pants every single day of her life, regardless of where she was, fashion advice is pretty funny.   I’m not someone you’d find on the People Of Walmart – I at least put on jeans and a bra before I leave the house – but I’m not a Madison Avenue fashion plate either.   But since what I’m here to offer you is practicality in shoes that still maintain your visual credibility, I guess we’re good.

 

While I hate to admit it, my mother was right: Shoes can make or break you professionally.

 

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In Memoriam

I've been so blessed in my professional life to have mentors and friends who cared deeply for me. These people are irreplaceable role models in my world - and I have recently lost one such soul. Greg Taylor, who served as a district manager for UDR out here, and who spent countless hours volunteering time to our local apartment association, passed away recently. It has taken me sometime to compose my thoughts on Greg's death, and seeing as how he admitted to me that he was an avid reader of my blog, I cannot think of a better place for these words and memories.

Greg was an inspiration, a mentor, an ally, but mostly Greg was a dear dear friend.We started conversing through the magic of connections that only an apartment association can provide, and once we got past the shop talk, Greg and I realized that we had a lot in common - a mutual love of fine arts, music and theatre, a sense of realistic humor about the world around us, and a desire to make the world a better place for the people in it.<< MORE >>

Open to Interpretation?

It’s okay to change your mind, but it should probably be less often than you change your underwear.

 

I’m not a fan of Mike Arrington over at Tech Crunch.   For those of you who don’t have time to waste on the drama of tech blogs, he’s usually the guy at the center of that vortex, stirring the pot between Google hating Facebook, Tech lawsuits, patent claims, Twitter beat downs, and Apple hating …well, anyone who doesn’t worship their products or the man in the turtleneck.

 

Arrington writes whatever he thinks will get the most attention in the second that he pushes the post button.   He’s the reason when faced with the choice between subscribing to Mashable or TechCrunch on my new Kindle, Mashable gets my $2.99 a month.<< MORE >>

I walked into a door

Have you ever gotten that call from a resident with something broken but they won't tell you what happened or why it's now busted?  I know why. First hand.

I have moments in my life where what little senses of grace and poise I usually have abandon me fully. One such moment was about two weeks ago, when, while hosting a surprise birthday party for a dear friend, I made my way to the grill on the back balcony and didn't realize that the screen door was closed. I was walking at full speed and thinking, and when I think and walk at the same time I often close my eyes to focus on my thoughts.<< MORE >>

I don't care what your policy says.

 Almost every morning, after I check my email and take care of anything that's pressing, I open up Facebook. It's kind of like my morning newspaper - with the stories I actually care about. Yesterday's top story: A dear friend from college, whom I've not spoken to in a while, is suffering abject misery at the hands of his apartment community management.

Now, call me a crusader if you will, but this stuck in my craw. I shot him a message and asked if I could help in any way and he gave me a call back.<< MORE >>

My Fair Housing Haiku Collection

Some of you may have seen this on my Facebook Page, but I was told by several people that it needed to be reposted to my blog in honor of Fair Housing Month. I post this collection in it's current condition, but if you want to watch it grow, you'll have to keep track of it here. You can also subscribe to my page on Facebook and, for the month of April, you'll find that I'm posting a FH haiku each day. (Did I mention that April is also National Poetry Month?  It's nice to combine these two... like chocolate and peanut butter!)

Also, bear in mind that I started this on a Friday afternoon when my brain was fried, AND I blame the fine folks at Grace Hill for the whole thing.

And now, for your reading amusement, my Fair Housing Haiku Collection

Though I might wonder

There are things I can't ask you

Due to Fair Housing

 

Where did you come from

is a question I can't ask

Inside I wonder

 

Race is protected

Can't tell the WASPs "No"

Got to rent to them

 

Green stands by its self

the only color that counts

in Fair Housing Law

 

Worship Potatoes

It does not matter to me

Still will rent to you

 

Disability

Most violations filed

Be mindful, people

 

Family status

Can't kick kids out of the pool

Successful Lawsuit

 

Guys and Dolls - Good show!

Protected classes for us

Gender should not count

 

If you can pay rent

and pass a criminal check

your home is with us

 

 

*Bonus Stanzas*

In Advertising

Please show some diversity

Or HUD will get you

 

Stay off HUDs hot list

Not a good place to reside

They don't bring cookies

 

Fair Housing Month

Why don't we have a ribbon?

Someone get on that


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SM Step Three: Going from Info Intake to Action

When you’re three and your mom tells you not to touch the stove because it’s hot, you touch it anyway.   And then you never touch it again, because in your moment of tactile petulance, the nerves in your fingers sent a lightning fast signal to your brain that said, “HOT HOT HOT!” and your brain told you to move your hand and not ignore your mom the next time. And to go get some Bactine.

            It’s a pretty simple interchange.   And yet, amazingly, the same interchange attempts to happen online every single day between companies and their consumers, and many companies neglect to move their hands off the scalding stoves.<< MORE >>

SM Step Two: Listen Like A Chick

*Warning* This post relies on stereotypes of men and women.   I tell you this upfront so that we don’t have to have a comment section fight about it later.   Plus, there’s a grain of truth in these stereotypes…admit it.

 Men and women do not speak the same language.   This is not a bombshell to anyone.<< MORE >>

SM Step One: Open Your Ears

So, you finally want to go “Social?”  You’ve sat back and watched to see if it works for other companies and properties in your area before taking the leap yourself, but now, you’re pretty sure that this Facebook thing isn’t going away.   Time to suck it up and deal with this mess, right?

There are a lot of people who are being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the social media world, and if what I said above is your take on this situation, you’re right about one thing.   Barring a worldwide shut down of the internet, Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.   But is Facebook really where you want to start?

 I say no.

 Granted, when I’m working with a company that wants a social media presence, a Facebook page (NOT PROFILE) is central to that development.<< MORE >>

"Growing" Doesn't Always Mean Going Up

               You’ve got a good job.   It pays your bills, you’re not *too* stressed out, and, for the most part, you like your boss and coworkers. Heck, on most days, you even enjoy going into work. If you move up, you’re going to have to deal with a new boss, a new office, maybe some new staff.   Add in to that the new responsibilities, and about 20 more ways to get yourself into deep trouble and stress out, going after that promotion right now might not feel like the smartest move.<< MORE >>

Salesmanship Lessons from Blue Buffalo

As important as price is to the buying decision, it’s not everything.

 It turns out that corn and a lot of other grains are not good for dogs.   As anyone who’s ever had a toddler can tell you, humans can digest a lot of very interesting things.   Dogs are not quite as lucky.   Harsh grains are really tough on their systems, and some of those corn heavy foods have recently been linked to bone cancer in dogs.<< MORE >>

Get The Data- I need your help!

I'm currently working on a writing project about "Pay for Performance," and I need your help!  To write a really good piece, I need some data from you, so if you could take about 3 minutes and take this quick survey, I would be VERY appreciative!

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PP6MLNY
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You Look Like Satan

I came across a really interesting article in the Seattle PI from the 11th of January about the massive rental hikes that are expected and being handed out in the Belltown area (and all over the rest of the Seattle Metro area as well). More interesting than the article were the comments that followed. There is a TOTAL disconnect!  I can tell you that, yes, unless you get VERY lucky, it's going to be a rental increase this year when you renew. However, the cited $400 leaves not only a bad taste in a renter's mouth, but ...well you look like Satan.

Yes. You are now the Rental Prince of Darkness.<< MORE >>

Uncharted - Courage to Ditch the Map

Exploration is a natural human urge...So, why are we so resistant to exploration in a professional setting?<< MORE >>

Does Your Social Media Policy Cover This?

Many of you may remember my rant about fingerprint IDs at my local gym that I wrote earlier this year. My unwillingness to submit my thumbprint causes the people at the front desk approximately 45 seconds of work time. While I realize that 45 seconds per person might add up to a lot of time, frankly my opinion is that  you work the front desk, so do your job.

The story has thickened. I recently took about a two month break away from the gym during the holidays, partially due to time constraints, and partially because I got tired of the bullying that would happen each time when I'd decline the fingerprint ID.<< MORE >>

Days of Appreciation - Day 15

It's a new twist on an old standby tool for Leasing Consultants - A digital tape measure.   If your property can't afford to invest in a Lay-It-Out set or in the wall cling couches from, for a fraction of that cost, you can purchase one of these little beauties. 

I found this nifty little gadget on Think Geek for around $25.  They come in black or white and they have 16 feet of tape in them, which is more than enough to show someone how their couch, if standard sized, will fit on the wall.  It's also a fantastic tool for people at properties who haven't yet ordered floor plans with measurements on them.

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Days of Appreciation - Day 14

I'm still on Post it Notes today. I love them, and, though I have the luxury of an office that other people never see, I still feel guilty when it comes time to sift through the tens of them that ring my monitor on a regular basis. I never just want to throw them away or straight away recycle them - It just seems like such a waste.

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Days of Appreciation - Day 13

Injecting a sense of whimsy and enjoyment in to your day doesn't have to be difficult.  For example, if you're going to use post it notes in your office anyway, why not make the occasional pack of them a little more fun?

 Think Geek has these cool little notes that come complete with origami instructions on them.  Once you're done with the task, take a moment and celebrate your accomplishment by folding it in to one of those cool flapping cranes.  They run about $4 a package, so they're obviously not an every day item, but they could be a very fun sporadic surprise for your office staff.

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Days of Appreciation - Day 12

With the nasty business of evictions or skips, it can often fall to our maintenance team to clear and clean out that apartment. Show them your appreciation this year with a set of Fork Lift straps.  This set, again from Amazon , is currently under $15 and that's a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for a chiropractor's bill down the line when one of your team members forgets momentarily to lift with their legs.

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Days of Appreciation - Day 11

Today, I want to give you a cool little gift that can make your maintenance team's outdoor maintenance projects go a bit faster. One of the most annoying parts of those Cap Maint projects is the clean up. We send out our techs or porters to pick up all the nails and screws that would otherwise end up in the tires of our residents. It can be an annoying, but necessary task.

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Days of Appreciation - Day 10

To cap off the week, I want to give you 4 reading suggestions for your maintenance team members, starting with "Sustaining Knock Your Socks Off Service " by Zemke, a great book about how to keep high level service in the for front of everything that we do. People underestimate how important your maintenance staff can be to not only a smooth running property, but to resident retention and NOI as a whole, and by encouraging them to be efficient and delivering great service, you're not only helping your bottom line, but you're helping to foster pride in their jobs.

It is for the same reason that I also love the book put out by J.D. Power the 4th, "Satisfaction ," as our maintenance techs are satisfaction agents. This book talks about listening to the voice of the customer, and since our techs have the advantage of being in the customer's home, there's no better place for them to hear that voice.<< MORE >>

Days of Appreciation - Day 9

Books for the manager. I could list at least 35 books here that I think most managers could pull good information out of, but, as promised, I'll stick with only the 5. I've tried to give a good cross section of book topics here.

Start with a short little read I love called "Managing to have Fun " by Weinstein. One of the great secrets to boosting your bottom line NOI in any work place is to run a workplace where people WANT to come to work, and a great manager is all that makes the difference between hiring someone for a "job" and inspiring them to have a "career."  Matt's book has great practical suggestions about how to boost productivity in your team while inspring a culture of fun that helps you retain your employees (and we know when that happens, we also seem to retain residents better too!).<< MORE >>

Days of Appreciation - Day 8

Books for the office staff are great, but what about books for your maintenance staff?  I have here 5 more great recommendations for Maintenance Supervisors.

I start with "Love Leadership " by John Hope Bryant. This book is great for the new leader or for the experienced. It  helps people connect with why they wanted to lead in the first place, and and Bryant's 5 rules for Love Leadership are great guides for anyone in a supervisory position. Add that to the fact that it's written in an easy flow and very readable manner and you've got one awesome book.<< MORE >>

Days of Appreciation - Day 7

For today, I want to give you 5 book suggestions for your Assistant Manager to help groom them into the amazing apartment industry professional  that you know they can be!

Start with "The Art Of Speed Reading People " by Tieger. This book helps your employee hone their rapport building skills, and teaches them to more quickly spot the motives of people so that they can not only excel in sales, but also in managing others, and resolving conflicts!

I also love "Getting Stuff Done " by Allen. It's a short book with a powerful message - execution is paramount!  The ability to go beyond being a big picture idea kind of person down to the execution of the fine detail work that draws the difference between an idea and a masterpiece is a skill that not many have, and our industry tends to prize.<< MORE >>

Days of Appreciation - Day 6

This week, I decided to focus my efforts on gifts for the mind. Those of you who know me in person are well aware that I never travel without at least two or three books at a time. I love getting and giving books as gifts, because I feel that they are an excellent way to express respect for the intelligence of the recipient. So in the next 5 days, each day I'm going to give you 5 book titles for one of the people that you work with. These are all business books, and if that's not your cup of tea, then I completely understand.<< MORE >>

Days of Appreciation - Day 5

The opposite of yesterday's treat of cold hands, today's idea might be a great way to thank anyone on your staff who's without an ergonomic keyboard, or who has wrist and hand pain from repetitive motion tasks. With today's intensely computer centric work places and ever increasing dependence on text messaging, arthritis and joint pain in the hands is more and more common, even for people as young as 20 years old. (It turns out that typing with your thumbs is not great for your hands... who knew?!)
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Days of Appreciation - Day 4

 While it's true that snow isn't so much fun to mess with when we're trying to clear a parking lot and de-ice sidewalks, it can be a fun treat for your staff to play with then it's time to decorate for the holidays.   As a special gift to your staff, why not give them a chance to play with snow this year?  If you can't get the weather makers to work with you and produce snow the natural way, then it's time to turn to the scientists, or at least the people who make things that are "AS SEEN ON TV!"

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Days of Appreciation - Day 3

Maybe I'm becoming an "Old Person", but sometimes simply stepping out of my heels isn't enough to make my feet stop throbbing these days. For those of you out there who can't find total relief with my gift suggestion from yesterday, I'm going to share one of the essential pieces of  my "Conference Attendance" kit.  This single product has made everything from NAA, to Brainstorming, to even walking from Navy Pier to the Roosevelt St. Station in Chicago bearable in dress shoes, and while it might not be the easiest thing to stick a bow on with a straight face, it's something that, once the recipient tries it, they will express much gratitude for!

Gold Bond Pain Relieving Foot Cream. << MORE >>

Days of Appreciation - Day 2

Yesterday we talked about cold fingers, so today, let's discuss your toes!  When it's hard to make it through the day in your ultra pointies sometimes, or, maybe you thought it would be a good day to "break in" those new shoes but instead found yourself not sitting down for the first 6 hours of the day, don't let the pain in your feet kill your good mood, or the good mood of your staff!  You don't have to tough it out and wait until you get home to find relief for your feet.

Instead, I recommend this gift for the female manager or leasing consultant that, for today at least, just can't stay in those high heels any longer:
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Days of Appreciation - Day 1

Kicking off the holiday season, let's begin with the practical gift. If you're in a colder climate right now, like much of the United States, it's easy to get the blues, and I'm not talking about depression. I'm talking about the beds of your fingernails!

Cold weather slows down the circulation in the human body. This effect makes us cranky and irritable, among other things.<< MORE >>

31 Days of Appreciation

(This post was supposed to launch Dec 1, but was delayed due to my duties in judging WMFHA's exciting new Emerald Awards. I love you all, but for now, you'll have to deal with a doubled up couple of posts!  I'm counting on your generous holiday spirit to get you to forgive my procrastination!)

Some will be for the heart. Some will be for the mind. Still yet, others are for the soul. And some, well some are just to clutter your desk.<< MORE >>

You Can't Afford to Skip the Shot


An idea that transcends employee retention and resident retention into boosting your overall NOI this year. And all it costs you is $35 per staff member.
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The Law is for Him

Today is National Coming Out day. For those of you who aren't working on a student property where the world is more cushioned in liberal arts tolerance teachings, this is a day where people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual,and transgendered are encouraged to "Come Out" of the closet and live their lives as the people they really are.

Today is a very awesome day. It's also a pretty scary day for many people.

I grew up in the Midwest and was proud to go to college at Kansas State University (GO WILDCATS!!!). We had a fairly vocal and active GLBT alliance, and they were even responsible for helping the local high school students start their own chapter.<< MORE >>

Heather's Hashtag Notes from the Washington Apartment Outlook 2010

WMFHA did an awesome job with this year's Washington Apartment Outlook Summit in September!  I was there, and the energy in the room was fantastic, optimistic -  It was pretty darned positive, overall, which is a change from last year's harsh reality check (one, I might add, that we ALL needed to hear). Thanks to my partnership awesomeness over at TuxTechSoftware , I was able to capture and index my twitter notes from the session, so I've made them available to you at the Hashtag Haven on my consulting site. I recommend scrolling to the bottom and reading up, as I didn't have time to get them put in reverse order yet.<< MORE >>

Mobile Marketing in the iTrashFlash World - Written for Ellipse Inc.


Is it time to redesign your website for Mobile Marketing?
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Convenience Vs. Privacy


Which is more important to you?
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Inspiration from Facebook


Making good on your goals
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Coffee Sleeve Marketing


Another great marketing idea that was shared during my CAM classes this year!
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Monday Motivation - 5 Things!


There's no truthful way to start that sentence except, "If I just learned to enjoy my day more..."<< MORE >>

Talking about "Top It Tuesday"

My friend Kim Lee with Community Northwest has often told me about her philosophy on resident event success:

 

            “Feed them, and they will come.   Feed them well, and they will come again.   Feed them well and introduce them to a friend, and they will keep coming.”

 

She’s a smart lady.   Food is a huge motivating factor when it comes to enticing people out of their apartments and in to a social scene.   It’s also a great motivating factor in gaining engagement on your Facebook page.<< MORE >>

An Open Customer Love Letter to Frontier/Midwest Airlines

I love Frontier/Midwest Airlines!  They’ve always done me right as far as getting me where I needed to go and treating me well (which isn’t something I can say of some of the really big names), despite the fact that when it comes down to it, I’m not really anyone important to them, besides just being their customer.   Sure, I’ve got my frequent flyer status, but that’s something many folks have.  Recently, on my trips to Dallas and Kansas City, they took exceptional care of me.

 

For anyone who travels, you know that storms in the Midwest can throw airports nationally in to a jumbled up mess where planes sit 97th in line for take off on the run way while the people inside them get…cranky.   On my way out of Dallas on Friday, this was exactly the case.<< MORE >>

Why my recent "REALITY CHECK" really rocked!

“If I only had enough money in my budget for one conference a year, Brainstorming would be it.” –Karen @ Kettler Management

 

This year’s Brainstorming Conference in Dallas was another incredibly well put together and executed event by Multifamily Pro. (My only wish on improvement with this event is that they would move it back to November, in the time frame it was last year.)

 Down to the smallest detail, this idea love fest was an ideal experience (save my ride to the event with Crazy Cabbie Guy…but MFP couldn’t really help that!).   Facilitating the Brainstorming sessions here and being asked to speak on the Friday idea panel are two of the highest honors of my year, and my time at this conference was AMAZING this year!

 

I want to invite you to take a look at the transcript of the tweets from the conference and even consider joining us next year.   Put it in your budgets now – this is an event that makes CENTS to attend.   After all, don’t you want to be in the space where million dollar ideas are flying?  My 8 pages of notes from Friday morning’s idea panel hosted by Anne Sadovsky are full of tasty little golden nuggets of good business ideas, and that’s just from ONE session!  The class sessions here are on an amazing combination of intellectualism, professionalism, and the newest trending topics, telling people how to implement these ideas in to actionable plans on their properties.<< MORE >>

Feed the Creative Mind at Brainstorming 2010!


Are you going? Will I see you there? Come say HI! and pick up a prescription for success!<< MORE >>

Where is Your App for That?

It's time to look past that shiny little apple...<< MORE >>

There's Always Room for Improvement - #NAA10


Improvement is always an option!
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"Thank You, Heather!"


Thank You goes awry. Here's how to turn it back in to a powerful marketing tool!
<< MORE >>

Clothes That Connect

97 Degrees and 85% humidity.

Heat index of 106 degrees.

And we want those fine folks on site to wear a wool suit while we sit behind our desks all day in an air conditioned office.

I've just come back from NAA in New Orleans, so maybe I'm a little heat sensitive right now, and correct me if I'm way out there, but there is something on the whole that is illogical about this train of thought. Don't get me wrong, here.<< MORE >>

A Marketing Plea - Can we move Independence Day?


The date just isn't really working well in my marketing calendar.
<< MORE >>

"Didn't You See the Balloons?"


What do Balloons mean to you?
<< MORE >>

Social Media - This Guy Gets It!

So, from time to time, I've been known to share the #FAIL social media mistakes that I find. Today, I'm happy because what I have to share with you is about as far from a #FAIL as it can get!  

Meet Mark Mullet. Mark is the Owner/head-honcho/marketing mind behind our local Zeek's Pizza here in Issaquah. Zeek's is a regional chain in the Seattle area that makes, hands down, the best pizza in the whole region. It's a must eat if you ever come out to the Pacific North West.<< MORE >>

"Leasing Includes You!" Presentation for the RHA of Puget Sound

I thought that I had posted this presentation earlier, so I have to apologize for my tardiness on this one!  This presentation was done for the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound's Spring Education Conference on March 17th this year. Not all of the information that I talked about is on these slides, so if there was something that I covered that isn't in the slides, and you would like clarification on any of the points, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!
<< MORE >>

Heather's Slide Shows from the WMFHA Ed Con, April 21, 2010

I want to thank all of you who came to yesterday's Washington Multi-Family Housing Association's Education Conference and Expo!  It was an amazing show, and I was so impressed with the quality of the classes offered - and let us not forget that amazing keynote given by the awesome Jackie Ramstedt!  If you were there, you were probably laughing as hard as I was. She is one very funny lady!

As promised, here are the slides from my classes yesterday - "Retain Who You Train!" and "Recessions, Concessions, and Marketing - OH MY!"  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via this blog, my homepage at BTLD Consulting or via email at heather@behindtheleasingdesk.com

Retain Who You Train!



Recessions, Concessions, and Marketing - OH MY!

<< MORE >>

On Pulling a "LeVar"


Breath and smile...even online.
<< MORE >>

Comedic (and Ironic) Timing is Everything.


What a story to kick off a set of posts about Fair Housing month!
<< MORE >>

Calculus, Plant Reproductive Systems & Gerunds


What does an employee REALLY need to know to function in the first week?
<< MORE >>

Bouncing Back from Bad PR


What you can learn from Toyota
<< MORE >>

February Marketing Ideas - Written for Appfolio's PropertyManager.com E-Zine


Part of the monthly series on marketing that I write for Appfolio's Property Manager E-Zine. Check them out at www.propertymanager.com
<< MORE >>

Business Lessons from 10 Year-Olds


This morning, my hair wouldn't do what I wanted it to. And you know what? I still look Good!
<< MORE >>

Do You Know Where You Are? - Follow Up From Yesterday


A quick follow up idea for yesterday's blog, courtesy of my father
<< MORE >>

A Resident Event Idea That Plays With Fire...Extinguishers



I really should wait until October to write this post. October is National Fire Prevention Month. But the fact of the matter is, I loved this idea so very much that I couldn't contain it within myself until October!

<< MORE >>

A small announcement

You'll be seeing some changes on Behind the Leasing Desk's layout in the coming weeks as we transition it as part of BTLD Consulting. Our URL will remain the same, but the look will change  to mirror  that of the consulting site, and this set up will make it so much easier for my faithful readers to find all of our content in one place. Not only will you find my blog posts, but also the Multifamily 5x5 broadcasts and the Dear Heather Letters column, as well as all of the tips, tools and tricks that I keep adding to the consulting site. I got some great advice from Mark Juleen and Mike Whaling about incorporating everything together, and since they are two of the smartest multifamily SEO guys I know, it would be careless of me to disregard their words.

Bear with us as we transition and I can promise you the occasional weird mouse click paths will be well worth it!<< MORE >>

Multifamily 5x5 for the Week of March 1st

It's Monday morning, and you know what that means - Another Multifamily 5x5!  Check out our weekly web show here!
<< MORE >>

Renewals that Go Green - Written for Appfolio's PropertyManager.com E-Zine


Bringing green to your property and your budget one unit at a time
<< MORE >>

Marketing Ideas for the Month of March

Is anyone else taking bets to see if March rolls in like a lion or a lamb this year?  I'm not sure many parts of the country could take much more of this lion winter weather. I think we're all craving more of  those beautiful spring time days that seem to tease us sporadically this time of year. I've been itching for a picnic since the first day it topped 62 degrees in the Seattle area. Best of all, we in the property management world know that sunshine brings in the tours, something that has proven to be a major challenge this year. To encourage a little more traffic, here are 3 ideas for your marketing teams!<< MORE >>

"Wholesome Goodness," ...Whatever that means.


The MOST Dynamic and off the charts post you'll read in this lifetime! ...What do you mean words in advertising have to mean what you say they do? Fine then. "A post that is semi cool and rags on Luke Wilson."
<< MORE >>

Monday Morning Multifamily 5x5

A new Multifamily 5x5 broadcast is up on our sister site at www.btldconsulting.com!

Today's topics included:
Marketing and Retention with NCAA March Madness!
Conference Conversation on the NAA Student Housing Conference
Reading Recommendation for "The Levity Effect"
Technology Talk about Texting Tips
Maintenance Minute focused on Assembling a Sparkle Kit

5 minutes traded for 5 ideas to start the week off with a bang!
<< MORE >>

Feature Feature!

In case you were not aware, Tuesday is "Dear Heather" letter day on BTLD Consulting. This week's letter - Done Playing Nice - hit a bit of a chord with me, and I'd love it if you'd click over there and check it out!

I'm still working through all of the letters I received this week, so if you haven't heard back yet, no fear, I am on it!  And if you have a problem or idea that you'd like to ask my advice on, submit it in email form to Heather@behindtheleasingdesk.com, with a subject line of "Dear Heather Letter." ( I promise a response, and I promise honesty, but remember, if the problem is you, I'll tell you the truth, just as I did in my letter today.)
<< MORE >>

It's Monday Morning, and Time for Another Multifamily 5x5!

Check out this week's Multifamily 5x5 at the BTLD Consulting site
<< MORE >>

Mister Smith Goes To Twitter


The newest example of how the social media sword has two sharp edges.
<< MORE >>

Neat Tools from the National Apartment Association


Have you seen what the NAA has to offer to your recruiters this month?
<< MORE >>

Announcing The BTLD Right On Ribbon Winner for February!


This month's winner is a Seattle manager with a great heart!
<< MORE >>

Bigger isn't always better - Originally written for Appfolio's Property Manager E-Zine

Bigger isn’t always better.  

 

When she was in 8th grade, as is tradition in my family, my sister got her first set of matched luggage.   It was dark blue with tan piping and I remember it was from Jaguar.   For 8thgrade promotion, I think she received all the pieces to that luggage set that she hadn’t gotten for the holiday season prior.  There was a garment bag, and a little overnight suitcase, and there were also make-up cases and duffel bags.<< MORE >>

Announcing Our New Sister Site!

Take a moment today to skate on over to BTLDConsulting.com, our new sister site, and home of Heather's new weekly Multifamily 5x5 broadcasts and the "Dear Heather" Advice column!  That's just the tip of the all new site content to come in the future months, so check back frequently as new links and lists are published, new Right On Ribbon Winners are announced, and new contests, polls and more are brought to life for this digital audience!

Today is the first broadcast of  Episode 1:1 of the Multifamily 5 by 5 with Heather, so take 5 min from your day and grab some new ideas and information!


www.btldconsulting.com<< MORE >>

Improv Insights in a Multifamily World


Travel back with me to the college class of a theatre major and learn a little...
<< MORE >>

Apartment Jobs: On Hiring - "Experience, They have to have Experience!" - Written for MultiFamily Insiders


On the list of things that make me want to gag...
<< MORE >>

An Example of This "Internet Thing" Done Well


A Seattle apartment community website that is a shining example
<< MORE >>

"We Only Use Craigslist"


Grabbing a bit of perspective on the perceived "awesomeness" of Craigslist
<< MORE >>

Beating Burnout - Negative Nancy Needs to Go


You can't avoid it all the time...
<< MORE >>

Hold the Hold and Just Talk To ME!


The phone run-around makes me tired... and I'm not even moving.
<< MORE >>

National "Have Fun At Work" Day


How much fun are you having? How much do you want to have?
<< MORE >>

Look Local and Love What You Find!


What diamonds are in the rough around your community?
<< MORE >>

Catch a Wave and you're sittin' on top of the world...


Google Wave: Your online collaboration station
<< MORE >>

Black Ledger partners with Behind the Leasing Desk's BTLD Right On Ribbon Award!


More of a reason than ever before to get your BTLD Right On Ribbon nominations in!
<< MORE >>

Beating Burnout - Saving Stars from Supernova


Is it any wonder in an industry where we refer to our great workers as "stars" that some of them supernova over time?
<< MORE >>

Just for Fun, a peek at where Behind the Leasing Desk is at home


A moment of insight into the workspace of yours truly.
<< MORE >>

The Evil Overlord List: Management Lesson on Number 32


You look great in that tie! ... You don't like that tie? Well then I hate it too!
<< MORE >>

Someone Pushed My Peeve Button


Venting of some social media frustration for the world to see
<< MORE >>

J. Geils on Social Media


You're at the place where the song "Centerfold" and Facebook unfortunately meet.
<< MORE >>

Beating Burnout - Surviving Stress


Does your Stress Amp go all the way up to 11?
<< MORE >>

Could you be a little less "dependable?"


If you have to question whether or not you're too sick to work, you probably are.
<< MORE >>

Heather Reviews the Multifamily Pro Brainstorming Conference for 2009


Have you put Brainstorming in your budget for this year? Do it now!!!
<< MORE >>

Beating Burnout - Going Back to the Well


Energize with Education!
<< MORE >>

Beating Burnout Blog Series


Rekindle the Passion in the coming year
<< MORE >>

"Try Anti-depressants," and other ways NOT to respond to resident feedback - See it at www.propertymanager.com


Prozac, Xanax, Wellbutrin, and no more complaints! No, not really...
<< MORE >>

The little things are sometimes iconic


Iconic doesn't mean expensive.
<< MORE >>

So "Sorry,"... So What?


How many times have you heard that someone is "sorry" this week?
<< MORE >>

Some Assembly Required


Tab A in to Slot Q, then fold perpendicular to the second line...
<< MORE >>

To Tree or Not to Tree, That is the Question...


All I want for Christmas is a high mold count...No, wait...
<< MORE >>

Heather's Presentation on Talent Retention from TRENDS NW 12/8/09


As promised, the Prezi from my presentation at Seattle's TRENDS show today!
<< MORE >>

BTLD Right On Ribbon Winner for December!


December's winner knocked my socks off in person!
<< MORE >>

Announcing the BTLD "Right On!" Ribbon

It's a fact of life that 99% of the time, when you mess up, everyone sees it, and 99% of the time when you do something right, no one notices. This inequity can easily grate on nerves at a micro and macro level, whether you're one rotating cog or the machine as a whole, and it can bring destruction to good employees, good systems and good ideas. It is for this reason, and a recent trip to Kansas City where I shopped one of the most outstanding communities EVER, I've been inspired.

That's why I'm introducing a new regular addition to my blog. I'm calling it my, "Right On!" Ribbon, and will be sending it to properties or employees who go above and beyond.<< MORE >>

"Ain't Too Proud To Beg"

Why a chip on your shoulder isn't going to help your bottom line<< MORE >>

The choice between a hammer and a feather - Originally printed at Appfolio's www.propertymanager.com


Have you underestimated the Sneakiness?
<< MORE >>

Continental Makes My No Fly List


A Customer service case study in "DON'T"
<< MORE >>

Books, Dust Jackets, and Preconceived Notions


No, It is not my intention to RickRoll you.
<< MORE >>

I give you a FAIL WHALE


Do you know why people are de-friending you on Facebook and unfollowing you on Twitter?
<< MORE >>

5 "Spooky" Suggestions for Your October Marketing - Originally posted to AppFolio's E-zine www.propertymanager.com


5 fun ways to have a good time with your Halloween marketing!
<< MORE >>

Does Size Really Matter? - Originally Posted with Appfolio's Property Manager E-Zine


What's it going to be? Loki or Fox?
<< MORE >>

Talent Retention T-Day: "Yes, Dogs Allowed!"


Snoopy will like this one...
<< MORE >>

"Let me tell you WHY I hate my apartment."


It's a conversation starter that I just can't pass up...
<< MORE >>

Dear Facebook - I don't need a Guilt Trip.


Facebook, I've got a a beef with you.
<< MORE >>

Talent Retention T-Day: Expectations are Everything


The little engine that could didn't need a cheerleader, but maybe your team does.
<< MORE >>

Talent Retention T-day - What could Google's 20% do for your business?


Daydreaming isn't always a bad thing.
<< MORE >>

Getting Old School Google on your Talent Retention


I smell something...Oh, it looks like I stepped in another BLOG SERIES!
<< MORE >>

Site Addition Coming Soon - I Need YOUR Help!


Got a question? I wanna hear it!
<< MORE >>

WMFHA Chili Cook-Off!

<< MORE >>

5 Minutes to Read It, 5 Hours to Mull It - Check out Mike Brewer's Post!


Have you read Mike Brewer's Blog yet? Why not?
<< MORE >>

Maintenance Mention: Graffiti, Get Gone! - Written for NAA's UNITS magazine

It happens on even the best of properties. Graffiti, tagging - whatever you want to call it, these uninvited spray paint masterpieces on your buildings aren't a welcome addition to your asset. Depending on the surface, a coat of KILZ and some paint might not cut it for the clean up. Here are some tricks to getting graffiti off of other surfaces your teams might have to deal with:

Aluminum- Signage or siding, the first step to removing the offending tag is to discern if the paint is latex or oil based. To find that out, it's as simple as testing the paint with a little GOOF OFF in a spot, which should lift up latex paint.<< MORE >>

A Few Maintenance Mentions for Fall - Written for NAA's UNITS magazine

Getting your property ready for the winter months can be a daunting task for any maintenance team, but asking your office staff to send out a maintenance survey at this time of year can help your team prioritize the upcoming tasks and deliver outstanding customer service at the same time. Here's how it works:

Develop a survey with your team about the most commonly placed work action items over the winter. Examples of what you can include are: Fireplace pilot light relighting (which everyone forgets about until that first super cold day), Replacing damaged weather stripping or caulking on doors and windows, loose railings on stairwells, any low hanging branches or branches that may be responsible for the disconnection of power in an ice storm, or any outstanding leaks that could turn in to even bigger problems if the pipes froze. Sending this to your residents as a Winter Home Wellness checklist gives them time to evaluate possible problems in their own homes. When the surveys/checklists have been returned (set a specific date on this one for efficiency's sake), the office staff can enter the repairs needed in to a database and your team can then begin systematically working through the process of getting your property winterized, building by building.<< MORE >>

Going from CYA to "C Ya"'


Don't leave your residents with no other option but Apartment Ratings
<< MORE >>

The deal fell through, so why should I thank you?


How do we treat the resident referrals who don't move in?
<< MORE >>

5 "Spooky" Suggestions for Property Managers This Halloween - Printed at Appfolio's Property Manager E-zine


Check out the Halloween marketing ideas post at www.propertymanager.com
<< MORE >>

Testimonials Video on Brainstorming


If I haven't convinced you to try Brainstorming this year, maybe Lisa Trosien, Toni Blake, Kate Good or Lori Snyder can!
<< MORE >>

Scratch 'n' Sniff Strikes Again!


Follow up idea from last week's #aptchat. Have you been to #Aptchat yet? Fridays, 4PM Eastern time on Twitter, moderated by Lisa Trosien and Mike Whaling!
<< MORE >>

You say, "Camera," I say, "Online Content Provider."


Double Sceens is way better than Double Mint. Then again, I'm not a big fan of mint.
<< MORE >>

The Advantages of Testing on a Curve-ball


If you're going to shell out the money for a mystery shopper, then pay for useful information
<< MORE >>

Student Housing Debacle at Seattle's UW University Dorms


12 in a room? I've heard of economizing, but this is just ridiculous...
<< MORE >>

WMFHA's Washington Apartment Outlook


Were you at the Washington Multi Family Housing Association's "Washington Apartment Outlook" on Sept 29th?
<< MORE >>

We're back, Baby!

Technology Happens.

Behind the Leasing Desk is happy to announce that we are back after a short hiatus caused by a software bug that has recently been fixed. I was not able to post any articles that weren't already preset to publish, so it was annoying to say the least. Unfortounately, our down time came during the middle of the 7 Deadly sins series, so I'd like to invite you to click back and take a look at the end of the series that you missed, as well as some of the blogs from last week!


<< MORE >>

Where do all the good ideas come from?


Come check out Multifamily Pro's Brainstorming this year! I'd love to shake your hand and thank you for your readership!
<< MORE >>

8 Ideas for Making More Move In Day Magic! - Originally printed on Appfolio.com's E-Zine "Property Manager"


Making the most of the first 48 hours
<< MORE >>

Who's Your Heartbeat?


Lessons from 80s TV are always fun...
<< MORE >>

Gluttony has Got to Go


Kick Taz out.
<< MORE >>

Exorcising Envy


Where Monkeys and Broadway Musicals Meet
<< MORE >>

Working Out Wrath


Losing your temper bites
<< MORE >>

Adversary in Avarice


Have you checked your hoard for spoilage?
<< MORE >>

Little Bit'a Lust


Inside - The secret to how to REALLY advance your career!
<< MORE >>

The Perils and Power of Pride


Pride goeth before the fall, or at least the power trip
<< MORE >>

Sloth - Ain't it cute?!


I would have had this post on sloth up sooner, but I was just too tired...
<< MORE >>

Seven Deadly Sins Week Starting September 7th!

Next week's BTLD posts will be a bit different. I've decided if the History Channel can rock the 7 deadly sins, so can Behind the Leasing Desk, with a slight twist to the multifamily industry. We'll have your favorite PM sins here, one each day, from the 7th through the 13th, so don't forget to check back each day. Seeing as how Monday is Labor Day, my sense of Irony tells me that it's right to start with Sloth.

See you then, if you're not too tired to check in!<< MORE >>

Popcorn - The other cookie


Another great set of ideas inspired by Rent and Retain Magazine!!!
<< MORE >>

Back To School


Back to school time gives you opportunity for resident retention!
<< MORE >>

Coming Down to Chemistry - Originally posted to MFI 7/26/09


Do you have a baking soda and lemon juice office mix?
<< MORE >>

Penmanship Counts!


You might be smarter than a 5th grader, but what if your handwriting doesn't look like it?
<< MORE >>

Avoiding the Ole' Swoop'n'Squat


Sometimes it's better to let the butterfly fight the cocoon
<< MORE >>

8 Ideas for making move in day magic! - Read it at the Property Manager E-zine!

Here's the link to my August 18th article on making the most of move in day with your residents. Check it out on www.propertymanager.com!
<< MORE >>

Resident Retention with a little help from Google


Do you know what your one friend said about you when you weren't there?
<< MORE >>

Have you found your way to the #Aptchat?

It's starting in 10 minutes!  Today's #aptchat topic is on Gearing up for the slow down in the leasing season and what your teams can do/are doing to prepare for it. Come join in and share your industry expertise with the group!  I like to use tweetchat, which just links right up with twitter and seems to be the best way to view everything without getting confused.

Remember to add a #aptchat hastag to your posts so that they run in the stream.  If you're not ready to join in yet, you can watch the AptChat or read the transcripts on the facebook page, or on Multifamily Insiders.

Can't wait to see you there!


<< MORE >>

Communication Clarity With Your Residents


My July 15th article for Appfolio's Property Manager E-Zine. Check them out over at www.propertymanager.com!
<< MORE >>

Happy Birthday To US!

To my very dear and much appreciated readers,
Behind The Leasing Desk is one year old Today!  We're definely up and walking, taking more and more strong steps to providing you with awesome content for your on site and regional teams, and, like any toddler, we have some HUGE surprises in store for you this year!  Keep referring us to your friends, because and readership grows, so does my ability to bring you more and more awesome ideas.   Our growth this first year has been amazing, this blog getting between 5K to 7K hits a month, and we would like to thank our supporters. A huge thank you out to the following folks who have supported me as a writer in the last year:

My amazing readers, who keep coming back and keep googling to find me. You're why I'm here!
Mike Brewer (who's blog inspired me to blog in the first place)
Lisa Trosien at The Apartment Expert
Mark Juleen at JC Hart
Brent Williams and his amazing community at Multifamily Insiders.com
Mike Whaling at 30 Lines
Charity Hisle at Benson Media
Jesse Hartman, Steve DeMuth, Darcey Forbes and the rest of the amazing marketing and communications E-Team
Eric Brown with Urbane Apartments
Amiee Miller and her team at AppFolio
Mindy Williams with Rent and Retain
Toni Blake with Totally Toni
The amazing team at the Washington Multi Family Housing Association who have given me so much encouragement
All my favorite human beings on Twitter
My patient and understanding guy, Alan, who has spent far too much time waiting for me to, "finish just one more paragraph."
And last, but certainly not least, my company, Career Strategies Inc., who have patiently waited for my efforts to yield the relationships we now prize.<< MORE >>

The Grass isn't always greener... but it could be


How three inches in the Summer months can save you money and look lush at the same time
<< MORE >>

Maintenance Memo - Go Sniff Your Pool!


Have you smelled your pool lately?
<< MORE >>

Coming Down to Chemistry - See it EXCLUSIVELY on MFI!

Scoot on over to Multifamily Insiders to see this exclusive post!  Leave me a comment there and let me know what you think!  Thank you!
<< MORE >>

Cute Summer Mini-Model Ideas


We can do a lot better than spaghetti in the kitchen.
<< MORE >>

"We Hope You'll Understand..."


"... Even though we know you won't."

What can we do when the pool isn't cooperating with our plans?
<< MORE >>

Notes from NAA -UPDATED!!!


The takeaway from the convention is conversation and connection.
<< MORE >>

Does Your Cone Have a Curl on Top?


What's on top of your cone?
<< MORE >>

A $6 Resident Retention Idea for the Summer!


That's right... just SIX DOLLARS!

Also, did you know they made pickle Popsicles? The things you learn from FoodTV...
<< MORE >>

"Pool" Your Resources!


5 quick ideas to maximize your greatest summertime asset: Your Pool!
<< MORE >>

Banned Books

A totally personal entry about banned books- Not property management related in the slightest.<< MORE >>

Treasures From Travels - Site Visit Coolness for May


I do the site vists and bring the cool stuff I see back home with me!
<< MORE >>

Ex Vs. UPS: Service Wins


I thought I was brand loyal. Turns out, I'm customer service timing loyal.
<< MORE >>

"You will hear good news today."


It's all about the cookie
<< MORE >>

2 Birds, 1 Stone, and until 2013 to get it done!


Are you ready for the new Carbon Monoxide Detector Law in WA State?
<< MORE >>

Credo for Credibility


So, what exactly DO you believe in?
<< MORE >>

My Bias for Other's Blogs


A list of blogs I'd recommend anyone check out for new multifamily thoughts and happier leasing!
<< MORE >>

I have the coolest new twitter friend!


Twitter's applications are endless! Here's one more to add to your lists of reasons to reach out and tweet out!
<< MORE >>

Heather's "You've Got 'Em, Now Keep 'Em" Slides from WMFHA Ed Conferece 2009



Thank you so much for coming to see me at the Education Conference! If you missed my presentation, you're still welcome to the slides and information. I hope that your onsite teams find these slides and resources helpful!  Remember, When we connect, We retain!
<< MORE >>

Do Your Leasing Consultants Litter While Touring?


Are you a leasing litter bug? You might not even know it!
<< MORE >>

Advice from my grandfather about your model unit


Sometimes the old ways are the right way... just jazz it up with the new technology!
<< MORE >>

CSI Advertising Part 1


A moment to show off some of my recent marketing efforts
<< MORE >>

Rihanna, Revlon and Reputation - A quick note on public perception from these 3 Rs


The grey space in myspace
<< MORE >>

Notably Quotably Great


A great quote for your wall of great quotes. And if you don't have a wall of great quotes, you need to start one!
<< MORE >>

A Bit 'Bout Balloons (Part 1 of 4 of Balloons, Banners, Billboards, and Boards)


Not 99 Red Balloons(sorry Nena!), but something even better! Some helpful suggestions to make your balloons POP!
<< MORE >>

Note cards- NOT just for THANK YOU anymore!


Are you making the best use of those note cards in your drawer?
<< MORE >>

So awesome, I just have to share - I got to help someone!

<< MORE >>

The Legal Beagle on Fair Housing Signage


Fair Housing Signage "Whoopsie!" in the Seattle Area!
<< MORE >>

Essex Experiments Making Microblogging Mainstream on the Twittstream!


Essex leads the big boys in social media community building!
<< MORE >>

Sticky Note Chic - I'm backsliding!


You must be THIS organized to sit behind the leasing desk...
<< MORE >>

Snow-ma-geddon Strikes Seattle! Where's the upside when the thermometer hugs the downside?


Some cold day ideas to heat up your resident retention!
<< MORE >>

The "Snap" Cup, A Necessary Recessionary Office Accessory!


Who's got internal team conflict? Raise your hands... and read this post! :)
<< MORE >>

Coupon Craziness with Craigslist!


I love a good deal, and so does everyone else. Make them use their scissors for your move in special this weekend!
<< MORE >>

"NOW LEASING!!!" Are you ever not?


A few marketing banners I wish I could see out there!
<< MORE >>

It's About Feeling Heard



140 Characters made me feel special!
<< MORE >>

Some helpful resources for shutting the back door!


3 great resources to resident retention<< MORE >>

E-Newsletters and a personal touch go together better than chocolate and peanut butter!

Cutting your budget a little, up your resident retention and go green all in the same step!

<< MORE >>

On Being the "Blip"


Trying to sell by screaming in someone's ear all day works about as well as trying to get to the bottom of the ocean without an oxygen tank. Either way, at the end of it, you're dead in the water.<< MORE >>

Another Reason Why I Love Where I Live


A $50 resident retention idea from the community I live in!<< MORE >>

Give your residents a "Riesen" or two to stay!

Let's face it - Sugar sells, and not just to people under the age of 10.




<< MORE >>

"Hmm... it's a beta." Microsoft's recent pull the clever lever


Where Microsoft and fish tending meet...<< MORE >>

Resident Retention Mention from the January Newsletter

I wrote this piece for our January newsletter, and I really liked the ideas, so I wanted to share them with everyone else out there, even if they weren't on our property mailing list!  Enjoy!<< MORE >>

Heather's Book List

If you learn only one thing about me as a person, I ask that it be the indisputable fact that I am an Insatiable and  Voracious reader.  After being raised by a librarian, I feel like a piece of me is starving if I don't have my nose in a book at least once a day.  Alan swears that I keep my local branch of Half Price Books in business with my quenchless vice.  And I think I'm okay with that.  I can stimulate my brain AND the economy in one fail swoop.

This is a list of the books I have read during 2008 and eventually, I hope it will include a short review of each as well.  Enjoy!
<< MORE >>

Building Bridges By Banana Bread


If you've ever wondered why no one listened to your new ideas...<< MORE >>

Why, "One Out, One In," Doesn't Equate


The math just isn't in our favor right now, folks. Maybe we need a new formula for success.<< MORE >>

Thanksgiving: "Verb Word" It!

As a young child, I had an English teacher who was obsessed with what she called, "the verb words," because they were active and led to more and more action in writing.  She used to make us stand up and act out all the verb words in our papers when we read them to the class.  I liked the writing part of that class, but the acting out "verb word" madness not so much.  I was the fat kid, you understand.  But what I did take away from that teacher is the importance of action, not only in our writing but also in our doing.<< MORE >>

Retention Intervention: Grow your Groups!


Plant some seeds now to grow some awesome groups and resident retention in the future!<< MORE >>

The Results are In!!! The prices of the two bedrooms are...


So, how much are YOUR two bedrooms?<< MORE >>

Going... Going... Going... GONE GREEN!


I'm a hippie at heart. In third grade, I decided that ecology was cool and have pretty much been hooked on saving the dolphins and trees ever since. I didn't know it was science until I was way too far sucked in to decide it was too hard to understand. Science is sneaky that way. But, to me, dolphins and trees are totally worth it.<< MORE >>

Presenting the Package


I'm going to need to know where doggy day care is, where a good hair stylist is, and where I can buy a new toaster.<< MORE >>

"Follow Your Nose"


Olfactory Demonology and how it can help you sell.<< MORE >>

Just a bit of info on some "Fur-esidents" I bet you didn't know you had


Unconventional pets on your property?<< MORE >>

Is Your Company/Community a Poaching Ground?


Where IS your good talent going?
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"Clean for a day" - A Renewal Idea and a Relationship Tip


Kicking up the carpet cleaning another notch!
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Want to up your retention? Take a cue from the folks in HR!


How Human Resources departments can teach us resident retention
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"Where do you find your people?!" and "Why didn't your guy go apply through the website?"


How NOT to entice my people to work for you!
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Rethinking the "Resident Function" in terms of Retention


Where rock climbing and throwing resident functions meet, and how to get over the mountain of both
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That Dirty, Naughty, Awful "C" Word


Exploring the reasons why I hate the C word!
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What could the microblog do for you?


Upping resident retention and renting numbers tweet by tweet!
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Oh, Calc-ie...


Small incentives can be more powerful than the big stuff
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Insight from an applicant on Making Lemonade


A sweeter sales approach
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What pays off at the end of the marathon?


The teacher in me speaks up...
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Seth's Dregs


I call Dregs!
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"How Much are Your Two Bedrooms?"


An experiment in getting to the hot buttons
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Starbucks and the Treat Receipt


Stealing marketing ideas from a cup of joe
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Michelle's Mini-Models

I spend a lot of time talking with different property managers these days. Sometimes I get really awesome gossip, sometimes I get some interesting ideas out in the market today, and sometimes I get either really great feedback or really great complaints. Either way, I'd say talking with my managers is one of the highlights to my day, even when they're less than happy with me in that particular minute.

There is a manager that I met a few months ago who is doing something GREAT as a side business that I must shout to the world. She looked at the properties she had been at and found that while mini models can be a great sales tool there were some definite draw backs to using them.<< MORE >>

Let an IKEA be your Umbrella!

A few months ago, Lisa Trosien wrote about how Ikea had done a studio apartment in a box stunt that was working out really well. Before I moved to Seattle, I had heard of IKEA, but I had no idea who they were or what they did. The Swedish furniture trend has yet to hit it big out there in Kansas... but we're usually about 5 years behind everyone else. However, in the Seattle metro area, IKEA is HUGE. They have this large store that you can just utterly get LOST in while you wander through, living the rest of your life on meatballs and sleeping in faux rooms that have the best solutions for storage you can possibly imagine! 

As I was thinking about the section of my training course that discusses overcoming objections, I was listing the most common hurdles that I remember hearing from my days as a leasing consultant.<< MORE >>

Giving Something Back

Back in the day, a property manager changed the course of my life. I know, it's a little dramatic for a starting sentence, but just go with me on this. You see, at the time, I was in the middle of a 6 month course of chemotherapy for  lymphoma, and I pretty much refused to acknowledge that when one is in treatment, one cannot do all the things that a normal person can do. I wasn't working at the time (there are perks to having a phenomenal boyfriend who have incredibly marketable computer skills) and I was suffering that variety of boredom and loneliness where you start singing to your dog just because you need someone to talk to. One day on a break from serenading my dog, Fox, I wandered down to the management office of the community where we were living.<< MORE >>
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