Property Management

Best Package Delivery Management Services

By | Commercial Real Estate, Multifamily housing, Property Management

What is package delivery management?

Ask any onsite property manager or leasing agent and they can give you a good definition of a package delivery management system. Basically, it provides residents with an efficient, convenient, secure way of receiving their delivered packages. With greater use of the internet to purchase most anything, it becomes more important to deal with all the incoming packages ordered by residents. Some residents may just have their stuff delivered at work or another location. But being able to safely have packages delivered at the property provides residents with peace of mind. So offering package lockers with emails that are sent out when parcels are delivered is a value add in many locations.

Millennials, in particular, value this amenity when searching for a property, but really it is any tenant that buys stuff online and has it shipped to their apartment. It creates what is being called package anxiety because of the potential theft of the package if they are not home when it actually arrives or they get home late and the property management office or leasing office is closed. According to the NMHC/Kingsley first-ever survey on package delivery, it ranks second on their list of sought after amenities.

It could also be argued that a good package delivery management system could reduce operating expenses because of the staff’s time that has to be devoted to managing and storing the incoming packages. A package delivery management system is more critical in larger high-rise properties, and could be an important amenity for garden style properties too.  In any case, during the holiday season, a package delivery management system can leave residents feeling grateful indeed.

So what can you do?

It only makes sense to have a system for managing package deliveries. So I have tried to find some reputable products that are designed to solve this problem of all the incoming packages. Here are a few solutions that you should find helpful.

First,are Parcel Pending and ActiveBuildings EGG. These two companies have this problem figured out! It is self-operating and eliminates any contact with your property manager or leasing office. Residents are able to receive their package essentially 24/7 after it is delivered and they are notified when it arrives so they know it’s been delivered at the locker. These are most fitting for the garden community properties. High-rises typically already have central delivery and a storage room, whereas garden communities do not. So lockers make sense for that property type.

Second, is Notifii. They are a software company providing a partial solution. Think of it as a centralized mailroom that sends out push notifications when packages arrive. They do not provide a device to store the packages. So you’ll still have to have storage space (as you will with parcel pending or the EGG) but, you will also have to figure out the security and who will operate the physical storage. Not as easy for this to be “maintenance free.” For smaller properties or garden community properties this might night be a good option because of the lack of storage space, but it works well for high-rise.

Third, storage lockers from USPS. These are lockers, called gopost units located at convenient locations to accommodate a busy lifestyle. The Postal Service is currently installing units near certain Post Offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation hubs, shopping centers and more. The downside is two things, it’s not an onsite amenity and it may not be available near the property or even in the city for that matter.

Fourth, Amazon storage lockers located near the property. The great thing about this solution is that it is an offsite service provided by Amazon– no cost nor fuss from a property management perspective, but it has the same downside the USPS lockers.

While there are many others, I have tried to highlight the various types of package delivery management options available. The costs range from expensive to free, and the benefits are zero to a highly sought after amenity. I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Below are a few links to other articles that might help you when researching this important issue.

Additional information

Package Locker Industry lifts off

Taking Package Delivery Management out of the leasing office

NMHC/Kingsley Package Delivery Presentation

Package storage systems help properties and residents handle deliveries


Current Multifamily Trends

By | Commercial Real Estate, Multifamily housing, Property Management

The multifamily market is as strong as ever driven in part by this article’s current multifamily trends. While disruption is occurring in many industries, multifamily properties are seeing the benefits of it. New technologies are only helping property owners and tenants alike occupy and enjoy a place to call home. Here are seven trends that should be considered with both existing as well as new properties being designed.

Walkable and urban setting.

Most new construction activity is in or near urban centers. Renting is the only affordable way to be close to an urban center in many cities. They want everything within 20 minutes. Many properties provide access to locations that are not otherwise available; such as employment, shopping, cultural centers, entertainment, sporting events, etc. Another aspect of walkability is proximity to public transportation. The result is a greater sense of community that a couple large demographic segments are seeking.

Largest tenant segments: millennials and empty nesters.

Today’s demographics have these two large segments; millennials, and empty nesters, on the demand side of the multifamily market. So it is important to address their needs, concerns, and desires in a property. Both are looking for smaller space. These two segments are where you will find Generation Y enjoying the company of their parents as well as their friend’s parents. Combine these two segments and you have what is called a multi-generational apartment.

Tenants seeking affordable luxury: smaller units with more elaborate unit amenities.

One of the unique aspects of this current market is the desire for small luxury space that is affordable. So, to get that, developers are creating “micro” units that are 250-350 square feet and rent them for $900 a month. It works for millennials because they don’t spend a lot of time at home. It works for empty nesters to a degree because they are downsizing. The key is the location according to the new Urban Land Institute report ‘The Macro View of Micro Units.” Amenities in the units might include, high-end flooring, tall ceilings, in-home washer and dryer, marble bathrooms, stainless steel appliances in micro kitchens, private balcony or terrace, and spacious walk-in closets.

Tenants are looking for more.

While traditional cable and satellite utilities are on the decline, it’s hard not to continue offering them. However, a fast internet access is vital and becoming a larger source of highly selective media, entertainment, and sports. Another desire is to have greater control over HVAC and lighting controls by using technology to allow better control for both tenants and property owners. Having green features speaks to tenants who value energy conservation which is also an added benefit, but it’s a subject of a future report.

Package delivery management.

With greater use of the internet to purchase most anything, it becomes more important to deal with all the incoming packages ordered by tenants. Some tenants may just have their stuff delivered at work or another location. But being able to safely have packages delivered at the property provides tenants with peace of mind. So offering package lockers with emails that are sent out when parcels are delivered is a value add in many locations. Millennials, in particular, value this amenity when searching for a property. See my article on this here.

Get ready for this list of amenities.

Most amenities involve some sort of common area, and most of these also involve some sort of social aspect or have a common area for working. Multifamily tenants today are looking for common space that can act as an ad hoc living space with both indoor and outdoor living. Many amenities involve a service. Millennials and surprisingly enough empty nesters both are devoted to pets and their mobile devices. So technology is another aspect of this. These are some of the amenities being found in new properties: car-sharing service, bike storage and repair, child-care service, concierge service, cooking classes, dry cleaning/laundry service, Free WiFi, pet grooming, personal shopper, rock-climbing wall, rooftop terrace, spa/massage center, tech/business center, extra storage space, and yoga/aerobics/wellness classes. Notice all the “service” amenities?

Short-term leases.

When thinking about these current multifamily trends, it is hard not to think of Airbnb! There might be some high-profit margin units with a strategy like this. The key will be a location to local attractions to draw these short-term tenants in. A large consideration for these tenants is that the unit needs to be furnished. One of the drawbacks to this is the sense of community, mentioned above, would be lost. In thinking about these short-term leases, it might be good to keep the number of these units to a minimum or you will upset the longer staying resident tenants. Finally, there has been some discussion of allowing tenants to sub-lease out their longer-term lease in this fashion, but this is a legal topic worthy of its own report.

Hopefully, you can find ways to capitalize on these current multifamily trends and add value your property and greater satisfaction for your tenants. Let us know if you are seeing other trends that are happening in your area.

U.S. Apartment Rents Leap at Fastest Pace Since Crisis

By | Commercial Real Estate, Leasing, Multifamily housing, Property Management

Average rose 4.6% to nearly $1,180, Reis reports

Apartment rents increased faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.

Average effective rents nationwide rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession, according to a report by real-estate researcher Reis Inc. The average apartment rent now stands at nearly $1,180, up from about $1,125 a year ago.

Another report from Axiometrics Inc., a Dallas-based apartment research company, showed that rents increased 4.7% in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier, the strongest year-end performance since 2005.

The fourth quarter “wrapped up an incredible year for the apartment market, probably the strongest we’ve ever seen,” said Jay Denton, senior vice president of analytics at Axiometrics.

Rents have marched steadily higher for six consecutive years, in part because of tough lending standards for home buyers and in part because of a shortage of apartments for middle-income renters. The homeownership rate in the third quarter stood at 63.7%, near a 30-year low.

Unlike home prices, which crashed during the recession and have taken years to recover, rents scarcely dipped during the downturn. Since then annual increases have accelerated from 2.3% in 2010 to about 4% in each of the last two years. Over the last 15 years, rents have increased by an average of 2.7% annually, according to Reis.

In general, the higher rents go, the more difficult it will be for young people to save for down payments, making them likely to rent even longer. The percentage of first-time buyers among all home buyers is at its lowest level in three decades, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In some cases, meanwhile, professionals well into their 30s are choosing to rent rather than buy, preferring the financial flexibility and the proximity to restaurants and bars.

Alezandra Russell, a 34-year-old founder of a nonprofit, and her husband sold their five-bedroom house in suburban Maryland in 2014 in favor of an 800-square-foot apartment they rent in downtown Baltimore for about $2,500 a month.

Even though the rent has increased slightly every year, she said renting has given them much more financial freedom than when they had a mortgage that they were “stressed out about constantly.”

Analysts say the apartment market is showing some early signs of peaking. Vacancy rates rose slightly in the fourth quarter to 4.4% from 4.3% in the previous quarter.

The main factor: a flood of new supply, which is especially likely to weigh on rents in high-end buildings in downtown areas. In all, more than 188,000 apartment units were completed in 2015, the most since 1999, according to Reis.

Bob DeWitt, president and chief executive of GID, a Boston-based apartment owner and developer, is currently involved in developing 15 apartment projects across the country. But he said the increased competition is starting to limit how much more rent tenants are willing to pay.

“We certainly believe that over the next two or three years rent trends are going to slow and in some places they may actually back up,” he said.

Both reports showed that some of the hottest markets in the country are finally starting to cool, while smaller, less expensive ones are starting to heat up. That might reflect the fact that the affluent renters that dominate those markets are reaching the limit of how much they can afford and are moving to older buildings or neighborhoods farther from downtown.

Rents in the San Francisco area increased 7.6% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, compared with 11.8% in the third quarter, according to Axiometrics. Rents in San Jose increased 7.1%, compared with 9.9% in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, rents in Portland, Ore., traditionally a more affordable city, jumped by 12% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, Axiometrics said.

Kimberly Minasian Sparks, a rental broker in Portland, said a few years ago she could easily find clients a one-bedroom apartment in the $900-a-month range. Today, she is lucky to snag one for less than $1,500.

“It’s not sleepy little Portland anymore,” she said.

Much of the new demand in Portland has been driven by people fleeing cities such as Seattle and San Francisco, where rents have shot up beyond what many people can afford.

Diana Comstock, a 42-year-old painter, moved to Portland from Santa Barbara last summer. She said the local moms’ group she belongs to on Facebook is full of people decrying huge rent increases driven by people coming from out-of-state.

“I tend not to tell people I’m from California,” she said. “You can’t blame people for coming here when it’s a good bargain.”

via (wsj)