pithypropertymanager

From one experience to the next….

So I’m a resident again. Well, I actually have been for quite some time, since about November. Initially it was the dreaded, “OMG, I haven’t lived on site in about six years. This is going to be SUCH an adjustment!” And I won’t lie, it was. “Leaving work” isn’t leaving work for those of us that choose to live on site. You’re constantly “on” and you have to balance some semblance of work life and personal life in order to ensure…….well, sanity.

That balance is not always easily achieved, or necessarily understood, by yourself, or by others. But as long as you’re strict with yourself and have a proverbial line drawn in the sand, you can achieve it. However, another entirely different attribute is achieved when you live on site. Or at least for me it was achieved. I think it took a bit of maturity and allowing myself a different perspective.

What attribute am I talking about? Fiduciary responsibility. Everyone talks about it throughout your entire property management career. Treat it like you own it. Manage it like you own it. Decide like you own it.

It’s not that I’ve never practiced that, or always even taught my teams the same thing. I have. But I don’t think I fully embraced it and accepted it head-on until today.  I was always like, “Aaaaaaah I’m not confident in making that decision, let me make a phone call just to get that extra push that I am right in my way of thinking.” Then I had an epiphany today!

Today was NOT an easy day. Today it was as though there was, or will be a full moon, very soon. Issues occurred on the community last night, I got repeated phone calls and visits to the office about that and a million other things. And let’s be honest, on a Monday, right before the beginning of the month, you’ve really already got enough balls in the air to ensure your juggling capabilities. Adding anymore just makes you want to drop them all.

But I didn’t. I took each issue, each complaint, listened thoroughly, responded appropriately, made notes and got irritated with each and every one of the complaints. I get irritated with complaints because I have a tendency to take it personally, so I allowed that to simmer down a bit and then along came the new perspective and the epiphany.

Any issue that they’re having, I’m also facing, it’s just ten-fold because not only am I getting to experience it, I also get to hear about it (repeatedly, in some instances) and then address it and fix it. It’s not like I leave this place at the end of my workday. I’m in a perfect position to not just empathize but truly sympathize and say, “We will fix this!” And WE will, because WE are a community, and I’m proud of that fact that I don’t just walk out the door and away from it anymore, I’m a part of it as much as they are, which makes the OWNERSHIP of it just that much more glorious.

I decided to take the complaints I take so personally, the complainants that I sometimes want to roll my eyes aggressively at, and make it into something that I could tackle, something that I could achieve, something that would make me a better person, and a better manager. How can I avoid being so irritated by legitimately complaints? Own it. Fix it. How can I avoid being so annoyed by the complainants that seemingly have too much time on their hands? Own it. Become it. Be a part of it.

I feel like some sort of warrior princess who just conquered the world! (I did just get done working out, so that might have something to do with the warrior part…..). But I really do, I have finally gained the confidence and the backbone to tell people to stop being ridiculous! “This is MY property too!”, “That’s MY pool too!”, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?!?” and really be totally okay with it, without an added nudge, without the “aura” of confidence, but with true and total confidence.

I may as well own this place! I’m here every single day, I get the honor of managing it, why wouldn’t I be more confident in my place to say, “NO! That’s against the rules!”. It all makes sense now. And by the way, my FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY with OWNING THE POOL starts with pool passes being assigned tomorrow……….

 

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You’re probably wondering how any of that equates to attention to detail. Trust me, it all does. About two or more months ago, I took on a new outlook to my health. I decided to start eating better and drinking more water. A few weeks after that, I decided to take on a fitness regimen. Soon thereafter, with all the other changes I had going on, I figured I would start doing some soul searching and start my spiritual journey again.

You’re thinking, “Wow Britt, way to try to conquer any and all goals within a 90 day period! Overachiever.” (And probably with an aggressive eye roll in there too). Funny thing is, it wasn’t about overachieving. It wasn’t even about goals. Initially it was health, because kidney stones suck. Then it became about wanting to feel better. And working out really does illicit some sort of power within. Like you can do damn near anything. Ok, well, it does for me, because any time I can overcome the lazy factor and get my butt to the gym to workout, well I’ve literally achieved a LOT!

While I had that feeling of power from bettering myself internally and externally in the sense of my health, I then decided to take it a step further and explore my lack of faith. (If you follow me on Facebook you know all about that recent exploration). I decided to explore God, my spirituality, my faith and really go a step further with my overall well being and mentally get with it as well.

And you’re wondering this entire time where mini models come in and the realm of property management. It all ties together, I promise. Nothing I do in any realm of my life strays too far from the lesson I can take back to my passion for property management. Riiiiight? Ok so….

While allllllll of that is going on with my overall personal betterment, our funds for mini models came in. Little preface to this here….the first time I ever did mini models with my current boss, it was laughable. She has this eyebrow raise that she does when she is questioning something you have done, purchased, worn, or said. It’s actually fairly comical once you know “the look.” Needless to say, my first round of mini models with her, I got “the look.” I apparently did not know how to shop for mini models according to standard. No, no, no they were not tacky or anything. She was just holding me and, of course the property, to a whole different standard I wasn’t accustomed to.

So this go-round I got high praise for all the shopping I despise doing. We have the cutest mini models I have ever had the privilege of doing. They’re pretty darn adorable. And they meet standard.

Standards. That is how you achieve a certain level of ATTENTION TO DETAIL. You hold yourself to a standard. You’re held to a standard by a higher power. You’re held to a standard by a leader.

Look, my fitness and nutrition requires attention to detail. The calories I count, the food I monitor for ingestion, the schedule I keep for working out, the way the coaches require you to do the routine correctly, require you to stay in a certain zone. I do it because I want to take the time to learn to be healthy, because it makes me feel better. I’m holding myself to a different standard and it requires attention to detail.

My spiritual journey and my road to finding my faith again, requires attention to detail. I have to take the time to be silent (remember, silence IS golden), I have to ensure that I am reading to learn, listening to hear, and praying to be guided. None of that just happens. It requires my attention to detail.

The standard at our property is pretty high. Not uncomfortably so, but mini models are expected to be chic and posh, we have uniform regulations for a purpose, we have daily report expectations, and we all strive to avoid “the look.” And it’s easy with attention to detail. I can’t say I have always had that skill, but I’m slowly learning to master it. Trust me when I say that I haven’t always been one to pay close attention to the clocks in the mini models….the clear tags on pool furniture….the slant of the blinds for lighting….etc. But, with a standard set, attention to detail happens.

All I’m  really saying is: hold yourself to a higher standard. Because details do matter. And if they matter, they demand your attention. #attentiontodetail

For anyone that knows me, or anyone that spends more than an hour with me, knows that I am a complete and total control freak. In a very Type A, overachiever way. It’s in my DNA, but it’s also a result of a long tenure of working for a micro-manager (see prior blog post of Micro-Management is a Form of Abuse). And with any form of abuse, it can have a long term effect on you.

I am very mindful of my control freak ways and try to ensure that it’s in no way damaging to others around me and that it’s all my own. I don’t expect anyone else to operate the way that I do. There are days when I have to be more mindful to allow delegation to occur, to allow executive decisions, without my input, to occur. And one day, not so long ago, I was not provided the choice……

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For most of us, leasing is exhilarating for a lot of reasons. We have closed the deal and our hearts swell at the thought of having just provided a home to someone new that is going to allow us into their lives to some degree. At the root of everything we do, we provide homes. We provide roofs over heads. A place where families come home to eat their family dinners, where family game time exists, where heads are laid to bed with fervent prayers beforehand. We provide newlyweds a first home. We provide a home to where a new baby is swaddled. We provide a first home to those moving out on their own. We provide a home to those going through a tumultuous divorce. For whatever the reason, in the simplest of forms we provide a home.

What happens when all of that is destroyed in one instant? Our hearts, swollen with love and care, are shattered into a million pieces for those we have been charged to provide a home to. And it happens more times than it should. Natural disaster, fire, and other causes put our valued residents in a state of uncertainty. What we were once providing in the way of solace, has now went away.
What can we do? Where do we go? While they are struggling, we as professionals are getting things in order, figuring out vacant apartments, moving furniture out of the way in the clubhouse for sleeping arrangements, calling on affiliates to help in any way they can. And now we have but one more affiliate to call on…..Hatching Hope of Alabama.
Hatching HopeFounded by Keli Lynch-Wright (Regional Director for CoStar Group) and her son, Ashton Wright, Hatching Hope was founded on that exact premise, caring for those that we have been charged with providing homes for. Our swollen hearts are suddenly breaking for our residents and we are doing everything in our power to ensure they are taken care of. Because that’s what we do. That’s our passion.
Keli and Ashton’s passion for our industry and for this cause stems from their own story. When Ashton was just five (now twelve), their family home burned down, all their sentimental items with it, struggling with that, amidst the struggle of “home” being gone, they know precisely what our residents are feeling. In addition to their own story, Keli has spent many years in the industry, watching and providing disaster relief to our residents and our family of multifamily professionals  through the struggle with the loss of home. After one such instance of an apartment community fire during Thanksgiving 2015, she and Ashton arrived to assist, only to find families in the clubhouse, with only the clothes on their back, necessaries and beds being few and far between, and went home to formulate a plan of attack, a plan to help, a plan to rebuild. They had been there themselves years ago.
Keli and Ashton
Hatching Hope is YOUR own opportunity to help those around us in times of need. Often times displaced Residents are placed into a vacant apartment home or even in the clubhouse until a plan is devised for the next steps. Hatching Hope will be providing air mattresses, comfy bedding, and much needed supplies for that first night or two following a disaster. We will also have special focus on children by providing hand made blankets from local churches and schools and a book or coloring books to keep them focused on the good things! Each and every dollar will be used to build awesome care kits for these victims. And you can actually sponsor someone for $35! There is no greater feeling than that of helping others. Join us in this effort to make a difference across the state of Alabama!
For more information, email Keli at hatchinghope@gmail.com or feel free to go straight to the GoFundMe by clicking on the Hatching Hope logo above. In addition, Hatching Hope can be found on Facebook for more information, articles, contacts and ways to assist. We are family….multifamily.

I am, by nature, an emotionally charged human. While an introvert, I feel things with passion and gusto; I also manage to deal with things with the same passion and gusto. Call it an evil curse. We also work in an industry where personality and talking is extremely important. As is the passion and gusto I mention above.

But I’ve learned something in the last few years working for my area manager….silence. That woman can sit and listen and just look, allowing, or rather forcing. words to come out of your mouth. I’ve witnessed it in person and over the phone on many occasions and I’m still in awe of it. During interviews, during site visits, during phone calls (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Are you still there??”).

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Being silent allows an opportunity for you to hear what is being said….in many situations.

During times of unrest (aka drama), pulling yourself away, choosing not to be emotionally charged, will allow you to gain a different perspective. You won’t be amidst the emotions of the situation, you’ll be like an outsider looking in. And in most instances, if you allow yourself to be silent long enough, to not be dragged into the unrest, you’ll hear exactly what you need to hear.

During an interview, don’t talk, don’t sell yourself and the company until you’re ready to sell yourself and the company to an individual that deserves that sales pitch. I have found myself in interviews, being the talker, pulling out my sales hat, when in the grand scheme of things, the person sitting in front of me should be selling me, should be initiating the conversation, should be forcing me to listen to what they have to say.

During arbitrary times, it’s important to remain silent to get a read on other humans surrounding you. Practicing the art of silence, also includes the art of active listening. It’s amazing the things you can hear, the nuances you can pick up on when you shut your mouth long enough to listen to others surrounding you.

If you’re a leader, or have aspirations to be any kind of leader, this is an art form to be learned. In my opinion, sooner rather than later. I wish this had been something I had as an example many years ago, my emotionally charged spirit could have used the practice of silence. I honestly noticed it quite awhile ago from my boss, and really just was in awe of it, I never thought I’d be able to actually put it to use, just being me. Then I heard my best friend say something she always says, that I’d never listened to, “Be still and quiet”.

So, in the last few weeks, I’ve put it at the forefront of my mind, I’ve utilized the skill in several different professional and personal situations. I have forced myself to be “still and quiet”, to go silent in order to hear others. And in some instances, to hear nothing at all, but to only allow myself the opportunity to not be emotionally charged in a situation that deserved reasonable discussion, after my emotions took a backseat. I’ve taken these weeks to practice something that I wanted to share with all of you, that I believe is something that we in this industry do not practice enough. I didn’t feel it fair to share without taking on the same initiative I’m passing on to you!

Maybe it’s a personality trait, maybe it’s something others are born with. Honestly, I attribute it to wisdom or some version of being a lady I haven’t quite reached yet. As my best friend reminds me regularly, “be still and quiet” and as my boss leads by example, silence is in fact, golden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empathy. It’s a noun. It means to have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 

I was raised a military brat and then married/divorced into it. So I have a bit of gypsy blood in me. In the way that I’m accustomed to moving every few years. It’s part of who I am. And it’s a part of what makes me good at this job. It provides me the ability to empathize with those moving into our community. 

Moving is hard. But if I thought that I had empathy before, I assure you, now, I have a whole different level of it. When I was young, it was our entire family moving, two parents, two kids. When I was married, it was two adults and one child. 

As many of you know, I’m moving to Georgia soon. For anyone who has read my bio on here, I’m a single mother of two boys. So now it’s a move and one adult and two kids. Wow. Talk about hard. 

Between changing move dates due to certificate of occupancy, out of anyone’s control; there’s the typical move responsibilities: notices to landlord and utility companies, registering two kids for school/preschool, scheduling movers, scheduling sitters for a futuristic weekend work day. Some of this requires out of state juggling with out of state requirements of school districts. And a lot of this, in recent days, has required a lot of rescheduling. Now mind you, I haven’t even mentioned work in all of this because luckily, I’m transferring with the same company. Can you imagine if work was just one more item on the list to balance??? 

While I may have had empathy before, it’s reached an entire new level of really going above and beyond for our prospects and new residents to ensure their transition is as seamless and as easy as possible. That, within the realm of our jobs, we provide them with the answers they need to make it as easy as possible for them. 

Because, in the midst of all of this, I’ve changed move dates with the movers twice and potentially a third time is coming. They’ve been kind and gracious. I’ve had to email my landlord on numerous occasions to explain the situation with tenants scheduled to be in my house by the 23rd. Utility companies have been kind….despite accidentally turning the satellite off THIS Thursday vs NEXT Thursday….you can’t win them all. 

Moving is HARD. Moving out of state is harder. Doing it as a single mom feels impossible. But thankfully, I have the support of friends, family, and even co-workers to make this easy. 

While remembering we are providing them a home, also remember the process behind it. They choose to call us home because of our ability to build a relationship with them during their apartment search…..remind yourself that after the decision has been made, they have to do a million things to get to the point of laying their head down in their new home…..be an easy part of that. Have a bit of empathy. 

No, cocktails did not lead to the mistake. Cocktails reminded me that we all make mistakes. Allow me to explain….

 I’ve made a new friend. The great thing about new friends, is they have a tendency to introduce you to new things, as well as new perspectives. And I appreciate both. New friend invites me to cocktail competition of which they are judging. I’m watching, intrigued, at everything going on. I’m asking questions, trying to understand everything that goes into all of this and what could you possibly be judging other than the taste of the drink itself. Oooooh, trust me, there were a lot more items that go into it than just the taste. So we talk afterward and he proceeds to enlighten me on mistakes that were made during what I thought were good presentations, and even better drinks. And while he is taking the time to point out mistakes and explain the elaborate judging criteria, I was reminded of my own mistake in recent weeks….
We all have been there at one point or another, wherein you’ve made a decision, that probably wasn’t the wisest decision ever made. Of which can be viewed as a mistake. It’s both.  Trust me. A bad decision, is ultimately a mistake.  The decision to make the mistake, wasn’t viewed as a mistake at the time, it was legitimately though to be a resourceful idea, that’s what we sometimes do as property managers, be resourceful. Although….the err in my ways, if I had asked questions, I wouldn’t have had to of been resourceful at all. And no mistake would have been made. Pride is a cold and lonely mountain (lesson #1).
My resourcefulness was not well thought out, and turned out to be a mistake. For a number of different reasons. I’ve spent the last few weeks rehashing the entire thing in my brain, because as a Type A overachiever, making a mistake and disappointing anyone is not something I’m regularly familiar with. I’ve chastised myself more than needed probably. It’s incredibly hard for a perfectionist of my level to accept that. Accept what? That I’m not perfect. But here’s the thing, I’m not perfect, none of us are (lesson #2).
Then I stumbled across a quote and I started being able to breathe again. I stopped questioning my abilities. I took pause for a moment to realize that continuing to beat myself up was not going to make it go away. That in every mistake, there is a message, but if I continue berating myself, I will miss the message that comes from making the mistake, I’ll miss the lesson(s) to be learned. Everything happens for a reason, even our mistakes….but it’s what we choose to do with it, that makes us a better person. A better employee. A better team member. A better property manager. A better leader. Just better (lesson #3)
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I wish I could tell you all that we will live our lives and do our jobs without mistakes, but sadly, that is not the case. And that’s okay. Just live your life with good intentions, with a kind heart, a wise mind and take those mistakes and prove to yourself that you are better because of it. And have a cocktail. 😉

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Team Orange, Apartment Finder, has partnered with, Team Pink, Susan G Komen, again to raise awareness of breast cancer. Team Finder was a proud partner in 2014.

When I was asked to write this, I was not only honored but somewhat nervous about how I was going to make this work. (Nervous enough that I was asked months ago to write this and am just now doing it. Nervous enough that one draft turned into three physical drafts and about a hundred in my head.) Why? Because while I have been affected by cancer with the loss of friends and family or know someone who has beat the battle, breast cancer is not something I have been closely related to. Making the ability to be knowledgeable or elicit a response seemingly difficult. But I really got to thinking about it….and here is where the thoughts took me.

I WANT TO PROMOTE THIS EVENT. I WANT TO GAIN AWARENESS. I WANT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU TO PARTAKE IN THIS EVEN TO GROW THAT AWARENESS……

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Friendships, romantic relationships, working relationships, all relationships come with a level of investment. How much are you willing to invest for the potential return? It’s scary to think of putting yourself out there to be vulnerable enough to not see gains. But as leaders, that is our job. To invest in our team.

As property management professionals, we are typically in tune with the acronym ROI. Return on investment. We monitor ROI in every outlet of our financials, ensuring that our properties are making money for our owners. That their investment (money put in) is providing a return (money put out). We monitor ROI regarding our advertising dollars. Did what we put in, contribute any gains to our community?___ is the first Pinterest ROI and pin-to-purchase funnel tracking system

Let’s stop for a minute and weigh the ROI in regards to people. To other humans. To our team members. I have had opportunities this past week to weigh heavily on this topic. One being work related, one personal. But both were in regards to individuals. What investment was I willing to put into these people with the potential gain of return? Was there even a potential for gain by investing? Continue reading

My Area Manager, my leader, sent this to all of her managers the other day. While our community is struggling a bit, everyone else is also dealing with their own challenges, in their own way, on their individual communities. She stated in her email that her son started testing in the 3rd grade and the teacher had sent home a poem for encouragement. She wanted to share it with us. And, now, I want to share it with you. In the world of property management, we all struggle from time to time. We face challenges unbeknownst to those who just don’t get it. While it can be a very hard job, it is one of the most rewarding careers. This is for all my property management friends:

“It’s All In A State Of Mind”

If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don’t,

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,

It’s almost a “cinch” you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,

For out in the world you find

Success begins with a fellow’s will;

It’s all in the state of mind.

Full many a race is lost

Ere ever a step is run;

And many a coward fails

Ere ever his work’s begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow,

Think small and you’ll fall behind,

Think that you can and you will;

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But sooner or late, the man who wins,

Is the fellow who thinks he can.

Author Unknownencourage