Legislature passes housing package before close of 2017 session

The California Legislature has passed a package of CAA-endorsed and sponsored bills intended to help solve the state’s housing crisis.

Gov. Jerry Brown will have until Oct. 15 to sign or veto the bills.

The legislative package seeks to remove regulatory hurdles to residential development — a key to fixing the state’s jobs-to-housing imbalance.

The package also seeks ongoing funding sources for affordable housing programs, including a bond measure and fee on certain real estate transactions.

“Today we took a step toward addressing a housing crisis that has been plaguing California for years,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, said Thursday, as reported in this San Jose Mercury News story.  “The package of bills we approved today addresses funding, project streamlining, stricter enforcement, and real accountability – all the affordable housing elements necessary to help more Californians pay the rent or buy a house.”

Bills that increase California’s housing supply can help ease rental prices and quell calls for onerous policies such as rent control.

Brief summaries of key housing bills approved by the Legislature:

SB 35 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would create a streamlined approval process for housing in cities that have failed to meet their housing goals. Streamlined projects would be approved “by right,” meaning they would move forward without a drawn-out review process.

SB 2 by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, would establish a permanent funding source for affordable housing through a fee of $75 to $225 on recorded documents. The bill, however, exempts  residential real-estate sales. The fees would likely generate between $229 million and $258 million annually.

SB 3 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, would place a $4 billion statewide affordable housing bond before voters in the November 2018 election.

SB 540 by Richard Roth, D-Riverside, would streamline the approval process to spur housing construction by having cities identify where housing needs to be built and adopting specific, up-front plans and conducting all necessary environmental reviews and public engagement.

AB 678 by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, sponsored by CAA, and a companion bill SB 167 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would financially penalize local governments that deny housing permits in violation of state law.

AB 352 by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, is a CAA sponsored bill to boost construction of micro apartments. It would help prevent local governments from establishing roadblocks to “efficiency dwelling units,” which usually measure 220 square feet or less. This bill won final approval in the Legislature earlier this month and now awaits the governor’s signature.

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There Will Be More Retail Stores Opening Than Closing In 2017

You read the headline right, there are more retail stores opening this year than there are stores closing. You may say, but when I walk down almost any shopping street, I see so many vacancies where there were previously tenants, so… how can there be more openings than closings?

new report out by IHL Group answers the question. The kind of store that’s opening now is different.  If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that the most significant closings are due primarily to the Radio Shack bankruptcy and the closure of a lot of fashion stores. The fashion-related vacancies you’re seeing are dominating the list of store closures. You could blame technology for that, but that wouldn’t be entirely fair. It’s more fair to say that technology accelerated the decline of retailers who have not been in touch with what their consumers wanted as much as their competitors. Technology helps consumers see more of what’s available and that makes the comparison between brands so much more stark and apparent.

Major Store Closings in 2017

What’s Opening Now

Here’s a chart listing the retailers that are opening more stores than any other.

Major Store Openings

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One of the things you’ll see on the chart above is that the list of stores opening this year is dominated by discount and convenience stores. (You might not recognize some of the names. Couche-Tard is the corporate owner of Circle K stores, and Aldi and Lidl are large European grocery chains that are expanding in the US.)

The data highlight changing lifestyles and tastes. Fashion is less important in physical retail stores. It’s being shopped for more and more online and it’s becoming less of a focus for younger consumers who are more willing to spend money on experiences than on fashion products.

What’s the net difference in stores in total? The chart below tells the story (they are calling mass merchants what I call discounters like Dollar General and Dollar Tree). The discounters and convenience store openings are opening in a big way and the fashion retailers are closing almost as fast.

Net Store Openings

The reason why you see so many vacancies even though more stores are opening than closing is that the footprint and locations of the stores being closed aren’t suitable for the stores being opened. The old stores’ formats can’t be transformed and their locations don’t work for the new stores that are opening. Hence, more vacancies for you to see on major shopping streets. (Here’s an article I previously wrote about what will happen to the retail spaces that are vacant now.)

Restaurants

Of all the experiences that consumers are starting to prefer over purchases of things, food is always at the top of list. It’s one of the few things that applies to everyone so the market for restaurants is enormous. Ergo, any look at retail locations opening and closing should also be looking at what restaurant doors are opening and closing too. Here are the restaurant brands with the most store openings:

Largest number of restaurant openings

These are the restaurant brands that are having the most store closings:

Largest number of restaurant closings

At first glance, it’s hard to see trends in these store opening and closing numbers. For example, why is Starbucks closing stores and Dunkin Donuts is opening? Why is Pizza Hut closing stores and Noble Romans (also pizza) opening more stores than anyone else?

I had a conversation with my trend-seeing friend Irma Zandl about it. Zandl says “Dunkin Donuts, which is rebranding to just ‘Dunkin,’ has impressed me since Nigel Travis got on board as CEO in 2009. He really gets consumers. Their impending rebrand that drops the ‘Donuts’ name, suggests they realize how trendy donuts have become and they don’t want to be caught up in the donut backlash.” About Starbucks, Zandl says they are “at a tipping point. There are so many other, better, coffee places…hundreds of local places…” She adds, “as an aside, most of the people who still go to Starbucks are very corporate and Howard Schultz’s tirades against corporate America don’t help Starbucks’ cause.”

The big driver of these numbers according to Zandl is convenience. Noble Romans, the pizza brand opening more stores than any other restaurant business, is “all about expanding licensing and franchising into grocery and convenience stores… it’s all about the food and convenience these days, not so much groceries of cigarettes and definitely not the gas.”

Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group that wrote the report, says there are a few reasons for what looks like a disparity in the trends that the numbers reflect:

Those explanations are good and there’s more.  Burger King and McDonald’s are convenient, low-cost options whose store count is declining. That’s telling us that consumers want low price and convenience but they also want newness, they’re tired of many long-established brands. In addition, casual restaurant concepts are challenged by newer brands and fresher environments that give consumers the feeling they’re new and the next big thing. Hence the decline in store numbers for Applebee’sRuby TuesdayLone Star Steakhouseand others.

The Takeaway

Consumers haven’t gone into hiding and they’re not spending less. They’re spending more and there are more new stores — but tastes have changed. One of the most important things about these changes is that they are happening faster than ever before. There’s lots of reasons for that and plenty to debate about it but there’s no way to avoid the constant adaptation that’s now required.  Organizations now need to be able to process new ideas at a rate that’s faster and more efficient than ever before. If you’re a legacy retailer of any kind, it’s hard to change quickly enough and that creates an opening for more nimble competitors. It’s not enough just to have something new, it has to keep evolving. That’s a challenge both for younger companies as well as the established players and it will be for the foreseeable future.

The student housing sector is hotter than ever—here’s what you should know

The number of people enrolled in higher-education programs—20.5 million at the start of the current school year—explains much about investor interest in the student housing niche. Find out who’s buying and who’s lending now.

Of all the statistics tied to education, one number does much to explain why lenders and investors look favorably on communities geared to college students: 20.5 million. That’s how many people attended institutions of higher learning last fall. What’s more, enrollment will continue to rise well into the next decade, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“What really attracts (investors) to our biz is the stability of cash flows,” said EdR Chairman & CEO Randy Churchey during a panel discussion at the 2016 NMHC Student Housing Conference and Exposition last fall. “When you remind investors that when the economy goes into a recession, enrollments go up—a light goes on in their heads.”

Financing remains in high demand on multiple fronts, driven in large measure by record deal volume. Transaction levels hit a new high for the sixth consecutive year in 2016: $9.8 billion, more than double the previous year’s total and three times 2014’s volume, CBRE’s National Student Housing Group reports. Even taking into consideration $3.3 billion worth of large-scale portfolio acquisitions, 2016 sales outpaced 2015 by 16 percent.

Topping the list of student housing lenders last year were the government-sponsored enterprises, which completed $4.2 billion in student housing loan purchases between them. That breaks down to $2.6 billion for Fannie Mae and $1.6 billion for Freddie Mac, all of it for acquisition or refinancing, and represents a 27 percent year-over-year increase.

The GSEs’ vehicles for the sector are their DUS Student Housing Loan Programs, which offer permanent fixed-rate and floating-rate products starting at $3 million, typically for five- to 15-year balloon terms, or 20 to 30 years’ full amortization. Maximum loan-to-value is 75 percent of the asset’s appraised value.

Life companies were also an important source of capital for student housing deals in 2016, including some for construction, though they tend to prefer Class A assets in major markets. Also, many life loans are at lower loan-to-values, usually 65 percent or less. Trailing behind were CMBS and commercial banks.

INTRICATE STACKS

As student housing matures as an asset category, sophisticated players are pursuing larger transactions that require intricate capital stacks. “When I started out, smaller investors were the only ones interested in student housing,” said Brendan Coleman, a managing director for Walker & Dunlop. “That’s changed. Institutional investors are now very interested in the property type, and they’re more sophisticated borrowers, so the deals tend to be a lot more complex.”

A case in point is the financing for two student housing portfolios acquired by Scion Student Communities LLC, a joint venture of The Scion Group LLC, the Chicago-based owner-operator; GIC, which manages foreign investments for the government of Singapore; and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Both portfolios were financed through Fannie Mae facilities arranged by Coleman and Will Baker, a Walker & Dunlop colleague.

For the first acquisition, which involved six student housing assets, Walker & Dunlop drew on the expansion and borrow-up features of an existing Fannie Mae credit facility to achieve $233 million in proceeds. A second Fannie Mae facility of $416 million was structured for the acquisition of 11 assets. That facility offers fixed- and floating-rate components with varying maturities. Many of the properties qualified for the GSE’s Green Certification Program, which discounts interest rates for properties that have been certified sustainable by a recognized organization.

The lion’s share of student housing acquisition deals tend to require somewhat less complex structures. In February, for example, HFF secured $45.4 million in financing for St. Croix, a 540-unit apartment community near the University of South Florida’s main campus in Tampa. HFF’s client, The RADCO Cos., obtained a seven-year, floating-rate loan through Freddie Mac’s Green Advantage Program.

REFI FLEXIBILITY

Refinancing is another source of considerable demand in the student housing subsector, and those deals often require a touch of creativity. Such was the case when Capstone Capital negotiated a loan for The Boundary at West End in Greenville, N.C., which provides 550 beds for East Carolina University students. The sponsor, Taft Family Offices, sought at least $40 million in order to take out $34.4 million worth of existing debt plus its development equity.

To fulfill that wish list, Capstone Capital negotiated 14 waivers to standard Fannie Mae underwriting. The upshot: a $42 million loan with 10 years of fixed-rate financing at 4.21 percent, including two years of interest-only, followed by a 30-year amortization. Taft Family Offices took $7.4 million in proceeds to fund two new developments.

Development financing, too, is in demand, as attested by the 15,400 units that the National Center for Education Statistics estimates were in the pipeline at the end of 2016. Creative structures are emerging to meet these needs. Blinn College, a 134-year-old county institution in eastern Texas, is relying on a public-private partnership to expand housing at its flagship campus in Brenham. Servitas LLC is developing the 465-bed facility, which will meet the growing needs of a resident population that already numbers more than 1,300, the most of any community college in Texas.

At the heart of the plan is a partnership with National Campus and Community Development Corp., an Austin-based nonprofit that specializes in structuring public-private ventures. A nonprofit entity, National Campus and Community Development (NCCD)-Blinn College Properties LLC, would recieve a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The college would then lease the facility from the nonprofit for 40 years. When NCCD-Blinn College Properties repays the loan, ownership of the facility would revert to the college.

One hitch is that USDA financing is on hold, which has pushed back completion a year to fall 2018. To move the project forward, Blinn’s trustees authorized $2 million in interim financing, which will be repaid from the proceeds of the USDA loan, or if necessary, from the proceeds of bonds issued by the nonprofit New Hope Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corp. If the plan does pan out, it could serve as a model for cash-strapped schools with a need for housing.

 

Source: multihousingnews.com

Preventing Cyber Attacks, Part 1: How Residents Can Protect Your HOA


Ignorance is not bliss, especially when it means potentially leaving your homeowners association (HOA) at risk of a cyber attack. And that’s exactly what you’re doing if you don’t recognize that your HOA is as much of a target as any other small business.

Small businesses, including those in California, have become more attractive to cyber criminals, as a variety of sources indicate. For example, the February 2016 California Data Breach Report notes that small businesses accounted for 15 percent of the data breaches reported to the California Attorney General from 2012 through 2015. California, which was the first state to mandate data breach reporting, continues to tweak its legislation, with the most recent change likely to impact its future analyses. As of 2017, encrypted data that is breached will be subject to the same notification requirements as unencrypted data.

Another source that points to greater vulnerability among small businesses is Malware Trends for Small and Medium Businesses Q1 2017. It reports that California small- and medium-sized businesses experienced an increase of nearly 612 percent in spyware incidents from Q1 of 2016 to Q1 of 2017, ranking the state fifth in the country. In addition, an FBI report reveals that Californians lost more money to cyber crime in 2015 than any other state – more than $255 million.

Unlike other small businesses, your HOA is probably not run by business professionals and is even less likely to have technology experts among its leadership. So what can you do to keep your data safe?

In our two-part series, we share some tips that your association can apply to protect your community from cyber attacks. Read the first article to learn how residents can play a role in your HOA’s cyber security.

Rental Inspections: What Landlords Need To Know

rental inspectionPosted on Sept 5, 2017

If you are only checking the state of your rental unit when your current tenants move out, you risk letting a problem go unchecked until it could cause thousands of dollars to fix. Responsible landlords and property owners should strive to check the condition of their rentals quarterly. Not only can this limit property damage or misuse of your rental property, it can help you plan for upkeep and maintenance. Learn why you should switch to quarterly inspections and what to look for during a property check.

Why Do a Quarterly Rental Inspection?

Often, property damage occurs cumulatively, for instance when a renter’s pet scratches at the door or when a tenant starts to hoard possessions. By the time you get around to a move-out inspection, the damage is already done. The carpet is stained, the rental is filthy or the door is scratched beyond repair. The question becomes, how much will your earnings suffer as a result? What’s more, how long will your rental unit sit vacant while repairs are made?

Renters often treat your property better when they know you’ll be checking in regularly. Why would renters sell drugs or throw big benders when they know you’re keeping an eye on the property?

It’s a good idea to develop a rental inspection checklist and share this with your tenants. This brings your renters on board with keeping your property safe while setting them up for success.

Rental Inspection Tips for Landlords

Your tenants have the right to enjoy their apartment without unauthorized visits from you. So you are in compliance with local laws, give your tenants a 24-plus hour notice you’ll be doing inspections and keeping your visits brief. Share the rental inspection checklist ahead of time, so they know where you’ll be.

While your first inspection may take longer, it should not take more than 20-30 minutes to inspect your rental once you’re familiar with the process. Don’t forget to examine the outside of the unit — gutters, roofs, yards, basements, and porches or decks need your seasonal attention, too.

Along with checking for damage to the apartment, these visits are a great opportunity to perform light maintenance your unit requires. You may wish to replace air filters in the HVAC system, check smoke detectors, or install or remove storm windows during these visits. Lengthier projects can be completed at a follow-up date, or you may wish to hire someone to perform the needed services.

If you find a problem, take photos that illustrate the problem and write notes while everything is fresh in your mind. When you’re calm, discuss what happened and how to proceed. You may wish to give the renter a chance to fix the problem, or you may prefer to hire someone and bill him or her.

Get more advice on preparing for a rental inspection — including tips on what tools to bring with you for a quarterly inspection — from American Apartment Owners Association.

Disclaimer:The information provided herein is for advisory purposes only and AAOA takes no responsibility for its accuracy. AAOA recommends you consult with an attorney familiar with current federal, state and local laws.

How Property Management Leaders Can Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

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Growth Opportunities: The Iceberg Report

Right now in the United States, there are about 22 million single family rental homes and multi-family rental properties that have up to four units. Out of these, 14.3 million, or 65 percent, are self-managed by the investor or landlord. This offers a vast opportunity to the 32,000 small or mid-sized property management companies.

There are a lot of social and economic factors that keep rentals in high demand. Over the next five years, about 8 million single family rentals will come into the professional management market. The opportunity is clear, and to take advantage of these opportunities, it’s important and necessary to establish trust between property managers and landlords and investors. This is one of the divides that’s keeping property managers from growing and acquiring new business. To effectively win all the new business that’s available in local management markets, property management companies need to demonstrate their value and give landlords and investors who have been managing on their own a reason to trust that their properties are better off with professional management.

Tony LeBlanc and the Need to Establish Balance

Any problem in an organization can be traced to the top. If the leadership is off balance, the team will never reach its potential. The CEO’s mood or the director’s attitude affects the team. Tony LeBlanc is a successful property management entrepreneur, and he made the choice to balance himself and his team to achieve better results. The business is growing and thriving because of his efforts. He spoke to Alex about the need to balance personal and professional goals, and why it matters to property management executives.

Tony is from New Brunswick, Canada. He owns and operates a property management company, Ground Floor Property Management, with three locations, and he’s been in business for eight years. He was born into the field; as a child he lived in a building where his mother was the resident property manager. Tony worked in the technology field after college and began investing in real estate. Then, he got back to property management and built a company that went from 0 units to 1,000 units in two years.

Advice for Fast Growth: Call Everyone

This type of fast growth came from calling everyone he knew. Tony called all the Realtor friends he worked with previously and used his relationships and connections to quickly establish himself. There was a snowball effect from picking up the phone and letting people know he was in business. Property management is a people business and a relationship business. It’s hard to earn new business sitting in the office. Go out and meet every Realtor in town and anyone associated with the rental business. Connect and create relationships to increase the amount of business you’re doing.

Fourandhalf note: We were at the recent Inman Connect San Francisco 2017 – Real Estate Conference, where high-powered real estate agents meet to stay ahead of the industry. Of the real estate agents we spoke to, the majority of them did not have a relationship with any of the property management companies in their community. It is important for property management owners to be aggressive in conveying their value propositions to people like real estate agents, where there is a great opportunity for a mutual partnership.

Balance and Confidence – Define Your Property Management Purpose

What does it mean when Tony says the property management industry is off balance? When you study this industry, you see a lot of the same trends. It’s chaotic and stressful and busy. There’s a lot of negativity associated with the work, and that negativity often comes from the property managers themselves. There is a lot going on at once in a property manager’s day. Everyone knows it’s stressful. But, if you’re in a position of weakness – either you’re having issues at home, or your health isn’t where you want it to be, or you’re not connected to yourself spiritually – you won’t be clear about where your business is going, and the stress and the chaos that comes with an average day will be magnified.

You need a purpose to what you’re doing, and if you don’t have that purpose, the daily grind is going to be much harder to endure.

Every day that you come into the office, you need to know where you’re going and why you’re doing what you do. Not only do you need to know that – your staff and your team need to know that as well. Everybody needs to be aligned with what all this is for.

Tony has a two-year roadmap that he shared with his team and a list of goals and opportunities that he wants to achieve. But, the statistic that resonated with them more than anything else is this:

Last year, Tony’s team housed almost 2,000 families.

That’s the purpose that will balance and motivate a team; knowing that 2,000 families have relied on them. Well-balanced and empathetic property managers will understand that people are counting on them to take care of their homes, their futures, their safety, and the place that their children grow up. You cannot take the reallife part of this job for granted. Property management includes a lot of pushing paper and conducting move-in inspections and taking calls, but the purpose is to provide an exceptional experience for everyone you come across. You’re protecting an owner’s investment and helping tenants feel comfortable in their homes.

Building a Trust Bridge Between Tenants and Owners

This may remind you of the podcast conversation with Lisa Wise, who advised leading with empathy. A lot of property management entrepreneurs think of tenants as a necessary evil. They mentally set up an adversarial relationship with these pesky entities who are only good for paying rent. If you change your thinking, you change the way you provide property management, and you change the experience for everyone who works with you.

Property management shouldn’t be a tenant-versus-owner dichotomy. Your business cannot be all about the owner, because if you cannot keep good tenants in place, it doesn’t matter how many new owners you start working with. You won’t have tenants to fill their properties. Taking care of tenants is just as important as taking care of owners.

This is part of the trust bridge that the property management industry needs. Policies and systems are critical, but empathy is absolutely necessary. There are a lot of different ways to say no. You can say no and still be helpful. If something doesn’t work between you and a tenant, leave them with an out and be sure to end the relationship on a positive note. If you live in a small community, word spreads fast through other tenants and property managers. Leading with empathy will build you a better business.

Routines and Rituals: How to Start Balancing Personal and Professional Goals

Personal lives always bleed into office lives, and balancing the two takes some work. At home, Tony has a protocol in place, which starts with waking up at 5:00 in the morning and taking care of himself and his personal priorities. He works out, drinks a smoothie, and takes the time to write appreciative notes to his children and his girlfriend. Then, he meditates and journals and reviews study material that’s relevant to his business and his professional goals. All of this is done in what he calls his morning power hour. His day is moving on a positive note before his children are even awake.

At the office, the day begins with a morning huddle with his staff. Everyone gets together to review the previous day. This puts everyone on the same page and ensures the whole team is aware of any new notices, new maintenance emergencies, and new applications. Then, each team member has the opportunity to define their number one priority for the day. It might be collecting rent or making deposits. The leasing agent might have a good lead. Everyone is calibrated and ready to start the day.

Jim Kwik, a renowned mental coach, talks about the need for routine, and how a healthy brain needs one ingrained. Most people don’t have this, and it sounds intimidating when you hear about the discipline that someone like Tony possesses. Don’t be intimidated – just be willing to start somewhere.

Pick one or two things that are weakest for you and where you get the most value. Start there, and if you can build a routine with just those one or two things, they will become intuitive and instinctual, and part of your everyday life. Then, you can start incorporating more things into the routine and it will be manageable. So, if you’re thinking your health is where you’re weakest and you value being able to live a longer, healthier life – make a visit to the gym a part of that morning routine. If you can’t get a whole workout in, give yourself the opportunity to sweat hard for 10 minutes. This is a matter of taking an assessment of yourself and being real. Find that weakness and start with something simple.

Healthy Leader/Healthy Staff: Centering Your Team

Tony admits that sometimes his own routine is a bit over the top, and a little aggressive for most people. He doesn’t expect his team to be just like him, but he does tone it down a bit and offer tips and advice that everyone can apply to their lives. Office discussions will include fitness and nutrition and relationships. Many people have kids, and he recognizes the importance of having real conversations. There’s nothing superficial about the growth and balance that he wants to achieve. Tony is willing to ask deep questions, and he creates an environment where his team feels safe answering those questions.

The team huddle sets the tone for the day and centers everyone. From that, other things are put into place to protect that sense of balance and healthy behavior.

For example, the office hours are 8:30 to 4:30, but the doors don’t open to the public until 9:30. That gives the staff an hour to catch up and prepare. On Friday afternoons, the office closes at 1:00 for training sessions or catching up and preparing for the week ahead. Focusing and planning for the next week is a big component of the business. Those Friday afternoons are critical because everyone can decompress and wrap up from the week.


Sponsor for Today’s Podcast – Property Management CMO Consulting 

The second sponsor for today’s podcast is Alex Osenenko, who is offering intensive consulting sessions on marketing. A lot of property management companies underspend on marketing. That cuts off their ability to grow, and it can cost the business hundreds of thousands of dollars in opportunity. Here’s an example. Company A spends $50,000 a year on marketing and gets 70 new contracts. Company B spends $20,000 on marketing and only gets 30 contracts. In annual contract value, that’s a $100,000 difference. With CMO strategic level consulting, you’ll get a marketing plan with a blueprint that can be deployed using specific channels. It’s a unit economics model that gets down to profitability so you know what each property is worth to you. You can remodel your fee structure so you get more add-on value services. By bringing value to your clients, you make money. This is expensive, and will cost $5,000 for a full day. If you’re interested, email alex@fourandhalf.com to get an intake form.  


Using Gamification in the Pursuit of Balance and Success

Gamification can help with motivation and accountability. Something as simple as awarding yourself points for the things you accomplish can provide a way to track your progress and feel good about what you accomplish. Tony calls his morning routine the Core Four. There are four major areas he’s touching, and he wants to do two things in each of those areas. So, he can earn up to four points per day. His goal is to reach those 28 points per week. Every Sunday night, he reviews his week and determines what happened if he didn’t reach that goal and what he has to do to correct the course for the following week.

The same thing applies to his professional routine, which he calls the Key Four. Every Sunday night or Monday morning, he plans four major tasks that he needs to accomplish that week. Maybe his 90-day goal is to increase revenue by a certain amount. He breaks out his benchmarks and his targets and he establishes those four tasks every week that will get him closer to that revenue goal. Making it a game is a tactic that’s fun and simple and accountable.

Consulting, Coaching, and Personal Development

It’s easy to dismiss personal development and coaching as schemes designed to separate successful people from their money. However, the right coach or the right book or the right community of like-minded people can change your life and alter your path. For Tony, it was realizing his software job was setting his life off balance after he read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. That is when he became more interested in personal development.

This is a world where it’s hard to figure things out on your own. Having a community or a coach who can challenge you to think differently and expect more from yourself makes an enormous difference in your balance and your ability to achieve success. Most people out there, professional athletes included, need a coach. You need someone to push you through these things.

As a property manager, do yourself a favor and give yourself a break. You need to bestow permission upon yourself to live a great and balanced life. Property management doesn’t always feel like one of the best industries out there, but it is. Property managers are doing work that matters. It’s becoming more mainstream, and to get to the next level, property managers need to be professionals. Be accountable with yourself and others, and find your balance.

If you have any questions about what Tony and Alex have talked about today, please contact Fourandhalf.

Some Apartment Markets Are Facing Challenges

Apartment rents are not growing as quickly as they had been, according to research firm RealPage Inc.

In a few overbuilt downtowns, apartment rents are starting to fall. But experts claim that demand for apartment units continues to be so strong, the trend won’t last for long.

“The story in these markets is the apartment story writ large: the high levels of apartment construction are not enough to house the 1.2 million or so new households formed each year without increased single-family construction,” says John Affleck, research strategist with the CoStar Group.

Apartment rents are still growing, but not as quickly as they had been, in markets across the country, according to research firm RealPage Inc. Rent growth is slowing the most in a handful of cities where developers have opened thousands of new apartments recently.

Rents fall in Houston

In Houston, rents dropped by 1.6 percent on average over the past year, according to RealPage. In the top “urban core” neighborhoods where developers have opened the most new apartments, rents have fallen by more than 10.0 percent. Apartment occupancy rate in the city averaged 92.9 percent in mid-2017, down 180 basis points from the high of 2015.

“There is still some pain immediately ahead for Houston, mainly reflecting that another 22,000 or so apartments will be delivered in the coming few months,” says Greg Willett, chief economist for RealPage.

However, the outlook for Houston is strong. “Once we get past early 2018, however, the completion pace will slow to a trickle in a metro likely to be experiencing robust employment growth,” says Willett. “The metro has the potential to move from performance laggard status to star positioning very quickly.”

New York City

The rents in New York City are barely growing. Revenue growth was close to zero over the 12 months that ended in mid-2017. “So not terrible, but very little rent growth,” says Barbara Denham, senior economist with research firm Reis Inc.

Developers are expected to open 20,000 new apartments in New York City this year, according to RealPage. That’s about 25 percent up from the year before. “Some further rent cuts are possible,” says Willett. “Queens will join Manhattan and Brooklyn among the areas struggling to digest sizable new supply.”

Nashville, Tenn.

Developers are now opening new apartments in Nashville at a rate of nearly 8,000 a year. That’s about double the rate of completions in 2016 and 2015, according to RealPage. The occupancy rate was 95 percent at mid-year, 160 basis points lower than it was 12 months ago.

Rents still grew by 3.4 percent in Nashville over the 12 months ended at mid-year. That’s close to twice the overall rate of inflation. But it’s less than half the rent growth compared with the year before, when developers opened half as many new apartments. “And the downtown submarket—where construction is heaviest—is suffering sizable rent cuts,” says Willett.

Rents are growing in smaller markets

Not all apartment markets are cooling off. The places where the pace of rent growth sped up the most include Colorado Springs, Colo.; Ventura County, Calif.; Tacoma, Wash. and Sacramento, Calif. Effective rents grew on average between 5.0 percent and 8.0 percent in these markets over the 12 months that ended in mid-2017.

These towns don’t have much in common, except they are located in close proximity to markets with very expensive apartment rents, including Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco, according to Denham.

Source: NRE Investor