Are You Ready For “The Cleveland Experience”?

By | July 23, 2014

There are a lot of exciting things happening in Cleveland right now. The Republican party has recommended us to host the 2016 National Convention, we just held the first annual Alternative Press Music Awards, and in case you somehow haven’t heard, Lebron James is coming home!cleveland

MRI Software also has some news to share with you. This month we kicked off a brand new training opportunity for our clients: “The Cleveland Experience,”  a series of on-site learning classes which will be held at MRI headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio! The Experience includes full hands on instructor-led live training, complimentary lunch, and tours of the campus. Classes kicked off this month and will run until mid-December, 2014, and include topics such as Report Design, SQL, MRI Toolkit, Web Design, Budgeting & Forecasting Configuration and Setup, and JobCost. In fact, we’ve even scheduled complimentary classes in close proximity so you can take multiple courses during your trip.

For more information or to register for classes, please email or visit the MRI Training page.  Are you ready to Experience Cleveland?


TRACS 202D Is About To Go Live!

By | July 21, 2014

It is hard to believe that, after a multi-year process involving several schedule changes, TRACS 202D is about to go live.  The final milestone was Office of Management and Budget approval of the necessary form changes and that happened in June.

The current schedule calls for TRACS and Contract Administrators (CAs) to turn on 202D processing on August 1.  There will be a 6-month transition period during which both 202C and 202D files may be sent. The last day on which 202C files will be processed by TRACS is January 31, 2015.  Given the TRACS deadline, if you are submitting your files through a CA, you may have a deadline of a couple of weeks earlier to allow the CA time to process and audit the transactions before passing them on to TRACS. Any 202C files sent on or after February 1, 2015 will not be processed.brickbuilding-resized-600

At the TRACS Industry Meeting in October, we will assess the status of the 202D rollout and make a determination as to whether the transition period needs to be extended a little.

Note that CAs are required to be ready for 202D on the go-live date so there should be no need to check with them before transmitting.  However, it never hurts to be sure. Also remember that the requirement to send CAs paper (emailed, faxed) copies of HAP Vouchers continues during the transition period.  Once all involved are comfortable with the new voucher process and new voucher records, the sending of paper copies will stop.  At that point, you will need only one signed paper voucher for your files.

We will start deployment of Bostonpost version 9.2 in mid-August with a small representative pilot group of our clients.  They will work through a full HAP voucher processing cycle and we will address any issues that might surface during that time.  We will start the usual rollout process in mid-September and you will be contacted before then about scheduling the 9.2 update for your database.


First Impressions Matter – Your Property is No Exception

By | July 18, 2014

Whether it is in preparation for a job interview, first date, or other social interaction we have all heard the saying, “first impressions matter.” It is no different for your property. It’s a busy time of year for most residential communities with old residents moving out and new residents moving in. Currently where I reside in downtown Cleveland, the city is buzzing with people moving in and out. I myself am one of them, and my move in experience at my new residence will set the tone for my lease term.  Creating a smooth move-in process is imperative in setting the positive expectation for the new tenants’ experience with your property and your brand. More importantly, it could also mean more revenue down the line. Tenant satisfaction means increased word-of-mouth and hopefully referrals, thus higher occupancy rates and higher revenues. Below are some helpful hints to create a smooth move-in process for new tenants to create that lasting first impression:istock_000017165499large-resized-600

  1. Provide a packet of key information to help organize their experience, such as:
    • A map of the building highlighting freight elevators, loading docks, and other items important for someone moving in.
    • Contact information for all relevant utility vendors.
    • Checklist of other important activities such as completing the walk-through, verifying parking space, etc.
  2. Make it easy to schedule shared resources.
    • For example, if your property requires a freight elevator to move large items, make it as easy as possible for new tenants to reserve time. A popular offering these days is to put the reservation calendar on the property’s portal website. This way, new residents can easily check availability and schedule a time slot online.
  3. Ensure all key building assets are in working order and clean.
    • For example, when I moved in to my current residence the property had four elevators, yet only one was working. Needless to say that made a bad impression. Make sure all key equipment is operational, clean, and well presented.
  4. Pay attention to the small details.
    • Take extra care to make sure all the small details in the units that tenants are moving in to are taken care of. This includes cleaning the windows, ensuring cabinet and closet doors are tight and operating smoothly, faucets are not leaking, etc. Those are the types of things that often get missed in a make ready process but they can have a big impact on someone moving in who is already dealing with the stress of moving. Even something as small as a loose doorknob could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
  5. Create a welcoming experience.
    •  If you’re like me, you are way more agitated on an empty stomach than a full one, so refreshments could result in happier, more patient new residents. Having snacks in the lobby and extra staff on hand that are ready to answer questions will ensure a pleasant move in for your new clients.

Leave us a comment below and let us know some creative ways in which you ensure a smooth move in experience for your new tenants!

Widening the Panama Canal Leads to Boom in Commercial Real Estate

By | July 16, 2014

The widening of the Panama Canal over the past 8 years has had a significant impact on the commercial real estate market. “Today, more than 70% of U.S. container traffic from Asia passes through Pacific ports, and as much as a third of those containers travel through Los Angeles and Long Beach by truck and train to consumers in the eastern half of the nation,” explains the Wall Street Journal. Because of this, port cities in the southern and east U.S are preparing for those metrics to change in a dramatic fashion. shutterstock_101877298-resized-600

By modernizing the Canal, ships carrying 2.5 times more freight can now pass through. This will allow higher margin goods from Asia to be shipped directly to the southern and eastern ports without using higher priced over-land routes. The time to buy port real estate is now as we draw closer to the completion of the Canal in 2016.

Baltimore, New York, Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Savannah and Miami are some of the major ports expected to accommodate the larger ships through the Canal by 2016. The large quantity of consumer goods being stored at industrial port sites is increasing and the developers, owners, and managers should be prepared with a flexible commercial solution like MRI Commercial Management to manage these new properties and to take full advantage of this new opportunity.

The Panama Canal is set to have a record impact on shipping and transportation routes in 2016. Property managers should make their impact with best-of-breed MRI Software!

Keep your Tenants, Retain your Residents!

By | July 14, 2014

The goal of any business is to grow and expand, but also equally import is to maintain and retain what you have- whether that be resources, clients or occupied space! shutterstock_72371062

On the commercial side of the real estate industry, companies want to keep long-tenured successful tenants in their buildings. Having those strong anchor tenants help increase traffic to the properties and also drive other tenants to stay there- keeping your occupancy rates high, your revenue dependable and your budgets more accurate!

So what is the secret to ensure these tenants will remain with you for years to come? Here are 5 simple practices you can incorporate into what you are currently doing:

  1. Inform residents of regulations up front- make sure the tenant has a copy of their lease. In fact, you can store your copy inside of MRI Commercial Management so you can quickly have access to it electronically to go over any questions they may have.
  2. Address complaints quickly – Even if you are not able to fix what is wrong or address to situation immediately, let clients know that their complaint was received and is being considered or worked on.
  3. Keep up with preventive maintenance and service request activities – Using MRI Workspeed can help you stay on top of these activities and track when you are not addressing these matters in a timely fashion.
  4. Offer a grace period when requesting rent – MRI’s late fee calculations can define when you are actually charging a fee for tardy rent. This feature allowa you to give your tenants some leeway before that late letter is automatically sent out from the system.
  5. Form closer relationships with your tenants- send them personal letters or drop by for things unrelated to the business.

In the Multifamily market the above list is important to residents as well, but to retain them in today’s busy world a 24/7 leasing office is necessary. MRI Resident Connect allows busy residents to view and pay their statement online as well as submit any maintenance requests. Meanwhile, MRI Online Renewals allows residents to renew their lease without ever having to take any time off work to step foot in your office.

Implementing some of these practices into your business now will help you retain these residents and tenants in future. There are many other practices certain businesses have found successful such as community cookouts or building potluck parties. Do you have any success stories you can share?

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