Storm Warning!

By | August 29, 2014

The midwest United States has seen its share of severe storms over the past spring and summer, and some of the deadliest of these happen to betornadoes. Luckily, these types of storms do not always come without warning. In fact, tornado and severe thunderstorm watches are now issued across the nationa from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Recent technological advancements have enabled meteorologists to issue more timely and accurate predictions as well, which have helped save many lives! 2014-resized-600

There are many danger signs we can look for that can warn us of an upcoming tornado:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

Knowing what to look for and staying alert can often provide valuable time to get yourself (and your loved ones) to a safe location before the storm hits.

Did you know there are many warning signs we can look for in the real estate industry as well before a “disaster” strikes?

In MRI Commercial Management, Web-Events allows users to be notified in advance to critical dates and items, such as leases expiring. Clients can also set up warnings to notify property managers when occupancy has reached below a certain percentage, giving a heads up that the building may be an area of concern.

In MRI Workspeed, users can be notified when work orders are not being attended to in a timely matter.  Within Workspeed, there are many reports that can be run to look for patterns for types of work orders or tenants that have been having a lot of issues lately, so that users can stay on top of these and see if any bigger problems may be in the works. Moreover, Workspeed Preventative Maintenance allows clients to schedule maintenance activities, eliminating the chance that an important task slips through the cracks.

What are some ways you have found to help avoid “disasters” at your properties?



What’s Your Identity?

By | August 27, 2014

Seth Godin, a well-known business author, defines a brand as, “… the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”  iStock_000016582394Medium-resized-600

We all know a brand is important in consumer product and service industries but it is also very applicable to the property management industry. First, let’s examine the first part of Godin’s definition and think about the properties that you manage. What defines that property? What are the collections of expectations, memories and relationships that have formed people’s perception of that particular community? What distinguishes that property from the competing one down the street? Creating an identity and living up to those consumer expectations can be very powerful and create a competitive advantage. Secondly, let’s focus on the second part of Godin’s definition as it has positive implications for the cash flows within your portfolio. Godin says, “…if the customer doesn’t pay a premium….then no brand value exists for that consumer.” Creating an identity and building a brand that becomes known for the positive attributes associated with it can command a premium in the market. That means more revenue and higher profitability!

Let’s return to thinking about your property’s identity. Are you performing the maintenance, customer service, and other activities that align with how you want to be perceived in the market? Are you creating the right brand? If yes, then outstanding, but if no, make the adjustments necessary whether that be staffing or otherwise. Provide the facilities and the type of service that align with the brand and identity you want to portray to the market. As Godin implies, those efforts and this focus on creating a brand identity can have positive financial and competitive implications.

At MRI Software we are committed to powering maximum flexibility; that is our identity. The products and services we offer align with that as our design platform makes it easy for other solutions to plug-in to ours, we have a toolkit application that allows clients to customize the software, and we have an expanding Partner Connect program just to name a few. All of those products and services are designed with that brand objective of “Powering Maximum Flexibility.”

How do you define your brand? Do you have the tools necessary to live up to that identity?



Utilizing Property Management Software

By | August 25, 2014

One of the best ways to make sure you are getting the most out of a software solution is by talking to other users.  Having open channels of communication with other users allows you to generate ideas on how to better run your business.  Attending MRI Software’s 2014 International Users Conference is the perfect place for this to happen! shutterstock_11256511-resized-600

Meet with other users from around the globe and learn what best practices they are using.  Utilizing property management software to the best of its ability gives you the platform to expand your business and increase profits exponentially.  MRI Software’s functionality and flexibility can save your organization heaping amounts of time and money.   By taking the time to converse with others who use the software daily, you can put your business in the position to continue growing your portfolio without expanding head counts.

Not only will you have the chance to speak with other users, but you have the opportunity to learn what is going on right here in Solon, Ohio!  MRI Software will be showcasing what we have been investing our time and resources in.  Our property management software is constantly evolving and at the 2014 IUC, you can see for yourself!  Take some time to stop by the Solutions Theater and attend one of the many sessions hosted by our Global Services team.  You will also have the chance to get to know your MRI Software team a little better!

The best part, you can do all this in New Orleans!  Come spend a few days learning how to best utilize your property management software, and taking an evening stroll down Bourbon Street.

Don’t miss out on MRI Software’s 2014 International Users Conference!



Cannonball! Tips on Managing a Property with a Pool or Hot Tub On-Site

By | August 22, 2014

Most residents love having a pool or hot tub at their property, especially when they need to beat the summer heat! However, these amenities are not without risk – the World Health Organization estimates 359 000 annual drowning deaths worldwide. Make sure to follow these tips to keep your (whirl)pool safe: blog pic 2 1.15

Put Pool Rules in an Obvious Place: The water safety regulations should be posted in a place where both kids and adults can see them. Along with listing the open hours of the pool or spa, you can include reminders about leaving pets at home, not running on the slippery concrete, and even the location of the closest restrooms.

Know Your State’s Regulations: Assuming everything is up to code is a risky venture.  Take the time to read your state swimming regulations, as well as the city’s – otherwise you could be fined! You can find a list of each state’s laws on the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s website.

Fence It In: Make sure there is a sturdy fence around the pool or spa that can only be opened by adults, and inspect it regularly to be sure it’s not rusting or malfunctioning (a broken lock helps no one!). The fence should be high enough to keep curious children out, and have small enough openings that no one can slip in unsupervised after-hours.

Prepare For the Worst: Put safety equipment such as life preservers and reach poles in an obvious place. It could make the difference in a life or death situation.

Do you have any more tips? Share them below!



Multifamily Marketing and Millennials: Q&A with Walk Score CEO Josh Herst – Part 2

By | August 20, 2014

“Location, location, location” is a real estate cliché, but we in the multifamily industry certainly see the influence that neighborhood amenities have on where renters choose to live. And what matters to apartment seekers is changing, both generationally and with broader social and economic shifts. In light of this, how can you best communicate how location makes your property special? To help us dig deeper into these trends, this week we’re joined by Walk Score CEO Josh Herst for an exclusive look into how walkability is changing the rental landscape, and how property managers can leverage that change. For the first part of the interview, click herecommunity-resized-600

MRI Software: You’ve made a pretty convincing case for why walkability matters in our last post. What should property managers be doing to stay ahead of these trends?

Josh Herst: Talk about your neighborhood—if your building is across from some great restaurants or parks, that’s something many renters want to know about. Being able to walk out your door and be at your destination—whether that’s your job, school, park, grocery store or restaurant—is great for your wallet, health and quality of life. Of course, listing properties on Walk Score is a great way to reach renters looking for walkable neighborhoods.

MRI Software: Since you mentioned listing properties on Walk Score, why don’t you give us a quick overview of what a Walk Score is, and how Walk Score’s technology can help to apartment marketers?

Josh Herst: A Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address. Our proprietary algorithm awards points based on the distance to amenities in each of several categories including restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, schools and parks. And, as a neighborhood evolves, so does its Walk Score—the algorithm takes in new data and updates regularly to make sure that scores stay accurate over time.

At Walk Score, we’re all about helping people find great places to live. Our website and iPhone and Android apps offer unique rental search options including the ability to find places to live by commute time, access to public transportation, and proximity to “Gotta Have” amenities like coffee shops and car share locations. And, as I mentioned, property managers can feature properties on Walk Score’s apartment search to make sure walkability-minded prospects can easily find their properties and understand what’s special about living in that area.

MRI Software: Beyond listing properties on Walk Score,are there also ways for real estate professionals to incorporate Walk Score on their own sites?

Josh Herst: There are indeed. Our neighborhood maps, commute time tools, and scores (including Walk Score, Bike Score, and Transit Score) can be incorporated into third party sites to help real estate professionals showcase their properties to renters. We currently deliver over 20 million scores per day across a network of over 30,000 real estate sites that use Walk Score data.

Do you have any tips when it comes to marketing to Millenials? Share them in the comments!



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