Maximizing the ROI of Service-Based Amenities

A community is created when properties find and prove the value of service-based amenities. Appealing to the wants and needs of your residents can feel hard at times, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important when considering which amenities and programs you’d like to incorporate into your property to surpass the status quo. What is a service-based amenity, you ask? Anything that can improve the value and desire of your property including things like workout classes, social events, moving technology (like Updater!), allowing pets, pools… the list goes on!

Finding the value in your amenities and programs is what makes them worth your time and money. Always consider how a proposed amenity or service will benefit your residents while determining if its implementation will result in retention and referrals. Those are the goals!

Figure out what kind of community you want to build and then back into which service-based amenities would benefit your residents the most. It’s a simple formula for success.

The new age of ancillary services and revenue

Determining what type of amenities or programs you need to offer in order to appeal to your current residents and also to attract others to your community is easy when you have a customer-driven attitude. Understanding your consumer is essential in any business but in property management, it is a must.

Taking time to understand what residents really want as opposed to what you think they want can go a long way. All programs and services implemented at your properties should be based on feedback, suggestions, or (reasonable) requests from the consumer of those programs and services. Understanding your residents will help you make smart, long-term decisions. A few things to keep in mind:

  • If you’re going to offer incredible and sophisticated amenities, make sure you can deliver them. Of course, it’s great to be able to say you have all of these great amenities to offer, but a huge problem arises when you aren’t meeting expectations.

  • As a member of the property management industry, it’s important to understand when to take a step back, evaluate, and understand where you are, compared to where your residents are or want to be.

 Couple talking to property manager_Maximizing ROI Service Based Amenities

Identifying your community and their needs

Creating an atmosphere that residents feel they are coming home to rather than one where they feel they are just living in is the goal. In order to offer the right amenities or services to your residents, understand their needs and emotionally connect with them.

Understand your resident by considering a few key ideas:

  • Not all residents are the same, each one has individual needs. Be sure to maintain open communication to understand the differences between residents and what best fits their lifestyles and personalities.

  • Always improve and maintain relationships by asking for feedback. The only way to truly understand what your residents want is by asking. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, hearing what your residents have to say is the first step toward measuring overall happiness.

  • Go beyond the demographic and challenge yourself to understand the psychographic. Consumers are driven in certain directions and hold certain desires because of the way that they feel. Residents may come from very different demographics yet be motivated by the same things. Dive into what motivates your consumer and what is unique and specific to them. Consider what will bring them the most value. Understanding the psychographics of your residents will allow you to better deliver on services and amenities.

Customer service as an amenity

A small touch of customer service can go a long way in providing a memorable experience. Something as simple as thinking ahead and anticipating resident needs adds the touch of service that will make your property stand out. At the end of the day, customer service is all about going the extra mile.  Doing so could increase renewals and referrals. In a human business, always put people first!

Innovation doesn’t have to be crazy or brand new. It’s all about finding friction points and determining ways to solve them. When assessing amenities, consider these three questions:

1. How do you decide what’s important to implement?

2. How do you deploy or implement those items that are important?

3. How do you measure the ROI of what you’ve implemented?

 friends cheers rooftop_maximizing roi service based amenities

Finding ways to go the extra mile can come out of identifying points of anxiety for residents during a stressful time. From the time that the resident starts thinking about moving all the way until move-in day and beyond, identify areas where you can assist them and turn a stressful time into an enjoyable one. One pain point, in particular, that is often neglected is the moving experience itself. 

It’s no surprise, that moving isn’t an easy task. Move-in should always be a main focus of the resident journey. Creating satisfaction creates advocacy and loyalty. In the end, your move-in experience should be unmatched, and will ultimately have a positive effect on your renewal rate.

Kingsley Associates published a case study that details exactly how resident move-in experiences impact renewal rates. In the study, the renewal rate for residents who were satisfied at move-in was 59% higher than the renewal rate for residents who were dissatisfied at move-in. Find friction points and solve them.

Measuring the ROI of your service products

Service-based amenities should drive value to everyone. When you are implementing amenities and programs throughout your properties, eliminate the disconnect between what is set forward by the corporate office and how that is communicated at the site-level. Take proper steps to ensure a smooth roll-out and go through all of the proper channels to make sure that all of your teams are aligned.

Being able to measure the ROI of your amenities, services, and programs is essential when deciding if the expense is worth it or not. Take a look at them, define them, implement them, and then reflect. Look back on your implementations and decide if they were successful and if not, how they can be improved.

1. First, determine what success looks like by brainstorming with your team, reflecting on company values, and of course, asking for feedback from residents.

2. Then ask yourself: Is this amenity generating income and helping you meet your goals? Are your open rates high if you’re rolling out an online service? Is the usage of the new amenity high? These are the kinds of questions that can help you identify whether or not the amenity or service is working for your property.

3. As soon as you’ve determined what is going to work for you, measure your small wins – all of them will add up. For example, if it is a goal of yours to gather employee feedback and you only get 2 responses, consider it a win! Find a benchmark and measure steps as slowly as possible.

4. Make sure that everything you are offering captures your residents when they’re happy and makes them stay. Be sure that the services and amenities you are offering to your residents are keeping them top of mind.

 couple drinking coffee_maximizing ROI service based amenities

While money is an important part of the business, creating a home for residents is what is at the core of the property management industry. When you create the best home and environment possible, your business and properties will thrive.

Create a relationship with your residents and provide a living experience that you’re proud of. Once you determine what you think is going to provide your residents with the most value, implement those amenities and continuously measure their impact. Remember, understanding your residents is not a one-and-done. It is an ongoing process that is vital to the successful management of your properties.


Why I Don’t See Anything Slowing the Multifamily Freight Train Any Time Soon


New changes will do nothing but attract more investor dollars to an already-overheated multifamily market. I expect nothing but continued craziness and overblown prices. Short of a complete economic meltdown, there is not much on the horizon that will slow the multifamily freight train.

View the full article: Why I Don’t See Anything Slowing the Multifamily Freight Train Any Time Soon on The BiggerPockets Blog. This content is Copyright © 2017 BiggerPockets, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

7 Places Where You’d Actually Get Paid to Live (and Love It, Too)

7 Places Where You'd Actually Get Paid To Live (and Love It, Too)


Would you move to a new city or town if it was willing to hand you $10,000 just for showing up? According to a new report on Livability, such incentives are surprisingly common across the United States. Um, what’s the catch?

The only catch, if you could call it that, is that these areas are typically plagued with a dwindling or aging population. As Livability explains, “As baby boomers leave the workforce and the demand for skilled workers rises, some cities and states are facing an unexpected situation: They need more residents, and fast.”

To reel in these newcomers, officials have gotten pretty creative-offering up help with down payments on homes, college tuition, even free plots of land. So if you’re up for moving where you’ll be showered with gratitude in some form or another, check out these seven options below, plus a glimpse of some of the real estate in these areas.

New Haven, CT

Yale University may be New Haven’s claim to fame, but it’s also developed a bad rep as being unaffordable to non-Ivy-league folks. That’s why in 2014, the city implemented RE: New Haven, a program that promises new residents a $10,000 loan for a down payment on a house.

As if that weren’t nice enough, it’s also offering an additional $30,000 for energy-saving upgrades, and will even slap on up to $40,000 in scholarships to any in-state college for students who graduate from New Haven public schools.

According to, the median price of a home in New Haven is $223,000-and there are plenty of pretty homes on the market to pick from, including this Cape Cod ranch below.

Price: $194,900

To see more: View all New Haven real estate listings

This Cape Cod-style ranch is for sale in New Haven, CT.

Burlington, VT

Eager to rejuvenate its aging work force, Vermont is looking to attract more full-time residents-particularly young tech workers, who can work remotely. The bait? These new residents will receive $10,000 over two years, which will help cover moving costs, computer software, internet access, and membership of co-working spaces.

The only catch here is that enrollment is limited in this new program, which will launch in January 2019: Only 100 lucky workers will be relocated in the first year, and 20 workers each year after that. The statewide program is not limited to just Burlington, but since the city is Vermont’s largest, it’s being marketed to reel in newcomers.

The median home price in Burlington is $330,000, and incoming residents can find a variety of properties big and small, like the Cape-style home featured below.

Price: $668,000

To see more: View all Burlington real estate listings

This three-bedroom home is just 10 minutes away from downtown Burlington.

Baltimore, MD

Like other Rust Belt cities, Baltimore has seen its population steadily decline over the past few decades. Yet while many have left, their gorgeous houses remain. A median-priced home in Baltimore is $210,000, much less than what you’d see in Washington, DC; Boston; or New York City.

As a further incentive to real estate bargain hunters, the city launched its Buying Into Baltimore program, which offers $5,000 to first-time buyers looking to purchase anywhere in the city. Added bonus: If you work for the city, it will fork over another $5,000 for your first home. And if you’re looking to channel your inner Chip and Joanna Gaines and find a fixer-upper, Baltimore’s Vacant to Value Booster program will give you $10,000 to purchase that home and renovate it.

Take a peek at this spacious brick colonial townhome for sale in Baltimore below.

Price: $254,500

To see more: View all Baltimore real estate listings

This bright townhome has three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Hamilton, OH

After experiencing a major shortage of skilled laborers, this Ohio city drew up a plan to attract young college graduates. As of now, only 15% of Hamilton residents hold a college degree, and the city hopes that its Talent Attraction Program Scholarship will boost its number of college-educated residents.

Hamilton is offering up to $5,000 to new residents to help pay off student loans. To receive the cash, which is paid in installments of $200 for up to 25 months, applicants must live in designated areas in Hamilton and show proof of employment in the city.

If the cash weren’t incentive enough, the housing market in Hamilton is relatively cheap. The median house price is $160,000, and recent grads can snag a sweet deal, such as this move-in ready traditional home below.

Price: $94,900

To see more: View all Hamilton real estate listings

With an updated kitchen and bathrooms, this three-bedroom home is the perfect starter house.

Harmony, MN

In spite of harsh winters, this small Minnesota town has found a way to get visitors to stay: Newcomers to Harmony can receive up to $12,000 if they decide to build a house. Interested builders can fill out the one-page application, and the city will hand over the cash as soon as the exterior of the house is built.

For those not interested in starting from scratch, Harmony has a few homes on the market, including this remodeled five-bedroom house (below). According to, the median price of a home in Harmony is $137,000.

Price: $164,900

To see more: View all Hamilton real estate listings

This remodeled gem in Harmony, MN features new flooring and appliances.

Ludington, MI

Have a killer startup idea but can’t find the cash you need to make it happen? Moving to this Midwestern city may be the best decision for your business.

Not only is Ludington located right on beautiful Lake Michigan, but the breezy town of 8,500 is also looking to becoming a hub for small businesses and startups through its yearly Momentum Business Plan Competition, which awards one lucky winner a grand prize of $50,000.

The only stipulation is that the winner must relocate his or her business to Ludington, but considering that a median-priced home runs for $192,000, it’s not a bad trade-off. Maybe next year’s winner will move into the lakeside lot featured below.

Price: $495,000

To see more: View all Ludington real estate listings

This five-bedroom home sits directly on Lincoln Lake in Ludington, MI.

Marne, IA

Only 120 residents live in this tiny town, located about an hour outside of Des Moines, so a decade ago, town officials created a program to attract people to the struggling workforce. Sadly, there are no homes for sale in Marne, so new residents receive an unusual gift: free land!

Marne is providing a free plot of land to new residents who want to build a house. The lots average about 9,600 square feet-not bad, considering other plots in the area have been valued for over $180,000. That’s quite a perk-so if a truly small-town vibe is your thing, give it some serious thought.

The post 7 Places Where You’d Actually Get Paid to Live (and Love It, Too) appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

The Best Neighborhoods in Colorado Springs

Best Neighborhoods in Colorado Springs

If you’re moving locally within Colorado Springs, CO, chances are you already have a grasp of which neighborhood would suit you best. On the other hand, if you’re moving to Colorado Springs from a different city or state, you might not know which neighborhoods to consider. So we’ve rounded up a list of the best […]

The post The Best Neighborhoods in Colorado Springs appeared first on Unpakt Blog.

Salvatore Friscia: Property management’s social media influencer

San Diego California skyline

Salvatore Friscia is pure San Diego and a self-identified social media property management pioneer-often sporting a stylish v-neck and jacket combo. On a routine day, you’ll find him posting videos on Instagram Stories, IGTV and LinkedIn; preaching the gospel of an authentic social media approach to property managers; and running his businesses, San Diego Premier Property Management and Tenant Finder.

After all, the property management industry isn’t the first place you’d look for influencers of his ilk, but that’s exactly the point. More than ever, he wants his colleagues to understand that they must embrace social media to prevail in today’s ever-changing real estate market.

We video-chatted with Salvatore last month and traded ideas on how property managers can use social media to skyrocket their business.



What makes your company unique?

First off, we don’t like to compete-we like to dominate. Just by saying that, we make ourselves different from everybody else. What makes us stand out is that we share our story, and we don’t talk about property management first and foremost.

Why do your residents love you?

They love us because we’re transparent; because we’re real people. We’re not just a company that manages their properties. We’re actually real people-they know who we are, they see us interact on a social level-it’s much different from a corporate-style feel. We are family-owned and operated, and our social showcases beautiful San Diego and the services we provide for our clients and our tenants.

​What’s the best advice you have for other property managers?

What I tell other property managers is that we all have something different. The one thing that separates us is our unique personality and the culture of our businesses-which is the one thing that can separate all property management companies in any immediate area. So if you can showcase that and broadcast that out to your online community, you will have an advantage.

How did you come to realize the importance of social media?

As a property manager, I found myself being stuck and falling into mediocrity, doing the same thing everybody else was doing. It was probably around 2012 or ’13 when Periscope was just being launched; it was big in terms of a handheld device as a medium of reaching the masses, which was only allowed through TV and radio in the past. I came across the Gary Vs and the Grant Cardones, and I noticed that these two individuals were very different in their approach, but they both had one thing that was so special in my eyes: They were able to tell their story. They were able to reach people and, in my opinion, it was an epiphany.

I realized that if I was going to break away from mediocrity, if I was going to separate myself and be able to make myself synonymous with San Diego and property management, the forum that I was going to go into was social media. Getting into the social media aspect 3, 4, or 5 years ago has really helped us diversify ourselves out of just being a property management company into being a media presence in San Diego.

Sal Friscia rocking a Buildium t-shirt.

Self-identified Social Media Property Management Pioneer, Salvatore Friscia

Do you think that there is a lot of opportunity for property managers in the social space?

I do, and I’m going to take it one step further-I think it’s not a matter of if you need to have a social presence. You must have a social presence if you want to stay relevant. And I know a lot of property managers don’t want to hear that. I get a lot of pushback because they are still doing things the same way they have for the past 5 or 10 years. But the truth is that if they don’t adapt, if they don’t realize that social media is the new way to build communities, they will no longer be relevant to the guy down the street who does it. It’s so important.

What made you want to become an influencer in the space?

Like I say to a lot of property managers, while they were going to industry events like NARPM and the PM Grow Summit (which they should be), I was attending social media conventions. I was meeting with social media real estate influencers, and I was in their ear, bugging them, asking them questions, going to where they were convening and really absorbing what they were doing that was successful.

I packaged it up and brought it back to San Diego to try to put together a property manager social management strategy that would work for my company. We were successful in doing so-not only to receive local recognition, but national recognition from real estate powerhouses such as Zillow and Inman Real Estate News. And I knew from that experience that other property managers could do it also, and they just needed to know the right way to do it.

I went through a lot of trial and error and, as you know, we put together the Property Manager Social Media Bootcamp (shameless plug there). We put that together because we wanted other property managers to see that there is another way to do this-to have fun doing it, and to make it something that actually benefits their business. It can help them grow their reach, get leads, and extend their business and their brand; and that’s something that I wanted to share with our industry.

Is your social media personality different from your personality in real life?

I’m the same person, I really am. I love it when people meet me and they say, “You are just like you are in your videos”-that’s a compliment to me. I don’t put on an act; I am who I am. I show the behind-the-scenes of my family life. We just came back from Scottsdale, Arizona. We met with some great social media influencers out there, and it will go on Youtube; it will go on LinkedIn; it will be syndicated out. And I’m the same person now that I was with them-I think that you need to be. If you’re not, you’re probably doing yourself a disservice. I think you need to capture moments and convey them to your audience-that’s what makes you real.

The post Salvatore Friscia: Property management’s social media influencer appeared first on Buildium.

Believe It! Private Island Once Owned by ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ Founder Up for Sale

Private Island Once Owned by 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' Founder Goes on Sale; William T. Hoff/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A large home on the private island once owned by Robert Ripley, the charismatic, globe-trotting founder of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” is on the market for $4.3 million.

Ripley lived full-time on the island in Mamaroneck, NY, hosting over-the-top, celebrity-studded parties in a 28-room English-style manor, packed with curios he brought back to the United States from the more than 200 countries he visited during his career.

Inside, guests including Babe Ruth and Mae West would gawk at Ripley’s collection of javelins, war drums, skeletons, exotic outfits, and taxidermied animals. Outside, he’d take them on pleasure cruises on Long Island Sound in his Chinese junk, the Mon Lei.

At the top of his career, which spanned the Great Depression and both World Wars, Ripley was earning well over half a million dollars per year with his syndicated comic strip, books, radio, and television shows. Ripley died in 1949, at the age of 58.


After his death, an opera singer bought BION (“Believe it Or Not”) Island and eventually subdivided it. The home for sale today, an updated five-bedroom, six-bathroom mansion, sits on nearly 1.2 acres and was built in 1950.

The house is separated from mainland Mamaroneck by a small stone bridge and gate. It’s surrounded by water, and has its own private dock.

Inside, the home’s living room has a nautical theme (which makes sense, given that there’s a water view from every window), French doors to the deck, vaulted ceilings, and a large picture window. There’s a fireplace, piano, and a formal dining room that’s currently home to a billiard-table.

Living room
Living room

Billiards room

There’s an open-concept kitchen and family room, with skylights and French doors that flood the room with natural light. Just off the kitchen, there’s an octagonal breakfast nook, with a matching tray ceiling. The master bedroom has exposed beams, a bank of windows looking out on the water, and a door leading out to a large balcony.


Elsewhere, there’s a gym and sauna, bar, 2,500-bottle wine room, putting green, pool, waterfall, and outdoor shower.




The home’s current owner seems to have embraced Ripley’s taste in exotic curiosities. Listing photos show what appears to be a large statue of a Southeast Asian dancer on the living room mantle, a stone carving in the billiard-room, and lit paintings in the bar.

The post Believe It! Private Island Once Owned by ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ Founder Up for Sale appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.