What to do about a bad review? Follow these 6 steps to turn negative reviews positive

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews | Buildium

As a property manager, you have a lot on your mind: How to grow your business, differentiate yourself from the competition, build strong relationships with your residents and clients, and become more efficient (and less stressed!).

Unfortunately, from time to time, bad reviews can pop up on your radar, adding another source of stress to your day. Bad reviews might surface on the internet when someone searches for your property, the name or address of your building, your company, the property owner, or you. Reviews can appear on sites like Yelp and Google, on social media, and in discussion forums.

Bad reviews can hurt your business. They can scare residents away and increase vacancy rates. They can convince property owners that you’re not a good bet to work with.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can manage bad reviews. You can respond effectively and even turn a bad review into an ultimate win. Here’s how.

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews: Step #1

Respond Graciously to Every Review

Remember, not every review you have is bad. You probably have reviews like the one below that extol the virtues of your business. Now, take a deep breath, and get ready to respond to the not-so-nice review. Not responding to a negative (or a positive) review is not an option: Not responding still sends a message.

As Ernest Hemingway said, “Courage is grace under pressure,” and many businesses don’t have the courage to approach areas where they can improve. So, thanking your reviewer-whether their feedback was positive or not-is a good practice, since they’re giving you a valuable opportunity to improve your online presence and wow them with your customer service and problem-solving skills.

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews | Buildium

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews: Step #2

Have a Proactive Strategy

Bad reviews are an inevitable part of doing business. Multiple review sites are out there, and across all industries, customers turn to them when there’s an issue. That’s why it’s important to take the time to devise a proactive strategy to deal with bad reviews.

First, search for your business, name, and properties periodically to find out what kind of reviews you’re receiving. A monthly search will alert you to bad news so that you can respond proactively. You can also set up a Google Alert that will notify you every time your business’ name appears online.

Second, draft a standard response. It needs to be calm, courteous, and take the reviewer’s issue very seriously. It needs to stress your commitment to good customer service and your sincere desire to resolve the issue.

Most importantly, having a standard response prevents you from being blindsided when a bad review comes in. You’ll know that you have a large portion of the response already crafted-and it can prevent you from firing off an angry response.

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews | Buildium

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews: Step #3

Customize Your Response

You don’t want to settle with using a canned response, because every circumstance will be different. You will want to respond specifically to the bad review. Respond both to the content (what the complaint is about) and the tone (whether the writer is angry or annoyed). Acknowledge that the writer is disappointed in your service or building management, but don’t respond in kind with a negative tone.

Take some time to calm down before submitting your response. You want to take every precaution to appear calm and respectful, not angry and defensive.

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews: Step #4

Acknowledge Any Issues

One of the most important things that you can do is to reflect on the truth of any issues that the review raises. Acknowledge any issues frankly.

For example, say that a negative review blasts an apartment building for repeatedly not having hot water one winter. If that did happen, it needs to be acknowledged. You need to give context to any issues that were beyond your control. If the hot water heater needed to be replaced but your contractor repeatedly experienced delays, you can say that. Don’t point fingers or make excuses; but remain straightforward about the attempts to resolve the issue and why resolution didn’t happen.

If the review highlights any problems in your service, work hard to improve that aspect of your business. Consider investing in property management software to automate day-to-day tasks easier so you can focus on fixing issues that arise unexpectedly.

You may encounter reviews where the experience that’s described doesn’t match your own. In this case, acknowledge that the reviewer feels a certain way, but that there were real, standard reasons for the procedure that they’re criticizing.

Say, for example, that one commenter complains that his security deposit was not returned in full even though he left the apartment very clean. Meanwhile, you may have documented that the walls were scuffed and the carpet was stained. Calmly explain that the condition of the apartment was not up to par, and that you only rescinded as much of the security deposit as was necessary to pay for a cleaning service before the next resident moved in. Most people will understand that this is a reasonable argument.

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews | Buildium

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews: Step #5

Offer to Resolve Any Issues

If the bad review is legitimate, your reply should include an offer to resolve the issue. Such an offer will go a long way toward building trust in your good faith and commitment to excellent customer service. It’s a crucial part of changing a negative experience to a positive one.

The resolution offer should be commensurate with the problem. If people repeatedly went without hot water, for example, it may be fair to compensate them with a break on the rent.

If it isn’t immediately obvious what a good resolution would be, take the discussion offline and ask what the reviewer thinks is fair, if they seem like a reasonable person. Avoid having an extended back-and-forth exchange with a negative reviewer on a public site. No matter who’s in the right, it draws more attention to the negative experience and makes you seem petty or defensive. Get the reviewer’s contact information and discuss the matter privately.

How Property Managers Should Handle Bad Reviews: Step #6

Convert Negative Reviews to Positive Ones

If a resolution is reached, ask the reviewer to post a positive review, or at least to remove the negative one. If they agree, you’ve converted a bad review to a good one for future customers to see-and reinforced your desire to provide fantastic customer service.

Bad reviews can be frustrating, and they can also be bad for business. We hope that these steps will help you to convert bad reviews into good management and improved customer service.

Which responses to bad reviews have you found successful in the past? Let us know in the comments!

How should property managers respond to bad reviews? Learn 6 steps to take on the #BuildiumBlog!

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If you liked this post, be sure to read this one next: Should Landlords Sue if Tenants Post Unfair Reviews Online?

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The post What to do about a bad review? Follow these 6 steps to turn negative reviews positive appeared first on Buildium.


$66.8M Paul Williams-Designed Mansion Is This Week’s Most Expensive New Listing



A graceful Paul Williams–designed estate in the posh Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles is this week’s most expensive new listing on realtor.com®.

Homeowner Richard Neu-whom Mansion Global describes as a “shipping magnate“-is trying to close a whale of a deal. He’s asking for $66.88 million for the property, which he purchased for just $15 million in 2006. If he gets anything close to his asking price, he could quadruple his original investment.

The home, which landed on the multiple-listing service this week, was shopped around earlier in the year. At that time, it was represented by Marisa Zanuck of Beverly Hills Estates Realty, where Neu is apparently a part-owner, the Real Deal reported.

Despite Zanuck’s celebrity cachet-she starred in “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”-the home is still searching for a buyer. It is now being repped by another member of Beverly Hills Estates Realty, Christopher Danna.

Paul Williams estate
Paul Williams-designed estate


The property from above
Aerial view


Park-like grounds
Parklike grounds


Designed by Williams and built in 1926, the mansion measures 10,907 square feet. It has 11 beds, nine baths, a wood-paneled den, and living and dining rooms. The landscaped grounds include a tennis court and swimming pool.

The home is located “on the most enticing street in Holmby Hills,” according to the listing.

“Mapleton is a trophy street in Holmby Hills, and this house has … over an acre of flat land,” says Danna. “The grounds are like a private park setting.”

Williams-designed homes have become more prized, and pricey. Designer of over 2,000 residential homes, mainly in Southern California, Williams was the first African-American to become a member of the American Institute of Architects, in 1923.

The trailblazer designed homes for Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball, among other stars, and was known for mastering a wide range of styles, including French chateau, regency, and Mediterranean.

This home with its sky-high price tag is in good company. There’s an even pricier property for sale, known as the Manor, on the same street. The $200 million megamansion was once owned by Aaron and Candy Spelling.

Not surprisingly, the area’s large and private mansions are a huge celebrity magnet. The late Playboy publisher, Hugh Hefner, kept a home there he dubbed the “bunny hutch,” which housed would-be Playboy Bunnies.

And an A. Quincy Jones–designed spread was picked up by serial flipper Ellen DeGeneres for $40 million. She flipped it for $55 million to tech entrepreneur Sean Parker in 2014. Perhaps DeGeneres will turn her investor’s eye to this gem.

The post $66.8M Paul Williams-Designed Mansion Is This Week’s Most Expensive New Listing appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The Abbey at Farrow Farm: Own an Island Retreat in Maine for Just $299,000



If you’ve ever dreamed of pooling your cash with friends and starting a commune, we’ve found you a perfect spot. Located on the tiny island of Islesboro, in the middle of Penobscot Bay in Maine, the Abbey at Farrow Farm is, in the words of the current owners, “a place to listen to the silence and feel the presence.”

Walking distance from the shore and surrounded by natural beauty, this five-bedroom property is currently being used as a retreat center. Listed for $299,000, it has a ground floor with a common space that can hold 20, and additional sleeping quarters throughout. There are three kitchens, a meditation tower, separate tiny house, and office shed. Yes, double tiny houses!

The Abbey has a food license and can be used as a commercial or residential space. The two main buildings are filled with cozy writing nooks, thinking spots, and places to curl up with a book. The Abbey practically begs a new owner to pen some terrible poetry or paint an awkward watercolor.

The Abbey at Farrow Farm.
The view from the Abbey


The Abbey at Farrow Farm.
The library-so cozy


The Abbey at Farrow Farm.
Meditation tower with leaded-glass windows


Measuring 3,000 square feet, the Abbey is surely big enough to host whatever kind of bohemian, spiritual, artsy island activities you’re planning. There’s also a large septic system, so no worries on that front.

With a cozy library, gorgeous leaded-glass windows, wood floors, pine paneling, and 2.63 acres of grounds and gardens, the Abbey needs only some crystals and a tarot deck to make it the mystic retreat every city dweller dreams of running.

Abbey at Farrow Farm
One of the many writing nooks


The Abbey at Farrow Farm.
One of two tiny houses


The Abbey was built in 2004 using local materials, on property that had been in the current owners’ family for over 200 years. The main house has a deck and a terrace that look out onto flower gardens and the woods beyond. It’s perfect for enjoying Maine’s legendary sunrises and sunsets.

The Abbey’s owners write, “Everyone who enters this space is overcome with peace.” So quit your job and move to Islesboro already. An idyllic life awaits.

The Abbey at Farrow Farm.
Office shed


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Federal Reserve Move Indicates That From Here on Out, Mortgage Rates Will Be Going Up



It’s the beginning of a new era at the Federal Reserve: New Chairman Jerome Powell opened his first meeting on Wednesday and, against the backdrop of an improving economy, lifted its key interest rate to its highest level since the housing crisis.

The Fed raised the federal funds rate (the interest rate at which banks lend to one another overnight) from 1.5% to 1.75%, the highest level since 2008. In addition to the anticipated rate change, Powell offered clues about what is in store for the economy and housing market in the months ahead.

The Fed’s view on the economy: Pretty good

We know the economy is doing well. With nearly 2.3 million jobs added in the past year, 300,000 of them in the past month, and the unemployment rate holding at 4.1%, a low not seen since 2000, jobs are plentiful. At the same time, workers’ wages are rising, but not at a fast pace. Hourly earnings have not exceeded a 3% growth rate throughout the recovery, helping to contain inflation.

Along with Wednesday’s decision on rates, we’ll see whether the Fed expects this strong economic growth to continue, what that means for inflation, and how it expects to set rates in the future based on those projections.

Forecasts showed that the Fed generally expects notably stronger economic growth in 2018 and 2019, and better-than-normal growth over the next three years. This expectation is coupled with a lower projection for the unemployment rate, which is anticipated to run almost a percentage point lower than the long-run normal in 2019 and 2020.

Based on the Fed’s December projections, market watchers had been expecting it to raise the federal funds rate three times in 2018, each time by 25 basis points. (A basis point is equal to 0.01%.) In spite of stronger economic projections at this meeting, the median forecast still suggests only three increases in 2018 and three more in 2019.

Remember, mortgage rates don’t move in lockstep with the Fed

So with some of the brightest minds in economics telling us where they think short-term rates will go in the future, we should know what will happen to mortgage rates, right? Almost. But mortgage rates don’t move in lockstep with the short-term rates that the Fed controls. Rather, the federal funds rate inspires the broad trend in longer-dated rates such as for mortgage and 10-year Treasury bonds, but it does not explain the day-to-day or even month-to-month fluctuations.

But if current trends continue and the federal funds rate will be 2.1% at the end of the year, then we can expect mortgage rates to fall somewhere between 4.7% and 5.9%. Unfortunately, this is a pretty big range and not all that useful. However, on the bright side, the spread has typically narrowed in periods of rising federal funds rates, meaning that mortgage rates are likely to move up, but not by quite as much as the federal funds rate.

What this means for home buyers and sellers: Prepare!

Buyers should know that higher mortgage rates are on the horizon. While they may find some days or weeks and maybe even a month or two where mortgage rates trend lower, the general direction in the months ahead is up. Mentally and financially, buyers should prepare for higher rates and look to any deviation from that trend as an opportunity.

Nationally, realtor.com® finds that the impact of higher prices has so far dwarfed the impact of higher mortgage rates from a year ago. Buyers purchasing the typical home listed on realtor.com this year versus last year can expect to pay $168 more per month, with only 36% of that increase being driven by higher mortgage rates so far-but the impact of rates will grow as rates move higher.

In today’s competitive housing market, rising rates are another hurdle that is particularly challenging to young and first-time buyers who don’t have a lot of cash to work with. These buyers should explore financing options (e.g., FHA loans) particularly targeted to help make homeownership possible. They should also set their budget based on today’s rates and consider how their budget would need to evolve if rates were to move higher before they find a home. This way, they can adapt more quickly to the changing environment.

Sellers are often doing two housing transactions at once: selling a previous home and purchasing a new home. On the selling side, sellers should think about what higher mortgage rates mean for the pool of eligible buyers they are marketing to. While in most markets demand from buyers still far outstrips the number of homes available for sale, in a less dynamic housing market with fewer buyers shopping, rising rates may knock some buyers out of the market for your home, which may mean it will take longer to get a solid offer.

The post Federal Reserve Move Indicates That From Here on Out, Mortgage Rates Will Be Going Up appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Former NFL Wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh Selling Newport Coast Mansion


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Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2001 and went on to play for three other NFL teams before retiring after the 2011 season. Now, he’s ready to tackle another challenge-he’s just put his 13,171-square-foot family home in Newport Coast, CA, on the market for $4.2 million.

Houshmandzadeh bought the five-bedroom, 5.5-bath home for $3,458,000 in 2007, just a year after it was built. Sadly, he never got to spend much time in the place because his team affiliations took him all over the country.

He wanted a footprint in Southern California, where he was born and raised. Currently the baller has two SoCal places, which has become one too many.

“He doesn’t want to leave this home,” says listing agent Andrew McDonald of The Agency. “It’s bittersweet, as he loves the property and it’s brought him joy and treasured memories. However, he owns another home that is more convenient in location for him, his family, and their lifestyle.”

McDonald says Houshmandzadeh “selected this home because it offered everything he, his wife, and their children could ever want in a luxury coastal home, as well as the ideal environment for celebrations and entertaining their network of family and friends. It was a well-loved home even though it was barely lived in.”

There’s no doubt the home was built for fun and games for all ages. Outside, you can follow the floating steps to an infinity pool and spa, which are next to a fire pit and loggia, a cabana, and a built-in barbecue. There’s also a custom basketball court right outside the game room.

Floating step path leading to the outdoor kitchen and pool.
Floating steps leading to the outdoor kitchen and pool

The Agency

Custom basketball court
Custom basketball court

The Agency

Resort-like pool

The Agency

The mansion was also built for relaxation, in particular the second-story master wing. It has soaring ceilings, a private balcony with ocean views, and a walk-in closet. The master bath features dual vanities, a double shower, and a supersized raised tub.

Master bedroom
Master bedroom

The Agency

Master bath
Master bath

The Agency

Private balcony with ocean views
Private balcony with ocean views

The Agency

On the first floor, the main living areas are spacious and open. There are wood, slate, and marble floors throughout, including in the kitchen, which features high-end appliances and a large pantry.

Great room
Great room

The Agency


The Agency

The modern Mediterranean-style home is located in the gated Pacific Ridge community, which features a high-end community center with a junior Olympic pool, a sports park, and hiking trails leading to Crystal Cove State Park.

“The entire estate is truly a retreat,” says McDonald.

Houshmandzadeh, 40, is currently on the staff roster of Long Beach Poly High School, listed as a wide receivers coach. Long Beach isn’t exactly far away from this Orange County home, but traffic-laden freeways between the two locales can make the commute a real bear. We can’t blame him for his desire to avoid an awful commute.

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