How to Attract Remote Workers to Your Apartment Community

Thanks to the pandemic, the number of employees who work from home swelled over the past year. Even though offices are beginning to open, with workers returning to the workplace, surveys show that many plan to telework at least part-time in the future.

Apartment owners and managers need to take notice of this trend. After all, at a time when unemployment remains high, remote workers are employed – and capable of paying their rent. They also represent a large pool of prospective tenants, so targeting them can turn into a competitive advantage.

Here are three things you can do to attract the work-from-home cohort:

  • Provide the tools teleworkers need. High-speed internet service and reliable cell phone reception are a must. The 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report found that 92% of tenants want high-speed internet access, while 91% said the community amenity they most desire is reliable cell phone reception. Tenants are even willing to pay higher rent for high-speed internet — $35.05 per month more, the survey found.
  • Tweak your marketing plan. Help the prospect envision working in your space. Stage model units (live or virtually) to include work spaces in bedrooms, or create zoom-worthy spaces on balconies or rooftops.
  • Don’t focus only on attracting new tenants; meet the needs of existing ones. Happy tenants are more likely to renew their leases, saving you the cost of turnover. They also can be a source of referrals. Convert business centers from open spaces to individual offices, and add programming designed to meet the needs of remote workers, such as a poolside yoga class to relieve stress or an online time-management workshop. People are craving human interaction these days, and programming can enhance a sense of community.


The Economic Impact of Commercial Real Estate

New commercial real estate development, and the ongoing operations of existing CRE buildings in the United States, had a vital impact on the U.S. economy in 2020, supporting 8 million jobs and contributing $1.01 trillion to U.S. GDP, according to a study released last month by the NAIOP Research Foundation.

The study broke out several key measures by sector – and demonstrate the impact of the pandemic:

  • Office construction expenditures totaled $38.8 billion in 2020, down 28.5% from 2019.
  • Retail construction totaled $11.7 billion in 2020, down 29.5% YOY. This was the fifth straight year of decline.
  • Warehouse construction outlays decreased slightly in 2020, down just 0.3% YOY.
  • Industrial (manufacturing) construction spending was hard hit, declining 29.5%.

The top five states in 2020, by development impact, were Texas, New York, Florida, California and Illinois.

This year, job growth is expected to improve, and GDP growth will make up some of what it lost in 2020. And NAIOP remains optimistic. “Many factors point to a commercial real estate rebound in 2021,” said Thomas J. Bisacquino, president and CEO. “We believe that while the pandemic has accelerated trends already progressing in real estate, we have a bright future.”


The Outpost Economy: A New Trend

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many behavioral changes, not the least of which is the acceleration of the work-from-home trend. As the location of many workplaces remains flexible, there’s been a shift in the nature of work, its location and employment implications. Commercial real estate investment firm Graceada Partners has identified this trend and defined it, referring to it in a new report as the “outpost economy.”

The outpost economy is defined as the rise of a more dispersed economy and employment base away from major cities, to smaller cities with a high quality of life that draws workers who have become untethered from their offices in major cities. Clearly, this has implications for the real estate market – on both primary markets, as corporate headquarters become decentralized, and on secondary markets, as they evolve into “outpost economies.”

Takeaways from the Graceada report include:

  • Prior to COVID-19, many workers built their lives around the cities where they were employed. But, today, Millennials and younger workers are nesting, focusing on purchasing homes in smaller cities or suburbs and growing families there. The pandemic has enabled them to do this due to greater acceptance of remote working.
  • Still, the office is not dead. Many remote workers have already returned to the office, and offices are migration evolving as well. Employers may end up leasing smaller spaces in secondary markets to allow employees in those areas to work from those hubs.
  • Three outposts singled out in the report are Austin, Charlotte and Sacramento.
  • Despite the rise of many outposts, primary markets like New York and San Francisco have been economic hubs for major industries for many years and aren’t expected to go away overnight.


Attention to Every Detail

If you ask Relentless Agent Award Winner, Laura Ennis of CENTURY 21 AllPoints Realty in Enfield, CT, what makes her stand out from the crowd, she’ll tell you without hesitation, it’s all about the details. Known as, Laura “Overly-Involved” Ennis, Laura firmly believes in getting involved in every detail of the transaction to help transform her client’s process into an unforgettable experience.

I don’t think you’re successful by yourself. You have to have a team.

Laura Ennis

Part of what helps Laura give 121% to her clients and her community is that throughout her 25-year career, she’s managed to build key relationships. These relationships have given her the ability to become a top-tier problem solver in almost any situation, ensuring those that work with her, don’t have a thing to worry about during the home buying or selling process.

I can always fix every problem because I can call on somebody who will help me. Between my attorneys, my inspectors, contractors, plumbers, and electricians… I go the extra mile.

Laura Ennis

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There’s no doubt that Laura is passionate about serving her clients and her drive to continue elevating her service is undeniable. There is an additional key area where Laura also places her emphasis on and that’s communication. Laura believes that to be successful in this business, your communication skills must be top-notch. Making it a point to answer her phone every time a client calls, Laura also works overtime to ensure she can provide just the response her clients need to ease their minds and give them accurate information to answer their questions.

A firm believer in giving back in every way, Laura spends a great deal of her time volunteering in her community, as a member of the local Elks Club, to help raise awareness for Autism. She’s also very passionate about serving local veterans and seniors during the holiday season. Laura also helps to support Kyle’s Krusade, which is a local charity that provides support for families of those being treated at the Hartford Children’s Hospital Oncology Ward.

Laura truly leaves no stone unturned and makes each little detail her priority. In business, there can be an emphasis placed on the larger things but as we’ve seen with Laura, her quarter of a century career has been spent focusing and becoming involved in each seemingly small detail that leads up to an extraordinary home buying or selling experience.

Note: This material may contain suggestions and best practices that you may use at your discretion.  The views, information, or opinions expressed in any user-generated content are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.


Crushing Your Sales Plateau

To be honest, like many others in this business I was never good at goal setting, but I am changing that. While I help clients and customers reach desired outcomes, I’ve experienced a plateau before and have been at the same amount of sales for many years. With encouragement from those around me, it was time to leverage goal setting and begin the process of having more conversations, selling myself to more people, with greater frequency, in order to get my sales to a higher level.

  1. Create a system to track and measure your efforts. The first thing I did was create a spreadsheet to manage and hold myself accountable for the number of conversations and touchpoints necessary to overcome the plateau. It’s keeping track of phone calls, community events, talking to people at local stores, and geotargeting a new neighborhood to become the local market expert for that area.
  2. Use your results to determine what technique works best for you. There are many sales techniques and many ways to generate business but, what I have found that works for me, is to first build a personal relationship, and then sell myself and my unique value proposition. I want clients to hire me because they want to, whether it takes one conversation, two conversations, five conversations, or meeting in person a few times. I think it makes the relationship smoother and stronger, and it makes the goal of getting them the outcomes they desire a lot more effective.
  3. Apply your technique and engage your sphere. Ultimately, it’s important for agents to find their own rhythm. Every person has something they’re good at, and they’re going to attract certain people and certain personalities. For me, most of my conversations are in real estate settings, like open houses or industry-related events. When I analyze and look at where my business is coming from, most of it is coming from the sphere that I built and manage. Not only that, I’m reaching them with weekly personalized emails, many times with video, about their local market. Obviously, we want to engage them, but the information must be relevant. Don’t bore them with the same old stuff. It’s difficult to find topics that people are or should be, interested in.
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Selling yourself as the local market expert to your sphere can be key. This can help you build the relationships your business needs to grow. In real estate, there will always be change, so staying ahead of it by knowing your market can be the value proposition you’re looking for. For me, it’s what helped me to get over my sales plateau to grow my business and take it to the next level.

Note: This material may contain suggestions and best practices that you may use at your discretion.  The views, information, or opinions expressed in any user-generated content are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.


Confessions of a #1

Securing the #1 spot as a top performer may not be easy, but it’s possible. Success isn’t necessarily something that just happens to you. It’s actually, quite the contrary. When you get the opportunity to learn the ropes from others who have implemented key methods that have helped them become #1 in their field, you can’t help but notice a theme. #WhatIf there are methods you could execute, day to day, and mindsets you could put into practice, right now, that could elevate your game 121%? #WhatIf you had the chance to sit down with a seasoned entrepreneur who has weathered the uncertainties of life and business and has come out on top?

Here’s your chance. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with someone who’s taken success, by the horns, and hasn’t looked back. Joe Villaescusa is not only the Owner of CENTURY 21 Allstars in Pico Rivera, California, but he’s a top performer; and not just any top performer but, a #relentless one.

Don’t believe us? Read on.

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Last year, Joe’s office closed over $18 million in sales with over 1800 closings. If that’s not enough, CENTURY 21 AllStars is on track to knock it out of the park again this year. To top that off (we know, right?) Joe has recovered from COVID19 and has worked each day to regain his momentum and build his strength. As you can see, it’s not just Joe’s tenacity but it’s the grit and grind mindset he’s taken on, day in and day out.

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So here’s what you’ve been waiting for. Here are our top three confessions from Joe that he says has helped him to become a #1:

  1. Show yourself accountable every day.- “We didn’t get into this business to be average.” Joe believes you don’t become complacent overnight. Over time, when you aren’t accountable to mentors and leaders, complacency can have a way of sneaking up on you. Allowing this to go on without the right accountability can lead to an overall lack of motivation before you realize it. Surround yourself with others who have reached milestones and goals, you’d like to achieve, to help you to push yourself and remain motivated.
  2. Remove your choices so you have to do it “this way.”- When you have too many options, it can become second nature to choose the easiest route. The housing market crash of 2006, Joe says, helped him to develop a discipline in making decisions to help with his personal development and the growth of his business. “When your options are eliminated, you are forced to make decisions with what you have,” Joe says. During the crash, the options available to expand Joe’s business was greatly diminished. This put him in a position to have to choose the more difficult routes, in making day to day decisions. He’s been able to carry this mindset with him, even after the market made a turn for the better. When making decisions, it’s not uncommon to have a mix of easier and difficult choices among your options. Try removing the easier choices that don’t carry character developing challenges.
  3. Get enough sleep.- This goes without saying. According to the CDC, one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep. Joe recommends getting a good night’s rest to get your day started bright and early. “If you can get out of the bed, you are 50% of the way there,” he says.  Being intentional about getting adequate rest can help avoid playing the “catch up game” and set your things in motion to start your days off strong.
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It’s a slow and steady pace that can lead one to a #1 spot but it’s not impossible. Be patient with your journey and surround yourself with others that are crushing goals you hope to accomplish. Being intentional about your growth and success is key and can help you #AlwaysElevate your game!


Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2021

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, what’s in store for the real estate market in 2021?

Strong demand and more homes hitting the market in 2021 will mean a healthy rate of growth for 2021. Expect seasonal trends to normalize with a strong spring/summer and slower fall/winter season. While the heated home price growth of 2020 might simmer down in 2021, home prices are still expected to rise. Mortgage rates are at historic lows, which has helped builders and developers finance their projects. As a result, experts are predicting that more new homes will be built in 2021 than in any year since 2006. And last but not least: major migrations are still on the move in 2021. Remote work, which set off a domino effect of increased homeownership in 2020, will continue to drive buyers from high-cost cities to suburban and rural areas with lower-cost housing.  


Working Together as a Team: Negotiating with Commercial Tenants During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread mandatory closures of all types of commercial properties. These closures, along with reduced consumer spending, have hampered business operations and created challenges for many businesses that lease office and industrial properties – some of which have asked their landlords for assistance in the form of rent abatements or deferrals.

Landlords facing this issue should refer to a research brief issued by the NAIOP Research Foundation that identifies best practices for triaging office and industrial tenant requests, offering reasonable accommodations to those tenants who need short-term assistance and responding to affected tenants.

Based on input from brokers and building owners as well as NAIOP data, the brief identified these common practices:

  • Rent relief. Building owners are generally willing to offer tenants reasonable rent relief to help them weather short-term disruptions due to COVID-19. The most common practice is to offer tenants a few months of deferred – not forgiven – rent that can be repaid over the remainder of the lease. Some landlords also agree to rent abatements, but only in exchange for a longer lease term.
  • Due diligence. Owners commonly request tenant financials to confirm that the request for relief is due to COVID-19 and to determine if the tenant is able to fulfill the lease terms.
  • Lender assistance. Many owners seek assistance from their own lenders to help them pay for property maintenance, taxes and insurance during periods when tenants are deferring rent payments. Lenders have been amenable to borrowers deferring principal payments as long as they can demonstrate need and maintain the property.


5 Tips for First-Time Commercial Real Estate Investors

Are you thinking about taking the plunge and investing in your first commercial real-estate deal?

Even if you’re a veteran investor in residential properties – someone who buys single-family homes to rent, for example, or a house flipper – you’ll need to learn the ropes when it comes to commercial investments.

Here are five tips for first-time commercial real estate investors:

  1. Knowledge is power. Don’t rush into a deal. Do your due diligence ahead of time. Make sure you’re knowledgeable about not only the property you’re considering but about the market in general.
  2. It’s all about the numbers. Sure, location matters, just as is does for residential real estate, but the success of any commercial deal is dependent on whether the numbers work. And, to understand the numbers, you need to know the lingo – intimately. Make sure you understand the formulas for NOI, cap rates and other applicable finance terms. There’s no excuse for not understanding these crucial principles.
  3. Consider all sectors. Many new investors plan to start with small apartment buildings, but multifamily may not present the best upside potential in your particular market. So, consider alternatives, such as retail, net leased properties or even self-storage.
  4. Think about financing upfront. Commercial loans require a lot of paperwork. It’s helpful to establish a relationship with a lender in advance and to familiarize yourself with the application requirements.
  5. Surround yourself with professionals you can trust – a commercial broker, real-estate attorney, accountant, insurance agent and general contractor.


The Top Secondary MSAs for CRE Investment

Which metro areas have performed best during the coronavirus pandemic?

COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on commercial real estate in top-tier metropolitan areas — particularly the gateway markets, many of which were forced to completely shut down businesses in an effort to control the pandemic. Most secondary markets suffered the same fate, but according to a recent report by data firm Trepp LLC, some fared better than others.

Trepp analyzed the performance of 21 secondary MSAs and created a list of the top 10 areas based on their commercial real estate investment potential. Here are the top five:

1.  Austin-Round Rock, Texas. Austin ranked first due to a high rate of population growth, a low unemployment rate, a strong influx of high-tech and warehousing jobs and an increase in new CMBS issuance.

2.  San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California. San Jose has strong employment and population growth, low CMBS delinquency rates and a high average occupancy rate.

3.  Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado. Denver saw the largest growth in the total outstanding CMBS balance as well as a low delinquency rate and limited exposure for retail and lodging loans.

4.  San Antonio-New Braunfels Texas. The MSA has had strong population growth and a minimal increase in its unemployment rate. The CMBS delinquency rate is low even though retail accounts for the largest balance.

5.  Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California. The MSA ranks relatively high due to its average occupancy rate and low CMBS delinquency rate.

Wondering which MSAs didn’t perform as well? The lowest-ranking secondary metros were Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio and Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wisc. Both MSAs had high delinquency and unemployment rates.

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