I have a standing desk. It holds two monitors, a few pages of paper, two pens and two highlighters. That’s it – nothing more.

Aside from the health benefits of a standing desk it does something much more important. It keeps me from nesting. Nesting to mean – sitting in a nice cozy chair for very long bits of time moving busy work around my digital or analog desktop.

When people come in to see me – we don’t sit. We have stand up meetings that get right to the point. They last long enough to move the business forward. We don’t get comfortable to the point of spending long bits of time engaged in chit-chat. Not that chit-chat and relationship building isn’t important – it is. But over the course of a day filled with a fair share of got-a-minutes – managing it is key.

Stand Up Desk – At the Site Level

I’m thinking deeply about the Customer Experience in our offices across Mills Portfolio and stand up desks, information/data entry ports and designated collision points are front and center to my vision.


The traditional office is in strong need of re-imagining. The day of the big desk with cozy comfortable nesting chairs is over. The day of a wide open fluid office space are here.

Your looking forward to designing a new office/sales experience Multifamily Maniac,


Another Leasing Commission Rant

Drop leasing commissions – make them a thing of the past.

I have railed about commission based sales in the multifamily space for years.

It’s a worn out model. But people keep finding premise after premise to keep it alive and kicking. It’s broken

The article below clearly demonstrates that the model is broke:

Pricing and Sales: An Interesting Interplay in Multi-family – Multifamily Blogs

That’s an “elephant in the room” that we need to talk about. Most salespeople only benefit from sales going up; but our leasing associates can sometimes feel like they’re being penalized for their own success. They lease well, so the pricing system raises rents which makes it harder to lease. This is not “normal” in most of the sales world, so we should be purposeful and address this very real situation with our leasing associates.

But to keep things alive and kicking; it goes on and on with suggestions about how to make leasing professionals feel okay about it. Here is the cold-hard truth, they feel penalized because the business model is different yet the compensation plan is the same. Let’s face it, money in the bank is the only thing that makes a sales person Phappyrrell [Read: Happy].

We need to stop and think about the compensation system that makes sense in the context of the new model. It’s that simple. It’s that clean. But it’s not that easyReally not that easy.

Drop leasing commissions – make them a thing of the past. Raise base wages to offset lost commissions (take a two-year trailing average of all commissions paid and tally an average increase – tweak where necessary) and move on.

Your looking to push the edge with leasing commissions Multifamily Maniac,


How do I Lease More Apartments Part 2

People want to understand what they are paying their hard-earned money for.

And when they understand – they have no issue laying it down and leasing your apartment.

When they don’t understand the following happens:

1. Your price is too high

2. People don’t return your calls

3. They reject your closing attempts

4. They need to look around

5. They need to consult their partner

Your encouraging you to become a steward of information Multifamily Maniac,


How do I Lease more Apartments?

Wrong question.

The better question is; why do people lease Apartments?

Why do they buy? It’s all that matters.

Short answer: Like.

And I don’t mean the Facebook kind of Like. No, I mean the kind of like that falls just shy of, will you go to the dance with me – Like.

It is the single most powerful piece of the sales process.

Get them to like you and that leads to trust.

And that is why people lease apartments.

So the next time you catch yourself asking the question, how do I lease more Apartments – think rather about how you get more people to like you.

Your always looking to lease more apartments Multifamily Maniac, M

Stop Worrying About Closing Ratios

“The score will take care of itself” – Bill Walsh


I had the great privilege of playing basketball all the way through NCAA Division 1. It was the absolute thrill of a lifetime. And I have a ton of memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life but there is one that sticks out more than others.

The Score

It’s obvious that the team with the highest score at the end of the basketball game is the winner. But in the game there are two types of players. One that keeps his or her eye the scoreboard the entire game; and another that just plays for the love of the game.

My high school coach loved Bill’s quote above. He drilled it into our heads. He would remind us that it was his job to pay attention to the score; it was our job to play the game.

Leasing Apartments

To those of you who lease apartments for a living; it is the job of your property manager and your senior leaders to pay attention to the score. It’s their job to make sure that you have all the tools necessary to score leases. It’s their job to make sure you are well-trained, properly attired and ready for the game.

On the other hand, it is your passion your commitment and your responsibility to lease for the love of leasing. For the love of helping people. For the joy and thrill of finding the perfect apartment for your client. Forget about closing ratios – they will take care of themselves.

Your score will take care of itself Multifamily Maniac,


Mystery Gifts

One of the things I love about the multifamily business is the creativity. I love it when property managers, assistant manager and leasing consultants express themselves through marketing. I especially love it when the customer is wow’d by their efforts.

The Box

Mike Brewer, Apartment Hacker

An email crossed my desk today with this picture attached. The box has vintage candy inside that includes the likes of; candy buttons, candy cigarettes and kits taffy chews just to name a few. And when the PM hands the box to a customer she explains that the candy is a unique find – just like her property – Ely Walker. Ely is a vintage St. Louis building that converted to condos and apartments with street level retail and underground parking. Uber-cool.  

Your lovin the creative vintage correlation Multifamily Maniac,



Every Leasing Desk Should be Round


I have read on more than one occasion that a square desk lends to the idea of authority over subordinate because a round desk typically raises active participation.

I have also read on more than one occasion that all transaction based discussions are better conducted at a round table.

It all makes sense to me.

How about you?


Your considering installing round leasing desks from now on Multifamily maniac,


The Anti-Pushy Sales Approach

Today’s guest post comes to us from Crystal Gluszek over at ZenRoommate.

Be Unforgettable

In my 15 Years of Multi-Family Management I have perfected what I like to call the “Anti-Pushy” sales approach.

I tour my clients like a best friend who is visiting from out-of-state. Not only do I show features and benefits of my community I also sell “that” feeling.

The feeling that I want them to live here but I don’t need them to live here because I am cool, confident and secure that my sales approach will close the deal.

I even like to add that “we don’t use any high pressure sales techniques here, because we don’t have to” which by proxy says that communities who do…need to for some reason and it’s not good. (Insert diabolical laugh here)

I feel the bond between the client and myself being made and I know that they’ll sign the lease now or be back tomorrow.  I send a quick follow-up asking about how their cat or dog feels about the apartments they have narrowed down.  Maybe even say “Fido called me and wants to live here” so I add a sense of quirkiness to what can be a mundane process and this becomes my approach.

I tell my agents to stay professional and stay fun and create an experience. After all isn’t everything we do about creating an experience your clients will relate to being home.

So my message is Be Unforgettable.

Crystal Gluszek

Zenroommate.Com Co-Founder and Multi-Family Fanatic


What we do is simple. We help you search for roommates using several different areas of compatibility, providing the opportunity for a more streamlined match.

We also allow Landlords and Realtors to list units that would be perfect for a roommate setting; condos, rooms for rent, house shares and more can be seen by people who may have an interest in filling that vacancy.


LIKE us at WWW.Facebook.Com/Zenroommate or Follow us at WWW.Twitter.Com/Zenroommate


My guess – if you are looking to differentiate yourself from the pack; the skill of focus will be your linchpin.

Mike Brewer Apartment Management Distractions

There are distractions all around us. How easy is it to get lost in a status or tweet stream review? How easy is it to get caught up in a conversation that is not really moving your business forward? How easy is it to get into the busy and forget about the important stuff?

What do you spend your time on? 

What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? If you are like most you grab the phone sitting beside your bed. Or you scramble to find it buried between the sheets because you fell asleep reading something.

Focus is fast becoming the number on asset of excellent knowledge age worker. Property management professionals everywhere – it’s time to raise the stakes. It’s time to lay the phone down and get some serious quality work done.

Now before you start defending your opinion on the subject – let me say this. I’m not suggesting you put the phone in the drawer and ignore for the full day. I am suggesting you set blocks of time whereby you ignore the incoming text messages, emails and phone calls. Ignore the status updates and the urge to kill the next round of angry birds or fill in your word for a friend.

Raise the stakes and make some good work happen.

My guess – if you are looking to differentiate yourself from the pack; the skill of focus will be your linchpin.

Your always raising the stakes multifamily maniac,