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Talking Trash: The Value of Keeping Your Apartment Community Clean

Friday, February 17, 2017

Article written by Tim Blackwell from Property Management Insider.

Increase revenue by relying on smarter waste services for your apartment community

Trash talk is hardly sexy, especially following a discussion about high-end apartment amenities, but Shawn Handrahan gave it a try at the recent Marcus & Millichap multifamily conference in Dallas.

Handrahan is CEO and president of Valet Waste, which provides services for handling the mounds of waste that residents produce each year. Superficially, this may not sound as glamorous as discussing the draws of infinity-edge pools, but Valet Waste provides doorstep trash and recycle pickups for more than 1 million units, giving Handrahan unique insights into the ways waste removal can increase revenue and drive resident satisfaction.

According to Handrahan, cleanly removing refuse not only provides a nice amenity for residents but adds noticeable value to properties through increased revenue and operational efficiencies. As far as elevator pitches go, that’s enough to make any multifamily operator stop and listen.

Handrahan attributes Valet Waste’s success to helping properties keep clean while also saving them the costs of regular billing cycles associated with conventional haul-off services. Hauling partially filled compactors adds up over the long term, and properties can save by working with a provider that manages pickup times.

“One of the large expenses that goes unknown in multifamily is hauling fees because they have no idea how full the compactor is,” he said. “You may be paying for two hauls a month, four hauls a month depending on the property. But that compactor may only be 25-30 percent full, and you’re paying heavily for that.”

That can get especially expensive when the price of oil and gas goes up, he added.

Valet Waste uses data and analytics to work directly with contractors to make hauls only when the compactors are full. Typically, this model reduces the number of hauls and lowers compactor expenses by requiring fewer pickups.

apartment community

Maintenance staff can focus on more important resident issues

As another example, Handrahan discussed the ways that inefficiencies in the standard waste-removal model can trickle down to maintenance teams, who usually spend the first hours of their days policing properties to maintain curb appeal. With more efficient processes, a property’s maintenance staff can improve resident satisfaction and retention by reducing wait times on maintenance requests, as well as minimizing turnaround on vacancies by seeing to empty units more quickly. Plus, the maintenance techs will feel better about their jobs.

“How would you feel if you were this HVAC-certified maintenance technician, and you’re being asked to go out with a plastic bag and pick up pet waste?” Handrahan said. “It’s operationally inefficient. It drives employee morale down, and ultimately impacts turnover, which impacts resident satisfaction because you’re constantly having to reinvest in training.”

Upgraded waste and recycling services target younger demographics

As for demographics, Handrahan highlighted that Valet Waste has benefitted from the influx of Millennials in multifamily who don’t mind paying extra for someone else to handle the dirty work.

“Anything that you can provide to Millennials that differentiates yourself from the competition is useful,” he said. “It’s the reason why, as Millennials enter the market, our business has boomed so incredibly well.”

Handrahan estimates that the service can generate $40,000-$50,000 of net operating income for a property, depending on the size, and greatly impact asset value. The formula has helped Valet Waste, started in 1995, grow its portfolio to more than 450 management companies and owner groups throughout the multifamily housing industry.

Lowering costs with asset protection

Also, because these services collect trash and recycling at apartment doors, the apartment community spares itself the wear and tear of residents taking dripping, dirty refuse to the dumpster. The professional handling of waste removal ultimately serves as asset protection, which Handrahan translates into increased property revenue.

“It’s how often you pressure wash your breezeways and clean carpets, especially in high-rises,” he said. “That’s because you’ve got these folks taking their trash out. But if they’re staining that asset and you’re replacing that carpet in the common area, you’re making a capitalized expense that you don’t need to make.”

With these savings in mind, talking trash is starting to sound pretty sexy.


Best Practices for Apartment Landscaping Maintenance in Winter

Friday, February 17, 2017

Article written by Chris Lee from Property Management Insider.

The winter months do not obviate the need for apartment landscaping maintenance. Giving lawns, plants, trees and shrubs the attention during this time ensures that the apartment grounds transform into lush and colorful landscapes when spring arrives to enhance curb appeal.

The arrival of La Niña, a weather system that can cause erratic changes in Central and South America and parts of North America, has already affected many landscapes this year. Landscapes in the Southwest, for example, have dried out due to lower moisture levels and temperature fluctuations.

The temperature extremes followed the National Weather Service’s La Niña advisory in December. Over Christmas, much of the eastern U.S. hit record warm spells. On Christmas Day, the mercury was over 80 degrees in some parts of Texas, and then temperatures turned bitter cold the first week of January.

Like it or not, La Niña is here to stay.

Dry winters may increase the need for irrigation

A La Niña system changes how you need to prepare your landscape for winter. In recent years, the southwest enjoyed wetter conditions from an El Niño that ended serious drought, but these areas will get less moisture in the coming months, increasing the importance of irrigation.
Even though most plants and grasses are dormant, lack of necessary moisture and periodic hard freezes damage root systems. Water does a better job than air at insulating plant roots. Watering prior to a freeze will help keep bitter cold air from penetrating the roots and damaging the plant. The cold may damage the foliage, but the roots will survive.

Keeping sprinkler systems at the ready in drier areas is a good bet. During prolonged dry spells, landscapes need more attentive watering schedules to ensure that root systems remain healthy, especially when temperatures are warm.

Remember that a little bit of moisture can go a long away. Recent research published by two Texas A&M AgriLife institutes shows that some plants need only moderate moisture to remain healthy.

Sprinkler systems left on can be particularly susceptible to temperature changes. Freezes can damage pipes and require immediate attention, so it is best to periodically check the system for leaks using zone-by-zone tests. Drain and test winterized systems zone-by-zone for repairs after the last freeze.

Applying pre-emergent herbicides and fertilizer will help landscape keep pace

With warmer temperatures, the potential for earlier germination of weeds is certainly possible. Apply pre-emergent herbicides and fertilizers now to fight weed germination that typically begins in February in warmer climates. If not treated, a post-emergent application likely will be necessary in the spring.

Additionally, the landscape will need nutrients that it may not otherwise get from normal rainfall. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to ensure the lawn and vegetation has everything it needs to blossom in the spring. About half of the nutrients and nitrogen release in the initial application to give the landscape a jump. The rest release over the next few months to stabilize growth.

Warm days encourage general cleanup around the property

Take advantage of those warmer days to do general cleanup around the property. Clean leaves and dead plants out of beds and cut back grasses. By removing unsightly matter, the property looks cleaner and enhances curb appeal. At the same time, your landscape will have a head start for new growth when warmer temperatures return for good.

Mild winter temperatures that include spring-like days may tempt early pruning of some plants, but it’s best to wait until that last freeze has passed. Certain plants are more susceptible to freeze damage, so leaving their foliage and crowns intact will serve as insulation when temps drop. Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine which plants you should not cut back during the winter.

Your best bet during a La Niña winter is to keep a close eye on your landscape and work with what Mother Nature gives you.


Woods are Wareham Working Towards Upgrades

Monday, January 30, 2017

Woods of Wareham has new plans for unused office space at the property! The Wareham Community Preservation Board has unanimously voted to approve four funding requests for special projects using the Community Preservation Act funds. Among these special projects is a request from Woods of Wareham for $50,000 to convert office space at 48 Swift’s Beach Rd into a handicapped-accessible living unit. Preference for the occupant will be given to homeless individuals and/or families, which the property’s RSC Lori Luzzo shared with wickedlocal.com. She also shared that HallKeen Management (owners and management company) will be investing nearly $60,000 in upgrade renovations to the affordable-housing community, including expanded office space and resident areas.

Other special projects that will be receiving funding include the Wareham Girls Softball League, the Wareham Land Trust, and the Wesley United Methodist Church. All requests will still need to be reviewed for recommended action by the board and Finance Committee.

 Check out the full story here:

http://wareham.wickedlocal.com/news/20170126/wareham-community-preservation-committee-approves-4-more-funding-requests

 


HallKeen Wins Boston's Best & Brightest Companies Award!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Congratulations to HallKeen!

HallKeen got named one of Boston’s Best and Brightest Companies to work for this year through the Nation’s Premier Awards Competition! As one of Boston’s Best and Brightest winning companies HallKeen is doing their part by reflecting the program’s mission and principles through having a better business, richer lives and stronger communities. Great job HallKeen!

#BestandBrightest #Boston #WorkForUs #WeAreHiring #WinningCompany #HallKeen #propertymanagement #apartments #101BB

 

 

 


HallKeen Giving Back!

Friday, January 06, 2017

 

The HallKeen Corporate Office collected and donated over $2500 in toys, cash donations and gift cards (including a $1000 match from HKM) for Horizons for Homeless Children. Jannel Satterwhite-Williamson & Emily Hyman dropped off the donations on Friday, Dec 16th! Thank you to those who particiapted for making a difference this holiday season.

 

 


Donna Horan is IREM's Professional Woman of the Year

Monday, December 12, 2016

Congratulations to Donna Horan on receiving IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management) Boston Metropolitan Chapter No 4’s Professional Woman of the Year award!



Spreading Thanksgiving Cheer at Woods at Wareham

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

For the third year in a row Woods at Wareham has partnered with the Rochester Lions Club to donate food to our residents! Resident Services Coordinator Lori Luzzo headed up t he effort to transport the donated food and then distribute to residents with the help of the entire HK team at Woods.

Read the full story here:

http://marion.wickedlocal.com/news/20161122/rochester-lions-club-spreads-holiday-spirit-to-wareham

 

 

 

 


Featured Article Written by Courtney Mathiowitz!

Friday, November 11, 2016

 

Courtney Mathiowitz, Associate Director of Marketing, and 2016 NextGen Chairperson, recapped 2016’s RHA Expo and NextGen events! The article was featured in the Bay State Apartment Owner Magazine!

To read the full article on pages 6&7 go to:

http://www.gbreb.com/uploadedFiles/RHA/Resources/BSAO/BSAOFALLFINAL.pdf

 

 

 


Sunapee Cove Resident Featured on WSJ!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Hazel Nilson, resident of Sunapee Cove in George Mills, NH, has been featured on national and local news outlets in the past weeks as the chronicled her story of a 108 year old cubs fan. Most notabley, the Wall Street Journal  visited her at Sunapee and conducted a charming interview with the feisty 108 year old! Hazel grew up in Chicago and was just a few months old when the Cubs won the World Series last and in last night's game she got to watch them win again.

Check out her story here:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/keeping-faith-for-the-cubs-at-108-years-old-1477599538

 

 

 


RHA Expo Takeaways!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

 

“I’ve been with the company about 6 months and loved the expo. It was great because I got a lot of contacts from it and had two contractors giving me prices on rugs and other projects coming up. It was nice to meet some of the people in my industry, but overall it was awesome.” -Henry Cooke, Maintenance Technician, South Shore Housing (Plympton, MA)

“I feel that these conferences always give me some perspective on the industry. It is always good to see how others do things and that there are common struggles. I really liked the Ritz-Carlton speaker, nothing like hearing from the best. Also, the 212 degree illustration, that 211 degrees is hot, but 212 degrees boils water. Success sometimes requires that extra effort...” -Michael Parsons, Regional Manager

“The RHA expo was amazing this year. Not only was ‘The
5 Second Rule—Achieve Break Through Performance In Your Career & Life’ with Mel Robbins really touching, but it really served a purpose in reminding me of the many little life goals that I will be attempting to apply this rule towards each day!! Positively life changing. Bob Gray was also very WONDERFUL!! I felt oddly silly afterwards not remembering where I parked later! HA! I always look forward to seeing the many vendors we connect with all year round and in-person during the expo. It’s always nice to meet new faces, or simply put a name to a face. It’s great to meet associates within the field and various properties that you’ve heard of over time. Networking, as always, was amazing. I always appreciate the after hours around the area, that give you the opportunities to kick back and mingle with the wonderful rental housing communities that come together each year. Thank you to the RHA staff and the in-house NextGen community for all the hard work in making this event a success each year! I appreciate it immensely!“ -Marilyn Tamaklo, Assistant Property Manager, YMCA of Greater Boston (Boston, MA)

“At RHA, I personally look forward to meeting the vendors and putting a name to a face. Also, meeting new companies and learning about what they have to offer. This is very helpful as a manager especially since we are the front line for bidding and obtaining quotes. The more options, the better.” -Jennifer Zarrella, Property Manager, Midway Studios (Boston, MA)

“It was nice to see some of our vendors and meet new ones. We already had a vendor come out the next day to measure for carpets and put in a bid. It was a nice day out and there were great giveaways to bring back. We shared them with some of our residents.” -Janine Eaton, Resident Services Coordinator, South Shore Housing (Plympton, MA)

CONGRATULATIONS TO MARILYN TAMAKLO
YOU ARE THE WINNER OF THE RHA TAKEAWAYS CONTEST !! You will receive a Starbucks gift card in the mail courtesy of the HallKeen Marketing Department!