ApartmentManager April-June 2009
Community Manager Avalon Fashion Valley
GOING GREEN Transitioning to Solar Energy 5-STEPS
To Keep in Touch With Your Residents
INTERNET MARKETING The Value of Internet Leads
Top 4 Inner Needs of a Customer
Taking the “CUS” Out of CUSTOMER
Good for the environment. Good for your property.
As a property manager, you can make a difference by choosing environmentally friendly products and services and participate in recycling programs. Letâ€™s minimize our carbon footprint on earth and leave a clean place
Photo by Lars Christensen
for our children!
Apartment Manager San Diego Magazine • APR-JUN/2009
contents cover story 17 Manager Spotlight Stacey Foo, Avalon Fashion Valley Apartments
12 Going Green - Solar Panels 28 Service Starts with a Smile by Cary Cavitt
departments 07 Leasing & Marketing Internet Marketing by Amy Kosnikowski
10 Resident Relations
Taking the “Cus” out of Customer by Anne Sadovisk
20 Move In Gifts
Creative ways to say “Welcome”
22 Team Building
How to Master Property Management Team Building by Ernest Oriente
24 Resident Retention
Reach Out and Touch Your Residents by Toni Blake
30 Work Ethics
You Can’t Afford the Luxury of Disengaged Employees by Jim Donovan
33 Landscape Care
Parenting Your Tree by Christine & Ted Huffman
36 Affordable Housing Score High on REAC VAWA Compliance
38 Legal Updates
Bed Bugs - by Susie Lein (KTS) New State Law - by Meliah Schultzman (NHLP)
Apartment Manager San Diego
28 40 Maintenance
5-Tips for cleaning roof & gutters - by Ryan Ambler The History of Pipeline Materials
44 Vendor’s Directory
Products and Services Guide
Enthusiasm: Reach High and Succeed
ApartmentManager San Diego Magazine
f rom the Editor
Editor-in-Chief ELAINE SILBERBERG am excited to bring to you the launch
edition of Apartment Manager San Diego
magazine. In my 18 years as an apartment manager, I have
waited for a magazine that would be a voice for our profession to showcase our accomplishments, ingenuity and diversity. A magazine to inspire, inform, and educate in a simple and relevant way. In this issue, our cover manager Stacey Foo shares her story and passion for providing great customer service. Business-coach Ernest Oriente has some great tips on how to master property management team building. Every manager knows how important it is to have a good resident retention program in place. Toni Blake, nationally recognized speaker, takes you step-by-step through a working plan on how to reach out to your residents and get them to renew. Often, we come across difficult people in our profession and how we handle them is crucial to our business. Anne Sadovisk, certified professional speaker, challenges you to take the “cus” out of customer, and offers tips on how to handle unhappy residents. Many Apartment Owners have been looking into Solar Energy as an alternative to protect the environment and as a way to save money on their utility bills. In this issue of Apartment Manager San Diego, we have gathered some information to inform you about Solar Power. Our inspiration theme for this issue is “enthusiasm” - having enthusiasm is essential to the success of anything we endeavor to do in life. As you flip through the pages of this magazine, I hope you find yourself inspired and challenged to do what you do everyday better
Contributors in this issue AMY KOSNIKOWSKI ANNE SADOVSKI CARY CAVITT CHRISTINE & TED HUFFMAN ERNEST ORIENTE JIM DONOVAN MELIAH SCHULTZMAN RYAN AMBLER SUSIE LEIN TONI BLAKE Photography GEORGE VALLE Graphic Artist ELAINE SILBERBERG Proof Reader KATHY KOTOWSKI Marketing and Sales TRACEY L. SMITH Published quarterly by Clever Publishing Company 10240 Thanksgiving Lane San Diego CA 92126 email@example.com Phone: 858.564.9222 Fax: 619.342.7793
Elaine Silberberg, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
and with your whole heart.
on the cover...
For Advertising Contact Tracey L. Smith: 619.405.5750 Tracey.Lynn@cox.net Copyright 2009
Our cover for this issue is Stacy Foo, Community Manager for Avalon Fashion Valley Apartments. The image of Stacy was captured by George Valley.
Apartment Manager San Diego Magazine is published quarterly by Clever Publishing Co. All rights are reserved. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without express written consent is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers or staff. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information presented in this issue is accurate and neither Apartment Manager San Diego Magazine nor Clever Publishing Co. is responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. apartmentmanagersandiego.com
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marketing | leasing
Get the from
by Amy Kosnikowski
Did you know that 52% of Internet leads that we receive in our inboxes are never followed up on? Unbelievable! That is over half of the interested parties inquiring about your community who are not getting a response! Compare and consider if you did not answer half the calls that came in everyday! Or even imagine if you refused to talk to every other person who came in to tour your community. That is a huge amount of valuable business lost right at your fingertips knocking on your web door. Answer the email or maximize the phone call and let them in.
ou can do this by Underneed to look in the crystal ball— more standing the Value of Interthan likely you will need this business. net Leads, Use all the Tools It has been proven that residents who and Quickly Respond with proper Nelook 60 days in advance stay an average tiquette. of 2.5 years. Did you also realize that Internet leads Compare that to someone who are more qualified and eager to take the wants to move-in less than 30 days will leasing process to the next step? That’s average one year or less of residency. because they take the time to research Doesn’t this make one want to focus and evaluate all their housing choices. more on those future internet leads? When Internet customers email or call – The Internet is a great tool Internet as a Leasing Tool they are ready to do business! They have The Internet is a great tool to showto showcase your property, already seen your prices, floor plans, case your property, but also to close but also to close the deal virtual tours and photos. For all you the deal right then and there over the know they have picked out their favorite phone. Encourage the customer to right then and there floor plan and placed the furniture. All get back online and use all the images over the phone. you need to do is invite them out for a and visuals online such as virtual tours, tour or proceed with the lease over the floor plans or photos to get them exphone! cited about your community and apartDid you realize that Internet searchers seek out farther ahead ment homes. Walk them through your community to build up when looking for an apartment home? According to a recent anticipation before they arrive. They may even lease sight unseen by filling out your application online and using their credit card. study by Apartments.com, 42% of their visitors are looking to move in 60 days and 20% in 3-6 months. It is understandable Know Your Property Website the reasons why an immediate move-in lead would get worked If you are not already extremely familiar with each of your Inharder than one that was looking 90-days out. However, chances ternet ads – I challenge you to immediately go online and thorare that you will receive few future notices to move out. So no oughly study each site. Knowing the in’s & outs and how to use
marketing | leasing the provided tools will assist you to leasing apartments. For example, most sites have surrounding city informational links and stats that could build your knowledge base plus give your customers more information during their decision process.
Adding Value to Your Site
According to Homespages.com, a real estate portal, the top searches when people are searching for homes are seeking school information and community knowledge such as crime stats, weather, population and other demographical information. According to Apartments. com’s Internet customers, the features that are found to be most useful are the area map, driving directions, real time availability and link to property management’s website. This same study reflects that 35% of the leads are coming from out-of-state and 31% are moving within the state so it crucial that surrounding area information links and information is known and provided. If you knew that your customer is moving from out of town, wouldn’t it be extremely beneficial to know this in order to customize your phone call or email to share local area tips and other useful information? Gaining this knowledge will lead you to becoming an amazing expert resource to your customer as they proceed through the moving process. Does your site(s) adequately provide regional area information to your prospective customers and is the information correct? Take a look and make the needed adjustments such as adding links or maps.
Be an Internet Monitor
Get in the habit of going online at least monthly to not only review and update your community’s Internet advertisements but also to see what your competition is 8
Apartment Manager San Diego
up to. Remember that anyone at anytime 24/7 can view your sites so ensure that it is looking the best it possibly can. By simply updating copy, photos or changing headlines can improve performance. Price adjustments and other changes such as updating your photos can easily be made online or by calling your local representative or Webmaster. Do not hesitate to make recommendations to your company’s
print out all ads and insert them into your Leasing Presentation book. This will be helpful for you while on the phone if you cannot access the web. This will enable you to become familiar with what each site offers and what your customer is looking at. You may even be able to use the ads to improve source tracking methods to narrow down the correct site that the customer viewed you on by having them point to it or even describe it. Knowing what tools each site contains in addition to gaining the knowledge of how to use it will advance your Internet leads into leases quickly.
The Early Bird Gets the Lease!
marketing department if your community needs additional Internet exposure on other site or beef up current ads. Be prepared to do research and present the reasons for the additional cost with expected ROI and even to offer take ownership to set it up. Pick one day a month to monitor your site(s) and stick with it to become committed to Internet Quality Patrol. Another way to use the Internet is to
Responding to Internet leads will be the best way that you can spend your time in building your potential customer database. Treat it just as urgently as if it is a phone call or potential customer walking in to your office. Respond to the Internet lead in the same way the lead came to you within 1-2 hours of receiving the call or lead. Also ensure that the Automatic Response is being utilized, if that is an option, and customize it with distinguishing elements of your community. A great idea is to compose an Internet Response Letter thanking them for their interest and highlighting the qualities and services of your community unique from the copy on your site. You can cut and paste this letter from a Word document and then customize it to the needs of the customer once it is in the email. For example, you may include some teaser tidbits describing the one bedroom apartment and its view. Include also that you will follow up with them within 24 hours – And do it! The Internet Response Letter will save you time and effort, plus make you a Leasing Superstar.
marketing | leasing
Golden Rules of Netiquette
Don’t forget when responding to Internet Leads to follow the Golden Rules of Netiquette:
Always spell check for a positive first impression.
Add your digital signature supplying your name, title, community name and contact information (phone, email, website URL).
Installation Maintenance Diagnose and Repair Cabling
Ask permission first if you want to send additional attachments.
If the Internet lead provides the customer’s number, always follow up with a phone call to answer questions, build excitement and rapport then set up an appointment to come tour your community.
Remote Access System Motion Detection High Resolution
Tracking Internet Leads You should record the Internet traffic on your community’s guest card record and track the call or email. If you are a stickler when tracking Internet Leads, the numbers for potential move-ins will be staggering! It will not take long for you to realize the positive impact by understanding the immense value of the Internet, responding and tracking Internet leads can tremendously enhance your numbers. Quickly volunteer to be your property’s Internet Ambassador by checking the quality of the site(s) and taking charge of all the leads coming in. Remember that this is a Leasing Professional’s dream marketing machine working 24-hours a day, 7 days a week on your behalf. You will see immediate results when you maximize how this tool is used and will be so glad that you did! AM
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About the Author
Amy Kosnikowski is a proven leader in sales, leasing, management and marketing real estate asset bringing over 18 years of passion and experience in the real estate industry. As a nationally recognized expert for her talents and achievements in the industry, Amy has served at the executive level with national REIT’s in addition to privately held real estate investment companies. Based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, Amy serves as the principal of Quintessential offering The Q Standard system focused on improving bottom line solutions. Amy’s expertise is frequently highlighted at national conferences, expert panel events and educational seminars. Amy shares her extensive experience with companies, associations and organizations across the country as a national speaker, industry educator, marketing strategist and sales coach. Contact Amy at 704.496.4107 or amy@theQstandard.com. April-June/2009
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HOW TO TAKE THE “CUS” OUT OF CUSTOMER Smooth Handling of Difficult People...
By Anne Sadovisk
o e s t h i s s c e n e s o u n d f a m i l i a r ? T h e re s i d e n t i s i n y o u r f a c e , venom spewing. He is so angry that his face is red, his eyes are bulging and the veins in his neck are pulsating. Before you can gather your thoughts or say a word, the four letter words and name-calling begins.
How would you react? Human beings typically respond in one of three ways: some behave in kind, in other words; they cuss, you cuss; they threaten you, you threaten them; they whine, you whine. Some of us might simply give in… “whatever you want, we’ll do, we don’t want you to be mad at us.” And some of us simply want to escape… “please step out of my office, lose my phone number, I have to leave now, excuse me while I go hide.” Your choice of behavior typically comes from conditioning (both childhood and adult), and lack of thinking before speaking and behaving. Our reaction comes naturally, but that doesn’t mean it’s effective. Sadly, none of those behaviors work! Our goal in this situation 10
Apartment Manager San Diego
is much more than soothing the savage beast, more than calming them down, more than making them happy. Our goal is to keep them living there, paying rent and referring their friends! And it takes training, attitude changes and refocusing on that goal to make it happen. Each team member has to see the benefit of better handling of our customers when they are unhappy. Sometimes we have to suffer in order to put different behaviors in place. Several years ago, the Dallas Morning News reported that an unhappy resident shot a manager and assistant manager (that is more suffering than anyone should have to experience). I had an opportunity to talk with the supervisor and learned that a complaint turned into a shouting, threatening, cursing match, with the staff participating as much as the resident. My question remains, “I wonder if it could have turned out differently if the team members had used a little psychology, some soothing words and had kept their cool?” So how do we change and get others to change in order to keep happy, satisfied residents? The practice of these few rules will make a huge difference:
resident relations 1. DO NOT react. Take deep breaths, and ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say going to make this better or worse?” If the answer is “worse,” don’t say it! Weigh and measure your words before speaking. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself saying, “I wish I hadn’t said that.”
Bottom line: Challenge yourself to be a peacemaker…make every effort possible to calm and soothe…remember, in order for one of you to win, one of you has to lose. Make every resident contact a win/win. AM
2. Never speak when you are feeling a physical reaction to what the customer is doing or saying. If your hands are shaking, you feel your face flushing, your guts are grinding and your heart is racing, silently count to 10 slowly. Call a mental time out, take some notes and stay focused on your goal.
Anne Sadovsky, CSP, CAM, CAPS, RAM, has been in this industry since 1968. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and has earned the prestigious designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Based in Dallas, Texas, she was named one of the top trainers in the industry by Multi Housing News. Her success story has been featured in Money Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and Texas Business. As a consultant, Anne has saved and made her clients millions of dollars. To contact Anne by phone: 866 905-9300 or e-mail: email@example.com or visit her website at www.annesadovsky.com.
3. Disarm them by doing the opposite of what they are trying to provoke and are expecting. Listen, nod, acknowledge their feelings by saying, “I see that you are really upset about this, and I would be also. Let’s see what we can do about it right now.” Make it another goal to try and give them a better day, a more positive feeling about you, the property and your company. 4. Use words that are proven to soothe. I call them MAGIC words:
“You are very important to us.” “I’d be upset if it happened to me.” “Let me write this down so we can get right on it.” “Let’s put our heads together and come up with a solution.” 5. Don’t take it personally. They really aren’t mad at you, but at the situation, at life in general. You don’t always know the whole story of what is going on in their lives that makes them get so easily upset. 6. And remember, never try to out shout, use foul language OR correct them for theirs, make them feel small or demean them. This doesn’t mean that you should ever take physical abuse, or that verbal abuse should continue after you have made every effort to calm the resident and have kept your cool. Sometimes it becomes necessary to say, “I have offered everything possible that I know of to help you. Perhaps we should both think on this for a while. I’ll make some calls and let’s get back together by phone in half an hour.” Choose your words based on the degree of severity of the problem, the urgency of the situation and how hostile the customer is. April-June/2009
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Going Green | Environment
s the world becomes more aware of global warming and more concerned about the depletion of our natural resources, solar power electricity is getting more attention than ever before. Solar Energy benefits the environment and it’s a good way to contribute to energy sustainability. Recently, many Apartment Owners have been looking into solar panels out of their concern over environmental pollution as well as to save money in their utility bills. In this issue of Apartment Manager San Diego, we have gathered some information to inform our readers about Solar Power.
Fa ct s A b o u t S ol a r P o w er
What size PV system do I need?
What is Solar Electric Photovoltaic (PV) System?
Several factors will influence the size of the system. The first step in determining the appropriate size is to consider your present electricity needs. A solar installer/contractor will be able to help you with this.
Solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) technology uses the sun’s energy to make electricity. When sunlight strikes an array of solar panels, electrons are freed by the interaction of sunlight with semiconductor materials (typically silicon). The electrons are collected to create electricity. Direct current (DC) is the only type of current produced by solar cells. Appliances and machinery, however, operate on alternating current (AC), as supplied by your utility. The DC energy produced by the panels is fed into an inverter that transforms the DC power into AC power, which then feeds into the main electrical panel that powers your house or business. A bi-directional utility meter is required to connect to the electrical panel. This meter is connected to your utility’s grid and is the means of delivering AC electricity both into and out of your home or facility.
Is my property a good place for a PV System? First consider how much sunlight your property receives. Your property should have a clear, unobstructed access to the sun for most of the day, and throughout the year. In California, the sun is in the southern half of the sky and produces more PV electricity than in the northern part. Because shading will reduce the amount of electricity your system will produce, PV panels should be installed in a location that is not significantly shaded by trees, chimneys or nearby structures. The best orientation for a PV system is on a south-facing roof; roofs that face east or west may also be acceptable. Flat roofs can also work because the PV array can be mounted on frames tilting south; a PV array can also be mounted on the ground.
Do I have enough roof area? The amount of roof space needed is based on the size, or generating capacity, of the system. Residential systems can vary in size from 50 square feet to 1,000 square feet. A rule of thumb is that a square foot of PV module area produces 10 watts of power in bright sunlight. For example, a 2,000-watt system would require about 200 square feet of roof area.
Apartment Manager San Diego
How much electricity will a PV system produce? In California, a PV system will produce the most electricity in spring through fall when sunlight hours are the longest and the sun is positioned higher in the sky. A 1-kW system can produce from 1,400 kWh to 2,000 kWh per year depending on the location within the state. Generally, a PV system in the southern part of the state will produce more electricity than one in the northern part of California.
What is a kilowatt (kW)? A kW is a basic unit of measure of real electric power or a rate of doing work. A kW is 1,000 watts. A kWh is a basic unit of energy consumption. For example, ten 100W light bulbs burning for one hour will consume 1,000 watt-hours of electricity, or 1 kWh.
Are there cleaning and maintenance costs? PV output is significantly impacted by dirt accumulation. The frequency of cleaning depends on the location. For example, locations closer to freeways or industrial facilities, or in high-wind areas, are likely to accumulate dirt more frequently and should be cleaned more often.
What happens during a power outage? In case of a power outage, your solar electric system is designed to immediately shutdown for safety reasons. A grid-tied solar electric system does not provide power during outages unless it includes a battery storage system. Your power will be reinstated moments after grid power is restored; however, you will need to manually reset your solar system (inverter) back to service after your power is reinstated. – most have auto reset once power is restored. AM Source: Southern California Edison International. For more information visit www.sce.com/csi or www.gosolarcalifornia.gov.ca.
Photo by John Keith - A man connects cables while installing solar panels.
Net-Metering - What is and How it Works At any time of the day, your solar energy system will produce more or less electricity than your property needs. To allow for Net Energy Metering, a bi-directional meter measures the electricity flowing into and out of your property. For example, when your solar generating system produces more electricity than your property uses, the â€œexcessâ€? electricity automatically passes through the meter and onto the utility grid. When this ocApril-June/2009
curs, the meter runs backward and Net Energy Metering generates a bill credit for the full retail value of the electricity your system is producing at that time. At times when your electricity demand is higher than your solar system produces, your property uses electricity supplied by your utility. Over a 12-month period, customers on Net Energy Metering will pay for the net amount of electricity used from their utility over and above the
amount of electricity their solar system generates (in addition to monthly nongeneration charges incurred).
D i d Yo u K n ow? Californians have installed 69% of all of the grid-tied PV capacity in the U.S., which is 280 MW cumulative to date through 2007. Californians have installed about 33,000 out of the nationâ€™s 48,000 solar systems. The state with the second-most is New Jersey, with 9% of total installed capacity.
Going Green | Environment
Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing - “MASH”
Photo by Manfred Steinbach
to Slar System
On October 16, 2008,
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program that provides solar incentives on qualifying affordable housing multifamily dwellings. To be eligible for the program, existing multifamily affordable housing must meet the definition of low-income residential housing as defined in Public Utilities Code 2852.a.2 and have occupancy permit for at least two years. MASH is administered by Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in their respective service territories and the California Center for Sustainable Energy for San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s (SDG&E) territory. The MASH program provides two types of incentives:Track 1 incentives and Track 2 incentives. Track 1 incentives provide fixed, up front capacity-based incentives for solar PV systems that offset common area and tenant loads. Track 2 offers higher incentives to applicants who provide quantifiable “direct tenant benefits” (i.e. any operating costs savings from solar that are shared with their tenants). Track 2 is a competitive grant application process where the applicant submits a proposed dollar per watt for a project. The project must demonstrate that it will provide significant benefits to tenants.
Apartment Manager San Diego
The Goals Under MASH Stimulate adoption of solar power in the affordable housing sector. Improve energy utilization and overall quality of affordable housing through application of solar and energy efficiency technologies. Decrease electricity use and costs without increasing monthly household expenses for affordable housing building occupants. Increase awareness and appreciation of the benefits of solar among affordable housing occupants and developers.
Qualification Eligible electric customers of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E may receive an incentive through the MASH Program. The MASH Program is targeted at existing multifamily affordable housing facilities that meet the definition of low-income residential housing set forth in Pub. Util. Code § 2852. Specifically, this means multifamily housing financed with low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, or local, state or federal loans or grants. The facility must also meet the definition of low-income households in Health and Safety Code § 50079.5. AM
- By Randy Connors
Determine your historical energy use from your past electric bills. Pay attention to the difference between summer and winter power usage.
Determine your roof area available for Photovoltaic Panels. These Solar Panels mounted on your roof contain the Photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into DC power. South facing surface areas is best, but seasonal variations in sun exposure allow for a variety of Solar Panel placements to be used. Also, new technology allows for sun “tracking” or programmed mechanical moving of the solar panels to maximize sun exposure during the day and across all seasons of the year.
Contact a licensed and approved Solar Installation Contractor(s) in your area to perform an on-site consultation. Your contractors will know all the current solar technologies available and how to take advantage of all possible Federal, State, and possibly local solar tax rebates, grants, etc.
The Solar Installation Contractor will determine best location for your Photovoltaic Panels and best Inverters to use for the size of the Solar System. Location of solar panels may vary as well as type of panels. Inverters (which convert the solar panel current from DC to usable AC current) need to be chosen based on best size and type for the system as does
Going Green | Environment
the Production Meter. The power from the Solar Panels are sent to an Inverter (or power converter) which converts the DC electricity from the solar modules to AC power, which is the same type of power being sent from your utility company to your home or business.
Discuss all costs for various solar electric system options and installation timing with your Solar Installation Contractor to finalize all variables. Once all is decided, it is the time to sign the contract with your Solar Installation Contractor.
Your Solar Installation Contractor will submit applications to your electric utility and begin paperwork with all possible Federal, State, and local tax rebates, grants, etc., to save you the maximum money possible.
You will then sign a contract with your electric utility. This is called a Net Metering Agreement and states that the power utility will credit your account for the excess power you produce, which flows to the power grid. Also, an important consideration is the use of a Meter Monitor. This will allow you to be given credit for power you generate at different rates. These rates can be peak and off-peak rates, and are dependent on time of day you produce power, day of the week, and month of the year. Peak rates are often summer afternoon week days. If you send power to the grid during peak times, you will get credit at the higher, peak rate.When you gain credit and then draw on your credit at off-peak periods your account will be debited at off-peak rates. If all of the electricity being generated by your solar energy system is immediately being used, your meter will not “spin backwards”.
Your Solar Installation Contractor will generate design drawings and pull all permits needed and, when you are ready, will install your system. Once completely installed your County or City will inspect the system for compliance and to ensure you are eligible for the Solar Tax Rebates and other benefits you have applied for.
Your Utility Company will be sending your Solar Rebate Check 6 to 8 Weeks after Inspection of System.
Enjoy decades of environmentally friendly and maintenance-free electricity solar power while adding value to your property. AM
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computer | technology
How to Cleanup Your Computer
by Wesley Render
s your computer performing slower that when you first got it? You are most likely in need of a computer tune up. Although you can call a computer technician to have it fixed up, there are few things you may be able to do yourself. After using your computer for a while, it starts to become bogged down with things that have been added since you started using it. These things can include registry entries, unwanted software or temporary internet files. It might be a good idea to do this cleanup on your computer monthly, but it obviously depends on how much use your computer gets. The more use the computer gets, the more regularly you should run these maintenance tasks.
Cleaning Up Are you ready to get rid of the junk? If you are, do this: (These instructions are for Windows XP) Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Cleanup. Run the disk cleanup with the default settings that it recommends. After the disk cleanup is complete you will see it disappear. You have just removed a lot of unnecessary temporary files from your computer. Click Start, go to Control Panel click Add/Remove Programs. Now you can uninstall programs from your computer.Try uninstalling software that you are not using anymore. If you are
unsure what it is, it is probably best to leave it installed. Now you might want to run a disk defragment utility. This will organize the files on your hard disk and improve performance. Open My Computer, right click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, and then click Properties. On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now. Click Defragment.
About the Author Wesley Render is the owner of Otherdata and provides computer assistance to computer users across Canada. For more information visit www.otherdata.com.
We Are Looking For Apartment Managers That Would Like To Be Featured On Future Issues of Apartment Manager San Diego Magazine. If You Are Interested Contact Us By Email At
Apartment Manager San Diego
Manager Spotlight STACEY FOO 27, Community Manager of Avalon Fashion Valley, San Diego, CA.
When Stacey Foo started in the hospitality industry, and while working for the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, little did she know that she would be managing one of the newest and finest apartment communities in San Diego. But it was Stacey’s passion to provide excellent customer service that has led her to property management. With a bachelor’s degree in Communications from San Diego State University, Stacey strives to exceed her residents’ expectations
Fashion Valley. This brand-new 161-units Apartment Community is strategically located across from the Fashion Valley Mall. By Elaine Silberberg Photographs by George Valley
the opportunity she had at South Hills Apartments and realizes that the experience has prepared her for future endeavors. However, during that time, it wasn’t always easy to deal with resident’s complaints. The occupied apartments went under an interior makeover, including the replacements of all hot and cold water pipes. “I had to maintain and ensure a positive working and living environment for our team and residents at all times,” remembers Stacey, “Overcoming objections became my specialty.”
Humble Beginnings After graduating from SDSU in 2004, Stacey went on to obtain a Real Estate license. It was during this time that Stacey’s interest in property management developed. On July 2005 she joined the Avalon Communities, as an Assistant Manager for the Avalon at Mission Ridge, and was promoted to Community Manager just few months later. During that time she assisted several off-site projects for the Avalon Communities, including the renovation of South Hills Apartments, in West Covina. Upon returning to San Diego, Stacey was offered her current position at Avalon Fashion Valley. It was during the time she spent at South Hills Apartments that 18
Apartment Manager San Diego
Stacey’s ability to handle pressure was put to the test. “Undergoing an occupied renovation has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding assignments I had,” says Stacey. Today Stacey appreciates
Today she enjoys the rewards of hard-work and an accomplished mission, as she manages a beautiful and newly built property in the center of San Diego. In spite of the high-end rents, these luxurious apartment homes, combined with a great location, seem unchallenged by the current economy. “Avalon
Fashion Valley’s lease-up is going smoothly”, says Stacey, “everyone needs a place to call home.”
Best Friends Stacey was born in Vallejo, California and has always been a very driven and self motivated individual. “As a child I wanted to be a veterinarian,” recalls Stacey. Though times have changed her plans, her love for animals has not, and today she enjoys her two Yorkies: Coco Chanel and Louis Vuitton. “No matter how my day goes, it always makes me smile knowing that my babies are eagerly waiting for my return.” Despite her accomplishments, Stacey looks forward to what opportunities are yet to come. She enjoys baking and playing the piano.
Stacy’s best friends: Coco Chanel (pink outfit) & Louis Vuitton (blue).
Stacey is happy and energetic, very positive about the future and
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move in gifts
Tools To Live By
Uptown Gourmet and Essentials Gourmet snacks and useful essentials combined in this generously sized package wrapped and tied with a bow of our cream dot ribbon. Including Godiva Ground coffee, Milano Cookies, cheese and crackers and more. An extension cord, dishwashing detergent, a notepad with pen and picture hangers. Can You Imagine? www.canyouimagine.com.
Over the Back Fence A picket fence gift box is filled with welcome themed coffee, cookies, and snacks galore. Wrapped in cello, topped with a bow, and finished off with a personalized gift card for your property. It shouts “welcome neighbor” without saying a word. Creative Gifts To Go. Order online at www.shopcreativegifts.com.
Our reusable cotton tote bag will catch the attention of any new resident eager to set up household! Headlined by a multi-purpose screwdriver set and a complete picture hanging kit, including level, and much more. Can You Imagine? www.canyouimagine.com.
Savor & Soothe This stunning gift boasts two offerings in one. The larger box is filled with Smartfood popcorn, peanut M&Ms, peanut butter crackers, and SunMaid raisins. The top box includes soothing Tazo Chai Tea, Thymes Limited sleep-well lotion, a votive candle, and a silver wrapped peppermint. A silver bangle embossed with your property’s monogram and chocolate brown ribbons accent the aqua boxes. Can You Imagine? To order go to www.canyouimagine.com. $11.40
Apartment Manager San Diego
lead, follow or get out of the way
HOW TO MASTER Property Management Team Building!
Photograph: Andres Rodriguez
by Ernest F. Oriente
ack when Lee Iacocca was trying to fix Chrysler his company ran a commercial that ended with the quote “lead, follow or get out of the away”. This quote mirrors perfectly the steps of successful team building, which requires you to lead at times, follow at other times and most importantly, know exactly when to get out of the way. As a property management professional,
your success is a direct reflection of your ability to provide powerful team leadership. Yet, when was the last time you invested in strengthening your skills as a team builder? Or, when was the last time you asked your team to evaluate your team building skills? Powerful team leadership will allow you to guide your property management team dynamically, while creating giant results. On the next page, we will review ten tips for powerful team building. 22
Apartment Manager San Diego
10 Tips For Powerful Team Building
Individual Participation + Your Leadership = Giant Results.
Each participant must be reminded they are a team participant. Why is this important?
Types of teams: Executive Team, Cross-Functional Team, Business Team, Support Team, Project Team, Change Team, Hot Group.
Integrity + Vision + Commitment + Results-Focused + Courage = Powerful Leadership.
Always reward success, but never let errors go uncorrected. Why is this so critical for team building?
Key Team Roles: Team Leader, Critic, Implementer, Coordinator, Idea Person, and Inspector.
Don’t let failure on one part of a project jeopardize the overall group/project success.
Support from your Technology/Information Team + Your Team’s input = Powerful Systems.
Quality wins: encourage more team effort!
Short Term Projects + Daily Goals + A Specific Deadline = Successful Outcome.
Want to learn more about your team leadership skills? Send an E-mail to email@example.com and The Coach will E-mail back to you a free 32 question self-assessment on leadership.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since 1995, (23,160 hours) the author of SmartMatch Alliances, and the founder of PowerHour (powerhour.com). He has a passion for coaching his clients on executive leadership, hiring and motivating property management SuperStars, traditional and internet marketing, competitive sales strategies, and high leverage alliances for property management teams and their leaders. He provides private and group coaching for property management companies around North America, investment banking services, executive recruiting services and powerful tools for hiring property management SuperStars and building dynamic teams. Recent interviews and articles have appeared more than 6000 times in business and trade publications and in a wide variety of leading magazines and newspapers, including Smart Money Inc., Business 2.0, The New York Times, Fast Company, The LA Times, Fortune, Business Week, Self Employed America and The Financial Times. Since 1995, Ernest has written 155 articles for the property management industry and created 250+ property management forms, business and marketing checklists, sales letters and presentation tools. To subscribe to his free property management newsletter go to powerhour.com. PowerHour® is based in Olympic-town, Park City, Utah, at 435-615-8486, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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and touch you
ur resident by Toni Blake
sk any manager today, “Who is your favorite resident?” They will probably tell you the one who drops the rent in the night deposit, is never late and never comes in the office to complain! These residents are GREAT - move them in and they leave you alone! Some of us will agree that this sounds like an IDEAL resident, but is it really good to have residents we never see? What is the average amount of time you spend getting to know a resident during his/her first year lease? We are in a Customer Service Revolution and my advice is to stay in touch with your customers, do not avoid them! Communication, or lack of it, is a major factor in many areas, including the high divorce rate. A lack of communication between parents and teens has been linked to the alarming increase of teenage suicides. To keep any relationship healthy, an open line of communication is not optional, it is a must! Top business consultants tell us in order to create a successful business, we must establish a good relationship with our customers. With this in mind, I have designed a 5-phase program to help keep you in touch with your residents. These phases can be implemented with a simple clipboard system. List all move-ins, and when each move-in is completed, remove the name and place it on the phase 1 clipboard. Upon completion of phase 1 (personal visit), put the residents on the phase 2 clipboard, etc., etc., etc. Each phase is designed to keep the lines of communication open and to take care of any problems before they become difficult. Involve the residents in the property and activities. Insure and make sure they are living at the level of satisfaction you guarantee.
A Personal Visit (3-10 days after move-in)
This is the most important part of the new relationship between the resident and management. This visit will let the resident KNOW YOU MEAN SERVICE - how often people give lip service only! This is not a REAL surprise visit, call first and ask if a visit within the next hour would be convenient. Take an unexpected gift along. You will need service requests and maintenance “tips.” Make sure everything is okay in the apartment, walk through and check again personally. A gift of a fresh herb or mint plant (small) might be the final touch for your resident. It says “we care” and it shows! Educate your residents - spend some time explaining maintenance “how-to’s” and give them a card with the phone number on it. Encourage your resident’s use of community services, such as banking facilities, dry cleaning, supermarkets, restaurants, etc. Make notes on a calendar for your follow up visit. This visit will establish a trusting relationship and let your residents know you really mean what you say! Ask if everything is okay in the apartment. If not, fill out the necessary service request while the resident watches, then follow up! April-June/2009
Phase Two Welcome Letter
Thirty days after your resident has settled in, send him a welcome letter saying, “We hope you are enjoying your new home.” Enclose a small gift. We recommend welcome labels. Welcome labels work to get your residents “stuck on you.” They are inexpensive, self-adhesive return address labels that are presented as your special “welcome gift” to each new resident, or “thank you” to each renewal. This thoughtful gesture creates instant goodwill and secures positive relations from the start. Welcome labels are easy to order and surprisingly inexpensive. You may order by phone at 800-852-3350 or online at www.welcomelabels.com. When you send this follow-up letter to your new resident, include a “community calendar” and coupons from local merchants (cross marketing)! Also, extend a personal invitation to the next community activity or program and encourage the resident’s involvement. Ask for service requests and resident referrals.
Phase Three Telephone
The purpose of this telephone call is to touch base before you contact a resident for a renewal. Phase 3 is a time to clean up any reasons why he/she might not be willing to renew. Check all completed work orders for any recurring problems and discuss the general satisfaction with the apartment. This personal touch of the phone call validates your seriousness about service. Telephone Follow-up: Review residents’ files, know their names and any problems or complaints they have had. Familiarize yourself with
pertinent information concerning your residents. Personal concern in communication is the key element to good resident relations! Marketing Questions: Are you using our amenities? How do you like them? Discuss the manager’s surveys and ask residents to participate. Thank them in advance. Is everything okay in your apartment? Do you have any requests for service? Resident Referral: By the way, we have a beautiful apartment just around the corner, do you know of someone who would enjoy living in our community?
Phase Four Letter Contact (Renewal attack)
Ninety days before the resident’s renewal date, print a formal invitation and leave it on the door with a flower. This is the first reminder of his lease renewal, so be creative - use your marketing genius! “We would like to extend an invitation for you to reserve another year in your apartment.” Leave a gift in the apartment, such as a Teddy Bear, with a note that says. “We can’t bear to lose you,” or “You’re worth a mint to us” (with a mint candy attached). Your goal with this contact is to make an appointment for the renewal. Some managers take renewing residents out to lunch to sign a renewal. To replace a resident in today’s market can cost as much as $1597. Compare that figure to a $20 lunch at Chili’s. It’s worth it! Be flexible with the time and place, be creative with your invitation, and be bold with your rent increase!
Phase Five Personal Visit
Make an appointment and go for renewal and increased rent. Check the resident’s file
Apartment Manager San Diego
before the appointment, take a gift with you and send flowers after the appointment. This is the actual renewal, so be prepared and go on time. Have your paperwork neat and in order. If the resident is coming to your office, serve refreshments. If you are going to his/her apartment, take a gift. Some managers send flowers or plants to the resident’s work place after they sign a renewal lease. It’s impressive and a great way to get referrals. This 5-phase program is designed to help you get to know new residents and stay in touch with long-time ones. Practice this and the renewal leases will be no problem! AM
About The Author: Toni Blake is a nationally recognized expert in customer service, sales and marketing. She travels to over 60 cities annually speaking to over 30,000 management professionals each year. Toni is known for her innovative concepts and is an industry trendsetter. She has been involved with Multifamily Housing since 1979 and currently resides in Greeley, Colorado. For more information, contact her office toll free 866889-6600 or 1-970-378-6784. Visit her website www.TotallyToni.com.
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Service Starts with a Smile! EVERY CUSTOMER in the world walks away with an experience when he or she walks out of the door of a business. This is true in every situation when playing the role of a customer. This experience will be the ultimate factor that will determine whether the company has excellent, average, or poor service. In other words, the final decision will be based on the memory of the experience.
The key to ultimate success lies in meeting your customer’s
By Cary Cavitt Photo:Yuri Archus
As apartment managers it is your job to perform in such a way that allows every person that comes in contact with your property to not only feel comfortable, but also to leave with a pleasant memory of the experience, when they look back and reflect on your organization. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that excellent service is the result of how the customer “has felt” during their experience as a customer. Without exception, the five-star service corporations understand that the key to ultimate success lies in meeting the customer’s inward needs. Every customer expects to get service, but what they rarely expect is to leave with a pleasant memory of the experience. It is only in meeting their needs as a customer that allows them to tell others about their great experience. Listed are what I consider to be the top
four inner needs of a customer. When we meet these needs, we will soon find that our ratings in the area of customer service will reach a higher level. Customer wants to feel welcomed This is what I call the “friendly factor.” Customers who feel welcomed and accepted will begin to view the service in a more positive way. Customer wants to feel important Every customer wants to feel like a VIP. When this need is fulfilled, the customer will automatically rate the service higher. Customer wants to feel respected When respect is consistently given to the customer, they will want to tell others about their positive experience. Customer wants to feel appreciated Consistently show appreciation and you will win the customer for life. AM
Why 99% of Customers Like “Enthusiastic Companies”
here is something attractive about people who are enthusiastic about life. This is especially true when an organization is excited about what they are doing. Others soon take notice when a company truly is enthused about serving others. The excitement of enjoying work and clearly seeing the value in serving makes other people curious and drawn in. This is because all of us are looking for something outside of our own needs. Inside we want to have a purpose that goes beyond our own wants and needs. What we can discover is that capturing a heart of servitude opens a new window of opportunity of really finding what others need. The most enthusiastic people are those who look outside of themselves and genuinely care about others. And when this type of attitude surrounds an organization, people are drawn because they can sense that others really care about them. AM
Have you ever
strolled into a business and felt comfortable right away? More than likely you were greeted with a friendly smile by one of the employees that acknowledged you. It’s amazing how a simple smile can make you automatically feel welcomed, yet how often we forget to give this powerful little gesture. Companies that stress the importance of a smile when greeting others are ahead of their competition. The reason for this is that whenever you create a friendly environment for the customer, he or she will automatically be drawn to return. The simple smile conveys to others that you are happy to see them and they in turn feel welcomed. So remember to encourage your team to
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About the Author Cary Cavitt began in the customer service field in 1975 and has served well over 100,000 customers. An award-winning PGA Golf Professional, he is the author of seven books, including “Service Starts with a Smile,” “Customer Service Superstars,” and “Five-Star Service.” Cary also has founded Service that Attracts Seminars, on-site workshops on how to develop outstanding service. Based in the Chicago area, Cary is available to travel throughout the United States. For more information on purchasing books or scheduling a Workshop in your facility go to www.carycavittconsulting.com. April-June/2009
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You Can’t Afford The Luxury of Disengaged Employees by Jim Donovan
n today’s business environment with increases in staff reductions and rapidly
changing roles and responsi-
bilities, it is crucial that all of your team members are fully engaged in the tasks at hand. According to a Gallup survey, 350 billion dollars are lost each year in American companies due to disengaged employees. How then do you minimize the 30
Apartment Manager San Diego
impact of this costly problem within your organization? Below are key strategies to help you grow your people toward peak performance and enable you to produce quantum results with your team.
situation. Only by taking personal
Own your outcome All too often employees are quick to blame circumstances, the economy, or a host of other causes for their less than stellar outcomes in a given
powerless to effect it. If, on the other
responsibility for our outcomes and performance can we take back our power and create the results we desire. It’s quite simple, if the problem is being caused by the economy I am hand, I am willing to take personal responsibility for it, I have reclaimed my power and am in a position to impact change.
It is important for your people to understand the role their conscious and unconscious beliefs play in their ability to produce desirable outcomes.
Make Integrity a Must This is not an option. The only way companies will survive and thrive into the future is by making integrity an absolute must throughout the organization. No longer can people skate by with questionable behavior and slippery deals. The time has come for each person to be honest and truthful in all situations, regardless of the outcome. The cliché “honesty is the best policy” became a cliché for a good reason, it works! However, in order to create this environment of absolute honesty and integrity, you as a manager must be willing to allow people to make mistakes and it must be okay to mess-up once in a while without fear of repercussion.
Challenge People’s Limiting Beliefs It is important for your people to understand the role their conscious and unconscious beliefs play in their ability to produce desirable outcomes. They must understand how every thought, action, and result is directly linked to their beliefs. By first identifying people’s limiting beliefs, a person can begin to replace them with more resourceful empowering beliefs, which will then enable them to create the results they desire. For example, a belief that “I am not comfortable calling on ‘C’ level executives” can be shifted to one that feels better and is more empowering, like “While I am not April-June/2009
totally at ease, I have a strong support team backing me up.” While this is not a fully empowering belief, it is a small step in the right direction. These “bridge beliefs” shift the person’s beliefs more toward the desired, empowered belief.
Link Values to Behaviors Identifying a person’s high driving values and helping them understand the role these values play in their productivity and satisfaction can go a long way toward achieving peak performance. A simple question like, “What’s most important to you in your work?,” will generally elicit the person’s number one driving value. Continuing with questions like, “What else is important?” etc., will enable you to uncover the person’s high driving four or five values. Knowing this will help you better match specific assignments to individuals, understand how to better motivate people, and result in more harmony among your team members. For example, a team member who lists “freedom” as a high driving value will be the ideal person to assign a task that can be done from a home office, while the person with
“contribution” as a high driver will be well suited for a team project. Understanding your team’s values will help you determine assignments and enable you to get the most productivity from team members while maintaining harmony throughout the organization.
Create a Compelling Vision Many times an individual sees an overall vision for their role on a project that is out of alignment with that of the manager or the company. Often, the individual has beliefs about their ability to fulfill their function within this vision. By completing a visioning exercise in which you will, as a group, create the overall vision, you’ll be in a position to establish specific individual goals for its accomplishment. During this process you will uncover each person’s apprehensions and limiting beliefs about their ability to accomplish the task at hand. By completing this exercise together, you are in a position to address their concerns. The result of this visioning exercise, if done properly, is a fully aligned team, holding the same overall vision, and having each member understand their role in its accomplishment. This will, naturally, lead to the next and final step in our process.
Strategies and Inspired Action Don’t be a gerbil. Not that there is anything wrong with gerbils, they’re quite apartmentmanagersandiego.com
work ethics cute, however not the ideal role model when it comes to achieving results in business.
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Unfortunately, too many people in business today are behaving like gerbils when it comes to their actions. They are taking action for the sake of action — “gerbil action” — and confusing activity with results. This is even more evident in sales organizations where individual sales people frantically call prospect after prospect, achieving little in terms of results and burning through territories faster than a California wildfire. This kind of unfocused action does nothing more than frustrate contributes to the high employee turnover we see in so many companies. A better way is to employ “inspired action.” Inspired action is action that is created from a clear vision of the desired result. It engages the higher portions of our
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mind to create more focused, synchronistic action, producing quantum results. A simple way to develop more inspired action is to begin with a valued finding question like, “What’s working?” When was the last time you heard this question at a company meeting? By shifting the group’s focus from problem finding to value finding, you encourage inspired actions based on successes. It is
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a commonly accepted psychological fact that we attract more of what we focus on. By keeping the focus on what is right, or working in a given situation, our creative energies and minds will be drawn to more of the same.
About the Author: Jim Donovan is an international bestselling author, motivational speaker and business coach. His books, include “This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal” and “Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck.” To receive a free subscription to his “Jim’s Jems” ezine and a bonus gift, visit www.JimDonovan.com.
“Perceive and rejoice that life is abundant, that beauty and goodness are amply available... that your happiness is in your hands.” Paul Hodges
Apartment Manager San Diego
Parenting your tree
Written by Christine and Ted Huffman
Photography by Caitlin Cahill
Become familiar with your trees. This allows you to take steps before an emergency arises from storm damage or high winds. Schedule a walk through with a certified arborist. He can help you create a list and prioritize your trees according to hazard levels and basic health recommendations.
s a property manager you have taken on a challenging role much larger than just an “office job.” Although the bulk of your work may keep you juggling papers, budgets and rent checks, there are also relationships developing within your daily duties. When problems arise, you are the one responsible to find the solution. You are the liaison between residents and vendors and you are the person putting those solutions into action. In many respects, the property manager is much like a parent. Among those developing relationships is one which is a little less obvious; the one with your “tree population”. Even though your trees will not call you at 9pm to inform you that the water line is broken, they are a vital and living aspect of your landscape. And their health and longevity reflects a well-managed property. You do not have to be a botanist to understand the physical needs of your property. But you do want to learn a few basics in the area of arboriculture, the care and cultivation of trees. This way you can approach your trees with knowledge and planning, as well as understand problem areas and work to prevent future emergencies or liabilities. Here are some simple guidelines to help you make informed decisions regarding your property trees.
Importance of Trees Trees add value to your property. Aesthetics is only one aspect of their function. Trees add to the physiological environment as well. They save energy by producing shade throughout the property. Wind blowing through tree clusters can cool temperatures by several degrees and counteract heat
Apartment Manager San Diego
islands created from sun and cement. They also provide privacy and sound barriers, depending on their locations. Trees store carbon dioxide and release oxygen into their surrounding areas. This exchange creates healthier, cleaner air. The more mature the tree, the greater this exchange. Proper pruning and planning will help protect the life of your trees so that they can reach their full potential.
Safety Issues Be aware of your trees overhanging limbs, as they can pose a threat to your resident’s vehicles and your property’s amenities. Reduce your liability by shapping back these branches; this can be done without any loss to the tree. Also, watch for roots lifting walkways that may cause injury to pedestrians. Learning to spot these problems becomes easier by following a long-term plan.
Long-term Planning Become familiar with your trees. This allows you to take steps before an emergency arises from storm damage or high winds. Schedule a walkthrough with a certified arborist. He can help you create a list and prioritize your trees according to hazard levels and basic health recommendations. Removals should be considered as a last resort if the hazards outweigh the ability to correct the tree’s problem. Long-term planning gives you an action plan so that you can develop tree inventories, focus on seasonal requirements for certain species, and work with your company’s budget.
Clear Communication When discussing your tree concerns with a professional, make sure that
you are both speaking the same language. It is important you talk to an arborist rather than simply your gardener. Just as you wouldn’t call a carpenter to fix the plumbing, arborists specialize in tree care. Trees are not pruned like shrubs or watered like turf/grass. Proper pruning saves money in the long run, because you are working with the trees natural growth pattern, not simply topping to save time and money.
Hire a Professional Arborist Choose to work with a company that has a certified arborist on staff. An arborist is knowledgeable in proper pruning, tree health, and current green industry standards. Also, the company must be fully insured, carrying liability and workman’s comp. The company should have certified workers/climbers through International Society of Arboriculture and memberships in professional affiliations such as ISA and Better Business Bureau. Reputable companies should have ongoing education programs for their staff to provide you with the latest information on urban forest issues. By following these simple guidelines you can manage the outside of your property with the same confidence in which you handle the inside of your office. AM
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Christine and Ted Huffman are the owners of Green Leaf Tree Care Inc. Ted Huffman is a ISA Certified Arborist and has been in business since 1980. Green Leaf Tree Care serves San Diego County and its surrounding areas. For more information, go to www.greenleaftreecare.com or call Ted at 619.575.1332.
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affordable housing Looking for Level 3’s Inspect the apartments quickly, looking for level 3’s only. Start from the kitchen and check all appliances, GFI’s, and sink for leaks. Test all smoke alarms and check for exposed wires in the electrical box. Check all windows and doors: they all should open and close properly. Close the front door and make sure it locks properly, and Inspector at while doing that look for gaps between Work: the weather strip and the door frame. Inspector checks Check bathrooms for leaks and make sure for damaged and the bathroom door locks properly. Look rotten wood, for signs of water damage, mold and milpeeling paint, dew and peeling paint. Most importantly, and signs of mold check for blocking egress and trip hazards on the exterior - these are common things that your resiof the property. dent will cheat between inspections.
Last Minute Repairs
Scoring High on REAC
Have a crew of maintenance workers going in the apartments right after you, for last minute repairs. Send out lease violations right the way for blocking egress, housekeeping and other issues. By following this simple plan, you will ensure a successful outcome and have confidence when the REAC inspector arrives. AM
By Elaine Silberberg
ou received a letter from HUD that your REAC inspection is a month away. By this time, you should be ready - your grounds work completed and all your apartment units on tip-top shape. So, you relax and wait, right? No!
Inform Your Residents You must be proactive to ensure a successful outcome of your REAC inspection. Send an inspection letter to your residents and pull all your resources together to inspect all your apartments, looking for level 3 violations only. Even if you have 300-500 apartments, it can be done with a well-trained crew in just few days. Inform your residents of the expectations and the importance of passing this inspection. Let them know that their subsidy maybe be at risk if the property fails. By informing your residents you create a sense of participation and share the responsibility. 36
Apartment Manager San Diego
VAWA - Compliance By Meliah Schultzman
UD has issued an Interim Rule on the self-implementing sections of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that became effective on December 29, 2008. This rule impacts the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Section 8 project-based programs. An Amendment to the Lease had to be sent to all residents and to be signed no later than 60-days from the effective date. Also, all Project Housing Assistance (PHA) must include in its annual plan a description of any activities, services, or programs being undertaken to assist victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. A PHA must include in its five-year plan a description of any goals, objectives, policies, or programs it uses to serve victims’ housing needs.
affordable housing VAWA Affects Admissions and Terminations An individual’s status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking is not an appropriate basis for denial of admission or denial of housing assistance. VAWA establishes an exception to the “one-strike” criminal activity eviction rule. Actual or threatened criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking does not constitute grounds (either as a “serious or repeated violation of lease”, or as “good cause”) for terminating assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights of the victim or an immediate family member of the victim. Despite the protections described above, a PHA may still evict the victim if the PHA can demonstrate an “actual and imminent threat” to other tenants or employees of the property if the victim is not evicted. VAWA does not define “actual and imminent threat” or explain what evidence a PHA must provide.
Criminal Activity Unrelated to Abuse VAWA does not protect tenants if the criminal incident for which they are being evicted or denied admission is unrelated to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. In determining whether to evict, a PHA or owner may not hold a victim of abuse to a more demanding standard than other tenants.
Terminating the Abuser Alone A PHA may bifurcate a lease to evict or terminate assistance to a tenant who commits acts of violence against family members. This action may be taken without evicting or terminating assistance to the victim who is also a tenant. Bifurcation is applicable to all leases in the public housing or Section 8 programs. The eviction or termination must comply with federal, state, and local law.
Proof of the Abuse PHAs may, but are not required to, ask an individual for certification that he or she is a victim of abuse if the individual seeks to assert VAWA’s protections. At their discretion, PHAs may apply VAWA to an individual based solely on the individual’s statement. A PHA may request that the individual certify that he or she is a victim of abuse by filling out a HUD-approved certification form. Instead of the certification form, the victim may provide: Documentation signed April-June/2009
by the victim and a victim service provider, an attorney, or a medical professional in which the professional attests under penalty of perjury to the professional’s belief that the victim has experienced bona fide incidents of abuse. A federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local police or court record. After a PHA requests certification, an individual has fourteen business days to respond. If an individual fails to respond, a PHA may terminate assistance. However, a PHA is free to extend this timeframe. Any information provided must be kept confidential. PHAs may not enter the information into any shared database or provide it to any related entity. The only exceptions are: the victim consents to disclosure in writing; the information is required for use in an eviction proceeding; or disclosure is otherwise required by law. AM
Disclaimer: This article is for general purpose only. Before acting consult your Compliance department and visit www.hud.gov for additional information. Sources: National Center For Housing Management (NCHM) and National Housing Law Project (NHLP).
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Bed Bugs and Landlord Rights and Responsibilities By Susie Lein, Esq.
you have not had a problem with bed bugs at your apartment community, consider yourself very fortunate. Bed bugs were once thought to be a thing of the past. However, a steady increase in international travel and a ban on the pesticide DDT has allowed them to flourish in the United States once again. Bed bugs do not discriminate. They can invade even the most luxurious of apartment communities and once they make themselves at home, they can be extremely difficult to eradicate. Be prepared to deal with an outbreak of bed bugs before it occurs. First, check your rental agreement to see if it contains language that gives you the necessary tools to efficiently handle an outbreak of bed bugs. Many leases will contain language that specifies what the resident’s responsibility is in terms of pest control treatment. For example, the lease may state that the resident agrees to comply with any pest control preparation requirements such as moving or discarding personal property inside the unit or vacating the premises if necessary. If your lease agreement does not contain a clause about pest control issues however, you may still enter a resident’s apartment in order to begin treatment. Preparation for spraying is not generally considered an emergency, so a landlord is required to give written Notice of Intent to Enter
Apartment Manager San Diego
before beginning treatment. 24 hours is generally considered reasonable notice. The notice should be delivered to the unit and if the resident is not there to receive it, it can be posted on the resident’s door. If the resident refuses to allow access the following day, you can serve a 3-Day Notice to Cure Covenant or Quit for failure to allow access. You may have a resident who will allow you to enter the unit, but refuses to prepare his or her unit so that your vendor can begin treatment. If the resident refuses to comply with any preparation requirements (such as moving or permanently discarding infested personal property or furnishings), you may be able to serve a 3-Day Notice to Cure Covenant or Quit for violating other sections of the lease such as a clause that deals with housekeeping issues. Contact an attorney to discuss the type of notice you can serve upon the resident if your lease does not specifically require your resident to comply with pest control preparation requirements. You should also contact an attorney if the resident whose unit is infested has a disability. If a resident reports an infestation of bed bugs in the his or her unit, prepare to inspect the surrounding units right away to make sure the bugs have not spread throughout the community. As with any other damage caused by a resident, you may be able
to charge the resident for the cost to treat the unit if it is determined that the resident is responsible for the infestation. However, do not delay treatment while waiting for payment by the resident, as the landlord’s first responsibility is to have the infested unit treated as soon as possible to prevent the spread of bed bugs to neighboring units. Regardless of how well your community is maintained, there is a good chance you will eventually have an outbreak of bed bugs. Getting rid of them may require several visits from your pest control professional along with the cooperation of the residents whose homes are infested. A landlord’s best tools for dealing with an outbreak of bed bugs are a lease agreement with pest control language and a reputable pest control vendor who has experience dealing with bed bug infestation in multifamily housing. AM
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, visit our website: www.kts-law.com.
Keeping Your Residents Pest-Free
State Law Now Allows Victims to Break Their Lease to Escape Violence By Meliah Schultzman
California has passed a new law allowing victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to terminate their leases early. If a victim needs to break a lease to escape further violence by the abuser, the law may prevent the victim from being charged additional rent or fees once the victim provides notice and moves out. What is California’s early lease termination law? The early lease termination law, which went into effect September 27, 2008, allows people who have a temporary restraining order, emergency protective order, or a police report to end their leases without owing additional rent. This law was created to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. It applies to both private and subsidized housing. The text of the new law is available at www.leginfo.ca.gov. Search for “AB 2052”
What is the law’s purpose? In most cases, if a tenant moves from an apartment before the lease ends, the tenant can be held responsible for all the rent that would be owed until the lease expires. The new law allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to terminate the lease early, leave the unit, and no longer be required to pay rent. The victim will be responsible for rent for up to 30 days after notifying the landlord that he or she is ending the rental agreement, but not afterwards. The law applies only to tenants who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and who meet certain criteria.
How does the lease termination law work? To use this law, a tenant must notify the landlord in writing that he or she was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and is ending the rental agreement. Under the law, the tenant must give the landlord at least 30 days’ notice before the rental agreement terminates. The tenant must attach to the notice either: (1) a restraining order; or (2) a copy of a police report showing that he or she was the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The restraining order or police report must have been issued no more than 60 days before the tenant’s request to end the rental agreement.
What if the victim has roommates who are on the lease? Roommates who are on the lease and who are not members of the victim’s family remain obligated under the lease, even after the victim moves out. April-June/2009
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They must continue to pay the full amount of rent due under the lease, including any share of the rent that the victim was paying.
How long must the victim continue to pay rent after notifying the landlord that he or she is terminating the lease? The victim is responsible for paying rent for up to 30 days after giving the landlord notice that he or she is ending the lease. The victim is free to move out anytime after giving the landlord the 30-day notice. If the victim leaves, and the landlord re-rents the unit within 30 days after the victim gave the notice, the landlord must prorate the victim’s rent.
What happens to the security deposit? The security deposit is treated the same way as if the victim had used the standard procedure for ending a tenancy. The deposit must be returned to the victim within 21 days after the rental agreement ends. The landlord may deduct money from the deposit for unpaid rent, damages beyond ordinary wear and tear, and reasonable cleaning charges. AM
Source: National Housing Law Project, 614 Grand Ave. Suite 320, Oakland, CA 94601 (510) 251-9400. For more information, contact Meliah Schultzman, Equal Justice Works Fellow, at email@example.com. apartmentmanagersandiego.com
Clogged Rain Gutter and Mossy Roof - Photo of Gary Silverstein
5 Tips for
Cleaning Roofs and Gutters
(So that you never have to worry about damage) By Ryan Ambler 40
Apartment Manager San Diego
Grass on Roof - Photo of Stephane Tougard
leaning your roof and gutters can be a real pain especially if you don’t have the right equipment. What’s worse, though, is if you don’t do it right, you can end up with a bigger mess than when you started. Discover these 5 little known tips for cleaning your roofs and gutters. 1 - Water Blast and Wash Your Roof Black fungus, mold, lichens, algae and moss will damage your roof. To effectively get rid of these pervasive destructive organisms, first spray a cleaning solution made up of an environmentally friendly cleaning soap mixed in water at low pressure. Let it sit on the roof for about 15 minutes. Pressure wash the roof using fresh clean water, keeping water pressure at less than 2000 psi. Keep the spray angle at 45 degrees, and work along the roof surface, moving the nozzle evenly, maintaining a distance of about 8 to 10 inches from the roof surface. This should provide effective cleaning of all black fungus, mold, lichens, algae and moss, making your roof clean and sparkling.
maintenance | roof & gutters 2. Understanding Your Roof Gutters Gutters are “U” shaped and can be of many shapes and sizes. They can be made of steel, vinyl or aluminum. Gutters from the good old days can even be of wood or copper. Different methods are used to install gutters. You must know how your gutters are installed if you want to maintain them for proper functioning. Usually they are mounted in four different ways. A. Using inside hangers: These hangers fit on the inside of the gutter, are fixed to the fascia with nails or screws going through the straps and the gutter face touching the fascia. B. Using outside hangers: The hangers are mounted directly onto the fascia with the gutter sitting inside the hangers. C. Using spikes and ferrules: Here ferrules are placed in the gutter for maintaining correct gutter width with spikes going through the gutter walls and the ferrule into the fascia. D. Using strap hangers: With the gutter sitting in the straps, the straps themselves are nailed or screwed to the roof sheathing below the shingles. When you know your gutters thoroughly, you will be able to maintain and repair them when required, otherwise the gutters may welled up and overflow from the sides, causing leaking, sagging, bending out of alignment, or needing replacement. Also, the fascia may suffer from water damage.
Sometimes merely bending the hangers to some extent may bring the gutter in proper alignment. You may need to replace broken/irreparable hangers or fix additional hangers to get a properly functioning gutter to prevent water damage.
3. Fix Gutter Shields To Prevent Clogging Gutter shields are inexpensive plastic or metal screens that act as guards to prevent leaves, buds, pine needles and other debris from getting into the roof gutters and clogging them. However, in some cases, they may trap leaves on the topside of the screen mesh and reduce water flow into the gutter. Gutter guards that completely cover the gutter and let leaves and debris tumble over the top to fall to the ground are slightly more expensive. You can also place appropriate screens inside the gutter to prevent any debris that manages to get in from flowing down and blocking the drain spout.
4. Clean Accumulated Gutter Debris From Time-to-Time Do this at least twice a year, i.e. in spring and fall on a good dry day. Place a ladder of sufficient height against the wall and ensure that it is properly balanced and will not slide to the left or right as you climb up and work. Then get on top and collect dry twigs and leaves from the gutter and drop them onto the ground. You can also use a gutter scoop or a garden trowel. Alternatively, you can use a handheld electric
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maintenance | roof & gutters blower to blow off dry leaves and twigs. Some blowers come with attachments for this purpose. You may need to get down several times and move the ladder around the exterior of your house to complete the job. However, you will be rewarded for all your efforts with a clean, free flowing gutter.
5. Clear Down Pipe Blockage Your gutter may well up and water may spill over the sides if your down pipe is blocked with leaves and debris. The best way to unblock it is to work from the bottom of the down pipe by using water pressure. You can do this by running a garden hose up into the down pipe from the bottom and packing a rag around the hose and open the water full blast. This should loosen the blockage, which can then flow out. If it does not work, try a plumber’s snake or just take down the down pipe and clean by poking a broom handle from the bottom. A free flowing gutter is the key to years of water damage free living. If all the above sounds like hard work, then simply hire a professional to do all the hard work for you. That way, at least your gutter and roof cleaning jobs will get done, plus they’ll probably save you time and money in the long run. AM
About the author: Ryan Ambler is the owner of Dirty Blasted, the number one power washing company of New Zeland. He shares his knowledge worldwide at www.aucklandwaterblasting.com.
Keep Water Away From Foundation Constant exposure to water accumulating around your property will result in costly problems, and it will be time consuming to resolve. Rather than let your property be adversely affected by such problems, follow these simple steps to ensure that water is away from the foundation: Gutters and downspouts should be free of debris that could obstruct water. Gutters should be pitched towards the downspouts to accelerate water flow at a slope of at least 1 inch for every 30 feet of length. To prevent leaks, all joints must be caulked. Downspout extensions should disperse and direct runoff water to a safe distance away from your foundation. Courtesy of Golden State Rain Gutters
maintenance | plumbing
H I S T O RYof
pipeline materials Facts
During the 19th and early 20th century lead was used very widely in the major cities of the U.S. for water pipes because of its durability and malleability. Unfortunately, it was also the major source of lead-related health problems in the years before the health hazards of ingesting lead were fully understood. These hazards included stillbirth and high rates of infant mortality. Lead pipes were superseded by galvanized steel and copper. After World War II, copper became the predominant material selected for domestic water service and distribution in residential construction. Copper pipe still has over 80% market share for new indoor plumbing with galvanized pipe and plastics being alternatives.
Galvanizing involves the application of molten zinc to preformed steel pipes to provide a corrosion resistant coating. However many galvanized pipes in old buildings were manufactured using zinc that probably contained high levels of lead, which is a common impurity in the zinc. It was not until 1986 that the Wheatland Tube Company became the first galvanized pipe manufacturer to be certified to ANSI/NSF Standard 61 for its hot dip galvanized pipe. Galvanized pipes are still common in older homes and many commercial buildings. Galvanized pipes will corrode over time, as indicated by the following corrosion symptoms: high levels of zinc or iron in tap water. a “metallic“ taste of the water. poor water flow due to blockage from mineral buildup. discolored water (brown, red or yellow water).
Lead According to the Federal government, “Lead is unusual among drinking water contaminants in that it seldom occurs naturally in water supplies like rivers and lakes. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the water distribution system and household plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome plated brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect your house to the water main (service lines).” In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2% lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other plumbing materials to 8.0%. This so-called “lead-free” brass can still legally contain up to 8% lead, and plumbing systems installed prior to 1986 can contain high levels of lead from both plumbing components and lead solder. The presence of lead in water from the tap is indicative of serious pipe corrosion that must be corrected for health reasons.
Copper Copper is widely used for plumbing pipes because of its excellent corrosion resistance and safety. It is also very easy to work with, as it is malleable and easily joined by fittings or soldering. Despite its success as a plumbing material, copper pipe has sometimes failed well before its design lifetime, mainly because of pinhole leaks. This subject has been extensively studied for many years. Dr. Marc Edwards of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) believes and has testified during hearings of the U.S. House of Representatives and at City Council Hearings of the District of Columbia government that pinhole leaks in copper pipes are a major national problem. AM
Source: Curaflo website (curaflo.com). W. Troesken, National Bureau of Economic Research. Copper Development Association. Providence Water, Press Release May 24 2007. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR Chapter 1, Part 141,143). April-June/2009 April-June/2009
Products & Services Guide Products & Services Guide
CONCRETE CONTRACTORS GAC Concrete www.gacsd.net - Ph. 619-846-4774
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS Mr. Electric - Ph. 760-494-7509 Visit us at www.mrelectric.com
Apartment Guide - 877-999-4472 For Rent Magazine - 888-539-1150
American Bathtub Refinishers (see ad page 27) Ph. 619-265-9200
A/C & HEATING
Sam’s Heating and Air Conditioning www.heatingandairsandiego.com (see ad page 37) Ph. 619-697-9824
California Building & Remodeling (see ad page 35) Ph. 858-483-0800
K&T Carpet & Flooring (see ad page 19) Ph. 619-425-5901
Advanced Cable Systems (see ad page 9) Ph. 619-582-3476
APARTMENT LOCATING Apartment Finder - 866-441-RENT
FLOOR COVERING (SALES) K&T Carpet & Flooring (see ad page 19) Ph. 619-425-5901
(see ad inside back-cover) Ph. 877-735-7358
COMPUTER SERVICES Advanced Cable Systems (see ad page 9) Ph. 619-582-3476
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS Golden State Rain Gutters (see ad page 41) Ph. 866-625-7187
HANDYMAN & HAULING Marquina’s Handyman
(see ad page 9) Ph. 619-395-4325
Appliance Repair Service Call Mike - 858-569-0369
ASPHALT & PAVING
Green Leaf Tree Care (see ad page 35) Ph. 619-575-1332
Dixson’s Grading and Paving www.dgp1.com - Ph. 619-846-4774
Ario Landscape (see ad page 32) Ph. 619-279-2580
Law Office of Michele L. Snyder (see ad page 15) Ph. 619-297-8330
Coinmach Laundry Lease & Systems Ph. 877-264-8622
Smith & Associates - Attorneys Ph. 619-299-1761
Web Multifamily Laundry Systems Ph. 800-421-6897
Apartment Manager San Diego
Products & Services Guide Products & Services Guide
PAINTING SERVICES Marquina’s Handyman (see ad page 9) Ph. 619-395-4325
PARKING LOT STRIPPING Dixson’s Grading and Paving www.dgp1.com - Ph. 619-846-4774
PEST CONTROL Aztec Pest Control (see ad page 39) Ph. 619-286-7373
PHONE REPAIR Advanced Cable Systems (see ad page 9) Ph. 619-582-3476
PHOTOGRAPHERS Bauman Photographers (see ad page 42) Ph. 619-232-3020
PLAYGROUND INSTALLATION Playground Warehouse www.playgroundwarehouse.com Ph. 866-258-3220
Commercial & Industrial Roofing www.ciroof.com - Ph. 619-465-3737
Peach Tree Business Products Ph. 800-241-4623
Raindance Roof Company www.raindanceroof.com (see ad page 23) Ph. 619-464-2800
SAFETY/FIRE EXTINGUISHERS SimplexGrinnell - 800-SIMPLEX www.simplexgrinnell.com
Silverwood Energy www.silverwoodenergy.com Ph. 619-501-2713
STEPS & HANDRAILS Modern Stairways - 619-466-1484
SECURITY/COURTESY PATROL Summit Security (see ad page 3) Ph. 619-294-3200 www.summitpatrol.com
TOWING SERVICES Paxton Towing (see ad page 15) 619-423-7331
TREE TRIMMING Green Leaf Tree Care (see ad page 35) Ph. 619-575-1332
Expert Plumbing & Drain Cleaning (see ad page 11) Ph. 619-247-4222
Leak Control Systems Corrosion Control and Prevention Ph. 619-795-7011
P&P Pools - www.pppools.com (see ad page 27) Ph. 858-229-8535 Pool Service Pooltime Ph. 619-977-8976 www.sdpooltime.com
WINDOW & GLASS Window Tech - 619-444-9391
inspiration ― by Elaine Silberberg
Every day we make decisions in our lives that will affect the outcome of our future in one way or another. But nothing is more powerful than our determination to pursue our dreams. When faced with the fear of failure, we engage in a battle: to reach out for our dreams or to settle down. Norman Vince Peale once said: “There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” In these moments, we realize that power
resides within us to choose to be a winner and not a loser, and to persist and never give up. Abraham Lincoln stated that: “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” As we read the quotes of those who understood the power of excellence, we can only be inspired to reach high and aim to suceed! Let us be enthusiastic as leaders, take chances, do the right thing, and don’t take for granted the power within us!
Q u otes
“One man has enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another for 30 days, but it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success of his life.” Edward B. Butler “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” John Wesley “A man can suceed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.” Charles Schwab “Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” Douglas MacArthur “Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.” Samuel T. Coleridge
I found that men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work. – President Harry Truman
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