The most anti-industry multifamily post you will ever read

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This industry is the best one ever, filled with great people who love to share with others the great things they are doing. If you stepped outside of this industry and talked to others, those other industries would probably all say the same things about themselves. Heh. Still, we know that we’re the cool kids who steal the other industries’ lunch money. Plus, we’re much better looking as a group.

All the types of people in this industry ARE awesome. There’s the leasing agent who answers the phone, grills prospects on their needs, and generally looks amazing while collecting commissions. Leasing managers of all types are awesome too. Renting, delegating, being in charge of resident complaints, and sitting behind desks or iPads. Their responsibilities are many and they always look so good doing it. Their suits are crisp and pressed and their perfume smells great. Don’t forget incredibly smart. It’s a women dominated world.

Maintenance people do things I don’t even understand. While watching maintenance mania at NAA, I sat in stunned silence at what they were doing. The majority of the things looked complicated. They were experts with switching out ball cocks and flicking switches and wiring harnesses. They hustled, broke a sweat, installed ice makers, and ran around with their arms in the air. At first I was in awe of it, then got confused, then fell asleep. The awesome-ness factor in my mind is due to the mystery of it all. My wife calls me the unhandy man of the house.

lucas.haimOne of my favorite movies is Lucas. Maybe you’re too young to have seen it. Lucas, the main character, is awkward, 14 years old, wears glasses and socially is a mess but to overcome all that he hangs around the jocks and joins the football team. Anything to fit in. Toward the end of the movie, he’s on the field, trying to find out the play being called and his teammates are pressed together in a big circle. They won’t let him in to hear. He tries crawling under and then jumping on top and is finally flipped over and lands roughly onto his back.

Poor guy.

A few weeks after NAA, I got an email from them with a survey. They were asking me to grade the conference in terms of effectiveness, amusement value, venue size, and feature sets. Then, they asked me my job role. I had to pick from this list:

  • Regional Supervisor/Manger (multi-site)
  • Senior Management Position
  • Vice President/Management Executive
  • Owner/Principal/President
  • Property Manager (on-site)
  • Marketing/Sales
  • HR/Training Professional
  • Apartment Industry Supplier
  • Maintenance Professional
  • Independent Rental Owner
  • Leasing Consultant

Wait. What? All of these people on this list are awesome. They run things, rent apartments, manage, buy, create, lead, hire, fire, fix, change. I could easily select Marketing/Sales and probably get away with it but yet, there’s one job missing from this list; shame on you NAA. Do you see it or more correctly, not see it?

Information Technology.

I could ramble on here about how they created that very survey on systems kept alive by the very IT people they ignored but – I won’t. They should have asked me ahead of time to give title ideas (I STILL despise titles!), I would have suggested Champions of All Things Nerdy. The truth is, we are Lucas in this industry.

There, I said it.

We don’t have a cool and hip conference geared for us, NMHC let in the Marketers so that one’s out now. We don’t have our cool group of really nerdy nerds. Everybody else just wants to talk about how great their iPhone is. Everyday, we try to make your lives a little easier. That’s what technology should do. The real issue I see is that technology is constantly being poured all over everybody but I’m having trouble finding a lot of it totally necessary. I spoke with a C-Level recently who told me “If I see one more dashboard, I’m going to scream.”

Exactly. Whatever happened to just making things easier?


I won’t lecture about how Technology and Marketers need each other, that’s something IT people say to be taken seriously. The point of this lengthy diatribe isn’t to suggest that you should take your IT department out for beers but to tell you to really do that. I’m serious. We love that happy hour stuff. In addition to sharing our love for hops, we can share ideas, understand your concerns and pain points, and give everyone an opportunity to figure out how technology can help. If it doesn’t help you do your job better and easier, then it isn’t worth doing.


I hope this post accomplishes one other thing; gets our job title on the next NAA survey. I’m still mad about that. Now please excuse me, I need to unpause the rest of Lucas. I’m at the part where the jocks give him a jacket and everybody claps because Lucas now fits in. Sniff, sniff. Love that guy.

Happy renting everyone.