My Life as a Leasing Consultant

This week, we’re excited to bring you a guest blog written by Leasing Consultant Eric Hannemann, who works on site at Wakonda Village in Des Moines, Iowa. In his post, Eric walks us through an average day in the leasing office. Enjoy!

Sounds of crashing waves, a beach view that shimmers under the golden sun and refreshments plentiful on a bed of ice brings a calming sense of tranquility. If only to my dismay, a sudden symphony of alarms come roaring through my head. The time is 5:30 a.m. and I have awakened to a new day in the life of a leasing consultant.

My alarms are set to go off at 5:30 a.m. every day because I feel it is important to start your day completely prepared and ready to take on just about anything. (I mean “alarms” in the plural sense of the word – as it can take a village to wake me up!) I love having this extra time to myself, as I am able to start with a mug of coffee and the morning newspaper.

Here’s what my ‘typical’ day entails.

8:00 a.m. – Our office opens at 8 a.m., which is when I hit the ground running! From completing the opening checklist to walking the tour path of the property, I keep a travel coffee mug with me at all times!

9:30 a.m. – Appointments usually book up in the afternoons so this is the perfect time to complete paperwork – including invoices, renewal agreements, updating the marketing book, etc. I like to complete these tasks in the morning when the phone doesn’t ring as frequently.

11:00 a.m. – Outreach marketing is an important tool to expand the name of your community. Generally, I am hitting the main strip malls and plazas around our community. Taking the time to establish connections with shop owners allows me to return often and see where our marketing dollars pay off.

11a12:00 p.m. – I take a deep breath around noon. The office can get pretty chaotic by this time, so refilling refreshments, vacuuming, tidying up our space, etc., is necessary to keep our office in the best shape possible.

The most commonly asked question I get from new employees is how we not only accomplish everything, but how we remember to complete all of our tasks! I tell them that each and every staff member has their own way of staying organized. I, personally, refer to my “Big Book of What Eric Must Remember or Go to Bed Feeling like You Forgot Something” schedule book. This thing comes with me everywhere – both on and off site. It is my lifeline, a place where I can collect my thoughts during the workday, and record important events that happen on the property. If you work on site and don’t have a book like this, reach out to your Property Manager to look into ordering one!book ordered for yourself

2:00 p.m. – It’s time for lunch! My lunch break is split between eating something light and sitting quietly for simple meditation. Living in the community that I work at gives me more valuable time to myself because my commute is just a 45 second walk to my apartment – depending on sidewalk traffic.

12p 13:00 p.m. – At 3 p.m., it’s boots on the ground running again! With so many prospective residents with so many different personalities, each with their own wants and needs, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. How are we supposed to connect with each and every one of them in a thoughtful and meaningful way? My answer to that is – have you hugged a building today?

Have you hugged your building today? – We are pulled in many different directions on site, which can help you lose your sense of purpose at your apartment community. When things get stressful, sometimes we just need to fall back in love with our communities, and that passion will come through during tours with prospective residents.

12p 24:00 p.m. – At this time, we are starting to wind down for the day, but more work still needs to be done! It is time to contact residents whose maintenance service requests are complete and to inquire about their satisfaction. Having a resident say a particular job was done perfectly is a really rewarding experience, and provides us a chance to learn when additional service is needed.

5:00 p.m. – If you work in an office that is open until 6 p.m., you know that you’re often times the only staff member running the entire community that last hour. Most residents are returning home from work at this time and stopping by to pick up packages, submit service requests, etc. which can serve as a challenge!

right before 4pm5:50 p.m. – As I get ready to close up the office, this is the last time I’m running around like a mad man. Taking the last few moments in my day to organize my desk and schedule tasks I need to complete the following day helps keep me in check.

6:00 p.m. – I complete any last minute items I need to check off my list and close up the office. At some point after that, I head back home, kick off my shoes and dive into some great magazines.

Thanks for reading!


Are you or someone you know looking for an apartment community?

If so, be sure to check out our communities here!

Keeping Kids Occupied

kids in colored ballsThis week, we are featuring BH Training Manager Allison Nielsen as our guest blogger, who offers up a few suggestions on how to keep the kiddos busy! Enjoy!

Whether you are traveling across the country or just trying to run errands around town, it can be a challenge to have young, bored kids in tow. When those books or iPad just isn’t keeping their attention, try a few of these tips!

Play ‘I Spy.’ This game can keep even the orneriest kid busy for awhile, and has the added bonus of being able to work on colors and shapes. Pick something within the child’s eyesight and say, “I spy with my little eye something… red!” Then, the child looks around and guesses what the item might be. You may make this game more challenging (and fit for older kids) by using different describing words – “I spy with my little eye something… tall!” Trade who the ‘spy’ is for the best engagement.

Always carry bubbles. Kids freak out about bubbles. Keeping a small bottle of them in your bag or the child’s backpack will help make outdoor events a lot more fun for them. If you’re going to be traveling through an airport, buy some wedding favor bubbles at a party store and throw a few in a carry-on liquids bag – it’s a great way for the kids to run off some pent-up energy in the terminal!

Ditto with glow sticks. Keeping a $1 pack of glow sticks in your bag and cracking them out when you’re at an evening party or get-together will keep your kiddo happy as a clam!

Does it float? Introduce your kids to the scientific process by pouring about half a glass of water into a cup and having them collect items to test density (rocks, a pen, gum, coins). Before they drop the item in, have them hypothesize if they think the item will float or sink. Then, test out their theory!

How fast can you… This good ol’ fashioned race game can be implemented anywhere, and by doing anything! Explain the task that you want them to do (run from this wall to that wall and back, or put all of the groceries onto the cashier belt) and then tell them that you are going to time them. Watch them put all of their energy and focus into completing the task in the quickest manner possible!

What can you build with… Coffee creamers, sugar packets, empty cups and straws make awesome model forts! What kind of castle, fort, or house can your kid make with these items?

With these tips, hopefully you’ll not only keep your sanity in tact – but also have a great time with your kids while being productive!


Are you or someone you know looking for an apartment?

Check out our BH communities here!

Poolside Must-Haves

summerIf you’re living at a BH community, chances are – you have a beautiful pool readily available during the summer months – or year round if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that doesn’t dip into the negatives come December!
Hanging by the pool can be a blast, whether you’re spending time with your family, friends, or making time for ‘you,’ – but there are still a few things we want you to keep in mind while you’re basking in the summer heat! We also have a few, fun ‘must-haves’ you might want to throw in your beach bag! Enjoy!
Sunscreen – Be sure to bring your sunscreen! Try and stick with SPFs between 15 and 50. Make sure you reapply generously and often!
H20 – This may seem obvious, but be sure to bring plenty of water to help keep you hydrated while you’re spending time in the sun. It’s easy to forget this tip, but it’s one of the most important!
Healthy Snacks – Be sure to bring a few simple snacks you can munch on while hanging poolside! Trail mix, fruit, and almonds are easy to transport and will help keep you feel full throughout the day. Click here
for a few more snack suggestions!
Reading Material! – If you’ve been known to get bored pretty easily, bring a few magazines or a book you’ve been meaning to pick up from the book store! Click here to check out what’s topping the New York Times Best Seller List at the moment.
Your Favorite Tunes – Bringing some music to the pool is a must, whether your favorite jams are on your I-Pod, your phone, a Discman or cassette player (bet you haven’t heard those throwbacks in awhile!) Make sure you bring ear buds so you don’t disturb the peace at the pool.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of The BH Blog!
Have a great time hanging by the pool this summer!
Are you or someone you know looking for an apartment?
Be sure to check out our BH communities here!

Breaking out of your shell

friendsMany people who live in apartment homes would love to meet some of the other residents at their communities, but making friends isn’t always the easiest or most comfortable thing to tackle.

That being said, breaking out of your shell can be a life-changing experience, not to mention an opportunity to expand your circle!

To help you accomplish this feat, we’ve come up with a few ways to help you muster up the courage to strike up a conversation or two. Here goes!


1)      Take advantage of resident events! If you are living in a BH community, you can expect to receive an invitation to a resident event several times a year! We often play host to cookouts, pool parties, holiday gatherings… you name it. These events are MEANT to help you meet other people, so be sure to RSVP ‘Yes!’


2)      Hit up the pool. If you’re ‘lucky’ enough to live in a state where you’re bound to see snow come December 1st – make that November 1st – heck, some of us even see it October 1st – chances are, you’ll have a much easier time meeting people when you aren’t cooped up during the winter months. If you want to break out of your shell, be sure to take advantage of the pool – whether it’s open year-round, or just a few months out of the year at your community. Chances are, it will be packed (with your soon to be pals!)


3)      Visit the gym. If there’s a gym at your community, hopping on an elliptical machine, treadmill, or lifting a few is the perfect gateway to starting a conversation with someone who’s working up a sweat next to you. If you hit it off, you might be lucky enough to end up with a work out buddy, too!


4)      Be friendly! Smile when others pass you. Say hi. Put out the vibe! Opening yourself up to the possibility of meeting people, making friends, or meeting a significant other is key in this process!


5)      Put yourself out there – While the suggestions we mentioned above will help get you out of your apartment – and will help you open you up to the possibility of meeting others, this last suggestion is a necessary step when it comes to all four tips. No matter where you are, or how friendly you seem – often times, you still need to take that leap and be the one to strike up the conversation. So, put yourself out there!

If you’re more of an extrovert, these suggestions may seem obvious to you, but there are plenty of folks in the world who are a bit more introverted and aren’t sure where to start!

We hope this week’s blog helped give you a few new ideas if you just moved to your community, are new to town, or are simply looking to add some new and fabulous people to your life! (Who isn’t?!)


Are you or someone you know looking for an apartment community? Be sure to check out our BH communities here!