Student Housing Business

JAN-FEB 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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TURN January/February 2018 58 Taking on Turn Technology, templates and teamwork keep properties on track for a positive move-in day. By Lynn Peisner T The phrase "preparing for turn" could be con- strued as an oxymoron. Many student hous- ing veterans admit that something unexpected almost always happens, no matter how care- fully you plan. Matt Maxa, senior vice president of opera- tions for CA Student Living, has been in the student housing business for about 15 years. He recalls a particularly startling turn several years ago at a Florida property when a hurri- cane knocked out some 70 windows after turn was complete. "No matter how well you've planned, how early you start or how on-schedule you are, things always happen," he says. "You have to adapt very quickly." Turn, the quick process of moving residents out, cleaning and repairing un-renewed units, and moving in new tenants all over the course of a few weeks, is unlike anything else in the multifamily industry. For many turn veterans, it's a high-stress responsibility that separates the wheat from the chaff. It tests teamwork. You either love it or hate it. "I've loved turn my whole career," Maxa says. "I always tell my staff that it brings out the best and the worst in people. You get to know people for exactly who they are." Today, while hiccups or surprises are inevi- table, preparing for turn is practically a lab science. Many companies are using technology and tools to streamline the physical, on-site processes. Corporate oversight keeps proper- ties on schedule and on budget through con- sistent communication and standardized tem- plates and deadlines. With move-out generally around the end of July, turn preparation gets going as early as the first of the year for some. The physical work for turn is fairly routine, property-to-property. It typically begins with the paperwork, key collection and other punch list items related to moving out residents. Then comes trash removal; assessment, repair and billing for damages; replacing or repairing normal wear and tear on furnishing, fixtures or appliances; cleaning; painting; and, lastly, cleaning carpets and floors. Turn culmi- nates in the all-important move-in day. "We're trying to catch everything we can that would cause us to have a disruptive move-in process," says Scott Duckett, chief operating officer for Campus Advantage. "Move-in really sets the tone for the upcom- ing year for our residents, and if they have a bad move-in experience, they're not that forgiving and are less likely to refer us to their friends or renew a lease with us. There's a financial impact to associate with move-in that's all predicated on having a good turn." The Who, When, How of Turn Every company executes in their own style, but typically a property manager is respon- sible for gathering vendor bids and then con- tracts, and ensuring that the established bud- get is adhered to. If furniture is going to need to be replaced, for instance, then the costs outlined in paint contracts might need to come down. Industry standards of cost of turn tend Turn is a team-building opportunity for your staff. It's hard work. But it can be fun, too, as it is for The Preiss Company's staff. TPCO runs Fit Bit challenges and other contests during turn. " Move-in really sets the tone for the upcoming year for our residents; if they have a bad move-in experience, they're not that forgiving and are less likely to refer us to their friends or renew a lease with us. — Scott Duckett, Chief Operating Officer, Campus Advantage

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