Last week Newby Management got together at Gamble plantation in Ellenton, FL so that we could recognize our team members who go above and beyond. Team members traveled from as far as Tallahassee to fellowship with one another. Our picnic began with games like corn hole, can slam, bean bag baseball, jumbo checkers and others.
After everyone had arrived, the organized activities began and team members got to choose from doing a paint along or laser tag. The paint along was a beautiful Americana painting enjoyed by all. Those who chose Laser Tag did battle on a field with many different bunkers on it. They played different games and scenarios.
After the organized activities, everyone had worked up quite an appetite. We had a great meal catered by C&K BBQ in Parrish Florida. There was a selection of green beans, potatoes, ribs, pulled pork, and smoked chicken. The meal was delicious and the time team members spent together was wonderful.
To wrap up our time together, our team members were presented with awards including Most Homes Sold, Excellence in Stewardship, Super Support, Humanitarian, Social Media Ambassador, Manager Plus, Outstanding Community, and the coveted President’s Award. Our Outstanding Communities were Hawaiian Village, Fiesta Grove and Tropicana Co-Op. We are proud to announce that Janet Johnson, our Director of HR, won the President’s Award this year. Team members make our communities great places to live. They are the reason we have been able to stay in business for over 40 years. Everyone had a great day of fellowship and celebration with team members across the state. We ended the day praying together and everyone traveled back to their communities.
A truck with three pallets pulls up. The pallets are filled with nearly 4,000 food items. Newby Management team members begin to file in and out of the building unloading boxes ranging from peanut butter to cans of soup. They place each food item in its assigned spot, in what is normally the conference room but today it looks more like an assembly line. The food is then broken out of it’s packaging to pack into food bags. After all the food is unloaded, one by one each team member of the corporate staff walks around the table assembling bags of food. The whole process takes the team members a little under an hour. After all the packing has taken place there are 143 bags that are packed and ready to go out to residents.
These food bags will now go out into more than 20 communities throughout the state from Tallahassee to Fort Myers. Each bag will be personally delivered by a corporate team member to the communities. Inside each bag there is food that will go to a resident in need.
The Monday after a Thanksgiving weekend, Newby Management takes the time to pack food for those who have a hard time during the holiday season. In packing these bags Newby Management lives out its statement of purpose. “Sharing the Love of Christ, While Providing Unique Management Services for the Manufactured Housing Industry.”
Remember your grandma’s mobile home park? Nothing to do, rickety houses lining disheveled streets. Today’s four and five star manufactured home communities are a far cry from those, and investors are taking notice.
These communities offer green spaces, amenities and high-end homes that offer the convenience of single-family homes without the cost. From fitness centers and clubhouses, to activities and luxury swimming pools, these communities are becoming more and more attractive to investors. In business terms, they offer stable returns, long-term occupants, and a relatively low capital cost to maintain the properties.
The financial risk is relatively low as well. Second only to self-storage, these communities have one of the lowest rates of default. It also has the second-highest net operating income growth, making manufactured home communities very attractive to both mom-and-pop, along with large investors.
Speaking of mom-and-pop, they make finding a manufactured home community for purchase difficult. The stability of the asset encourages long-term ownership, and the assets are often kept in the family. Still, investors in the market can often find a distressed property with 50% occupancy in need of repairs and community spaces. Besides mom and pop owners, large companies own a majority of the parks in the Untied States. Sun Communities, Equity Lifestyle Properties and RHP Properties are the top three owners, with a combined ownership of 200,000 sites.
An increased demand for manufactured housing from baby boomers and young families has encouraged lenders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to announce an increase in manufactured housing production goals. The average cost of a manufactured home, minus land, is $70,600, compared to nearly $300k for a single-family home, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute.
Due to their affordability, manufactured housing falls outside of the institutional lending limit caps set for Fannie and Freddie. Interest rates have remained low, and borrowers have the option to shop around for the load terms that best suit the mobile home community, and the market. Because of this, borrowers benefit from a competitive product with a low interest rate, and a good return in a low-risk environment.
In the meantime, demand for manufactured homes continues to rise, leaving investors on the market searching for the next good deal.
Each morning, one of our community managers tours his community in a golf cart to see if any resident’s haven’t picked up their newspaper. Why does he do this? It’s a simple act that goes a long way in anticipating resident’s needs.
At Newby Management, this is one of our Three Steps of Service: “Anticipate and meet resident needs. Know your community family well enough to provide service even before they ask.” This means that you should pay extra attention to the sick elderly resident’s home. A paper left on the driveway for them could be a lot more serious than for other residents.
Getting to know your community is an essential part of being able to anticipate needs. For sick or elderly residents, a newspaper on the driveway could signal a need for help. For other residents, it could simply mean that they are out of town or on an early morning walk.
Anticipating needs comes in all shapes and sizes, from offering ice cream bars to residents at the pool to helping an elderly resident with home repairs. For instance, if residents love hanging out at the pool, but the furniture is old and rickety it might be time to consider purchasing new pool furniture. Also, we use the taller comfort pool furniture when possible. Waiting to make changes until residents have started complaining or have stopped coming to the pool entirely is too late.
Small acts of service can mean the difference between good customer service and great customer service. Finding new ways to serve residents should be exciting, and it’s the job of all team members to keep it that way.
Every team member should make it a priority to anticipate resident needs. Empower your team members to act on opportunities to go above and beyond for residents. This could mean stopping to help a resident locate a nearby service or walking with a resident to show them where the library is located.
If you host a weekly staff meeting, encourage your team members to share what they have done to meet resident’s needs. This will not only offer you an opportunity to praise them, but it will also give other team members good ideas. Be sure to encourage team members when they are engaging in excellent customer service.
At Newby Management, our team is constantly striving to serve our residents in new ways. We train our team members to take initiative, to anticipate resident needs and to create great communities. In fact, at a recent meeting we came up with tons of ways our community managers are already putting these theories into play.
How do your manufactured home communities anticipate resident needs?
Serving your residents is important. At Newby Management, it’s one of the most important things we do. If you’re at a loss for how to serve residents in your manufactured home community, here at 5 ways our team members go above and beyond in our communities.
1. Holiday Cheer
The holidays are fast approaching, and as they do we are gearing up for spreading some holiday cheer to our residents. Each year, we pack food bags full of non-perishable items for the needy families in our communities. It’s a simple act, but it helps alleviate some of the stress that comes with the holidays. We also deliver poinsettias to families who could use a little cheer. These are great ideas to begin implementing in your own communities.
2. Involve Residents
When things are happening in your community, it can be tempting to limit your resident’s knowledge on the topic. At Newby Management, we encourage resident involvement in community issues and happenings. Not only does it help residents feel at ease when changes are being made, it also helps them feel involved. In one of our communities, Camelot Lakes, the team members held a pre-construction party to help prepare residents for what was to come. It was a great way to answer questions and give residents a good feeling about the future.
3. Consider Your Surroundings
What do we mean by this? Think of the state in which your communities are built. Does it snow? Does it rain a lot? What unique challenges does your state face? In Florida, our manufactured home communities are susceptible to hurricanes. That’s why Newby Management established the Newby Management Emergency Action Team (NEAT) in 2005 to respond to disasters that may occur in our communities. These disasters include hurricanes, fire, tornadoes, flooding and terrorism. The goal for NEAT at the community level is to equip community management to be prepared to deal with disasters when they happen within their communities in a professional and organized manner, that will help protect people and property. In this way, we are serving the residents and meeting their needs.
4. Establish a Servant Heart
At Newby Management, we try to encourage all our team members to establish a servant’s heart. This is the most consistent way to serve residents. Having a servant’s heart means serving others without expectations. For example, we don’t serve our residents with the expectation that they never have complaints, refer us new residents or bring baked goods to the office. We do it out of humility, love and respect for those we are called to serve. When you consider serving a blessing, it becomes something you want to do, instead of something you have to do.
5. Do Random Acts of Kindness
We serve our residents in some many ways every day. Many of them are tangible and business-related. These are expected and required of a management company. What’s unexpected is going above and beyond in service and care. Random acts of kindness are so special because most times they’ll never be traced back to you. When they are, you can remind people to pay it forward. Do you know of a lonely resident’s birthday? Drop a card in their mailbox. See a resident with a really nicely manicured lawn? Stop by a let them know! Have a resident who is always offering to help out? Send them a thank you note. These simple acts are great ways to serve residents, but are also great ways to find yourself doing a lot more smiling.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to keep your finances in order. Sometimes it can feel like all you’re ever doing is waiting for the next bill. In manufactured home and RV communities, you can get overwhelmed and behind before you know it.
The idea of hiring a property management company to handle your finances when they feel threatened might seem daunting. In fact, you might feel like it’s counter intuitive if anything. Handing something over to another company as crucial as your finances is a big step, but it can make a difference in your community. Take a moment to look over the questions below to assess whether you should consider hiring a property management company in your community.
Do you have the need for timely, accurate and comprehensive financial reporting?
Do you need a more detailed explanation of the financial health of your community?
Do you have special reporting needs for partners or lenders that require more than the typical monthly reports?
Are collections and resident ledgers a challenge?
Would an automatic payment system help your cash flow?
Are payables too time consuming?
Are you missing out on discounts from vendors and contractors because you are not part of a larger group?
At Newby Management, our accounts will handle your money as if it were their own. They personally invest in the outcome of your financials as they provide excellent customer service and financial reporting.
When you make your requests know our accounting team will meet them consistently. Our financial service package can be customized to meet the unique needs or your manufactured home or RV community. Unlike other property management companies, you’ll have the comfort of direct access to the account who handles your finances on a day-to-day basis. Here are some of the services our accountants provide:
On-Time Payment Processing
Professional Financial Reporting
Manage/Reconcile Bank Accounts
Learn more about Newby Management and the manufactured home property management solutions they provide by visiting www.NewbyManagement.com.
If you ever talk to someone who loves where they live you’ll often hear the same thing. They love the community! For many people living miles from family, the friends surrounding them become their loved ones.
Fostering this feeling in your manufactured home communities and RV Resorts is so important. These communities aren’t just houses in close proximity, for many they represent home, family and a sense of belonging. But communities like this don’t just happen, they are built over years and become neighborhoods sharing experiences, laughter and love.
At Newby Management, we believe this sense of community is one of the most important aspects of managing manufactured home communities and RV Resorts. As such, we wanted to give you five ways to help your residents get involved in your community.
1. HOST MONTHLY EVENTS
Each month, plan several events that will bring the residents of your community together. Whether it’s something small, like coffee and donuts, or something bigger like a potluck, your residents will enjoy getting to meet each other. Each event will begin to feel more and more like a family reunion.
2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Today, communities are built in person and online. If you’re hosting monthly events in your manufactured home community, let people know about it! Get your residents talking on social media, whether you’re asking them to share pictures or use a certain hashtag. Eventually you’ll have a community of people who love promoting you! Plus, if your community caters to snowbirds they can stay involved during the summer months, too.
3. CREATE SOCIAL CLUBS
When people move into your community, screen them for their interests. Create a form that lets people select the type of things they like to do. For example, photography, knitting, running, woodworking, etc. Then you can give your new resident information on others in the community who like the same thing, what time social clubs meet and how to best get involved. Some people are too shy to find people who like the same things they do, so this gives them a head start!
4. CREATE BUZZ
If you’re hosting an event in your community, make sure to create some buzz. Pass out flyers, hang banners and get people talking. When people come into your office remind them about the event and tell them to bring a friend. Use social media to help your cause. If you’re excited about the events going on other people are going to get excited too! Once word gets around you’re more likely to have a full house.
5. ENGAGE THE LONERS
Sometimes people will come to events but will sit by themselves. Engage these people, talk to them about their interests, see if they filled out an interest sheet. If not, have them do one. Introduce them to people at the event with similar interests. Try to help them engage with the community around them. Sometimes shy people just need a little budge to become the social butterfly!
At Newby Management, we believe strongly in the power of community. We strive to promote a sense of fun, friendship and fellowship for all our residents. That’s part of why we host strawberry socials in the spring and chicken BBQs in the summer. We love to see our residents get together and have good times! How do you promote resident involvement in your manufactured home community?
What makes a good team member? At Newby Management, our team is carefully selected based on three primary principles for hiring. When you follow these principles, you’ll find that your team is more engaged, more teachable and more willing to grow with the company.
In hiring, there’s a common phrase “we hire people for what they know, and fire them for who they are.” When we value skills over spirits, we’re making a huge mistake. That’s why the Three C’s + 1 of Hiring are so important- Character, Chemistry, Competency and a Spirit of Charging. Too often, team members are primarily chosen based on competency, but that doesn’t create the best team possible. We’re going to show you how Newby Management hires the right team member for the right position.
CHARACTER: At Newby Management, there’s a culture based around Christ-like service. Our team is helpful, caring, thoughtful and giving. It’s a team that comes together in times of happiness and crisis to stand before the Lord in prayer, to lift each other up and to help out those in need. You’ll find people stepping up to take action without being asked to help other team members. They embody the culture of Newby Management, which helps all team members work well together from the start.
CHEMISTRY: As discussed above, it’s important that a team member fit with the culture of your company. At Newby Management, we do a series of interviews and personality tests to ensure that each new team member has the right chemistry to gel with our current team. This involves looking at their character and spirit and learning about who they are as a person, which is a vital step in the hiring process.
COMPETENCY: This is often the most valued trait when hiring a new team member. At Newby Management, competency is important, but when we find a team member who’s chemistry and character fits, we try to look for a position that will suite them. Sometimes it’s a different position than the one they applied for, sometimes it’s a position that doesn’t exist yet. When people have the skill sets they need to succeed, we look for the +1 of the Three C’s: a Spirit of Charging.
SPIRIT OF CHARGING: Does a team member take initiative to get the job done? These team members take charge and will go above and beyond the call of duty, pioneering new phases and new ventures that help move the company forward. They are always looking for new opportunities and creating them.
At Newby Management, our HR department takes the Three C’s +1 into account and then starts the process of determining the specific gifts and talents of the candidate. Our current team has a depth of service that you won’t find anywhere else in the industry.
Are you interested in learning more about how to hire the right team members for the right positions in your manufactured home or RV community? Check out our website, learn more about our team and contact us to see how we can help!
On September 4, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida as one of the strongest hurricanes in history pummeled toward the state.
Just four days later, hundreds of thousands of Floridians across the state were under evacuation, making it the state’s largest evacuation on record. Among many of the mandatory evacuations were residents in manufactured homes, which are considered to be highly susceptible to strong winds.
Hurricane Irma was the first time in Newby Management’s history to have every community in the portfolio effected by one hurricane. While some communities had minimal damage, all were effected.
At the beginning of the hurricane season, each community has a packet available for residents. It features shelter listings, a list of items to take during an evacuation and evacuation routes so that residents have a plan.
The Newby Management corporate team began preparations for Hurricane Irma nearly a week prior to landfall. The team watched updates, double checked supplies, and made sure the team had evacuation plans.
3 days out, the Newby Management Emergeny Action (NEAT) was mobilized to begin prepping communities. NEAT was formed in 2005, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Charley.
NEAT is a first response team to check on resident safety and property damage after a disaster like weather, fire, flood, terrorism, and violence. Over the past 11 years, the NEAT team has been deployed 15 times to assist our communities across Florida.
Tpyically, counties issue mandatory evacuations for RV and mobile home communities at least two days prior to a hurricane. While some residents choose to stay, all team members are required to evacuate.
At the home office in Ellenton, the entire team comes together to discuss NEAT deployment strategies for recovery after Irma. Because Irma was so large, our team had to be ready to head to almost any part of Florida following the storm.
There were four teams ready to go to the worst hit areas. From the home office, Newby Management had the CEO, president, IT, regional managers, marketing and training teams, along with the chaplain with boots on the ground for recovery.
As Irma made landfall in Florida, our plans changed with the storm. Todd Newby, the president, and the regional managers stayed in contact to keep the team updated. Once regional managers began hearing from the communities, the latest deployment plans were put into action.
Irma made landfall in many of our communities through Saturday night and into Sunday. Some of the NEAT team was ready to respond as quickly as Monday afternoon.
From Tuesday through the following Monday, there were teams from the home office and sister communities in Lakeland, Fort Myers and east coast areas. Most of he communities had resident volunteers who helped each other, as well as assisted in the clean-up of common areas.
It was a blessing to see our team members and residents come together and serve each other following the hurricane. In one community, there was a couple who couldn’t do physical work, so they grilled hamburgers. In another community, there was a resident who rode around giving out coffee and doubts.
Thanks to the efforts of NEAT, the team and residents, within a week of the hurricane you’d never know there was a disaster in most communities. There are still repairs in some, but largely the communities fared well. The amazing response of the team helped keep everyone safe and make recovery easier for all.
Learn more about NEAT and how Newby Management assists our communities in times of disaster.
For most the goal when selling a home is to do it quickly and for the highest possible asking price. While you cannot control the market, you can control some variables that will help you get the best results.
LOOK AT YOUR CURB APPEAL
The outside of your home is the first impression potential buyers see when considering your home. A few simple things that can easily boost curb appeal can go a long way in catching a buyer’s eye. Be sure your welcome mat is welcoming (aka clean, not dingy or faded). Weed your flower garden, and add fresh mulch or rocks. Consider planting some colorful flowers that will catch a buyer’s eye, or putting some potted plants near your entry way.
Some other things to consider for the outside of your home. What is the condition of your home’s exterior? If you have gutters, are they cleaned out? Do you need to update your paint job or perhaps even just the trim? Consider power washing the home’s exterior, sidewalks, drive way and decking. Check the rails leading into your home to make sure they are secure. A wobbly railing, while it is an easy fix, can be a deterrent or worse harm a potential buyer.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
Have a bright, uncluttered entrance way. Many LED lightbulbs on the market today are not only energy efficient, but also pleasantly bright. Buyers want the entry area to feel spacious and clean. Remove unnecessary items such as shoes, jackets, and umbrellas. Keep the floor swept/vacuumed. If your home has a tiled floor, be sure to evaluate the grout. Does it need to be cleaned? Or repaired? What is the condition of your carpet? Countertops? Appliances? Repairs can impact your bottom line, but there are some you should consider, because they will make your home more appealing to potential buyers.
Normally, one should want their home to be a reflection of themselves, however when trying to sell your home, you want buyers to be able to imagine the home as their own. What does this mean for you? Remove your personal memorabilia. Pack away your family photos, take the magnets off the front of your refrigerator. Repaint your interior if you do not already have neutral wall colors.
Consider renting a storage shed to help declutter and neutralize your home. Excessive furniture can make a home feel cramped. Clean out your closets, even if it means packing away the majority of your clothing. The same technique applies to linen and coat closets, your pantry and any other storage areas including often overlooked areas like your kitchen countertops. When selling a home, less is more.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
We often do not notice the smell of our own home, because we are used to its fragrance. Visitors however, notice the smell right away. Consider having a neutral smelling air freshener to help neutralize the smell of your home. Another alternative, if you have time before a showing is to drop some slice and bake cookies in your oven. These will give a pleasant aroma that is not overwhelming for most visitors. They also would look nice on a decorative plate on your countertop after they are baked.
If you have a cat, be sure the litter box is scooped daily. Likewise, bathe your pooch often while you are trying to sell your home. Look closely around your home; you may need to take a lint roller to your furniture to remove pet hair. You might need to dust more often.
Another consideration for pet owners when selling a home is to make sure they are not out and about during a showing. Not only is this is for the safety of your pets, but also for the comfort of your potential buyer. If at all possible, the ideal situation would be to not have any pets home during a showing.
CLOSING THE DEAL
Selling a home can take time, but a little effort can go a long way to getting your home sold. As you wait for that potential buyer to make an offer, relax and enjoy the work you have put into your home to get it ready for the market. The right buyer will come along, soon enough.