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.”
Do you ever wonder where time has gone? If you are like most people then you know that there never seems to be enough time. Serious study has been devoted by efficiency experts to find the best ways to make the most use of our time. We will discuss time management. Some of the solutions are no-brainers, yet sometimes it is less obvious moments that cause a loss in productivity.
If you are naturally inclined to live a busy, fast-paced life you might notice that a rigid schedule can maintain order and enhance productivity. The predictable and planned often do lead to accomplishing goals. Yet when the unexpected occurs such as traffic, sickness, childcare glitches then you can suddenly find yourself feeling overwhelmed and off track.
It seems to be an oxymoron when trying to be more productive to hear someone say take time to relax. There is something to be said for taking a well-deserved vacation, or simpler moments in the work day to go on a short walk. Unfortunately, today’s fast-paced society has given a green light to go and go as fast as you can, all day, every day. This ‘Type A’ living can be detrimental to your health. Taking breaks has been proven to reduce the stress that puts you at medical risk.
Another thing to consider are the things that steal time. In this modern age, we are in constant contact with the world. We wear smartwatches, carry cell phones, and travel with tablets and laptops. We are connected 24/7. Checking emails and surfing social media can easily rob our time. The next time you are in a public place look at those nearby. More often than naught, they will be looking at their phones not engaging with each other. In the workplace being ultra-connected can be counterproductive. Avoid distractions by scheduling blocks of time to interact with emails, texts, and social media.
There are other less obvious things that interfere with productivity. Be aware of when you work best, and save more challenging tasks for that time of day whenever possible. When we try to do things outside of our body’s natural rhythm, we can find it harder to stay focused. Keep in mind creature comforts have an impact, such as getting enough sleep or being hungry.
Good record keeping is essential to working more effectively. For many people, untidy work areas and clutter can create mental blocks. If you find yourself procrastinating or searching for lost items, take a look around your physical and digital workspace. Start each morning or end each day with reorganizing and decluttering your desk. If you lack inspiration, just spend a few moments searching for ideas on Pinterest. By doing this you will quickly see that some people have too much time on their hands. Although joking aside, there are many great ideas to save time and money.
Finally, we make it to the obvious productivity tool: the list. There are endless ways to create a good to-do list. A popular way of list making is to create a priority matrix. By dividing tasks into 4 quadrants it is easy to prioritize. The labels can vary, but usually gives each square a status like: do now, do later, urgent, or not urgent. Once you have a list, is there anything that can be delegated to someone else? Decide which things can be broken down into smaller tasks.
At Newby Management we value strong work ethic, but also value serving others. These two ideals are well paired together, yet sometimes clash when we are swamped with work. During these moments you may feel compelled to keep at a work task. It is easy to find yourself annoyed at having to direct focus to a resident coming in simply to chat. It is in these moments that your response can have an immense impact on the way you are perceived in your community. Think about the Bible story of Mary and Martha. Jesus put emphasis on knowing when it is important to lavish in the social rather than focusing solely on the tasks at hand. While there are moments that you cannot have a conversation, the way that is conveyed by your body language will speak volumes about your character.
The heat of summer is sizzling upon us. In a couple of weeks, we will officially declare it summer and kick off our summer BBQ season. At Newby, we love hosting chicken BBQs. The reasons we choose summertime for the BBQs is that during the summer our parks have a slower, more laid-back atmosphere. We tend to plan renovations, improvements, and things that sometimes require our residents to be more flexible. The BBQs are a simple way to say thank you.
We also like to think of it as a temptation to get our snowbird friends to stay a bit longer, though they seem to prefer going home for the season. We will keep trying though! A tradition that our residents may not realize is that the summer BBQ season is also the kick off of employee training. We gather our managers and give them an opportunity to fellowship and learn together. They meet all day and the topics vary from year to year but cover the essentials of managing with excellence. Sometimes the summer training includes specific tips for hosting a BBQ experience. This might include teaching where to buy the meat and how to prepare the meat and sides. Last year, it even led to a baked beans contest amongst the communities.
White and dark meat are BBQ staples. If you prefer plain chicken, sure it will be good, but if you have enthusiastic taste buds, try having some Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce on your chicken. You will not walk away hungry. There will be beans, potato salad, dinner rolls and well-portioned slices of cake.
Over the years, the themes of the BBQ have paved the way for cakes to become just as elaborate. It is almost an unspoken competition to have the most unique themed cake. By the way, the cake cutting has also become somewhat of an art form. It might seem like they are joking when you hear someone being asked if they are qualified to cut the cake, but it is always asked with a hint of seriousness.
As you can imagine, a lot of logistics go into planning multiple BBQs across the state of Florida. Team members from the corporate office tow the grill to each community and work alongside the community manager to host this delicious chicken feast. In some larger communities, our team may cook over 400 pieces of chicken. This means we start at dawn and turn the grill four times!
While the BBQs are indeed delicious, we use these as opportunity to serve and express our gratitude for the people living in our communities. Servanthood is one of the core values at Newby Management. We are looking forward to another year of BBQs!
Community managers often set the tone for the mood of their communities. This phenomenon can be observed in other business environments as well, where the front line management often sets the tone. These subtle atmospheric influences can be noted in other social scenarios such as churches and schools. Pretty much anywhere that people come together as groups we can see this underlying trend.
Something unique to note about community relations, in particular, is that if the manager of a community is perceived as warm and friendly there are likely to be happy and satisfied residents. There are some theories behind this, and they all involve the give and take of relationships. In a community setting, the manager will often find themselves in delicate role balancing relationships, rules, and conflict.
Relationships are important. Even in the animal world, there are many kinds of animals that appear to be engaged in friendship and deep connections to one another. This bonding is often essential to survival. The animals with the strongest social networks tend to live the longest. It is also notable that for people that connection is also a factor in health and longevity.
As humans we bond over food, through laughter, singing, dancing, telling stories and empathizing with one another. So why then is it so hard to make new friends as an adult? We deeply need connection, yet as we age at times we find ourselves sometimes isolated. As you get older, making friends is more challenging than the days of running up to some random kid on the playground and becoming an instant BFF. Here are some of the reasons it is staunchly more difficult as an adult.
•Meeting fewer people
•Fear of the unknown
What do you look for in a new friend? Think about how much of what you think makes a good friend is representative of yourself? Many of us make friends with people that have similar interests and connections. Joining a club, volunteering, engaging in activities are great ways to meet new people. Perhaps you already are part of a community but are not finding it easy to meet others. Here are some helpful things to consider.
•Look for common interests
Most of us have some fear of rejection. Yes, even the bravest of extroverts. Let’s look at the list closer. When we find things in common, it is easier to strike up a conversation. Be welcoming and be consistent. Show up at the same events, shop at the same time of day. Let yourself become a familiar face. Create a routine, where you immerse yourself in your environment. It takes more than just being present though, radiate joy. Give the first smile or quick wave. Think of some leading questions that give an opportunity for thoughtful answers. Avoid being negative or gossiping, as those can leave a bad taste in the mouth of a potential friend.
If you are a community manager reading this, take an introspective look at the kind of environment you are creating within your community. Do you instinctively smile and warmly greet guests, even when you are inundated with work issues and other conflicts. Do you encourage your residents to gather by hosting events? Events can be simple as coffee and walking clubs. Do you encourage residents to solve problems with one another, rather than listening as they spew negativity and gossip about others? Many times, the community manager can help resolve conflict and create new friendships by focusing on handling the conflict right at the source. Often a small misunderstanding not handled effectively can lead to great woes. Remind yourself that as the community manager you are setting the tone for your community, and that has immense relational repercussions or can be deeply rewarding when done well.
The way Americans are thinking about retirement is creating ripples of dramatic changes leading to a paradigm shift affecting policy, politics, behavior and the social fibers of our nation. As Baby Boomers reach the age of retirement many new challenges and opportunities are emerging.
Boomers are a diverse population, yet as a generality, Boomers do share some common ground with each other: Strong work ethic, self-assured, competitive, resourceful, disciplined, team-oriented. Boomers tend to have incredible focus on meeting their goals. It is no wonder that investors, retailers and even property managers are taking notice of the unique opportunities presented during this fundamental shift about the way American’s think of retirement.
10,000+ Baby Boomers are retiring daily, with that number increasing yearly. Life expectancy is longer than ever before. Boomers are arriving at retirement with expectations. Many of these coming of age folks want to enjoy their retirement years and anticipate spending the wealth they’ve accumulated, and taking a more leisurely pace in life. Alarmingly, in contrast, others have not saved enough, or have had their investments shaken by unstable economic conditions leaving some Boomers to anticipate working well into their golden years.
Retirement brings both relief and obstacles to the lives of Boomers. Boomers have been at the helm of their families, during their working years balancing career and family. Not surprisingly, many of this generation are arriving at retirement while still playing a vital role in the lives of their children and grandchildren, but many are also now needed as caretakers for aging parents. Some Boomers are choosing to purchase neighboring homes for their aging parents or move them closer, but with the peace of mind of a care facility to assist with the more physical aspects of caring for a loved one.
Another way that Boomers are addressing the challenges of retirement is by downsizing and purchasing affordable housing. Moving to Florida is a bucket list dream for many. Some Boomers opt to become snowbirds and enjoy the best of both worlds. The cost to live in Florida is comparable or lower than many other places in the nation. Florida has a lower tax rate and does not have a state tax which makes it quite enticing.
In the manufactured housing industry owners and investors know that they can offer some prime advantages to new retirees beyond just the economics. There has been considerable reinvestment in communities. It is clear that retirees want to enjoy their free time. Clubhouses, shuffleboard courts, billiards, and heated pools have become the standard. Retirees want to remain active. Tennis courts, pickleball, lap lanes in pools, and fitness centers have become very desirable amenities. Some larger communities even have golf courses, saunas, restaurants and more.
Community managers know that retirement is a social time. Planned activities are often a deciding factor for Boomers when choosing which community to settle into and call home. Many have moved south for the warm, sunny weather and the Florida lifestyle, leaving behind family and friends. This can be an overwhelming transition for some, but community living has advantages when it comes to staying active and making friends. As newcomers join activities, residents tend to be welcoming and their common interests create strong ties. They often report these new relationships feel like extended family and lifelong friendships have been created.
No doubt that even in retirement the Baby Boomers continue to be a generation that has changed our nation. Baby Boomers continue to redefine retirement. Aging is no longer about growing old gracefully, it is about living more, new beginnings, and chasing passions. And who is more qualified to challenge the status quo than the Baby Boomer generation?
Did you know that living in an active adult community can change your life? Studies show that activities and events can have numerous cognitive and health benefits for seniors. Here are 5 reasons you should not only live in an active community, but get involved too!
Research shows that people who have more fulfilling relationships tend to sleep better than those who don’t. If you’re experiencing insomnia, try getting involved in the community. Getting active and on a regular schedule will help you to reset your internal clock, which will also help you sleep more soundly. Try going to some activities in the community that happen at the same place and time every week. It will give you a schedule, and help keep you accountable.
Did you know that research has proven people who stay mentally engaged can prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? Newby Management community’s like Rolling Greens host numerous events that can get your mind going. Activities like book club, card games or woodshop can teach you new skills, revive your interest in books, and keep your mind sharp. Rolling Greens keeps the calendar full, and even has an on-site social director to plan events. Communities like these will help keep your mind in shape! In one study at Rush, researchers followed about 800 people, all about age 80, for four years. The participants had no signs of dementia at the beginning of the study, but some described themselves as lonely and tested positive on a “loneliness scale.” During the study, 76 people developed Alzheimer’s-like dementia. People with the highest scores on the loneliness scale had more than twice the risk of developing dementia as those with more social connections who had scored lower.
INCREASED IMMUNE SYSTEM
Get out there and active, because studies show that getting out and having people around you makes your immune system function better. As humans, being active and social is an important part of our overall health, so important, in fact, that it literally affects how our body operates. Stay healthy and find some new friends to have fun with.
A strong social circle can actually increase the length of your life! Even more importantly, it’s actually friends, not family, who give you the boost. The Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging studied the effects of friendships on health and aging. Older adults with the strongest network of friends were 22% less likely to die during the study than those with the weakest network of good friendships.
HAPPY & HEALTHY
Socially active seniors usually have a more positive mood, and it can help fight depression. Loneliness is a unique risk factor for symptoms of depression, and loneliness and depression have a synergistic adverse effect on well-being in middle-aged and older adults. Get out, get active and make some friends. Finding a well-rounded community is important. When you’re researching adult communities for retirement, be sure they are active and have lots of events! (And then make sure to go to them, after all, it’s good for you!)
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.
How can you use strawberries to serve your customers? That’s easy! Top them with shortcake, whipped cream, and our favorite, ice cream.
At Newby Management, Strawberry Socials are a tradition that has continued for almost 30 years, hailing all the way back to our founder’s childhood. Martin Newby grew up on a farm in Iowa. Along with the normal crops, they also grew potatoes, cabbage, sweet corn and 3 1/2 acres of strawberries.
At the end of the season, his mom and dad had the idea to invite the neighbors to bring homemade ice cream and they would supply the delicious strawberries. The birth of the first Strawberry Social was enjoyed by some 200 people on the front lawn of the farm.
As an adult in business, Martin was always looking for ways to provide extraordinary customer service to his customers. As he researched, providing a quality experience for consumers was a good place to start. Thinking back to his teen years on the farm, he remembered the Strawberry Socials with fondness. He felt these could be recreated for all residents.
Today, these Strawberry Socials are a point of fun and excitement in our communities. Residents gather together to laugh, fellowship and share life together. These aren’t any strawberry desserts either. It all starts with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream, topped with a decadent piece of shortcake, followed with a large scoop of strawberries and finished with a dollop of whipped cream.
Newby Management team members head across the state during the months of February and March to help serve up these delicious deserts to residents. It’s a sweet way to give back to our residents through service.
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?
A manufactured home community can seem like a business investment. It can be easy to forget that each community is a living, breathing entity that has its own individual character and personality. There isn’t a magical formula for managing manufactured home communities, and that’s why you need a hands-on property management company.
At Newby Management, we have been serving manufactured home and RV communities for 40 years. This has given us the experience we need to foster communities where people love to live. We know what works and what doesn’t, and we’re always trying to better ourselves as a company.
We have set certain standards for ourselves, like being close to our communities. This allows us the benefit of face-to-face interaction on a regular basis. It means being able to respond quickly in the event of crisis. It means being present and knowledgeable on all aspects of the community. A property management company who wasn’t readily available would not be able to accomplish this.
As manufactured home community property managers, being onsite means you can be aware of problems and address them proactively. You won’t have to wait for something to be in disrepair before you hear about it. If the pool looks dirty or the bushes need to be trimmed you’ll be able to take the steps necessary to correct the problem.
This hands-on approach is carried out daily by regional managers who oversee specific communities and make regular onsite visits. They become familiar with each of their communities, the residents and the specific issues and concerns that each community might face. It’s this level of customized care that sets Newby Management apart from other companies.
Hands-off management companies will often try to apply a one-size-fits-all solution to each community. While these solutions may act as a band-aid for the community in the short term, they will not address the long-term needs of the community as a whole.
Having an involved management company sometimes means that every team member helps resolve issues that may arise within a community. At the community level, our team members have personal relationships with our corporate staff that makes it easy for them to handle everyday problems with ease. Plus, the community managers can speak directly to the person who can handle their specific issue.
As a Christian company, we also pay special attention to the needs of both our team members and residents. This often means going above and beyond to offer specialized service and care. Whether it’s prayers, our chaplaincy program or something more, we strive to provide personal care to our communities.
Managing manufactured home communities requires knowledge of a constantly changing product, the most important aspect of which is people. It’s requires sensitivity, availability and a strong business sense. These are all strengthened and added to when a hands-on management company is present.
How do you handle the demands of your manufactured home community?