06 Mar Attracting and Keeping Great Residents
Get Your Model Ready for Busy Season
Download our comprehensive guide for designing a model apartment from industry professionals today!
The height of leasing season is right around the corner. It’s a great time to remember what attracts renters to become a resident at your property in the first place.
- In this post I am going to discuss:
- How Renters Shop
- Tour Preparations
- Design Tips for Your Model
What Attracts Residents in The First Place?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, working on-site in a leasing office can sometimes be a tough and thankless job, especially during busy season. You wear so many hats that you’ve lost count. You stay late and come in early to make sure applications are processed on time. You make sure every move-in and move-out goes as smoothly as possible. You are part therapist, part sales person, and part customer service guru. Sometimes you manage the office by yourself on a Saturday and forget what food is. But with most things in life that you choose to stick around for, the good far outweighs the bad. Your whole team is unified toward one common goal: making the property the best it can be every single day so that your residents are always excited to call it their home.
So, what is it that attracted these residents in the first place? And how do you make sure it continues for all of your prospects in the future?
HOW RENTERS SHOP
The modern-day renter is a little different than the renter that walked through the door even just 5 – 10 years ago. Typically, they will start with a Google search to see which properties in any given area match their criteria. This criteria might include the age of the building, proximity to public transit, amenity offerings, quality of local schools, parking availability, pet friendliness, security and more. Not only can all of this be found online, but virtual tours and professional pictures may be available to them as well. People are busy – especially over here on the East Coast! Renters want to be able to narrow down their options in advance. It will prevent them from spending their entire weekend going on dozens of tours at communities that may not meet their needs.
While having an online presence is important during a renter’s research phase, it’s also increasingly important when it comes to making the final decision. They want to know how easy it will be to live in a community after they sign their lease. How responsive is the staff with email? How responsive are they to their online reviews? Can maintenance requests be submitted online? Can rent be paid online?
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
So, what’s the next step once they’ve found some options that they’re interested in? They are most likely going to call the leasing office or send an email to ask some general questions and set up a tour. This will be their first interaction with your team, and first impressions can go a long way.
Let’s say the prospect calls two properties that match the majority of their criteria. At one property, the leasing agent is able to answer all of the prospect’s questions and set up a tour. The prospect can tell that the agent is present and genuinely invested in the conversation. At the other property, the leasing agent is short and extremely pushy in setting an appointment. The prospect can tell that they are being hurried off of the phone and that the leasing agent is too busy doing other things. Which property do you think leaves a more memorable, positive impression? The first one, of course!
Since your prospects are searching for a professionally managed building, they expect professional service from start to finish. They’re looking for something that feels like home at the end of the day. When you’re in property management, you’re the number one person that can give that to them.
When traffic is high, busy days can easily make someone feel overwhelmed and unorganized extremely quickly. When this happens, it’s almost impossible to hide it from any tours coming in. The best way to try to prevent this is to be as prepared as possible.
If you give collateral out after tours, make sure you have a stock pile ready at all times with several different floor plan types. If you offer water or coffee to your prospects, make it a priority to ensure these stations are always well stocked. Before starting your day, check your tour schedule and review the names as well as what they’re looking for. This will also help you gauge what time slots are still available or if you have a full day of back-to-back tours ahead of you.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS give yourself enough time to walk the property and your model apartment first thing in the morning. This is the most important task for a few reasons. First, you can fix anything that has been moved around by residents in the common areas from the night before. Second, you can flag the cleaner (if they are working) or clean up any messes that may have popped up in the hallways. Third, the model fridge can be restocked if needed.
Even if you have to arrive early on a busy day to do any of these things, it’s well worth it.
At the end of the day, most apartment complexes have very comparable features once a prospect has determined their budget. What sets a community apart is YOU! The interactions the renter has on a tour, the cleanliness of the building, and the overall feeling they get when they walk through the front doors are all taken into consideration when they make their decision.
Your leasing office will be one of the driving forces on whether or not someone chooses to move-in or renew their lease at your property. According to the 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report, the #2 reason that residents leave their apartment communities is to find a place with better management. So, while it’s impossible to be perfect 24/7, it’s up to you and your team to create and maintain the feeling of home for prospects and residents. When your property and residents are genuinely cared for, it shows.
Get Your Model Ready for Busy Season
Download our comprehensive guide for designing your apartment (perfect for beginners) today!