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How to Convince Your Boss Your Property Needs a New Model Apartment

So you think your property needs a new model apartment – but how do you convince your owners?

At the end of the day, you’re running the property for the owners whether you work for a third-party management company or an owner-operator. If you’re unsure how to really sell your owners on purchasing a new model when you present the annual budget, look no further:

Picture it

Marketing a property is important for getting prospective residents through the door – especially if a shiny new apartment building just went up down the street. One of the most valuable marketing tools that you have at your disposal is your website!

We are in a generation of Google searches and online shopping, which is also how a lot of people start their apartment hunting process. They’ll do a Google search of the area they want to live and then realize there’s a cluster of properties to choose from. Out of that cluster, the shopping begins. They’ll find each website and make a list of the communities they want to visit based on the information that’s given to them – both visual and written. When your web visitors see pictures of a model apartment that they can relate and aspire to, it makes a personal connection.

Sometimes – especially in or around cities – prospective residents are moving from out-of-state and may not get a chance to visit in person. If they are essentially getting a virtual tour via your website (along with some killer customer service, of course) and can picture themselves living there, they are much more likely to apply even though they can’t physically visit your community.

Spacing

For the majority of us, spatial planning is hard to envision when you’re standing in an empty room. How many times have you heard this during a tour: “Will a queen even fit in here?”, “I don’t think my sectional would fit there, this room is tiny.” So. Many. Times! When the apartment is furnished, it somehow looks bigger and it transforms into a home rather than an empty space. If prospective residents don’t connect with the community and can’t picture themselves living there, they’re going to move on to the next property. 

Let me give you a real-life example. At Boston’s RHA 2018 tradeshow, we raffled off a 30-day pop-up model for our booth visitors. The winner would get a custom designed model apartment installed in the community of their choosing for 30 days.

The winner was the Property Manager of University Park, which has four communities total and is located in Cambridge, MA. The property that was chosen was 91 Sidney. Typically, vacant units at 91 Sidney would sit on the market longer than the vacant units at the other three buildings. When I was at the property finishing the install with a few of our designers, a tour came in. We later found out that the person on the tour ended up renting that very apartment at the end of his tour.

The Bottom Line

Not only did 91 Sidney get the lease that day, but there were five in total over the course of 30 days. This was also in January, which is part of slow leasing season – especially in Boston! While we do understand that many factors go into the decision of renting an apartment, we have seen how powerful a professional model can be when the renter feels a personal connection.

Multifamily communities are not just places to live, they’re financial assets. There’s a delicate balance between serving your residents and focusing on the bottom line for the owners. Part of focusing on this is to make sure occupancy is at or above 95% and that you’re comparable to local comps. A model apartment isn’t just visually pleasing, it’s also an investment and a sales tool that’ll help you stay at the top.

Lauren Ebstein
lauren@model55.com

Lauren Ebstein is Model55's Multifamily Sales Coordinator. With a background in property management, Lauren is passionate about how leasing teams work together and build relationships with their residents.

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