– by Mary Girsch-Bock –
Leasing up your apartment community can be challenging in the best of time. But for smaller property management companies or those managing smaller properties, it can become even more difficult to compete with larger companies with a more robust marketing budget. Already behind the eight ball, these community managers can then find themselves fighting a losing battle when faced with competing against aggressive concessions that are typically offered by larger management companies.
Rather than watching your revenue drop and your vacancy rate rise, remember that there are ways to remain competitive with the big guys, even if financial resources are limited – or non-existent. Here are a few suggestions that require little money to implement, but can pay dividends in the long term:
- Rethink your marketing strategy. If you know you don’t have the resources to be competitive financially, begin to focus on the level of service you provide your applicants. In the long run, everything is about service. Smaller properties are in a much better position to implement this strategy, since it’s much easier to familiarize yourself with 50 residents than 300. Take some time out of your day to become acquainted with your residents and make sure that your staff does the same; then really deliver on personal service promise.
- When talking to potential applicants, always talk about what’s really terrific about yourapartment community and then make sure that any community tours highlight those items. Does your community have a terrific view? Make sure that your leasing agents show that view to all applicants. Maybe you have a full service community center. Take them on an extensive tour of the facility. Are you proud of your state of the art security system? Why not give them a demonstration? There are likely numerous things that make your community unique. Just be sure to point them out.
- Instead of rent concessions, give a move-in gift to all new tenants. A gift card to the local grocery store or a fruit basket on the kitchen counter will be sincerely appreciated by your new tenants. Remember, everyone likes to receive something free. It doesn’t have to be one month of free rent.
The bottom line is that instead of trying to compete with larger, better financed properties, find the things that make your property stand out. Once you begin to focus on showcasing your property’s assets, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at the enthusiastic response of applicants and existing tenants alike.