Apartment communities are businesses. Investors have a lot of financial interests in their success, and of course, the only way for those properties to generate profitable revenue is to maintain healthy occupancy rates.
Apartment owners can spend a lot of money on helpful marketing and revenue tools to improve occupancy rates. Still, they need their on-site teams to be great at the leasing process for every prospective resident, too.
If leasing agents are on top of their game, they can reduce overall vacancy duration and significantly impact a community’s bottom line.
Here are seven simple (and free!) tips for streamlining the leasing process at every apartment community:
#1. Answer the phone.
In the apartment industry, the best leads are those who call the leasing office directly. Just taking that action alone indicates they’ve done enough research and built enough trust in the community to speak with one of its leasing agents, making them more likely to rent.
There are several vital objectives leasing agents need to accomplish in this critical interaction. A leading indicator of leasing agent performance is they’re answering a high percentage of phone calls during business hours. Answering calls is the first step; the next is to convert that highly qualified lead into signing a lease. The team at RentVision wrote an excellent guide on how leasing agents should handle phone conversations.
#2. Create urgency.
One suggestion from the RentVision guide on handling phone call leads worth highlighting is instructing leasing agents to create urgency. They can establish value in their apartments and compel prospects to take the next step in the leasing process by saying phrases such as, “That is one of our most popular floorplans,” or “We only have (x) units left,” during phone conversations.
#3. Add online scheduling options to community websites.
Prospective residents research various apartment communities at all hours of the day. It’s why roughly 40% of apartment showings are scheduled online after regular business hours. Adding an online scheduling option to community websites may double the leads it garners.
Plus, statistics show that individuals who plan a tour online are more likely to arrive at that showing because they’ve set it on their terms.
#4. Send a virtual tour to the prospect after an in-person showing if available.
Friction occurs in the leasing process when not all stakeholders—like parents, significant others, or roommates—can see an in-person apartment showing with the prospective resident. When this is the case, leasing agents should utilize virtual touring tools such as video tours (if available) and send them to the prospect after an in-person tour. Prospective residents can show others the same floorplan they saw, and build their interest in renting from that apartment community, too.
#5. Avoid showing occupied units.
A general rule of thumb for in-person (and virtual) apartment showings is to show the best representation of a unit. Some communities opt to have model units always available specifically for tours, but that does come with a cost.
If a prospective resident wants to see a floorplan with no available units, find alternative options to avoid showing an occupied unit. If possible, show them similar floorplans with vacant units or make it clear that there’s not a unit available for touring, but they’re welcome to see the property in person. It’s asking too much of a current resident to allow outsiders into their private space, and it’s rarely the positive experience prospective residents expect.
#6. Show one pricing option.
Rent price is perhaps the most critical factor in a prospective resident’s decision on an apartment. Yet many in the multifamily industry, while they know this is intrinsically true, still confuse people with how they market their pricing. How is a prospective resident supposed to choose an apartment if the floorplan they’re interested in has a price listed as ‘$1,299-$2,799’?
The best way to avoid this confusion is to show one rent price. Most prospective residents will want to sign a 12-month lease, so start by displaying only the rent for that term length online and then discuss other pricing and lease length agreements later. Doing so removes a lot of unnecessary friction in the leasing process.
#7. Utilize a Google Business Profile listing.
A Google Business Profile is arguably the most visible (and authoritative) marketing channel available now, and the best part is it’s free.
When a prospect searches for a particular community by name in Google, they can see all the relevant information (address, phone number, website, hours, and photos) in that community’s business profile listing shown at the top of the search engine results page.
One thing to know about establishing a Google Business Profile is that it requires address verification. Google will send a postcard to the mailing address listed to confirm that the apartment community is there.
Apartment owners and operators have a financial incentive to streamline their communities’ leasing process. Fortunately, they can implement many leasing tactics that don’t cost a thing yet still produce outstanding results for their bottom lines.