As we slide into the last few weeks of the year, it is important that we increase interest in our apartment communities. We create our own reality, that “no one’ is looking for an apartment right now. Which may, or may not be true…Sometimes things happen beyond an individuals control, and like or not…there are people who will be looking for apartments in December.
For properties located in the East and Midwest, there’s a mindset, that NO ONE wants to move in the winter. Again, the weather conditions in different parts of the country can make moving a challenge.
12 inches of snow in Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota: which can be the scenery from November through April. The south can have months of blistering hot where no one wants to venture a toe outside much less the hours of physical labor to move a household.
But unless we’re able to magically limit all of our lease expirations to the most ideal weather situations (which is of course, all dictated by personal opinion.) If we have vacant apartment homes we have to figure out a resource to increase interest and bring attention to the community so apartments can be leased.
The pandemic has forced most industries to create a process to work remotely. Whether someone either doesn’t want or isn’t able to travel to your community, location is no longer a barrier to providing a tour of your apartment homes, your community or your amenities. Experiences of remote purchasing are becoming more prevalent every day and you only limit your ability to create leasing opportunities if you are not prepared with a virtual presentation. Be sure to include language in your advertising that remote and virtual apartment tours are available for your community.
While the weather conditions may discourage you from hitting the streets with marketing materials, your residents are braving the elements. They go to work, they go to church, they visit their doctor. All possible places where they can share the availability of apartments at your community. And to encourage them to share the good news, rewarding referrals with cash is always appreciated.. While we generally limit the more weighty referral rewards to be paid when the new resident moves in, we can always send a thank you note when a prospect lets you know how they were referred.
Previous Guest Cards
Remember all of those guest cards where people didn’t have a plan for moving, or let you know that their moving plans were delayed? Creating an email distribution list to stay in contact with prospects that haven’t made a decision is another tool to touch base and rekindle some interest. The word of mouth referral will grow as well, when someone tells a friend about a newsy email they received, or the kindness they felt in having that follow up contact. As always, the more personalized the communication, the more value you will see.
Short Term Leases
Insurance Companies. Insurance companies often assist families in situations where short term housing is needed. Staying in contact, and creating a rapport with agents that are located in the geographic area of your community can be a source of referrals. While families can be facing losses from fire, carbon monoxide or other structural damage, making sure the local insurance agents know that there are short term options much more convenient and more cost effective than a hotel.
Real Estate Agents. Often corporate relocation services contact real estate agents. An individual looking for a home may need to make a physical move either a home has sold, a job transfer has occurred, and the timing or the market does not produce the magical unicorn they’re looking for as a new home. A short term apartment can be the bridge. Maintaining a flow of information with prominent real estate agents in the local area can be an effective partnership.
Open House Events.
Hosting an open house can invite prospects to your community. It can simply be a day that you advertise for tours, without a lot of fanfare or expense. In chatting with prospects or as part of a follow up for individuals that may be reluctant to schedule an appointment for a tour, inviting them to an open house, gets them to your community.
Another “open house” environment can be created by hosting an event for the community where you’re located. Blood drive, donation point for food or clothing drive. Offer community room or model for a meeting of the local chamber/rotary/real estate group. Any of these groups can be the source for future referrals as they learn about your community with a first hand experience of a visit. Always have team members available to offer tours for anyone attending a meeting (unless you’re hosting the meeting in your model..then they already have the experience.) But make sure there’s a supply of brochures and information sheets.
So, come rain, sleet, hail or snow; there are options and opportunities to bring possible prospects to your community.