Some of the most dreaded words from a prospect in a leasing conversation are, “I’m not planning to move right away, maybe in a month or two, or six months…”
We want to create urgency. Our apartments are vacant now! We need move ins now! Leases signed! Commitments today! Too often, the reference for a future move is viewed as a door closing for an immediate lease. It might be, there are many factors for an individual to determine the timing for a move. As with most decisions, there are “must” considerations and “want” considerations. Identifying both items, the “must haves” and the “wants,” could affect a moving decision.
Availability Vs Schedule
When a prospect identifies a move in date in the future; showing interest to understand the decision and the timing could identify other options. First consider, is the leasing team able to challenge the move in date? Ask the question “Are your plans flexible?”
Hotel and Airline Pricing
Using a dynamic system to adjust rental prices can assist to determine urgency. This is similar to hotel and airline reservations. Plan to travel on Thursday, but the deal is better if reservations are booked to fly on Wednesday. So the savvy traveler books their trip following the lower prices. In a retail application, the best selection is available by shopping early. Waiting for sales, will offer lower prices, but the selection of sizes and color options becomes limited. Both of these principles can be incorporated to create urgency with the pricing and decisions to lease our apartment homes.
If an applicant has a “MUST HAVE” list, the ability to meet the “demands” is lessened as the supply of vacant apartments decreases. Use this criteria to create a sense of urgency. Popularity of apartments on the top floor, ground floor walk outs, or end units will limit their availability. If there are must have criteria, a commitment may be necessary when the apartment is available.
Sense of Urgency
How effective is the staff in creating a sense of urgency? “I can see how excited you are about this apartment, waiting might mean this apartment won’t be available, is your move in date flexible?”
Depending on the volume of vacant apartments, there may be a variety of possible closing tools. Every day that passes between the visit date, and the pre-lease or move in date allows the opportunity for an individual to choose another location. Getting a lease signed closes that door, it may involve a few days of free rent, but in return is the commitment of a year lease.
If the property has a large volume of vacant apartment homes, it may be difficult to overcome the actual inventory of vacant homes to embrace the sense of urgency. With a hot list, the leasing staff only “sees” the units available to be leased that week. The entire inventory of vacant apartment homes is not distributed to the leasing team. This can limit information preventing a lease on a home that is not ready or being distracted with future availability. On the hot list, the supply will reflect a limited selection of each unit type. This information allows the leasing staff to be absolutely focused on a limited supply, “This is the only apartment available with a ground floor walk out.”
Without starting a discussion about the anticipated move in date, the prospect walks out the door to continue their search for a home. We miss an opportunity to create urgency with:
- The move in special ends Friday
- The limited supply of the apartment that meets expectations
- Desired building or location on the property
Use these criteria to narrow down the supply of apartments, the economics of supply and demand can assist in creating a sense of urgency to close a lease commitment.