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"Apartment" or "Apartment Home": You Tell Me

How much impact does word choice have in your ability to lease your apartments to prospective residents? Or should I say,

"How much impact does word choice have in your abililty to lease your apartment homes to your prospective tenants?

Now, if you're like me, the word "tenants" was like fingernails on a chalkboard to you just now. But there seems to be a real controversy in our industry on whether or not you should call an 'apartment' an 'apartment home'.

Here's my take (yes, I'm giving an opinion this time and not just stirring the pot). I think the term 'apartment home' is a little too over the top. Now don't get me wrong. I definitely think that 'apartments' are 'homes' but I believe to call them that is redundant. Here's an example. Follow along and maybe you'll understand what I mean:

"I'm heading to the grocery store retail establishment with my daughter child to get potatoes vegetables. I'm taking the truck automobile and will get some gasoline fuel on the way there. When I get back to the house home, I'll call you at your office work.'

Do I agree that semantics play an important part in sales? Yes. Do I think we go overboard sometimes? Yes. Case in point: "Clothes care center " as opposed to "laundry room". That's like calling the mailbox area the 'communication center'.  I don't like tenant, complex or unit. Those grate on me, big time. But 'apartment home'? I just don't see where that makes a difference.

I gave those aforementioned examples out on Twitter today and received A LOT of feedback, none of which agreed with me. I also sent out a tweet, asking renters to give me their opinions. So far, no renters care enough to weigh in. Hmmm...perhaps that's the real opinion out there that matters.

So, take your best shot. I can handle it. I'm wearing my Kevlar vest and my unbreakable glasses today. Let the debate begin.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Lisa - I personally hate "apartment home" - makes me think of mobile home. It's a home. The end. The phrase "apartment home" makes it seem like a subcategory of homes, subpar, subclass.

But... I tend to go with what phrase the prospect uses. ...

Lisa - I personally hate "apartment home" - makes me think of mobile home. It's a home. The end. The phrase "apartment home" makes it seem like a subcategory of homes, subpar, subclass.

But... I tend to go with what phrase the prospect uses. Unless it's "tenants" or "units". We stress the concept of community at our properties. When I think community, I think homes.

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  Tara Smiley
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I understand what you are saying! Thanks for weighing in. For purposes of clarification, this blog posting is not about 'internal peer communication' but about communicating with our residents and prospective residents. Thanks for pointing that...

I understand what you are saying! Thanks for weighing in. For purposes of clarification, this blog posting is not about 'internal peer communication' but about communicating with our residents and prospective residents. Thanks for pointing that out! Sorry I didn't make that distinction in my original posting.
LT

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  Lisa Trosien
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Hey Tara! Nice to see you again. Your feedback is really interesting. I like the "follow the prospect' line. How often to do we have inquiries where the prospect says, "How much are your two bedroom apartment homes?"

And the subclass commentary...

Hey Tara! Nice to see you again. Your feedback is really interesting. I like the "follow the prospect' line. How often to do we have inquiries where the prospect says, "How much are your two bedroom apartment homes?"

And the subclass commentary is also along my line of thinking. If we HAVE to differentiate, are we showing our insecurities? Just a thought.

Please feel free to weigh in again! Always appreciate your point of view here.

LT

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  Lisa Trosien
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Lisa - Along the lines of following the prospects' lead... I think we can always tell when and where someone's renting experience is based on their word and phrase choice. My urban renters use "units" and my rental virgins use "apartment" or...

Lisa - Along the lines of following the prospects' lead... I think we can always tell when and where someone's renting experience is based on their word and phrase choice. My urban renters use "units" and my rental virgins use "apartment" or they don't even differentiate to begin with - just come out in front with a price. Those with extremely poor experiences use "landlord".
But then I look at the titles we give ourselves and how we refer to our staff. "My maintenance guy" versus "technician". "Yard guy" vs. "Green guru" (shameless props to mine) Our terms of choice have the ability to devalue our product. And, dependent upon the word choice vs. product, you can tell when we're trying to hard to upsell. It's transparent.

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  Tara Smiley
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Excellent commentary! "Green guru" doesn't seem to be an upsell at all; just seems like a funny commentary that probably gets a smile or two when you use it with anyone!

LT

  Lisa Trosien
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I agree with Tara that when speaking to prospects it is best to use the terminology they use. My comment was directed to the actual marketing materials/content and that we should highlight the fact that we are offering a community of homes...

I agree with Tara that when speaking to prospects it is best to use the terminology they use. My comment was directed to the actual marketing materials/content and that we should highlight the fact that we are offering a community of homes instead of just some generic 'units'. I don't perceive any negative connotation with apartment home but maybe that's a regional thing.

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  Giovanni Isaksen
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I think a lot of this is based upon the operational follow-through. I've seen a pitiful cubby-hole of a room with one computer that probably dated back to 1992 called a "business center", which just sounds ridiculous. But if your...

I think a lot of this is based upon the operational follow-through. I've seen a pitiful cubby-hole of a room with one computer that probably dated back to 1992 called a "business center", which just sounds ridiculous. But if your operations/product is truly unique/state of the art/impressive and can back up flowery, descriptive language, then I say go for it!

But we're also talking about a couple of different things. The initial issue was whether "apartment home" was repetitive, but I don't think so at all. In this case, I see "apartment" almost as an adjective, purely to describe the type of home. It indicates a general architectural style (i.e., not detached) and that it is a rental unit. So in this case, you are "selling" a home, with "apartment" being the type of home. Even more, the home has dual meanings, where it can be the physical place you live, or a more emotional association to comfort, safety, etc. So you are selling a physical space, as well as a state of mind, which is the best way to sell, in my opinion. So I don't think that word is extraneous at all.

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  Brent Williams
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Brent, this makes me laugh. I remember visiting a property in suburban Chicago that had turned a closet into a business center. While it did have just about everything a business center needs (except space), it would have been better off called a...

Brent, this makes me laugh. I remember visiting a property in suburban Chicago that had turned a closet into a business center. While it did have just about everything a business center needs (except space), it would have been better off called a business station I think!

I love your logic and insight here. Great commentary. Thank you for commenting. You always add spark to these posts!

LT

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  Lisa Trosien
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Call it what you want as long as it creates a feeling in the customers mind that they want to lease. Stupid discussion.:P

  Mark Juleen
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Ooooh, Mark Juleen lets us know what he REALLY thinks. Hmmm...you weren't all 'Stupid Discussion' today when we were discussing this on Twitter. I think it's because you really know you're WRONG.

P.S. For those of you who think Mark and I hate...

Ooooh, Mark Juleen lets us know what he REALLY thinks. Hmmm...you weren't all 'Stupid Discussion' today when we were discussing this on Twitter. I think it's because you really know you're WRONG.

P.S. For those of you who think Mark and I hate each other, you are wrong. We actually get along quite well. When he agrees with me, that is.

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  Lisa Trosien
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