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"Crime has no address"

One of the more challenging prospect questions leasing consultants get is the infamous, "is this a safe area", or the related, "how many break-ins happen here?"  It's never a fun question to answer because it always sounds evasive, but I found my personal favorite, provided by Jerrica Harris.  This one may be common knowledge, but it was the first I've heard of it, so maybe others will enjoy, as well!  (Obligatory XKCD)

 

 

You can check out all the replies on the ShareSpace:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/multifamilysharespace/permalink/857070408224621/

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100 Properties: A View into the Leasing Experience

100 Properties: A View into the Leasing Experience
I recently set out to visit 100 properties in 100 days. I wanted to get a truly informed understanding of the in-person experience that today’s prospects have. I wanted to see where the opportunities for improvement are and where leasing teams are knocking it out of the park. I genuinely went into it as a blank slate not quite sure what it would reveal. So often I hear people make broad, sweeping statements after visiting only a handful of properties - as if those limited experiences represent the industry standard. My intention in visiting 100 communities was to see what the industry standard really is.So I set out on my adventure and to say I was surprised at what I found would be an understatement. I was quickly and vividly reminded that the in-person leasing experience often is less than ideal for visiting prospects. I also humbly realized I had personally committed several of these leasing experience blunders myself. And while I understand today’s landscape has vastly changed our in-person touring options, it provides a great opportunity to discuss with your teams how to create a truly impactful experience whether virtually or in-person.  The properties I toured were all high-end apartment communities from coast to coast. These are typically the properties that are the early adopters of the latest and greatest practices and technologies that the rest of the industry eventually follows.   Here are some of the experiences and surprises that occurred on my visits:Greetings and First Impressions: About 10 com......
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There's No Place Like Home: What Delights Residents During COVID-19?

There's No Place Like Home: What Delights Residents During COVID-19?
  As property teams and residents learn to operate in the new "normal," exceptional service by the office and maintenance staff is getting a huge round of applause from residents in online reviews. In analyzing hundreds of 4 and 5-star reviews which mention the pandemic, it is evident that property teams’ efforts with regards to increased cleanliness, clear communication, and practicing social distancing are getting generously acknowledged in reviews. But what really stands out is “amazing,” “friendly,” “caring,” “attentive,” and “professional” service. Bottom line, a little more kindness and understanding during this unprecedented time will go a long way in cementing strong relationships with residents in the future.  “I love living here, even during a pandemic! The staff is amazing. Very professional, friendly and caring." What are the top compliments by residents in online reviews? What can you do to delight your residents as you navigate through this crisis? Below are insights from positive reviews to excel at resident engagement and earn their appreciation.   Go the extra mile When the staff has gone the extra mile or checked in personally with residents, residents are quick to thank the staff for showing care and concern. Some actions acknowledged in reviews include: Staff members handed out pizza and hand sanitizer. When a resident was laid off, a staff member provided leads on jobs. Maintenance team was quick to fix the garbage disposal when a husband ran the disposal with a baby spoon in it. The property was complimented for being a family-friendly community. The manager ......
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Modern Apartment Prospects: How Do They Differ from Before?

I was recently asked how apartment prospects have changed over the years. I don't know that there's a quick and easy answer because modern apartment shoppers are so profoundly different from their predecessors.   To start with, by the time a prospect visits a community today, he or she is usually armed with a lot of information. ILSs and property websites allow prospects to learn nearly everything about pricing, floor plans and amenities.   So the prospective renter who arrives for a tour often is less interested in gathering basic information and more in experiencing the service and rapport a leasing team has to offer. More than ever, onsite associates have to be ready to provide a warm, engaging and comfortable site visit to prospects.   But that's just one of several ways in which prospective renters have changed over the years. Here are some of the others:   Many of them want the option of self-guided tours. This is perhaps the ultimate customized tour experience.   So many of today's prospective renters know exactly what their checklist for a tour is. They know exactly what they want to see, and they don't want to talk with an associate while they're seeing it. They want to get in, get out and be able to visit a property at a time that works best for them, not for an onsite associate. Self-guided tours are perfect for those laser-focused shoppers.   They also work for prospects who may not be hyper-focused but ......
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Three Benefits of Self-Guided Tours

Three Benefits of Self-Guided Tours
It’s vital that apartment communities regularly sign new residents, and forward-thinking operators are always looking for ways to make it easier for their properties to do so.  Self-guided tours are emerging on the multifamily scene, and smart managers are seeing that the technology allows communities to serve more prospects and to provide prospects with a better onsite experience. The solution also enables onsite associates to be more available to their current residents. Now, understandably, some leasing agents might be a little leery of this technology, fearing it could put them out of work, while others in the industry might be somewhat dubious about its impact. To those who might not be greeting the solution with open arms, I would like to offer these three benefits of giving prospects the option to take self-guided tours. Self-guided tours will help associates do their jobs more effectively - they will not overtake the jobs of leasing associates. Onsite agents have many responsibilities other than leading tours, but visits by prospects can take up a disproportionate amount of an associate's day. Consider this entirely realistic scenario: a leasing agent takes eight prospective residents on a tour in a single day. Considering that each tour probably lasts between 30 minutes to an hour, that leaves little to no time to follow up with and manage other prospects or leads, handle service requests from current residents and tend to any additional needs current renters may have. Leasing associates are so much more than tour guides, and giving prospects the a......
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What Today's Prospects Want from Their Leasing Experience

What Today's Prospects Want from Their Leasing Experience
What Today's Prospects Want from Their Leasing Experience To be successful, apartment communities obviously have to provide prospects with great leasing experiences. Here’s the thing, though: A lot of times, consumers don't know what they want. Did consumers know they wanted the Google search engine – literally just this blank page with one dialogue box – before it came along? No. Did we know we wanted a one-click way to check out, like Amazon has given us? No. Capital One has disrupted the banking experience with their open-space Capital One Cafés. However, I doubt they got the idea for this because they got feedback from customers saying, "I'll feel better if I bank in a café with refreshments and without tellers behind three-quarter-high walls." Like these businesses did, apartment operators and their leasing teams need to use their insight, expertise and even the science around buying to design leasing experiences that will please and engage prospects. And they should look to what has been studied and works in other businesses as well.  And yes, definitely, listen to and taken in all prospect feedback. Still, from my years in the industry, I've learned there are some general things prospects want from their leasing experiences, and it's important for operators to keep these in mind. Prospects want leasing agents who add value. Prospects really crave leasing agents who truly listen to them and who have the knowledge to answer their questions. Unfortunately, leasing agents don't always pass this test.  Agents also too often force t......
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“I don’t have time to be strategic about my follow-up”

Introduction Time is a funny thing. People are living longer than ever before due to medical advances, yet somehow we have less time in the day to get everything done. We are running around left and right without being able to stop and think about where we really want to be running to. Having the time to be strategic about your actions is becoming an elusive idea. Just think about eating dinner on a weeknight. If you are anything like us, it is not a well-planned, homemade meal. It’s a smorgasbord of things from your fridge dumped in an instant pot, or a fresh from the microwave courtesy of Marie Callender’s. Now, we understand cooking a full meal is simply not in the cards for most people; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t be more strategic about what you eat. Services like Postmates solve this dilemma. Now, you can get real food delivered to your doorstep exactly when you want it. With Postmates, each family member gets the meal they want, when they need it and you can spend more time enjoying your family rather than throwing together a meal. So how does this relate to multifamily?   Prospect Prioritization Most property management companies (PMC’s) have agents manually sort their leads every day. Agents would need to set aside 30 minutes to 2 hours to thoroughly sort through their leads every day depending on the side of your property. This means most agents are forced to either follow up with a lot of pr......
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Don’t Be Afraid To Take Objections Head On!

Love this post made on Multifamily ShareSpace from Sydney Jamieson!  Having your property across from a cemetery surely ranks up there as one of the bigger objections you might face, but rather than putting your head in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist, I love this approach of taking the objection head on, and even having a little fun with it! 

What is the biggest objection you all hear from prospects, and how do you face it?  Share the objections you hear in the comments below!  And if you want a heads up about future leasing blogs, click the subscribe link in the box below!

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What are the Two Most Important Questions to Ask Prospects?

Found a great video from Matt Easton today where he shared his two most important questions leasing consultants should be asking prospects:

I love the part about knowing when to switch to closing the sale.  What do you all think about these two questions?

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[Advanced Leasing] Rewarding Superstar Prospects

star_20170501-165830_1.jpgNot all prospects are created equal.  We often look at our prospect pool in a simple yes/no perspective - can they qualify or not?  If they can, we tend to see them as one giant group, but in reality, some residents are just "better" than others!  For example, will that resident stay only one year and leave, or will they stay 5 years?  Will that resident refer friends to the community?  Will that resident always pay on time?  Will that resident be generally well-behaved with no noise complaints?  So if we accept the general idea that not all qualified residents are created equal, then we can create a plan to increase the chances that the best prospects turn into our residents!  A lot of people are wary of doing this because of Fair Housing rules, and that is completely legitimate, but today, I am going to discuss the use of our screening process to help with this process.  Considering that our screening should already be Fair Housing compliant, so there should be no concerns on that front*. In the past I have suggested that we actively target prospects based on certain attributes.  For example, if we found that teachers were more likely to stay two times as long as a normal resident, then we might think of ways to target teachers.  Today, however, I am going to focus on the idea of incentivizing quality prospects who are already in communication with our property.  The idea of lease incentives may turn some......
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