It's springtime, which marks the beginning of the peak leasing season for many apartment communities across the country.
When the school year ends and the weather improves, more prospective residents are ready to move. But when leasing activity increases, so does your turnover rate. You need to be ready to account for those vacancies and ensure your community's occupancy remains in good shape.
With that, here are 10 tips to help your apartments dominate the peak leasing season:
1. Increase daily spend on your Google and Facebook digital advertisements.
Increasing your daily ad spend budget will generate more qualified traffic to your community's website, and help you attain the demand necessary to account for the excessive turnover that occurs during peak leasing season.
2. In your marketing plan, prioritize the floorplans that have the most leases expiring.
It would be beneficial to count each of the leases set to expire in the coming weeks by floorplan so that you know in advance which specific floorplan will be the most impacted by turnover. Then be sure to feature that floorplan on your website, or in your ad campaigns, so that it has the best opportunity to earn needed traffic.
3. Stagger all future lease expirations now so that your apartments are in an even better position to thrive during the next peak leasing season.
When you have less leases expiring around the same time (which is typical during peak leasing season), you'll be better positioned to handle every single move-out in a timely manner and begin the work to lease that unit sooner. We'd recommend that every new lease signed during this period is a true 365-day lease and, if possible, ends on the closest Sunday to that date so that your maintenance staff can begin turning over that particular unit first thing Monday morning.
Video: How To Optimize Your Lease Expirations
4. Use transparent marketing, like walkthrough video tours, to pre-lease units.
This allows prospective residents to take a tour of a vacant or model floorplan online and feel confident enough to sign a lease for it without ever seeing it in person. It also enables you to be able to pre-lease an occupied, on-notice unit before it becomes available and stay ahead of vacancy.
5. Show updated pricing and availability on your community website.
No matter what else they may be searching for in a new apartment, all prospective residents are looking for units that are both available and affordable. That's why you must actively show updated pricing and unit-specific availability on your community website. Be sure that you're showing just the price for a standard 12-month lease to avoid any confusion, and, if necessary, the date when a particular unit will be available if its status is occupied on notice.
6. Change your hold policy as needed.
Stop setting a static hold policy; relying on one only hurts you when demand and supply changes. When there's more turnover occurring at your apartment community, you can't afford to let many chances at earning a lease slip, so you may want to extend your hold period when your occupancy drops below target. Or if you've got limited supply this season, it's smart to decrease that hold period so that more residents are moving-in faster.
7. Make sure your leasing agents are handling phone call leads properly.
Now is when you really need to make sure your leasing agents are properly trained so that they're on their 'A' game. One specific area where you should evaluate their performance is with how they're handling phone calls. Phone call duration is a great metric to use as longer conversations indicate an agent gathered necessary contact information and scheduled a showing. If you have call tracking software, you could listen to recorded conversations as well.
Video: How To Handle A Leasing Call
8. Walk your property and make sure all interiors and exteriors are clean and maintained.
The reason for this is twofold. One, if you're going to have more in-person showings, you definitely want to make sure your community is clean and that there are no signs of deferred maintenance. Two, if you want to earn more lease conversions, residents must confirm that the photos and videos of your apartments online are true to their actual appearance.
9. Run specials often on fewer units.
It's always a good idea to implement a rent special during peak leasing season. But try to avoid running one rent special on a community-wide basis as that actually hurts your bottom line. (Why run a special on units that are in demand?) Instead, run specials more often but on fewer units. If there's a specific floorplan that will experience more turnover, run a discount on just those units and nowhere else.
Video: A Smarter Approach To Implementing Rent Specials
10. Have a strategic process for earning more lease renewals.
Of course, it's easier to dominate the peak leasing season when you have less move-outs scheduled to occur. To do this, you must have a strategic process for earning more lease renewals. Our whitepaper Renewal Strategies For Apartment Communities has tons of great ideas to help your team get started. Download it by completing the form below.