Is your apartment's application process to blame for vacancies?

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Are you looking for ways to make your apartment community more efficient and effective? This is Part 6 of our Apartment Vacancy Analysis series, which will help you find and fix the gaps across the marketing and leasing chain, and offers practical strategies and tools to help take your apartment community to the next level! Access the full table of contents available below.

🤕 Problems & symptoms of an applying process that's way too difficult for renters

Your leasing velocity is slow.

Let's reset and, again, look at the context of the typical resident lifecycle. Working backward to this point as you conduct your vacancy analysis, let's assume that your renewals, resident satisfaction, and more are all in good shape. 

Apartment marketing and leasing chain | RentVision

Now, we're getting into some real fundamentals—your marketing and leasing performance.

How quickly you can lease a unit obviously factors into your vacancy, and we know how important it is to most apartment communities since incentive structures are often designed toward achieving a fast leasing velocity. 

So, if your leasing velocity is slow, it's easy to acknowledge a problem. Units are vacant longer than necessary, contributing to poor property performance and lost revenue. The problem is obvious, but are you considering whether your application process is to blame?

You're getting lots of website traffic and phone calls but no applications.

Here's one example of why you must examine your application process to determine if it's helping or hurting your performance.

The data on website traffic and the number of phone calls to your leasing office shows that you have plenty of demand to fill vacant units, but you're just not getting many applications.

Is that due to your marketing strategy or the leasing team's ability to close deals? It's possible. 

But the other area to look at is your community's application process. It should be easy and seamless for someone genuinely interested in your apartments to apply in minutes.

Prospects who say they're highly interested in your community don't end up applying.

Suppose your application process requires someone to call over the phone to speak with someone (which terrifies more people than you may think) or drive to your leasing office to fill out paperwork in person. 

In that case, you're giving them more reasons not to apply—even if they genuinely are interested in your apartments. 

🤦🏼‍♂️ Common mistakes that make applying to rent harder than necessary

You're not utilizing online applications.

The culprit in this instance is clear. Today's renters want to fill out a lease application online without having to drive anywhere or talk to anyone. 

🙌🏼 Best practices to improve the lease application process

Embed an online application into your website.

Any major multifamily property management software offers an online application portal that can integrate into your community's website. That would be the easiest solution to the problem of not getting enough lease applications. 

The other benefit of utilizing an online application is its impact on your community's operation. Online applications make it easier for you to streamline the processing of applications (as well as apply resident screening technology) and increase leasing velocity.

Get an apartment website with up-to-date pricing and availability features.

Another essential for removing the barrier preventing interested prospects from applying is ensuring your website has up-to-date unit pricing and availability. 

After all, no one will apply if they don't know the actual price. No one will apply if they don't know immediately that a unit they desire in the floorplan is available. 

We'll dive more into your website later, but we're planting this seed now: Imagine if you want to buy a home, and you go to Zillow, but you don't know if the house is available, and you don't know the price. It seems unfathomable. Yet this basic information that everyone needs is, unfortunately, still missing from many apartment websites. 

If you make pricing and availability easy for prospects to understand, they will feel much more comfortable taking the next step toward leasing. You can increase their confidence by adding digital site maps and walkthrough video tours to your website. Pair those critical pieces with an easy-to-use online application form; you're off and running!

🛠 Tools to help simplify your lease application procedure

Get an apartment website designed by RentVision that makes it easy for interested renters to apply confidently.

RentVision's apartment community websites meet the needs of modern renters by letting them see the inside of your units and amenities, get accurate pricing and availability, and apply online by strategically placing 'Apply Now' calls to action throughout the website. We integrate with Yardi, RentManager, RealPage, Entrata, and ResMan.

➡️ Next page: Are your apartment tours helping overcome vacancy?

Complete Apartment Vacancy Analysis Series
Introduction: What's causing your apartment's vacancy? Here's how to find & fix it
Part 2: Is your apartment's renewals strategy causing more vacancy?
Part 3: Are your residents satisfied with their experience at your apartments?
Part 4: Are you accruing excess vacancy loss after units lease?
Part 5: Are you properly vetting your apartment's lease applications?
Part 6: Is your apartment's application process to blame for vacancies?
Part 7: Are your apartment tours helping overcome vacancy?
Part 8: Do you have enough 'good' leads to improve apartment leasing?
Part 9: Is your apartment website converting leads to leases?
Part 10: How qualified is the traffic to your apartment website?
Part 11: What about pricing?! How rents affect your apartment's performance

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