The leasing agents at your apartment community are never more important than when you're struggling to occupy units. They need to be at the top of their game, and you need to set them up for success.
You could have a great apartment marketing plan that delivers very interested prospective residents to your leasing office, but that won't matter if your agents aren't closing the deal.
Your agents may be great but your leasing policies are making things unintentionally harder for them to bring your occupancy rate up.
If your occupancy is lower than you'd like, you should study leasing performance and strategy to see if either's contributing to the problem. Start by asking yourself these questions:
What is your lead-to-lease conversion rate?
Not only is this an effective metric for diagnosing if your marketing plan is the cause of your occupancy woes, but also to see how your leasing agents are truly doing. A lower conversion rate could point to mistakes your agents are making while interacting with prospective residents.
Do your leasing agents have a good phone call duration average?
Prospective residents who are the most interested in your apartment community will call your leasing office, which is why those conversations are critical. Typically, longer phone calls are a sign that your leasing agents gathered critical information from the leads and set meetings. You should study call duration and, if possible, listen to call recordings to assess each agent's performance. Here are some tips to help your staff if they're not handling phone calls well.
Video: How To Handle A Leasing Call
How are your leasing agents handing in-person showings?
If your lead-to-lease conversion rate is struggling along with your community's occupancy, it may be time to hire a mystery shopper for your apartments who can give you valuable feedback on how your leasing agents handled an in-person showing (in addition to phone calls).
What lease terms do you offer new residents?
When your occupancy is struggling, it's best to offer new residents a standard 12-month lease because that gives you greater control over when that lease expires. If you're allowing more new residents to sign variable term leases like month-to-month, or similarly shorter stays, you're not actively fixing your occupancy problem—only prolonging it as an issue to deal with again in the near future.
Do a lot of leases expire at the same time?
Your marketing plan or leasing performance mean little if you're in a constant state of vacancy at your apartment community, which could be caused by routinely having multiple leases expiring simultaneously. An example of this is when you have all your leases end on the last day of the month. Optimize your lease signings to avoid this problem and help your leasing staff make some headway on your lower occupancy.
Video: How To Optimize Your Lease Expirations
How long are you holding vacant-leased units?
Your hold policy could either hurt or help your community's occupancy. If you're struggling to get more units occupied, you should extend how long you'll hold a unit for a new resident so that none slip through the cracks. Implementing a dynamic hold policy is a helpful tactic, regardless of your occupancy.
Your leasing performance and strategy directly influence your apartment community's occupancy.
That's why it's worth the time to study both when diagnosing the culprit behind your low occupancy so that you can make the adjustments needed to give your leasing staff every possible opportunity to turn things around.