How to Fill Your Apartment Community With New Renters

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Marketing means everything when trying to get new residents to fill your vacant apartment community. Former residents may have often paid rent late or not at all. Sometimes there is a swarm of residents moving out after insect infestation, a flood of police traffic, loud noises, unruly children, drug trafficking, prostitution, or all of the above. However, the community might have none of these problems? It might just have a bad location far from public transportation. It may be facing market downturns, or better rates elsewhere. When challenges occur, you will still need to fill your vacant suites in order to pay your bills.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Stapler
  • Phone
  • Transportation

Walk your property like a prospective renter. Ask yourself: Would you move into your community in its current condition?

Create a “to do” list. Your list should include making repairs inside and out, and calling pest control and other contractors.

Orchestrate a detailed marketing plan. The plan should include: who your target market will be, printed communication you will be distributing, online sites that will have your information, and offline places such as local stores, classified advertising, libraries and colleges. Include deadlines and how frequent you will be using each medium to communicate your needs. For example, do you need your one-bedrooms filled? Then you should know who will most likely rent a one-bedroom and where you will get quality traffic to show your one-bedroom. Get postcards or some other print medium to send to a mailing list you purchased on Week 1, and ready fliers for Week 2, and so on.

Create a budget for your marketing goals. You will need to list how much all of your efforts will cost. If you are using fliers, how many will you need? If you are advertising on the Internet, how much does it cost, say, for a 30-day ad run?

Save all your work such as letters, fliers, newsletters, brochures, postcards and bookmarks on a folder on your computer, and title it appropriately so anyone in the future can access it and print out what they need. Back up your files.

Print master copies of all of your work and place it in a folder so it is easy to make copies as you need them.

Type, print, collate and staple your marketing plan.

Schedule a meeting to discuss your plans with your staff.

Distribute the plan at the meeting.

Encourage input by having employees write down and date their ideas while sharing them with others. Collect the ideas, pick out which you will use, and file others away until you are ready to use them, too. In the future, you can reward any staff member whose idea worked the best.

Create a survey for your existing residents. Include questions like, “How long have you lived here? What do you like most about the apartment community?” On the survey, include the date of your next resident meeting.

At the resident meeting, discuss the results of the survey with your residents and how the apartment community could be further improved. Remember, if your residents can see the problems, so can a potential renter.

Create a variety of ways to keep your current residents happy by meeting their needs. You may want to partner with local businesses by offering your residents a treat on certain days such as discounted pizza slices in the lobby every Thursday night or free legal advice from a local law firm once a month. When residents see how well they are being treated, they will tell others, bringing traffic to your apartment building.

Schedule a meeting with local authorities such as the mayor and police. Issues may have arisen at the resident meeting that you will need to address with officials.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider having an annual open house with food and live entertainment. This will be noticed by people walking or driving by who may have never considered looking at your community.
  • Follow up with past visitors if you used guest cards, and encourage them to stop by and see how your property has changed since their last visit.
  • With every plan, results take time, so don't feel discouraged when something doesn't go as planned.

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