Posts Tagged ‘Leasing’

As the apartment rent rocket slows its climb, portfolios turn to Google for higher revenue.

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Matt Easton is EVP of MultiFamily Traffic 

apartmentSEO

Regional Manager Mark Hunter found a way to stand out from all of the other properties rushing to lease apartments in Austin’s hippest neighborhood: he is using SEO and Google AdWords to skip the line and get instant access to qualified potential residents willing to sign a lease with him today without a special offer like free rent or a lower lease rate.

“I found myself questioning why my community website did not appear on Google by itself for the top keywords luxury renters in Austin were searching for,” said Hunter, whose property went from 82% occupancy to 100% with a wait list in just 120 days using SEO and AdWords from MultiFamily Traffic. “We decided we weren’t happy only being visible to Austin renters in the cattle-call of Internet Listing Services and that it was time for us to stand out and attract renters willing to sign a lease today without a concession.”

Apartment managers are having to take digital marketing and apartment SEO more seriously as weaknesses are starting to show up in the boom that has sent apartment rent rates skyrocketing for the last five years all across America. Now with many cities like New York, Dallas, San Francisco and Denver starting to build a surplus of new apartment units, rents are beginning to slow and leasing units is becoming increasingly more difficult without solid online visibility.

Over the last five years, many community developers have decided to concentrate much of new construction on luxury communities in an effort to help them achieve the profits needed to cover the added expenses of staff salaries and rising cost of land to build on. With many new properties featuring trendy locations, rooftop pools and fire pits, managers like Mark Hunter will have to work harder to find renters.

“We found that once we started to rank the community at the top of Google search results, renters called our leasing office before anyone else”, said Hunter. “By being the first property a renter visits, I don’t have to be saying “me too” as the prospect mentions amenities they have already seen somewhere else. The best part about SEO is that I get the first at bat and when those renters that visit us before any other property and sign a lease, I can avoid a price war with my neighbors.”

So if you are as concerned as many operators are that your units will not be able to fetch premium rents and you won’t keep occupancy at 100% what can you do to get Google working for you?

98% of all leases start with a search online. It can be on a phone a tablet or a PC or Mac it doesn’t matter; if your property is not in the search results it may as well not exist. So then why are renters calling you if you are not in the search results? The answer is, you are – you just happen to show up via a surrogate like an apartment listing service. ILS’s like Apartments.com are fantastic but as Mark Hunter put it “a cattle call is not the best place to get the highest rent”.

ILS’s are great but by nature they make you compete with other properties.  If you want the highest rents and 100% occupancy you don’t want to compete you want to DOMINATE YOUR SPACE that means when someone even thinks about an apartment in your city your property company comes up! Working with the right apartment SEO and certified Google AdWords specialist can help you ensure that your community dominates as renters look for an apartment. If they come to you before they ever use an ILS you want have to compete in the cattle call.

The first step is knowing what the top searched keywords are in your city and where your website ranks for them. Multifamily Traffic has a dedicated research team that performs this as a free service for anyone. You can call that team directly and have your research back free of charge in less than 1 hour in most cases. They are available at 888-683-5885.

The next step is looking for a partner that can drive renters to you without asking you to make changes to your website or overcharging you for the work they do. There are many SEO providers that charge thousands per month for a mixed bag of results. You want to work with a firm that understands the industry and can guarantee results for a price you can fit in your budget.

Once you get your property to the top of the search results you will hear the results in the form of hundreds of calls to the leasing office. Make sure your staff is ready to follow up quickly. If you wait to set an appointment the renter is likely to go back to square one and look at an ILS placing both you and themselves right back in the “cattle call”.

MattEaston_BloggerAbout the author:

Matt Easton is EVP of MultiFamily Traffic the leading apartment SEO and digital marketing provider. MultiFamily Traffic works with 500 communities across the U.S resulting in thousands of leases signed every day. Matt can be reached at 303-803-7372 or www.MultiFamilyTraffic.com

How to Rate Your Property’s Appeal

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

gradesDoes your neighborhood get good grades?

With a new rating site Neighborhood Appeal, apartment seekers now can see how the neighborhood rates, based on a scale of A+ to F, for any city, town or zip code in America.

To determine the grade, Neighborhood Appeal analyzes:
Scenic beauty
Weather
Crime
Air Pollution

More important, Neighborhood Appeal allows visitors to submit their own grade for any neighborhood.

We believe this user-submitted “crowd sourced” Neighborhood Appeal grade will become the most reliable indicator of a neighborhood’s appeal on the Internet.

“Neighborhood Appeal is a free resource for people who are looking to move to a new neighborhood or travelers who want to find a nice area to spend the night,” says Michael Nirenberg, the website’s founder and chief “neighborhood enthusiast.”

The desire to live in an appealing neighborhood is a growing concern. Before deciding to move to a new neighborhood, people can use Neighborhood Appeal to find out the area’s appeal, or even ask the “natives” a question.

Good grades will help landlords attract the best renters.

Nirenberg started Neighborhood Appeal when he realized that the most important factor in choosing a place to live (or visit) is the area’s appeal.

“A lot of websites that analyze neighborhoods provide complex numbers and statistics,” Nirenberg says. Neighborhood Appeal simplifies all the numbers into a single, easy to understand grade. “Any child knows what an F means,” Nirenberg adds.

“Most people looking to move to or visit a neighborhood just want to know: is it a nice place?” Nirenberg continues. “Ultimately, the people who know the area first-hand will decide.” This is where Neighborhood Appeal’s user-generated grades shine.
According to the U.S. Census approximately 43 million Americans move each year. Of these people, 19% moved to a different county within the same state and 19% moved to a different state. Neighborhood Appeal is an easy way for people who looking to move to or a visit a neighborhood to check out its appeal.

Neighborhood Appeal allows discussion of just about any subject, topic, product or service, as long as it relates to the neighborhood. It is a place to announce you found a lost dog, need some help painting your house, or want to draw more people to a church or club event or fundraiser.

Michael Nirenberg, the founder of Neighborhood Appeal, has been on FOX news, the History Channel, PBS, Chicago’s WLS radio, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, FIRST for Women, and Whole Living magazine, and featured in other media sources. He is a practicing podiatrist, surgeon, forensic expert, walking instructor, and “neighborhood enthusiast.” Nirenberg has assisted law enforcement in homicide investigations involving foot-related evidence.

Nirenberg is currently expanding Neighborhood Appeal, adding a myriad of features and innovations. He plans to bring the platform to Canada, the UK and other countries.


logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website |

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Property Management and Leasing: Proactive vs. Reactive Efforts

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Proactive vs. Reactive Efforts

PropertyManager_1

Resident service has two sides. Reactive service is delivered “after the fact,” typically when a resident has a special service request or complaint, or is simply unhappy or dissatisfied. It’s a concept that we are, unfortunately, all intimately familiar with. On the other hand, proactive service begins even before the future resident walks in the door. It’s composed of all the steps we take to ensure that we’re fully prepared to do “whatever it takes” to fulfill the needs and wants of our residents both prior to leasing and after move-in.  This is quality apartment management and leasing and  includes what I like to call “setting the stage.”

“Setting the stage” is one of the best examples of proactive service in action, and it involves making the leasing experience as comfortable as possible for the future resident. This is where the details matter. Reduce the time it takes to fill out the application (after all, banks approve $20,000-30,000 loans based on a name, address, place of employment, social security number, and telephone number. Why can’t we?).  Don’t just stop there… pare down processing time whenever and wherever you can without sacrificing the value of the leasing experience, and prove to your future residents that you value their time as much as they do. Polish the appearance of both your leasing center and staff so that the environment is pleasant and visually appealing, and creates the all-important positive first impression that your residents will carry throughout their relationship with you and your community. The entire leasing experience should begin wit h the message, “We’ve been waiting for you!” and last well beyond “Welcome to your new home!”

Proactive service and retention does wonders for a community’s bottom line. The more special details you incorporate into this proactive approach, the better! Consider such niceties as thanking residents for coming in, even when they have a complaint, or thanking them for simply paying their rent on time.

Value-Added Service

For the longest time,especially when I was first getting started in the apartment industry, “value-added”seemed to be everyone’s favorite buzzword. Every one of my supervisors told me that it was the kind of service we were supposed to be providing to our residents, but no one ever stopped to explain to me what it meant. Frankly, I’m not certain they fully understood themselves. In hindsight, I think the term entered our industry at a bit of a disadvantage.

Service Check List

Way back when our idea of resident service was collecting rent checks and dispatching “maintenance men”,  it would have been a stretch for us to grasp the concept of value-added resident services as much more than providing the bare minimum of courtesy that’s expected of us today. As the concept of customer service evolved, and our residents’ expectations began to grow with each instance of great service that they encountered in their day-to-day lives, we finally began to get the hint and expanded our own service offerings accordingly. As a result, I believe we came to think of providing value-added service as a means of “keeping up with the Jones’s”– the Jones’s being not only our competition, but every other retailer and service provider who was out there serving our residents well and raising their expectations in the process.

Here’s the reality check.Value-added service doesn’t mean simply living up to our residents’ expectations–it means going the extra mile. One of my favorite examples is the”Baker’s Dozen.” You pay for twelve cookies and receive thirteen. If you really want to compete, you throw in a couple more. It’s important to know that value-added doesn’t just mean giving something away for free. Where added value can be clearly demonstrated, the customer is most often willing to pay a bit extra for it. If you offer custom upgrade options to your apartment homes at a fair price; you’ve seen this principle proven time and time again; ditto for that special location with the super view and higher rental rate.

Another of my favorite examples of value-added resident service is the trend toward policies that clearly state: “Resident satisfaction is more important than company policy.” Not only does this empower employees to solve problems on the spot (one of the key factors to great internal retention), but it also helps to guarantee all of the nice things that happy residents bring, like renewed leases and referrals. Conversely, residents who are either overtly told or treated as though company policy stands between what they want and what your team can provide are not likely to stick around for long, if at all. Referrals? Don’t hold your breath.

It’s important to realize that a service needn’t be new in order to be value-added. Take a close look at each of the services you currently offer. A new twist here and an enhancement there can make a world of difference in how your residents perceive the level of service they receive.

Let me close this post by with sharing my feelings towards residents when I was on-site.

PropertyManager_2  I had a built-in feeling or reaction towards every single contact I had with a resident. Most of those contacts were not pleasant because I was always dealing with distressed communities. No matter how busy I was, and I was normally very, very busy. I stopped and gave the resident I was in contact with 110% of my attention, put a smile on my face and focused on making that person feel like the most important person in the world. Each contact was followed up with a hand written note (very impressive today in the electronic world) thanking them for bringing what ever new challenge I was presented with to my attention. These notes were delivered at the end of my day as I walked the community. I always felt that walking the community at the end of the day was another resident retention technique. Letting the residents see me walking the community showed that I had a personal interest in the community. The residents would never see me driving around in the available golf cart unless I was with a future resident or service technician. Managers, give it a try you will be amazed with the results of this simple and cost free way to endear the residents of your community.

Actions:

What other ways can you be proactive in the service you provide to your residents? What can you do for them before it needs doing, so they will want to continue living in your community? Write down ideas, add them to your plan, and then try to implement one or more of these fresh ideas every month. Your community’s bottom line will be rewarded with the results.

Take 10 minutes and walk the community at the end of every day. Give it a try for one month and you will be amazed at what you see, learn and the difference it makes with your residents. PLUS imagine the health benefits you will receive!

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