Spring has finally sprung! And with spring comes longer days, blooming flowers, allergies, and singing birds. In our industry, the onset of sunny skies also means peak leasing season is about to arrive. The Triangle is an exceptionally seasonal market, and a large portion of our market is comprised of colleges and the transient population that occupy these higher education institutions. As a result, the majority of apartment communities structure their lease expirations around the summer months. And if you are part of a proactive team, the summer months can be some of the most successful in the calendar, yielding significant income growth for your company.
So how can you prepare for the busy and extremely important next few months ahead? Well, everyone knows that the answer is spring cleaning! Before the arrival of this seasonal influx of would-be renters, it is essential to make sure your teams are trained and have all the necessary tools they need. Be sure to brush up your team on these items: understanding what your community or business has to offer that separates you from the rest, how to tailor a presentation to a prospect that dispels any doubts about why they should choose you, and finally, closing the sale. In the daily bustle of multifamily management, we sometimes lose track of the impact that these basics steps can have on success. And one of those back-to-basics steps is simply cleaning. Check that your curb appeal is immaculate, your amenities pristine, and confirm that your show units are stocked with memorable gifts for potential residents.
Your service team members are an integral part of the success of the primary leasing season too. Take steps to make sure they are equipped with a variety of vendors that can help them turn vacant apartments quickly. (Vendors that meet the necessary insurance and contractual terms of your company.) If you are a vendor, now is the time to assess if you have additional teams ready to install flooring and paint units, should a last-minute request arise. The vendor that can yield impeccable results on the fly will always be the one that the team calls.
With your spring cleaning completed, you are ready for the busy summer days. Your focus should now turn to guaranteeing you have enough future residents to meet your occupancy. With over half of all renters now depending on their phones to search for a community they call home, it is important you continually evaluate and scrutinize your online message. Whatever your role in our industry, a digital presence is necessary to run a successful business. If you are a manager, make sure your community is listed on the essential websites that apartment seekers scan. Confirm that your search words are relevant and enticing and that your website works on a smartphone. Creating a digital presence through social media is free, so it’s accessible to those with limited budgets. Daily posts can increase your online presence tremendously, but remember to make them relevant, authentic, and professional.
Ultimately, the optimal thing you can do to ensure that your residents and customers are happy, and don’t want to consider moving or finding another vendor, is to provide a sense of community. When a community or business offers outstanding customer service and makes people feel like they are part of something, everything else will fall into place. Encourage your team members to know the residents’ names, and maybe even the names of their pets; this adds a personal touch to every interaction. Take the time to write birthday cards, organize group events that bring together people, and be proud of the community you work for. These small touches result in renewal retention and rent increases that will make you and your company pleased.
Here at the TAA we are also getting ready to support you through this hectic leasing season, and we provide all the resources to get you where you need to go. In May we have a CPO class and “After Work Networking” at Tobacco Road Sports Café overlooking the Durham Bulls stadium. June ushers in events on a local, state and national level that should not be overlooked. First is AANC’s Education and Legislative Conference, a three-day event in Raleigh. The TAA is excited to be a featured sponsor for the event which offers an array of speakers, educational opportunities, and ends with an opportunity to lobby the NC Legislature. On the National Level, the NAA hosts its annual Apartmentalize Education Conference in San Diego, CA. Apartmentalize is the largest Educational Conference in the nation and offers over 75 seminars and events over the course of four days in June. Last, and certainly not least, we have TAA’s Casino Night on June 28. This not to be missed event is certainly going to provide a fantastic opportunity to network with your TAA Community. I look forward to seeing you all there!
In the meantime, happy spring cleaning!
Claire Michael, CAM
Fairfield Residential, LLC
This article was originally published in the 2018 May/June issue of the ApartMentor magazine.