Most readers of our blog are holding anywhere from one to 20 rental units. However, there’s a growing movement of apartment developers who are building brand new luxury apartments with well over 20 units. For those of you out there who are planning on building brand new apartments there will come a time when you will need to lease them up. If you self-manage your properties, you should know there’s an art and science to doing a lease up well.
If you wait for the last minute and just think you’re going to put a for rent sign out front you’ll lose out on thousands of dollars in missed rent. The best scenario is to release the apartments in phases and have renters ready to move in as soon as you get your certificate of occupancy. We’re going to let you in on some secrets. Here’s a quick and dirty action plan to have a successful lease up of your Chico or Redding rental property.
As soon as it’s approved…
Create a website with the computer-generated images of the property. These pictures are typically very eye catching and help people picture themselves living at the property. This website should have: when you open, rental rates, amenities, etc. It should have good search engine optimization using the words and phrases people are using when they’re searching online. These terms should also include the location of the complex.
Have a lead generation form for the people who are interested. This will build a list of people that you can contact when the project is closer to becoming finished.
As soon as you get the website up…
Advertise on Craigslist and other internet listing services (ILS’s). These are websites like Zillow and Apartments.com. Leverage your technology and let everyone know that your property is coming soon.
Get big signs up in front of the rental property showing “Coming Soon.” Display the website, as well as some of the plans and mock up photos.
Get a Google business listing set up. Find out some info here. They send a postcard to the location so you have to be able to receive mail there to do it. But it’s helpful to have this searchable on Google.
More people will call and fill out the forms. Continue to answer questions and add to your contact list.
6 Months Out
Have a meeting to discuss marketing strategies. You want to do all the research on how to spend marketing dollars in the best way possible. Since tech is changing so fast what may be great today may be not so great two years from now. Sit down with your team and discuss the best avenues to use. This research may take some time to come to the best conclusion, so be patient!
3 Months Out
Start looking at leasing office personnel and location. Who will work the leasing office? When will they start? Where will they work? Is the signage to the leasing office clear? Do people know where they’re going? Be sure to look at the actual site to determine leasing office location and strategy.
2 Months Out
Hopefully some units can become ready in stages. If the units can be staggered, this is the best strategy. Maybe the leasing office is ready to go and the first one-third of the complex is complete.
Start paying for advertising in internet listing services. People need time to plan their move and give their notices so now is the time to really start marketing and moving towards a concrete move-in date. Move-in dates are tricky and tend to get pushed out so use wisdom and don’t give hard dates if you’re not 100% certain. As always, build in some time margin just in case.
Visit local employers in the area and offer move-in specials.
Have employee referral bonuses. We found this worked very well. If anyone building on the property or in your management team refers someone they get a bonus.
Set up a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for when the rental property will be ready. Invite the community, city government, and the construction company. Take pictures and utilize social media. Having food at the event is always a good idea. We found using vendors like a taco truck tend to work well.
1 Month Out
Hopefully about half the property is ready. Start setting up open houses and sponsoring them on social media. Make them a big deal with balloons and treats. If it’s student housing have fun events or something towards that demographic.
Have a grand opening. You should have a full-time leasing person on site to lease up the apartments. Invest in the internet listing services, put out balloons every day, run specials, and follow up with leads immediately! Occasionally meet with the team to make sure you’re not missing anything. Readjust your strategy as you go. Meet once a week at least to discuss progress.
Hopefully this information is helpful to you. But if it feels overwhelming on top of all the other responsibilities you have managing your Chico or Redding rental properties on your own, contact us at Hignell Property Management to see how we can help.