Posts Tagged ‘Apartment Leasing’

Why Tenants Want to Move, and Why Some Don’t

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Tenants Moving

Leading rental listing service Apartments.com recently asked more than 1,500 renters to describe why they would or would not move in 2014.

The results reveals both shifting trends in renter behavior, and a more lighthearted look at celebrity neighbor preferences.

Affordability, neighborhood and apartment size topped the list of reasons people said they are moving; close to half (46 percent) of former homeowners said they prefer renting; and internet listing services and word of mouth were named as the top two resources for renters during their apartment search.

“This year, both economic and lifestyle factors seem to be on the minds of most renters planning to move,” said Dick Burke, president of Apartments.com. “Many helpful online tools, like Apartments.com, are available to help renters make informed and responsible decisions with highly personalized searches, online video walk-throughs, the ability to post and read reviews and apps for iPhone and Android.”

Why are people moving in 2014? And, why aren’t they?

This year, moving decisions were heavily steered by economic factors. Shopping for a less expensive apartment topped the list of reasons renters are planning to move, while affordability topped the list for why renters are staying put. Other popular responses rounding out the top five reasons for whether or not to move included renter preferences, personal tastes, job security and family issues.

Apartments.com details the top five reasons survey respondents said they are moving in 2014:

Shopping for a less expensive apartment: 24.6%
Wanting to live in a different neighborhood: 13.6%
Looking for a bigger apartment: 12%
Change in marital status: 11.6%
Looking for a smaller apartment, or to live alone: 10%

When asked to check all that apply, the top five reasons that renters said they aren’t moving in 2014:

Can’t afford to move elsewhere: 47.3%
Like the neighborhood they live in: 40.8%
Like the apartment building they live in: 40.8%
Have job security: 22.5%
Like their neighbors: 12.4%

The 2014 Moving Trends Survey also shows that winning the lottery, a job loss or promotion, relationship changes, and noisy or annoying neighbors are the top reasons that would cause settled tenants to change their minds and move. Only 13% believed they could find something more affordable.

Why are previous homeowners choosing to rent in 2014?

Supporting a rapidly growing trend, close to half of all renters (44.1 percent) previously owned a home, up from 35.1 percent in 2013 and 33.6 percent in 2012. Interestingly, homeownership preferences are split right down the middle in 2014:

54 percent of former homeowners wish they still owned a home
46 percent of former homeowners prefer renting
51.2 percent of renters (who have never owned a home) prefer renting
48.8 percent of renters (who have never owned a home) would like to own a home right now

When asked to check all that apply, the majority of survey respondents see the following as benefits of renting vs. owning:

No unexpected repairs (leaky toilet, clogged sink, etc.): 59.9%
No or low maintenance (don’t need to shovel a driveway, cut grass, etc.): 51.4%
Flexibility to move: 51.3%

There was a sizable increase this year in previous homeowners who indicated that they are choosing to rent mainly because they cannot afford homeownership anymore, while the flexibility renting offers in choosing where to live remained as the number two reason for the third year in a row. Apartments.com provides the top five reasons former homeowners are choosing to rent in 2014, and compares these results to its 2013 survey. The statistics indicate the economy continues to be a driving factor for this group of renters:

Can’t afford homeownership anymore: 21.5% (up from 14.2% in 2013)
Flexibility renting offers in choosing where to live: 15% (down slightly from 15.7% in 2013)
Lost home due to foreclosure or divorce: 13% (up from 11.2% in 2013)
To relocate for employment: 12.4% (down from 13.3% in 2013)
Because renting is more affordable: 10.4% (down significantly from 22.2% in 2013)
Who will renters share their apartments with in 2014?

One area that seems to be a constant is renter living arrangements, which have remained nearly identical for the past three years:

Husband/wife/significant other and/or kids: 47.6%
Living alone: 42.6%
Roommate(s): 9.8%

Celebrity Preferences

Only 12 percent of renters planning to stay put in 2014 would change their minds (and move out) if Miley Cyrus moved in as their neighbor. “Apparently, most renters wouldn’t mind if guests at Miley’s parties have their hands in the air like they don’t care!” said Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager, Apartments.com.

More renters would prefer Dakota Fanning (23.4 percent) as their celebrity renter neighbor than Ashley Greene (12.9 percent). Also, Chris Noth (15.1 percent) would be preferred as a celebrity renter neighbor over Nick Jonas (8.2 percent).

Source: Apartments.com

Could A Thank You Every Day, Keep The Move Outs Away?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

How often are residents thanked for the choice to live at a property?

Most choices for housing involve long term commitments, buying a house or a condo, mortgage etc. Individuals who rent can make a change in an instant, granted breaking a lease has financial consequences, but an unsatisfied resident has the ability to mmake a change right now.

Thumbs Up

Taking the time to acknowledge the length of time a resident has lived at a property, thanking them for their continued loyalty, asking if any service or assistance is needed, can reinforce that commitment.

Over the top efforts demonstrating customer service secure publicity and industry comparisons, but simple acts of appreciation, offered with sincerity hold more value than crazy promotions.

Generally speaking, the staff at a property doesn’t have much contact with a resident after the move in..lease renewal, late rent notices and requests for maintenance. Taking the time to insure every contact ends on a positive note will build a stronger relationship with a resident.

Offering the comment, “Thank you for choosing our property for your home,” can go a long way in building this relationship.

Staff at property often has anecdotal stories about demanding residents, or individuals that inflict substantial damage discovered at the time of move out. For most locations, the 80/20 rule typifies our residents, 20% of the residents use 80% of the staff resources. The remaining 80%, the individuals who pay their rent on time, renew without negotiating, take great care of their apartment home, and generally abide by the community policy and procedures; are largely ignored for their compliance.

Offering appreciation when the opportunity presents itself, or creating resident appreciation events can build a customer service atmosphere at a property.

Just as many receipts or monthly statements, include the phrase, we appreciate your business, how could this be incorporated into daily business practice?

Include this phrase:
-on rent receipts
-service request notification
-train staff to acknowledge resident tenancy during conversations, and communicaitons, such as lease renewals.

Residents often believe they are nothing more than an apartment number, or an account on a ledger. Insuring residents the staff is aware of the individual choice and ongoing commitment will have an influence on renewal decisions, or building the attitude where a resident wants to encourage friends and family to consider your property when looking for an apartment home.


Lori_Hammond Lori Hammond | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Lori has 30+ years’ experience in the Property Management Industry, working with both market rate and affordable housing.  Lori has been privileged to work with some tremendous industry leaders during employment tenures with Oxford Management, NHP Management, AIMCO, Alliance Residential, Boston Capital, The Sterling Group, P.K. Housing and currently Management Resources Development.

Should You Repair or Replace? Choosing Wise Renovations for Rental Propeties

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

repair_replace_balanceRental property renovations open the doors for financial rewards through potential rental or selling price increases. However, deciding which renovations to undertake that will ultimately reap the most benefits can be complex. Interestingly, there’s a lot of advice offered by real estate professionals about which renovations are most worthwhile for investors, and these experts know what improvements renters really want.

Even more interesting – they know how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to making wise property renovations, understanding the correlation between curb appeal and rental rates, how to choose remodeling projects that preserve equity and the integrity of the property.

Still Turning and Burning your Property? Don’t Get Burned Yourself

More property investors are realizing the benefits of treating their rental homes more like “their home” as opposed to another “unit.” Even scaled down renovations and remodeling projects can help increase equity and help you maintain a top-notch resident base. Investing in major projects is just that – major – so keep in mind that even minor improvements can make a tremendous long-term difference for both renters and owners.

However, some major projects cannot be ignored, and this is when treating it as a home comes into play for investors. One major roofing failure can spell disaster, put residents out of their home, and you temporarily out of income – facing a huge repair bill. Itemize your “to do” list according to importance, putting preserving the integrity of your dwelling on top of the list. Everything else you should evaluate by cost, the improvement’s potential lifespan, and consider any applicable tax credits and return on investment.

Cleaning, Cleaning, Cleaning – The #1 Return on Investment for Rental Properties

That’s right – a clean home is a desirable home. Those appliances don’t have to be top condition or modern, just clean! Carpets and flooring don’t need to be replaced when a good shampooing or deep cleaning may make them look brand new again.

Consider that the lifespan of carpeting averages about 11 years, according Old House Web’s experts, but wood flooring and many types of tile can last a lifetime. If replacement is imminent, consider upgrading to resilient and lovely Terrazzo tile or a natural, eco-friendly wood. If there are only a few flaws, chips, scratches, or imperfections that can be resolved with spot replacements or partial refinishing, then the cost-effective solution is clear!

Interior and Exterior Painting

Curb appeal extends to the interiors in the eyes of a renter; after all, they have to see those walls every day. If you’ve rented to a smoker or the same resident for many years, you’re likely justified in going with a complete overhaul with interior paint. However, you might be able to get away with a few walls here and again, but it’s such an inexpensive renovation, it’s best to refresh everything for your new charge.

Kitchens and Bathrooms – To Renovate or Resurface?

These two improvements are known for their tremendous return on investment; however, they are also known for their high initial investment. Contractor and remodeling experts are promoting the benefits of resurfacing over replacements. Resurfacing bathtubs, showers, and cabinetry are far more cost efficient projects than replacing them, particularly if they are in decent condition. The pros at Old House Web estimate that acrylic baths have a 15-year lifespan, so estimate “how much life” your major fixtures and appliances have left before considering costly replacements.

Final Considerations in Remodeling Rental Properties

Your budget, how much time you have, and the condition of your property certainly play a role in your remodeling decisions; however, as a wise investor you have to know when to “turn and burn” and when to take your time and renovate units as though you were living there. You’ll see happier residents and may even get some recommendations through your efforts of being a responsible and caring landlord.


appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

Multifamily Leasing Trends | Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Call Center for Leasing Apartments

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Happy call center employees with headsetApartment owners, multifamily executives, and property managers are busier today than ever. Unfortunately, there are still only 24 hours in any given day at last check. This leaves many multifamily executives looking for ways to streamline some of the responsibilities within their businesses in order to have the time and focus to take care of other important job functions.

Using call centers for leasing apartments is one way to do this. However, there are a few distinct pros and cons to keep in mind before deciding if you want to take your business in this direction.

Advantages of Using a Call Center for Leasing Apartments

Businesses today are continuously seeking cost-effective alternatives to the old way of doing things. And multifamily investors and executives are no different. Using a call center for leasing apartments offers the multifamily executive an alternative solution with marked benefits.

Specialization. Leasing agents wear many hats within their respective apartment communities. Many of these hats take them out of the office — and away from telephones serving people who are hot prospects looking for apartments now, or those who are already members of the apartment community. On the other hand, call center agents specialize in their roles, which can be a huge advantage. Call center agents have one responsibility, primarily. While they certainly answer prospective tenant questions, their main goal is to “soft sell” the apartment community they represent — and they become experts at doing so.

Free up valuable time. Multifamily Executive recommends hiring call center leasing agents to free up your valuable time, or that of your staff, to handle other on-site needs, such as taking care of existing tenants and prospects. In addition, someone else handles the training of call center staff members. This means you’re not dedicating valuable time bringing another team member up-to-speed and can devote your time and attention to your core competencies and pursuits that can bring in additional revenue, such as marketing and market research.

Preference of prospective tenants. People like to hear the voice of another person on the line rather than a recorded message or busy signal. Call center leasing agents are a lot more than additional staff members to pick up the slack when business picks up. They’re the warm body on the other end of the phone that prospective tenant callers respond to. They’re a live person who can answer questions, point out benefits, and add depth to your existing leasing team — even if they never set foot on the actual properties they’re helping sell.

Avoids missing prospective tenants. Call center leasing specialists also play an important, if not vital role, by ensuring that important calls and prospects aren’t missed before they roll over into voicemail. Many, if not most, people hang up when calls go into voicemail. Call centers are able to capitalize on these leads even if the lead calls after hours or calls at a time when an on-site staff member is unable to answer the phone.

Availability. The bottom line is that call center agents are simply available at times when it’s not always cost-effective to have an employee on hand waiting on the phone to ring. The world doesn’t operate on bankers’ hours anymore. If you truly want to make a lasting impression with prospective tenants, have a live person answer the call when tenants that work night shifts call in.

Cost. Investing in call center leasing agents can save apartment owners money over hiring full-time staff members and investing in infrastructure, equipment, warm bodies, and phone lines to do the job call center leasing agents do.

Disadvantages of Using a Call Center for Leasing Apartments

Call center leasing is not without its considerations. Take a look at some of the drawbacks of using a call center for leasing apartments.

Cost. The biggest of which, according to Multifamily Executive,  is the cost. For some smaller apartment communities, it’s simply too prohibitive to have on-site staff and off-site call center staff as well. However, many call centers have created packages with different price points to mitigate this so that it’s easier for even small communities and to bear the costs.

Transparency.  There may come a time when a prospective tenant asks to see the person they’ve spoken with on the phone. And some consumers may be disappointed they aren’t able to meet with the leasing agents they’ve spoken with on the phone when they visit the apartments.This lack of transparency can be a drawback, however there are ways around it. Simply train your team to inform them that the person they spoke with on the phone is an important part of your team that works off-site in a different facility.

Communication Issues. If call center agents have an accent, as might be the case if your call center for leasing apartment is outsourced out of the country, prospective tenants may have trouble understanding what is being said to them. You can circumvent this by carefully screening the company that you outsource this task to.

Lack of dedication and focus. When call center work for leasing apartments is outsourced to a third party provider who may have other client companies, outsourced call center agents may not be fully dedicated or focused on your company. In other words, their dedication and attention can be divided among a number of client companies.

Quality of calls. While not always the case, outsourcing call center for leasing apartments can lead to lower quality of calls, particularly when calls are not monitored and improvements are not made to underperforming call center agents. In the long run, poor prospective tenant satisfaction from calls responded to by call center agents can lead to reduced revenue opportunities. Be sure to hire a call center for leasing apartment that monitors calls, provides reviews to its workers, and takes pride in quality.

Do Call Center Leasing Agents Help to Generate Revenue?

In instances where staff members are missing a large volume of calls regularly, call center leasing agents absolutely do generate revenue, first and foremost, by freeing up the time of on-site leasing agents to seal the deal, reports Multi Housing News. They also help by setting more appointments simply because the call center is available after hours and at times when on-site staff members are busy seeing to other needs. Call center leasing agents allow multifamily owners to increase revenue by renting more apartments, streamline marketing endeavors (cutting expenses as a result), and increase profits with greater efficiency.

That said, there are drawbacks, like those listed above, along with the benefits. Weigh the pros and cons to decide whether investing in a call center for leasing apartments is a cost effective move for your apartment leasing needs.

Are you using a leasing call center? Do you have something to contribute to the conversation? Please feel free to leave your valuable comments in the section below.


JustinAlanis Justin Alanis | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Justin Alanis is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rentlytics Inc.  Rentlytics is based in San Francisco, CA providing deep analytics for apartment property owners and managers. View and analyze property operational and financial metrics more effectively and identify issues.

Supply and Demand, Lease Your Apartment Today!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Our apartments are vacant now!  We need move ins now!  Leases signed now!  Commitments now!

First consider, is the leasing team able to challenge the move in date? Ask the question of “When do you plan to move?” “Are your plans flexible?”

imageThis is similar to hotel and airline reservations. Plan to travel on Thursday, but the deal is better if reservations are booked to fly on Wednesday. Or apply a retail application, the best selection is available by shopping early. Waiting for sales, will offer lower prices, but the selection of sizes and color options becomes limited.

If an applicant has a “MUST HAVE” list, the ability to meet the “demands” is lessened as the supply of vacant apartments decreases with other leases. Use this criteria to create a sense of urgency. Popularity of apartments on the top floor, ground floor walk outs, or end units will limit their availability.

How effective is the staff in creating a sense of urgency? “I can see how excited you are about this apartment, waiting might mean this apartment won’t be available, is your move in date flexible?”

imageDepending on the volume of vacant apartments, there may be a variety of possible closing tools. Every day that passes between the visit date, and the pre-lease or move in date allows the opportunity for an individual to choose another location. Getting a lease signed closes that door, it may involve a few days of free rent, but in return is the commitment of a year lease.

If the property has a large volume of vacants, it may be difficult to embrace the sense of urgency. Using a hot list, where the leasing staff only “sees” the units available to be leased that week, not an entire inventory of vacant apartment homes, can limit the information to prevent leasing units not ready or future availability. On the hot list, the supply will reflect two or three apartments of each unit type. This information allows the leasing staff to be absolutely focused on a limited supply, “This is the only apartment available with a ground floor walk out.”

image

Without challenging the anticipated move in date, the prospect walks out the door to continue their search for a home.

  • The move in special ends Friday
  • The limited supply of the apartment that meets expectations
  • Desired building or location on the property

Use these criteria to narrow down the supply of apartments, the economics of supply and demand can assist in creating a sense of urgency to close a lease commitment.


Lori_Hammond Lori Hammond | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Lori has 30+ years’ experience in the Property Management Industry, working with both market rate and affordable housing.  Lori has been privileged to work with some tremendous industry leaders during employment tenures with Oxford Management, NHP Management, AIMCO, Alliance Residential, Boston Capital, The Sterling Group, P.K. Housing and currently Management Resources Development.

 

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