“Ask Kari!” Light-Up Your Pocketbook – Rent Vacancies Faster!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer, Sky Properties, Inc.

Dear Kari: Sometimes I find myself struggling to “turn-over” my vacant units quickly and I’m always worried about choosing the items as décor is always changing – what do you suggest I do?

Marketing and turning over a vacant apartment unit takes time and money, so it is essential that you take into consideration the first impression your available unit gives-off to prospective applicants. Keep in mind that lighting is so important in every home, and as home providers, we can reduce the time our apartments sit vacant by doing it right.  It is amazing how much some fresh paint and a few updated fixtures can do for the lighting in an apartment.  The darker an apartment, then the lighter the paint and the brighter the bulbs should be.  If you are worried about the décor shift your focus to the proper lighting first and then look at some newer buildings and use them as a guide to buy what you need and be competitive.

Lighting is Critical – “You Light Up My Life”

A major thing to consider that is often ignored is the lighting in an apartment.  Lack of lighting can make an apartment unit seem cold and dreary.  Lighting is important because it can enhance a prospective tenant’s reaction simply upon their opening the door – the feeling they will get is envisioning the bright apartment as their new home.  Is it cheery or gloomy? Too dim, or too bright? Lighting is essential to the functionality and the aesthetics of living spaces.  Insufficient lighting can even cause people to avoid dark areas without knowing that is what they are doing, and it can also make a room feel smaller or closed in and cramp the style of an apartment.   You want your apartment to scream welcome home; you want it to be as inviting as possible.  Be consistent because you do not want to mix too many themes or styles into one living space.  What follows are some helpful tips to bring lighting into your apartments and your marketing material.

Try to show the unit during the time of day when there is the most natural sunlight.  For instance, some apartments may get more sunlight in the morning and others in the early evening.   This should also be taken into consideration when taking photos of your vacant apartment unit.  If the apartment is dark, you will want to be mindful to fill in the darker gaps with well-placed lighting.   Consideration of th placement of furniture should also be taken into account when installing lights – if placement is obvious from looking at the floor layout.  Floor lamps are fairly, inexpensive and can be used when photographing and showing a unit. They can be left for the tenant if the apartment is too dark or has insufficient lighting.  You do not want to skimp on a $30 floor lamp and have your unit sit vacant an extra two weeks because it shows as “dark and uninviting.” 

Good lighting is always expected in the kitchen and bathroom(s) and should take precedence over aesthetics.  Luckily, there are so many gorgeous and affordable lighting fixtures to choose from nowadays, and most that can be delivered right to your door.   Bright and beautiful light fixtures should be appropriately placed throughout the unit.  Changing out the lighting in an apartment can be relatively inexpensive and achieve a wow factor that will deliver a good tenant faster. Pick a theme or style that will work throughout the unit and get started.  Daylight bulbs are good for kitchens while you may use warmer tones in the living room, dining room and bedrooms.

If your apartment has specific elements that are unique, then those are the areas you should consider doing extra lighting.  A good example of that might be a built-in bookshelf or something special in a vintage apartment.  Eccentric ceiling lighting can also go far in giving a plain room a focal point and personality.  There are so many great light fixtures out there to choose from.

Let There Be Lights!

Take into consideration incoming light when purchasing blinds or shades.   Too much light or not enough can impact marketability, so you want to be strategic when buying anything for your apartment.   Walk through the apartment and try to see it from a prospect’s perspective to determine what to buy.   You do not want to leave an old fixture or window covering and have a potential resident considering what needs to be changed out which creates a negative spin that can be avoided.  Inviting and fresh should be the best first impression. 

Lately, we at SKY Properties have also been installing solar outdoor lighting that turns on at dusk and off at sunrise to light our buildings in a beautiful and “green” way. We have been using a lot of string lights for ambiance as well.  We like to take the environment into consideration when we choose lighting, and we try to use efficient light to reduce costs as well.  

So, TURN ON THE LIGHTS and get the reaction you want from your potential tenant – create a sense of ambiance to excite them about their new home.

Kari Negri is the Chief Executive Officer of Sky Property Management and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.  Do you have a question for me?  Please send your questions and comments to me at Kari@SKYprop.LA.