There’s no doubt about it, lease-ups are complicated. Whether the lease-up property is a newly constructed, renovated, or converted residential building, the biggest challenge is filling its many empty units as quickly as possible. So it’s critical that the property team work together to make sure the property is fully stabilized, or at least 90% rented by the time the last coat of paint has dried and it’s ready for move-in.
Why Lease-Ups Need to Be Well-Planned
Making sure you hit the ground running for a lease-up is mission-critical for a wide array of reasons. Firstly, a stabilized lease-up ensures steady cash flow and a faster ROI, which not only satisfies the bank, but also the property’s investors. Beyond the almighty dollar, when the leasing process is well-planned and runs smoothly, the building becomes a vibrant community, and starts to make its presence (and brand!) known in the neighbourhood as a desirable place to live. And, of course, the sooner property managers can stabilize the leasing up, the sooner they can turn their attention to the important matters of running the building on a day-to-day basis.
For property teams wanting to reach stabilization sooner, here are five strategies for a successful lease-up.
1. Build a Brand
Before the lease-up kicks off, you’ll need to have your website up and running as well as social media profiles. No matter whether the brand was created in-house or by a local ad agency, consistency is key. Keep colors, fonts and logos consistent across all platforms, including both digital and print. Make sure there is eye-catching signage at the construction site, with an easy-to-read link to your website. (Bonus points for a QR code that links to floor plans and a waiting list.) Signage should also advertise when the building opens as well as capture what differentiates it in the marketplace.
2. Get Your MVP Out There
A common pitfall in lease-ups is waiting until everything is ready and holding off promoting the property until a few months out from the grand opening. The key is to focus on a minimum viable product, your MVP, in order to grow a lead-list. To achieve stabilization as fast as possible and get the highest possible rents, the leasing process should start significantly earlier with pre-registration. Sure, you may not have all the information, but get a website up as soon as possible so that you can capture leads and continue to market to your list as soon as images and floor plans become available. Your website should include an AI chatbot to field questions 24/7, an online application form as well as a tell-me-more option to join a waiting list.
3. Make the Intangible Tangible
There are many unique challenges with lease-ups. The elephant in the room is that there is no tangible product while it is being built. Property professionals need to do everything in their power to make it a snap for potential renters to picture themselves in this new build. From floor plans to 3D walk-throughs to plenty of artist rendering images of what a unit and the amenities will look like.
From the get-go, figure out your plan for incentives. New lease-ups often come with top-notch amenities and a higher price point. An incentive can make the difference, shifting a prospect to a tenant. It’s not uncommon during a lease-up to offer concessions to people who sign on early. This can be something like free parking for a few months or 1-2 months of free rent when gaining occupancy, or even a gift certificate or membership at a local gym.
And, don’t forget to create a referral program. When prospective tenants sign their lease, naturally they will be telling friends, and family, so it’s an excellent time to tell them about a referral program and ask them to spread the word.
5. Be Shiny and New
One of the greatest allures of a lease-up is the fact that tenants love to move into a brand-new building, with all its amenities. Be sure to sell the lifestyle and the technological advantages. From pet-friendly amenities to tenant portals and multiple payment options, these types of features and services raise the bar, differentiate your property and provide proof that this new apartment building boasts modern conveniences.
How Property Vista Helps
All your lease-up needs are now together in one unified property management system –from website templates to online applications to communication portals. Available on any browser-enabled device. At Property Vista, we provide both the technology you need to better understand your business and the tools needed to make changes. See pricing and get a demo.