Top 3 Challenges and Solutions for Lease-Ups

So, the new apartment community has been announced, and now the pressure is on to create awareness, interest and demand to get leases signed. In increasingly saturated markets, it’s not a walk in the park to hit the mid-90% rate by six months to a year after opening.

Anyone who has gone through a lease-up knows there are distinct challenges, including construction delays, marketing and selling prospective tenants on a property that is a “work in progress,” and communication between developers, construction teams, property management teams and early tenants.

You need to gather your A-team, from your marketing people to the leasing team, to your community manager. You need to ensure that everyone can work together as a cohesive team. Now, let’s take a look at some common challenges for lease-ups and their solutions.

Challenge 1: There’s No Tangible Product

An artist’s rendering is not enough to sway your typical renter. While your renter understands the property is in the construction stage, they need to be able to envision the features, the finishes and what it would belike to live in the community. While computer-generated renderings are the best you’ve got until you can get actual photos, the truth of the matter is that you need high quality photography and/or a 3D walkthrough. For property marketing and sales teams to succeed, the developer/construction teams must accelerate the completion of at least one model for unit photography and virtual-reality walkthroughs. So, even though prospects cannot visit the physical site, it gives potential residents a real sense of the space and the confidence to lease.

If it is possible to access a unit during construction, ensure there is a clear and clean route to the model. Work with the developer and construction crews to ensure the model unit is as far from construction as possible. Lastly, schedule tours at the end of the day or evening, when most of the construction is over and it is quieter.

Challenge 2: Building Campaign Momentum

Let’s face it, you’re starting from zero. Once the brand/logo has been established, there’s a website to be created, floor plans, photography, 3D walkthroughs and on and on. You have no “SEO juice” and any community relationships.

  • Get the website up ASAP – Include keywords relating to the neighbourhood. The website needs to create excitement around the opening, and funnel people to a lead-gen form to be alerted when showings are available and updates. Include the open date, pricing and square footage, beautiful descriptions of the amenities and community, as many photos or computer-generated images as possible. Tip: Create a neighbourhood guide and start a blog to help ramp up your SEO efforts.
  • Start your Internet marketing – As soon as the site is up, start listing your units online in the various ILS as well as on your social media channels like Pinterest and Instagram. Set up your Google business profile, with the address, photos and property details. As your website is new, you can invest in PPC to bring people to the site. Many firms find that running Facebook ads and using Facebook events to market their property has helped their lease-up gain traction.
  • Go Old-School Signage – Get your signage up outside the construction site, with a link to the website. Place posters around town, or on bulletin boards in local coffeeshops.
  • Grassroots and event marketing – Work with retailers and local businesses to help promote your community via word of mouth. It helps build relationships in the neighbourhood. Closer to opening, hold on-site events aimed at your target market. Or, sponsor events and set up mobile leasing teams at events or activities that appeal to your ideal renter.

Challenge 3: Communication

Communication is a HUGE challenge, especially with so many moving parts. Not only is there lateral communication within your own property management team, but you need to collaborate with the owner/developer, contractors and tenants. Without excellent communication between all parties, the lease-up can go too slowly or too quickly.

Multi-family property managers should plan out their communication strategy. This can be daily morning huddles as well as using a web-based property management solution with built-in owner, maintenance, and tenant communication portals. By using accessible web-based tools, all team members can send and respond to regular status updates. It allows leasing teams to workhand-in-hand with marketing teams, the community manager, and external construction/maintenance teams.

Keeping in touch with tenants, especially while there is still ongoing construction is critical to building good relationships. Open communication with construction and maintenance crews allows you to give your residents a heads-up about any interruptions.

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.