Marketing apartment complexes is important and should be done on a regular basis by most apartment managers or property owners. Proper marketing can reduce the time it takes to fill vacancies, and improve the quality of renter who is interested in your property. Owners of apartments expect turnover, because for many renting is a short-term solution. Either they are only in town for a certain period of time, saving up to buy a house, in college, or want the flexibility and convenience of a rental. There is a long list of reasons why people rent, but the reality is that renters come and go, so learning about the complexity of the re-renting process is essential.
The best plan for marketing apartment complexes depends on your community, your apartment complex, and the type of renters you're looking for. If you are marketing apartment complexes, make sure to develop and implement a strong marketing plan. There are some basics to incorporate, such as a For Rent sign, and also some techniques that can keep your complex at full capacity as much as possible. Be willing to try new methods to see what works best.
For Rent Sign
Possibly the simplest, least expensive, yet highly effective way for apartment management to start marketing apartment complexes is to put out a For Rent sign when there are vacancies, or upcoming vacancies. A For Rent sign is something everyone is likely to see, even if they are not in the market for new apartments. It gets those passing by to turn their head and consider, if even for a moment, the name, location, and possible open unit in your apartment complex. Marketing apartment complexes with a For Rent Sign is an inexpensive way to generate leads, and start word of mouth advertising.
Speaking of word of mouth - offering a financial benefit of some kind for referrals is a smart way to fill vacancies. Apartment complexes have plenty of current renters. Just imagine the reach if they were all looking for potential people to fill the vacancies as well. By offering a referral compensation of some kind for anyone who brings in a lead that that ultimately results in them signing a lease, you motivate others to generate leads for you, and maybe even help you close the deal. The compensation could be money, or other discounts, like a break on next month's rent.
Referral compensation could be extended to non-renters as well. Look in the community and be creative. If there is any group that may have a pool of potential renters - churches, gyms, community organizations - you could talk to the owners there and let them know that you offer compensation for anyone they refer who goes on to sign a one year lease. Depending on your community, this could be another small extension of your marketing plan.
Establishing an online presence for the apartment complex is inexpensive and very useful, whether there are current openings or not. Some owners get nervous about the complexity of online marketing, but it's not too difficult anymore. Just about every major business is online, and in this market apartment complexes cannot afford to skip the internet as a marketing vehicle. The first thing to do is to create a professional-looking website. There are easy, online tools to help, or you could hire a local development company to help you out. The fee will be well worth it to establish the apartment complex online and be a source of information to current and prospective renters. The website should include lots of pictures of the apartments and floor plans, and highlight the amenities. The site should also include a map and maybe even information about the surrounding community - schools, things to do, highlights of your city. Remember, often people are looking to relocate from other cities, so giving them as much information as possible may make the difference.
Once you have a website, it's time to market it. Obviously you'll want to focus your efforts on marketing the site when you have vacancies, but there usually are some small things you can do even when the complex is full. Reach out to local businesses and organizations to see if they want to provide a link to your website on their site. Maybe they have a list of apartment complexes in the area. This could be the case with city government sites, or local newspapers. Also make sure you are listed in online directories. Lots of times, online directory sites compile a list of businesses in the area and they put the basic information on their site. However, for free or a small fee, you may be able to enhance that listing and become more visible to those searching the site.
When you do have vacancies, there are sites that will allow you to post free ads advertising them. Check out sites like Craigslist.org or eBay Classifieds where you can post a link and an advertisement for your available unit at no cost to you. You can also promote available units listed on your site through social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Incentivize the Renter
Businesses offer discounts and promotions on their products, why shouldn't you? How about offering a free month of rent or a discounted security deposit for highly qualified renters? These types of promotions may bring more leads in the door, which means that you'll not only fill the vacant unit faster, you'll also have more applicants to choose from. These incentives may help undecided renters move faster on a property they've been considering.
Of course, you have to make sure the discount makes sense from a financial perspective. If getting a renter in a unit a month earlier saves you $800 in lost rent, but it costs you a free month of rent to get them in there, you didn't really gain anything. However, if it's been taking a couple months to rent out each unit, then offering one month free may be worth it. Of course, it's better to lose one month than it is to lose three.
Another great way of marketing apartment complexes is to forge relationships with any organization that helps relocate individuals. From the housing departments at local colleges and universities, to corporations who may have employees come to town for extended stays; if you can piece together some of these partnerships, you may find that filling a vacancy is as easy as picking up the phone.
Do not underestimate the complexity of marketing apartment complexes. Well-established buildings can develop a brand, on and offline, that will continuously generate interest and leads. By always being visible, it means that less effort needs to go into filling each vacancy, each time. Reach out to organizations in the community, establish a good online presence that accurately represents the benefits of your property, and offer discounts or referral compensation when necessary (and mathematically advantageous). With a little effort and some proper planning, the process of filling vacancies will be much easier than you ever expected.