Finding and maintaining the perfect balance of occupancy and pricing is crucial for multifamily communities to achieve revenue success. In Multifamily Real Estate (MFRE,) it is considered a best practice to train employees to understand that the value of an asset comes in the form of it being a healthy, stabilized asset. That, by definition, is an asset that has not just achieved high occupancy, but that has achieved a balance of maximizing rent growth while maintaining/achieving stabilized occupancy.
Anyone can achieve “high occupancy.” In fact, it would be really easy to get to 100% occupancy if a property simply dropped rents 20% below market rate. That, of course, would not achieve the true goal of a property, which is rental revenue. In order to have a truly performing real estate asset, you must push an asset’s rent growth while also increasing occupancy. It’s a balancing act.
This balancing, today, is hard. Pricing algorithms in revenue management systems will suggest how much a property can push on renewal rents and new rents. But, really, it is the job of a property manager — and all those that support that role — to understand what the market can truly handle in new rent. And this can only come from knowing the market.
THE BIG RUB
When a property is high occupancy, there is sudden tension between work needing to be done to manage residents and their needs, versus all the other things that get done out of the leasing office. It’s difficult to know what leasing will look like in the next quarter and availability will remain unknown until you are sending out renewal offers. This difficulty leads to unawareness of what units will be open and how they should be priced. When occupancy isn’t at risk, multifamily teams often end up not realizing how much they are shifting their attention away from maintaining this balance in the future.
The logic behind the decision seems sound, but this is a big mistake that puts both the occupancy and the pricing elements at risk. The loss in visibility of the market economics affects a property manager’s ability to properly price units. And, being out of market for new renters can make it nearly impossible when you need them.
SMARTER PRICING BASED OFF DEMAND
Engaging with the market during those high occupancy times helps your team better understand market trends. When you keep your leasing activity alive, you gain visibility into:
Future demand for specific floor plans
Volume of active future leasing activity
Budgets of active future leasing prospects
This kind of actionable data empowers you to make smarter decisions on rent growth and price your units based on demand and what renters are willing to pay for specific units. Not only will you know if your units are underpriced, you will also understand if they may be overpriced. As a result, you will better understand your prospective renters’ budgets months before they make the move.
But how do you get this visibility if you’re not actively marketing and looking for renters?
FUTURE LEADS ARE LOOKING NOW
We all know the pandemic had a considerable impact on the MFRE industry. But it also had an impact on renters. To find the property they seek to call their home, they need to begin looking earlier. Data collected by PERQ shows that over 22% of rental prospects are looking to move 6 months out from when they begin searching. So, while your property may be high occupancy, the leads that are coming in during these high occupancy months are still serious about renting at your property, but they aren’t ready to move for months.
It is becoming a best practice for PMC’s to continue with their marketing and leasing activity during these high occupancy months. Therefore, if the current resident in an apartment chooses not to renew, you already have a list of qualified leads who are ready to move in. This leads to quicker turnover of vacant units as well as the added benefit of pricing your units based on demand.
Without a technology like PERQ to pick up the work, these important leads are at risk of falling through the cracks. And, knowing how many leads are in your pipeline lets you more precisely budget marketing spend during your busiest leasing months.
High occupancy now doesn’t guarantee high occupancy in the future. Just because you’ve found a good balance now doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do to maintain that balance.
Lead nurture tools can help fill the talent gap, giving your prospective renters a consistent, engaging experience without the need for a leasing team member. And, it can help you understand the balance between occupancy and pricing by giving you more insight into demand, renter budgets, and improve your operational efficiency year round.
The last couple of years have been all about adapting, evolving, and finding new solutions when it comes to how we market apartment communities. While the world has gone digital for quite some time, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit for remote lifestyles to become more normalized. Today’s generation of renters are different from any generation of renters before them and we have access to insightful data on their buying habits and what they want from a rental unit. Let’s dive into ideas that will strengthen your apartment marketing efforts from SEO to creative social media content.
LOCAL SEO MATTERS
You need your apartment community to show up on the first page of Google. In order to do this, you need to lock down a local SEO strategy. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of finding what keywords and phrases your target audience is using when they search on Google or other search engines. Knowing these keywords allows you to add them to the copy on your multifamily property websites so your sites get ranked higher up on search results. We all know how important it is to be on the first page of results. These websites get more visibility and let’s be honest, how many times have you gone to the second or third page on Google?
Once you’ve got your apartment SEO down, you need to have a property website that’s engaging and set up to collect insightful data on the prospect. There are a lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments that talk about social media, which is important and we will touch on, but another important and creative marketing idea is blogging.
How to put in maintenance requests and what to expect from them
Renter friendly storage ideas and DIYs
Recap of resident events
Local business reviews
There really is so much you can write about it. This is great not just for prospects but for residents as well. Creating a neighborhood/city guide will position your property website as the hub of information for what’s what in your local neighborhood. When renters sign a lease with your community, they are also committing to the neighborhood too. They want to know what life is like there and if it fits their needs — whether it’s vibrant nightlife or a quiet community, this impacts renters decisions too.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Apartment related content has over a billion views collectively on YouTube and TikTok. Getting your property in these tags will help you meet today’s renters where they are online. A lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments include Facebook contests, but let’s be honest, Gen Z don’t care for Facebook. A lot of them don’t even have an account.
While it’s important to keep a Facebook presence, your social media strategy needs to be focused on Instagram and TikTok. Luckily with Instagram you can easily share your posts on Facebook too so you don’t have to waste energy keeping your Facebook active.
When it comes to TikTok, a lot of the ideas of things you can blog about can easily be transformed into video content. Stay up to date on what the trending tags and sounds are as this is how you will be found.
Even if some of the trending hashtags don’t relate to what you are posting or relate to apartments in general, the way the TikTok algorithm works is based on adding those tags as well as #foryoupage and #fyp in order for your video to show up on renters’ feeds. Some ideas of posts, which can be done on both Instagram and TikTok include:
Pet of the month
Meet a member of the onsite team
Resident Event vlogs/recap posts
Local business review
Apartment marketing needs to be more creative in order to get the attention of Gen Z renters. They will look at your competitors before making a decision so you need to make sure you stand out and really show how your community can be their future home.
After a long, hot summer, that chilly fall breeze feels amazing. Fall is a great time of year for many reasons — nice weather, warmer drinks, and more time spent being cozy inside. This is the perfect season to bring back resident events. During a busy leasing season, resident events tend to take the back burner especially when you have a lot of turnover happening in units.
Fall starts when leasing season usually comes to an end and everyone is beginning to settle into their new homes and communities. Fall events are important as it brings new residents into the community and if you have student housing, it helps students become acclimated to their new homes. Let’s dive into some fun ideas to make the fall season a fun one for residents.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WEATHER
Sweater weather is here and while it’s not blistering hot or unreasonably cold outside, Fall is a good time to have some outdoor events. These events don’t have to be at the property either. There are plenty of fall-themed activities at local businesses that you could partner up with for a group event. Some outdoor ideas include:
Pumpkin Patch Tour
The first two could be one event or two separate ones. A BBQ cookout would be a nice way to use any grill/lounge spaces you have at your property for a resident event. Residents can meet each other and get to know the leasing team. Be sure to include vegetarian and plant based options so all residents can enjoy the cookout and if you have a 21+ community, have some hard seltzers or beers too.
The same goes for the cornhole tournament — or “bags” depending on where in the midwest you’re from. Make it a good time with music and hard seltzers/beer. Have residents submit their teammates beforehand so you can easily set up a bracket before the event happens. You could create an incentive by offering the winners some sort of prize.
The last two on that list require partnering with a local orchard or pumpkin patch. Maybe they could offer a discount for residents or you could set up a time where everyone goes to pick apples or pumpkins. With every event, remember to take plenty of photos for socials and have residents tag you in their posts as well.
The two big holidays in Fall are Halloween and Thanksgiving. The month of October is perfect to have a themed month at your property. Some spooky activities and events you could do are:
Door Decorating Contest
Scary Movie Nights
Trick or Treat
Door decorating is always a fun way to spruce up a property for a themed event and a great way to make the community feel more cozy and like home. Hosting scary movie nights with popcorn and candy corn is also a great way to get everyone together and do something spooky. You can even send out a poll to residents on which movies to play.
Trick or Treat is more for communities with a lot of kids but even if you don’t have any kids you can still leave out a bowl of candy in common areas or in the leasing office for residents. Everyone loves candy and chocolate and Halloween is the one holiday in Fall meant for chocolate. As for the costume party/contest, this one will take the most planning to do. If you have a large clubhouse or communal space, you could go as far to hire a DJ or just come up with your own playlist. You can even offer themed snacks and drinks.
Resident events are a great way to boost resident satisfaction and to build a community within your property. Neighbors getting to know each other and really settle in will help them feel more at home.
Consumers demand automation and instant gratification from any and all businesses. They want answers 24/7 and they don’t care if a robot is the one giving them. They care that once the robot can’t help anymore, they get connected to a real person who is up to date on what they already talked about with the bot.
The best chatbot software uses artificial intelligence to power its knowledge and capabilities. Leasing AI has been making waves in the multifamily industry this year. You probably Google chat bots at some point in the last year or at least have had a personal experience talking to an AI chatbot.
There are a lot of AI property management tools coming out right now that are geared towards multifamily and talking to rental prospects, but they all have differences that don’t seem big at first. Let’s get into one of the most defining differences that impact the consumer experience.
A rule-based chatbot gives the prospect prompts that they have to answer in order to get what they are looking for. Instead of getting straight to the point, this way takes more time, and the prospect has to go through questions they might not want to answer. The best kind of AI chatbot example that gives a better idea of what a rule-based chatbot is like would be when you call customer service for your phone, internet, etc and you get a robot menu that you must go through before getting a person on the phone.
Those menu chatbots on the phone are personally very frustrating. It takes forever and sometimes you leave the “conversation” without the answers you were looking for. When it comes to the best chatbots to talk to, natural language is definitely the best. After all, the user is actually talking to the bot and not being forced to answer prompts. When it comes to best chatbot for website, natural language wins too because it’s quick and efficient. It gives prospect more time to go through your website and spend less time trying to get answers through prompts.
THE WHOLE PACKAGE
The chatbot component is very important but what else does it offer? Some chatbots for apartments are just chatbots that integrate with other CRMs and lead generation tools while others are a complete solution. Do you want to invest in a bunch of single point solutions that come from a bunch of different vendors, or do you want to invest in one, whole solution from one vendor?
When you go into budgeting meetings this is something to keep in mind. While single point solutions might all be cheaper individually, they do add up and whether or not they work together harmoniously will always be up in the air. A complete solution that offers chatbot, website conversion, lead nurture and follow-up, etc. will be more expensive but it offers more and because it is all in one, you only need to work with one vendor if something goes wrong instead of troubleshooting with a lot of different vendors.
AI LEASING ASSISTANT
PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant is a complete, all-in-one solution with a natural language chatbot for multifamily apartments. The AI Leasing Assistant not only makes promises of higher website conversion, better lead nurture, and only handing off qualified leads to onsite teams, it actually delivers on those promises.
During an era of website leads increasing dramatically due to more “looky-loos” as Dalia Kalgreen, Director of Marketing at Unified Residential, likes to call them, the leasing team is able to focus on just the qualified leads.
Arguably one of the most important metrics for multifamily and property management, lead to lease conversion is key to understanding if your operations are working efficiently. It takes a lot of work and effort to get leases signed and keep residents satisfied and wanting to renew. In recent years there’s been a lot of development and innovation in multifamily technology and property management solutions. From virtual leasing to leasing AI, multifamily has more tools than ever to gather better data, meet consumer buying habits, and more personalized follow-up/lead nurture. Let’s dive into what leasing AI is and how it helps lead to lease conversion.
PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant lives on your website and uses natural language to chat with prospects and answer their questions 24/7. The AI Assistant keeps the conversations, text and email, so when the prospect is ready to talk to a leasing specialist, the team member can see what was talked about between the lead and the bot. It also collects insightful data and has real time reporting for the most accurate tour schedules and availability.
You might’ve Googled “how to follow up on a prospect to lease an apartment”, “sample thank you letter after apartment tour”, “sample follow-up email after apartment tour”, “leasing follow-up template”, or even “follow-up email for apartment prospect template” in hopes of finding that magic copy that grabs prospects’ interest in their inbox and brings them closer to signing a lease. The problem is getting stuck on the idea that there is an apartment tour follow-up email template out there that is going to work on every prospect.
The AI Leasing Assistant’s follow-up is more personalized to your property and to the prospect than any old sample follow up email to prospective client you can find online. With PERQ, you can customize your follow-up messaging to be in your brand colors and brand voice. It sounds and looks less automated/robotic and more human. Even though many prospects know it’s most likely an automated email, the personalization gives it that edge that makes it stand out in their inbox.
To the right is an example of what a follow up email after apartment viewing, follow up email after rental application, or thank you letter after viewing an apartment would look like with PERQ. The brand color and voice really makes the email stand out and grabs your attention. This kind of follow-up leads to more leases because it gives a positive impression of the property and the team and is more recognizable than a leasing follow-up email template.
To learn more about how an AI Leasing Assistant can help your multifamily property increase lead to lease conversion, talk to one of our specialists today and check out our resources.
Lease to lead conversion is one of the most important metrics for multifamily properties and also one of the toughest to see growth and improvement. A study done by MarketingSherpa found that 79% of leads don’t convert due to a poor lead management solution. Luckily, in the last few years, multifamily and property management in general has seen a lot of innovation in technology solutions that center around lead management.
FOLLOW-UP & LEASING AI
One of the biggest breakthroughs in multifamily tech is the rise of leasing AI. AI Leasing Assistants are able to effectively manage your pipeline and only hand off qualified leads that are ready to talk, tour or lease.
A huge component to increasing your lead-to-lease conversion numbers is having good follow-up and lead nurture. The problem is, with an increase in online leads, onsite teams are overloaded and are unable to spend the time they need to only work on qualified leads who are more likely and more ready for leases. This is where an AI Leasing Assistant goes to work.
PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant knows when to follow-up and when to reel it back in so as not to bombard the prospect’s inbox. With PERQ’s AI Assistant, the follow-up can be personalized to fit your brand colors and your brand voice. While the messaging is still coming from a bot it’s more personalized to your property and more effective in meeting today’s consumer buying habits. It isn’t just a standard follow-up email template or apartment tour follow-up email template.
It uses the data that the AI Assistant has collected on the prospect during their time on your site and through any messaging with the chatbot. It knows exactly what the prospect is looking for and when. The follow-up is much more personalized to the actual prospect too. The best part is that the leasing specialist has access to all of this data and messaging between the AI Assistant and the prospect. With better automated follow-up and lead nurture leads to better conversations between the onsite team and the prospects.
To the right is a sample follow up email to prospective client through PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant. You no longer have to Google “how to follow up on a prospect to lease an apartment” because the AI Assistant does it for you and does it efficiently. This isn’t just fiction, it’s backed by the increase in lead to lease conversion.
SUCCESS FOR UNIFIED RESIDENTIAL
The only way to truly know if AI Leasing Assistants improve your lead to lease conversion is to see the data and success. Unified Residential, like many multifamily companies, wants to improve their lead to lease conversion especially after the massive increase in online leads in recent years.