The new year has only just begun, but the leasing busy season will be here before you know it. To ensure your team is well-equipped to handle the additional volume of prospective renters, you need to start preparing now. By streamlining processes and improving efficiency you can maximize your lead conversion in the months ahead. Here are 7 steps you can take to set your business up for success:
1.) Update Your Rental Prices
While updating your rental prices might seem unnecessary, it’s actually one of the biggest ways you can fill vacancies faster. If your properties are priced too high, you run the risk of losing to the competition. Too low, and your ROI will suffer.
If you’re comparing your property to others on the market, make sure you only compare your units to those that are similar. Additionally, your pricing should reflect property amenities, nearby attractions, and any updates you’ve made in the past year.
2.) Reevaluate Your Leasing Workflow
If you want to streamline efficiency throughout the leasing process, we strongly recommend reassessing your current workflow. Outdated, manual processes can really slow your team down and lead to human error. This is where adopting the right technologies can pay major dividends when it comes to your operations, as they can automate tedious, manual tasks to save your team time and enhance productivity. For instance, you can build resident screening directly into your leasing flow so every lead automatically undergoes a credit and background check before they are passed onto a member of your team.
3.) Streamline Responsiveness
When the leasing busy season comes around, you can expect an influx of emails and calls from prospective renters. Aside from looking for a new place to live, most of these residents also have one other thing in common: They want a fast response if they contact your property management company.
If you fail to respond to their inquiries quickly, you could risk losing their business. According to a survey by Zillow, 71% of renters who ask property managers about a listing expect to hear back within 24 hours. Implementing AI technology can improve your response time and free up your team to focus on providing higher levels of service to more serious leads. AppFolio’s AI Leasing Assistant, Lisa works around the clock to thoughtfully respond to each and every renter and automatically book showings, so you can fill vacancies faster.
4.) Update Communal Spaces on Your Property
Investing in your property doesn’t just make it a desirable place for new residents, it’s also an effective strategy for keeping your current residents. Work on updating your property’s communal spaces, and maybe even consider creating some new spaces to add value. For instance, based on the NMHC / Kingsley Associates Renter Preference Report, 79% of renters are interested in having a recycling area and 72% are interested in having an outdoor barbecue space when it comes to community amenities.
In addition, make sure your property is clean and well-maintained, so it truly shines in your online listings. After rent price and apartment features, 54% of renters said the community’s appearance played a role in their decision to visit a community, according to the NMHC / Kingsley Associates survey.
5.) Prep Your Team
A well-prepared team can make all the difference during the busy months. If you’re short staffed, then now is the time to invest in hiring new team members, so they’ll have plenty of time to get ramped up and ready before peak season. One way you can optimize the onboarding process for new hires is to implement a software with built-in training. Guided workflows standardize each step of the process, reducing the associate’s ramping time and ensuring company standards are followed every time
6.) Create Exceptional Listings
Great listings lead to more prospects, and increase the likelihood that you’ll fill your vacancies when spring comes along. To create a stellar listing you’ll need top-notch photos of the unit and your community, along with a well-written description.
If you’re not confident in your own photography skills, hire a professional photographer to come in for a day and capture some high-quality images. If writing isn’t your strong suit, contract it out to a creative firm to ensure the messaging is informative and compelling.
After you have all the components, you’ll have to upload your listings to third-party sites. However, manually entering each one can lead to errors, which can result in a negative customer experience. To maintain consistency across all listing sites and save time, use tools like AppFolio’s One-Click Vacancy Posting.
7.) Reach Out to Current Residents
Last but not least, your current residents play a role in how busy your leasing season is going to be. In real estate, renter turnover is a given, but the rate of turnover depends on how satisfied your residents are with your property management company. A study conducted by AppFolio and John Burns Real Estate Consulting revealed that 84% of property managers say they communicate effectively with their residents, yet only 38% of residents agree.
Effective communication can help you retain your best residents and attract better prospects. Today’s renters want to communicate with their property management company through online and mobile tools. In fact, when asked how renters would prefer to contact management, 60% said via mobile app, based on the NMHC / Kingsley Associates Report. One way you can rise to meet their needs is to offer an online resident portal, where renters can submit maintenance requests, pay rent, and ask questions. In addition, you can send out monthly surveys to gain valuable insights and feedback from your residents on areas where you can improve. By listening to your renters you can decrease resident churn, boost your ROI, and improve your customer experience.
The leasing busy season will be here before you know it. If you prepare now, you’ll be in the best position to attract more renters and fill vacancies in the year ahead.