Five Simple Ways to Make a Strong First Impression

Last modified on November 17th, 2016

You know your property management company is the hottest place in town and has the best, most modern tools for your renters. But a first-time visitor to your property may not see the amenities or modern technology you offer if they are too busy focusing on the outdated common areas, lumps in the couch cushions, and crackling paint of the property management office.

Fortunately, there are a few easy things you can do to give your property a fresh, modern look and make it more comfortable without spending a fortune. Many community managers spend ample time updating their web presence, then forget they need a modern, welcoming on-the-ground image, too. Here are five ideas to help you make an amazing impression the minute someone walks in the door.


#1: Embrace Your Inner Designer

A fresh coat of paint and new flooring can make a huge impact on your potential renters and owners. Choose paint colors that complement your brand image. While white will definitely brighten up the atmosphere, keep in mind that light colors demand a lot of maintenance, especially if you rent to families with little children who like to drag their little hands along the walls to explore the texture. If you can’t afford to replace all the carpeting with hardwood floors, invest in those areas visible to potential customers: reception areas, common hallways, and foyers.


#2: Surprise Your Potential Customers

Going above and beyond can be simple, like choosing colorful employee uniforms or matching shirts. Maybe just add a few eye-popping accent pieces in the reception area that add a bit of elegance or visual interest. Other options include having your leasing agents showcase the modern technology available, such as offering an online virtual tour, having them apply for a unit via a mobile tablet, or mentioning there is property-wide WiFi available (a highly requested amenity). These types of things can make a potential customer’s visit more memorable.


#3: Illuminate Your Modern Attitude

It’s time to get rid of twentieth-century lighting. Invest a few dollars in updating your lighting fixtures and the bulbs. Considering adding under counter lighting, LED strips, solar lights in the pathways, and recessed fixtures in areas that seem a bit dark or shadowy. Use mirrors when possible to bounce natural light around the room. Update security lights so your evening guests can see you care about their safety and security. Potential applicants might drive by the property in the evening to get a sense of the property at night.


#4: Make Room for Comfort

Potential renters want to feel comfortable in their new homes. Projecting a welcoming atmosphere starts with the first handshake in the management office and continues throughout the property tour. Your seating areas should be furnished with comfortable chairs that encourage lounging and make business discussions (about lease terms and security deposits) less stressful. Make sure your fabrics are easy-care, low-maintenance options, and consider your demographic. For example, if you serve predominantly older residents, choose styles that have less cushion and are slightly higher off the ground to make getting up easier.


#5: Give Something Away

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and who doesn’t love free treats? Create a welcome bar with a self-serve coffee machine, cold lemonade in the summer months, or a cocoa counter in the winter. Put out fresh cookies or bite-sized energy bars in the afternoon. If you work out of a mobile office, bring homemade gifts with you to your meetings to add the personal touch.

These simple ideas aren’t expensive, but they’re effective. Whatever you do, make sure your potential customers know you appreciate them and look forward to a long-term relationship. The human element should never be ignored when it comes to making a great first impression.

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