We’ve posted an article previously with ‘Ten Tips for Advertising during Tough Economic Times’. And today I stumbled upon an article from the Wall Street Journal circling the same suggestion we provided; which is for companies to ‘provide perks’ for their customers. This is something we’d like to elaborate more on as it’s very current for today’s market. As I’m sure many property managers know the nationwide vacancy rates are increasing. In fact, according to research collected from Reis, apartment vacancy rates rose to their highest in more than 3 years-greater than 6%-in the third quarter of 2008. While most companies are looking to abandon ship on items such as advertising, the successful companies know better. So what else can property managers do in order to ensure lower vacancy rates at their communities? Again, we go back to the ‘provide perks’ tip.
Renters are smart. There is a plethora of information on the internet about how renters have control now. And everyone knows that turnover in the multi-family housing industry is costly. So keeping renters that are stable and dependable is highly desirable.
So what perks would your company be able to provide? The most popular choice for renters is going to be rent discounts! “There isn’t the job growth necessary to sustain a high demand for rentals and they [property managers and owners alike] have to be much more realistic” about price, said Daniel Baum, chief operating officer of the Real Estate Group. Offer rent discounts for residents that opt to stay in a longer lease. And beware of the ‘shopper’ renter. These renters will do their research and seek out similar apartments in your neighborhood for less money. Be prepared to show how your community stacks up, or match the competitors pricing.
Another perk to offer would be services for next to nothing or free! (Everyone loves the word FREE) Does your community charge for additional amenities, such as spa usage, renting the club house or the use of a garage? Or how about upgrading on renters appliances? You could even sell the fact you’re installing energy star appliances to save them more money on monthly utilities!
And finally while property managers/owners have to pay bills too, we all need to be a little more flexible. In this state of the economy people are taking pay cuts or worse, loosing their jobs. So if a resident contacts you regarding the rent being a few days late, or a possible payment plan, weigh your options. If this renter has a steady track record, then be willing to discuss alternatives.
Times are tough, but everyone-property managers/owners and renters alike-have to survive. So finding a balance between what each side can financially do is going to be the way to weather this current economic storm.