Managing an apartment community isn't easy. You're responsible for everything from attaining occupancy and revenue goals to tenant servicing, property upkeep, and appearance.
Managing an apartment community isn't easy. You're responsible for everything from attaining occupancy and revenue goals to tenant servicing, property upkeep, and appearance. Those are only just the tasks involved on the business side of things.
The other part of your pressure-packed job is managing people, which, on its own, is difficult for any industry. In particular, balancing property tasks with leading on-site staff is even more crucial for apartment operators as the two responsibilities directly impact occupancy outcomes.
A sudden vacancy change is often detrimental to apartment managers and their teams. It's either a property or personnel problem that you must diagnose and fix.
So, what is the best approach for managers to align all their tasks and ensure their apartments consistently operate at a high level and stabilize occupancy?
Marketers handle advertising and online objectives while leasing agents conduct tours and work with prospective residents through renting. If the two sides operate in silos, your community's chances of achieving its annual occupancy goals are slim.
After all, without leads coming in due to marketing efforts, leasing agents won't get any signed rental applications.
Of course, it seems obvious to get your on-site teams working together to accomplish occupancy goals. But getting your marketing and leasing personnel to collaborate on this issue is valuable. When your marketing and leasing staff understand this, it's easier to achieve leasing success and stabilized occupancy rates.
Your community's average vacancy duration is one metric that best illustrates the need for managers to bring marketing and leasing teams together. It exposes weaknesses both sides can improve upon to increase leasing velocity, which is key to stabilizing occupancy rates.
Average vacancy duration is the average number of days that occur between when a resident moves out of one of your units and another one moves in.
According to the apartment marketing experts at RentVision, the best way to review your community's average vacancy duration is to separate it into two distinct timelines: days between move-out and rental application received and days between rental application received and move-in day.
Your community's marketing strategy and your leasing agent's ability to guide prospective residents through the rental process dramatically influence the first timeline.
If it takes multiple days from when a move-out occurs to get a rental application for a vacant unit, you know that somewhere within marketing or leasing, there's a problem.
The result of doing this paints a crystal clear objective for you to pass on to your marketing and leasing teams—shorten the number of days it takes between when a resident moves out of a unit and an application's received for it.
You could use this one number as the primary goal for those teams to accomplish. If you can immediately get recently vacated units under application, that fast leasing velocity is tremendous towards achieving occupancy levels at or above the target year-round.
Note that your leasing strategy only influences the second timeline of vacancy duration, days from application to move-in day. Leasing velocity is one key aspect of stabilizing occupancy; the other is reducing vacancy days in general.
Once you've got your marketing staff producing more qualified leads for your leasing agents to convert to new residents, the next step is to get those new residents to move into units with the least amount of vacant days on record.
For example, if an application comes in from someone wanting to rent one of your 2-bedroom units, but their desired move-in date is 30 days from now, it'd be detrimental to you and your agents to lease the available unit now.
A better approach is to lease an occupied, on-notice floorplan unit with a move-out date closer to when the applicant intends to move in.
By reducing total vacancy duration and getting your on-site personnel to operate towards that goal, you'll have accomplished one of the most complicated challenges an apartment manager faces. More importantly, it leaves you with more time to focus on property tasks that impact the living experiences of both current and future residents.
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