Free Toolkit: How Apartment Lease Up Experts Run Video Tours

Inside the toolkit:

  • Learn how to record an apartment video tour that converts.
  • Watch our step-by-step unit recording best practices video.
  • Download our 9-point cheatsheet for future reference.

About the Toolkit

Just about every apartment available for rent these days offers a virtual tour to prospective tenants. But these impersonal tours often aren’t able to capture the true charm of a unit, and renters may feel as though they still need an in-person visit before they commit.

This downloadable resource will explain exactly how you can use pre-recorded video tours to promote your property. It includes a step-by-step guide to get you started on using video to advertise your properties, as well as some of the market research supporting this approach.

Apartment Lease Up Experts

There is a very important and commonly overlooked period of time that everyone working in the field of property management needs to keep in mind. This period of time is referred to as the lease-up. For those who might not know, a lease-up meaning is a period of time between when the apartment community is launched and the six months to a year after it is actually opened. We recognize six to twelve months is a broad range, but different markets and different properties bring different requirements and expectations around how quickly it will take to fully lease up to stabilized status.

The lease-up period is important because this is the chance for the apartment community to get its name out into the public space and get residents into their units. During this time, it is important for an apartment community to build its brand and identity. What will the reputation of this community be in the local region?

In addition, the lease-up period should be spent building the website of the apartment community as well as a/b testing to ensure you’re generating as many qualified apartment leads through your website as possible. For many people, the first interaction with the apartment community is going to be with the website. Because there isn’t a second chance to make a first impression, your property website is critical.

Finally, apartment communities also need to remember to open their doors! This is the time to welcome that first batch of residents into the community. The mark of a successful lease-up period is a high occupancy rate at the end of the first year. If the occupancy rate is in the mid to high 90s, the strategy has worked! With this in mind, what are a few key apartment lease-up strategies that property managers need to employ?

Apartment Lease Up Strategy

It is important for every apartment community to start planning for the lease-up period as early as possible.

There are a few strategies that every property manager should think about using. A good apartment leasing strategy is first going to center around proper marketing ideas. It will be important to take advantage of the size of the community to get the word out. Putting up a giant banner on the side of the building announcing your move-in date in large letters is a great place to start.

The same can go for signage on your construction fencing leading up to completion. But don’t neglect the digital marketing sphere as well. Because many people start by turning to internet search engines to find an apartment building, the community will need to have a strong online presence with a community website, on the listing platforms, and on social media as well.

Community events and open houses are another key part of the apartment lease-up strategy. It will be critical to have multiple units available for prospective residents to walk through. It might be a good idea to throw in some staging furniture as well to help people visualize how the space could work for them. If you have floor plans that are not completed yet or are for some reason unavailable to tour, shoot a quick video of them. If you rely on just one model unit to convey what all floor plans could be like, you will likely miss the mark for a decent majority of prospective residents. Even if unpunched or still under construction, a quick video of a floor plan can very effectively communicate the flow, space, views, and more.

To try to drive traffic to your community during the lease-up period, consider hosting fun events like a neighborhood dog meetup or food truck rally. And make sure to advertise these community events thoroughly around the area with local shops, apartment associations, colleges, and more. Most prospective residents are going to be looking for a community they can see themselves being a part of, so these events are a great way to showcase the overall feeling of what it could be like to be a resident of your community. That is a key apartment leasing strategy.

Lease Up Property Ideas

The end goal of any apartment lease-up strategy is to get leases signed as quickly as possible.

Those who are working in a multifamily property are likely familiar with some of the challenges presented by this process. It is not unusual for prospective residents to become hard to reach and develop cold feet. One of the most important lease-up property ideas is to get leases signed as quickly as possible, meaning taking full advantage of their attention while you have it.

One key strategy for making sure prospective residents don’t ghost you or get cold feet is to have a timely, personalized follow-up — emphasis on personalized. If someone is checking out your community, they most likely are checking out others as well. One quick way to stand out from the crowd is to send a personalized video following up on a conversation or tour. Call the prospect out by name, remind them about something you discussed, and layout the desired next steps in the process. Video is a key communication tool in today’s market and doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. Check out the reviews page on our site to see how others have made video work for them in this way.

Another great idea is to streamline the process of lease signing. If someone encounters a lot of hurdles and extra paperwork during the signing process, they are more likely to back out. Especially if there’s no easy way to eSign a document and it requires too much physical printing, scanning, etc. Make sure the ground rules for the time frames and signing of leases are as clear as possible. Sometimes, managing the expectations with your prospective residents and providing clear communication is all it takes for them to be comfortable and confident with the process. Make sure that all prospective residents understand the agreements as thoroughly as possible and have zero surprises throughout the process. While it can be helpful to have prospects come into the office to sign these documents together, in today’s day and age, being able to go through the lease application and complete everything virtually is an absolute must.

While not always a fun or enjoyable topic, due to increased competition within the multifamily sector, it can sometimes be a necessary idea for a lease-up multifamily property to integrate signing incentives into the process (aka concessions). Some simple ideas include vouchers for gyms that might be in the area (if the property doesn’t have a gym), gift cards to beauty salons, tickets for a free beer at a local brewery, and even gift vouchers for free pizza! Concessions or lease incentives don’t always have to be the first month rent free or something like that. Get creative with your incentives and partner with local vendors to get some marketing on your ideas as well!

Marketing Ideas for Luxury Apartments

Speaking of marketing, it is important for multifamily properties to think about marketing as a way to increase traffic to apartment communities.

There are several marketing ideas for apartment lease-up that managers should keep in mind. An obvious first step is to think about marketing ideas that will get someone to come into the leasing office to interact with some of the local leasing and management team members. But think more broadly. Meaning, think digitally. Digital ‘ walk-ins’ are visitors to your community website.

During the lease-up process, foot traffic can sometimes get overwhelming, and be hard to manage the desired experience for prospective residents if they’re waiting long periods of time to see the model or tour the property with a leasing agent. Allow people to have those sort of personalized, real experiences on the property website quickly and easily with video. By capturing DIY apartment videos of each floor plan and each amenity, then making those available on your website, you’re instantly increasing your touring capacity and making your website a more effective marketing and leasing tool for your teams.

Not sure where to start with that? Consider Realync as the multifamily video platform to help get that content created and hosted on the site. If you really want to amp up the engagement and effectiveness of those videos on your website, then consider their integration with a platform like PERQ or Engrain to take the lead in qualifying and conversion to the next level. By providing more interactive experiences on the property website that truly allow prospective residents to see what they want to see in the building, you’re not only going to increase their average time on site, but you’ll likely increase both the quantity and quality of your website leads as well.

If you have some early move-ins at the property, take your videos to the next level by capturing resident testimonial videos that you can showcase on your website and social media as well. Showcasing why someone chose to live in your community and touting what the experience has been in their first 30, 60, or 90 days is the perfect way to showcase your community in a peer-to-peer manner that instills instant trust and transparency into the process. Your luxury apartment marketing strategy needs to be very multifaceted, but, more than anything else, needs to be tech-driven. Today’s luxury renters are busy individuals and if you can’t cater to their lifestyle and their needs, they’ll be on to the next property before you know it.

New Apartment Community Lease Up

When going through the lease up phase, every single property and every single team should have their lease up checklist in place and treat it as the single source of truth for guiding you through the lease up period. Your apartment lease up checklist should actually start with pre-leasing to ensure that you are getting all of your pillar marketing pieces in place — website, social media, images and verbiage, marketing programs, community outreach, etc. While the property is under construction, don’t hold back on showcasing its progress either. We live in an HGTV world and people now understand and want to be a part of the construction process. Make a point to record videos of key milestones like the kitchen cabinets going in or the gym equipment being delivered or a feature art piece being installed. Then showcase all of those milestones via email to your lead list and online via social media.

While pre-leasing, your team should also research and walk some of the other apartment communities in the area so they know what the competition is going to be and can speak to that while leasing. In addition, be sure to enlist the help of the local media to get the word out about the new community. Hosting events, fundraisers, and a ribbon cutting ceremony are a great way to draw in the local media attention.

And any good lease up checklist would not be complete without ample time set aside for your team to complete the lease-up training process. Especially with new team members that have not done a lease-up before, training is going to ensure the community operates like a well-oiled machine when crunch time rolls around.

Another thing to set and make abundantly clear throughout the entire lease-up process is your lease-up goals… While you’ll obviously have clear goals around what percent leased up and what percent occupied you want and need to be by specific dates, one of the most important goals to have very early on in the lease-up process is to create a sense of community. Making sure that your team is keeping that goal at the center of everything they do is going to be one of the most important things you do from the start. Setting the feel of your community starts with the first prospect and first resident. Take advantage of social media platforms to get the word out about your community and put your team front and center. Introduce yourselves, help people get to know you, and showcase what makes your team and your community different, special, and a place that someone should want to live.

Lease Up VS Stabilized

Once the lease-up period ends, the next stage for a multifamily community is known as the stabilized period. While there are many differences between being in lease-up versus being stabilized, one of the biggest things is the mentality switch from trying to bring in as many residents as possible to retaining as many residents as possible. One of the biggest goals of a stabilized apartment community should always be minimizing the amount of turnover amongst the residents.

It can be a tough transition to make as well. Lease-ups bring a lot of excitement and energy, and it can sometimes be hard to continue that energy and excitement and funnel it into investing in your existing residents in new, innovative ways to ensure they’re happy, secure, and going to renew.

So if you know that your team is approaching the stabilized mark, make sure to celebrate that! Celebrate all that you did during lease-up, but then use that celebration to refocus and re-energize your team for what’s ahead. Set new goals around imbuing residents with a sense of community and loyalty. Help them make friends throughout the property and create an overall sense of belonging that they won’t want to leave. Beyond that, make sure that your team is responsive to the needs of the residents. One of the quickest ways to receive bad apartment ratings online or lose residents is to have a poor response when something goes wrong. Not only does your team need to fix the issue as quickly as possible, but, usually, the number one key part of that is communication. As long as you and your team are effectively communicating with the residents, they’ll feel valued, and heard, and be much more lenient and understanding.

On top of that, be there for your residents. While we recognize that sometimes your hands can be tied in terms of a loyal resident needing an extra day or two to pay the rent, there are other things that you can do to surround your residents in times of need. Start a community food pantry or clothes panty for residents in need or host learning events where tutors help kids throughout the community on specific school topics to give parents a break.

Finally, make sure to host ample resident appreciation events. These don’t have to be extravagant and can be as simple as donuts in the community center or a gift wrapping station around the holidays. But make sure that you provide space for those face-to-face, casual interactions with your residents.

Apartment Marketing Ideas

This should go without saying, but it is abundantly important that any multifamily property effectively market itself in order to reach its ideal prospective residents. This starts with coming up with great apartment marketing slogans, your brand, your look, your voice, your feel, etc. Marketing is more than just signage and catchy phrases though. Your goal with marketing for your apartment is to make an impression, garner the right person’s interest, and make them want to take the next step.

If you research apartment marketing ideas for 2019, you’ll likely find a lot of ideas that center around social media. Why? Because it’s easy to have casual interactions there with prospective residents. When someone is looking for a new apartment community, they are going to turn to the internet first and if they come across your property online, they’ll like to check out your social media presence to see what the overall vibe is — even more so than the community website sometimes. Apartment social media marketing ideas need to center around the items that we just mentioned above. Showcase the feel and overall vibe of your community. To do that most effectively, use apartment video marketing to help communicate that overall feeling. Don’t rely on just text or images.

While apartment digital marketing is the first step and critically important, remember that any good strategy is going to get prospective residents into the building to check out the available units. Apartment open house ideas could include hard-hat tours of the building, but can also go virtual. By hosting a virtual open house via a platform like Realync, you’re able to take the open house to your prospective residents. This makes it seamless and easy for them to join from anywhere and still interact with the leasing team, get their questions answered, and more. If you want to focus on the physical presence of prospective residents though, consider creative apartment open house ideas like hosting an adoption day with your local animal shelter or offering food and drinks by partnering with local restaurants. Lift the excitement of your open house and potentially lift your conversion rates as well!

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Ready to Get Real?

Accelerate Leasing

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    Speed Up Lease Up

    by providing construction updates and showcase your space without having to do hard hat tours.

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    by ‘showing’ them without having to physically tour the space by sending pre-recorded videos.

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    when you receive notifications when prospects are viewing videos to cater your follow up.

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    by removing roadblocks and barriers in the leasing process.

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    by making it a breeze for out-of-market leads to choose your community.

Improve Community Engagement

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    via pre-recorded videos by linking via social media or internal apps.

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    by creating maintenance videos.

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    by receiving notifications when residents are viewing videos to know who has seen a message and who hasn’t.

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    because consumers retain 10% of a message when reading it via text, but 90% of a message when viewed in a video.

More Than Software

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    Virtual Training

    is available for every property utilizing Realync.

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    Make your video efforts consistent

    with one set, standardized process and platform.

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    across your entire portfolio.

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    Partner with the Realync Team

    to create a personalized training program to be rolled out across all properties.

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    Are you Ready to Get Real?

    Talk with us today to see how Realync’s platform can 4X your lead-to-lease conversion!

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