When someone decides they are ready to move, they generally have a few reasons why. A new job, new roommates, upgrading to a bigger or nicer place, or just moving out on their own for the first time. The reasons are many, but also very much influence the specifics of each individual’s apartment checklist and what they are looking for / care most about during their search.
Their needs can range from must-haves to nice-to-haves and everywhere in between. Each prospective resident is different and their idea of what to look for when touring an apartment is different. While some prospective residents will have a very well-thought list and know exactly what they’re looking for, you may find others that just have a general idea or are ‘going with the flow’.
That is why it can be so hard to be all things to everyone at your community and be prepped to hit all of the items on a prospect’s apartment tour checklist. The goal? Check off as many items as you can for each prospect and make them fall in love with what your community does provide despite not checking everything on their apartment checklist.
To be the most prepared that you can be for touring any type of prospective resident and dealing with anything that prospect may come in with on their apartment checklist, we’ve pulled together some of the most basic items that are most likely to appear on the vast majority of apartment checklists. These are all items that your community should be covering at some level, so be prepared to speak to these and let your property do the rest of the talking.
Safety is almost always top of most residents apartment checklists. For the apartment itself, they’ll likely want to check the security of the front and patio/balcony doors and may desire to be on a high floor versus ground level. Does your building offer smart locks or any special security features for the unit? Built-in security system? Showcase that immediately to make people feel comfortable and at peace in the space. How about security beyond their specific unit and out in the property itself. Is it a gated community? Are there smart access systems for guests and visitors? What does the security in common areas and in the amenities look like?
There are obvious constraints on what you can and cannot say in regards to overall crime rates and safety and things like that, but touting what your community has done to ensure the safety of their residents throughout the property will likely check one of the top boxes on your prospects’ apartment checklist.
Next up on the apartment checklist is likely going to be the overall condition of the community. This box will begin to be checked or unchecked the second they pull up to the community and start walking into the leasing center. Are things clean and presentable? Is landscaping in tip top shape? Is the paint and flooring fresh or are there scuffs and chips and scratches? What is the overall smell in the space? Fresh and clean? Old and musty? Are all of the lights in working order? So many things will be running through that prospective resident’s mind before your conversation with them even begins. Fast forward to showcasing the amenities and walking their specific unit, and the list of items that they are actively reviewing in their mind grows exponentially.
The toughest thing about many of the boxes prospective residents are checking on their apartment checklist when it comes to overall condition is that most of those boxes will go unmentioned. They likely won’t ask when the last time the community was painted or why it smells the way it does. Or why the grass is so brown and that bush hasn’t been trimmed in 6 months. They’ll notice all of those things, but likely won’t verbalize it. They will ask about internet connectivity, water pressure, renovation plans, the last time the unit was repainted or the carpet replaced, etc. but expect many unspoken checkmarks on this list and be prepared to proactively check those boxes for them by calling out your latest renovations, the work that is happening on the pool, the excellent water pressure, and connectivity throughout their entire community.
Beyond the unit itself, what does the community have to offer? While a pool and gym are must-haves for some residents, they aren’t the be all end all for everyone, nor are they likely the only amenities that should matter. Things like assigned or covered parking options and additional storage spaces are huge amenities to some prospective residents and could be absolute must haves on their apartment checklist. Or there may be a prospective resident that works from home and is very interested in seeing the common areas or work areas that they may be frequenting to get out of their apartment during the work day. Or for those dog owners, even if your community doesn’t have a formal dog park or pet wash station, showcase the green areas and where dogs are frequently walked.
Amenities don’t have to be the fancy, showcase items like pools and gyms and rooftop party rooms. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make all of the difference. To ensure that you’re covering all that matters to a prospective resident and checking the boxes on their apartment checklist, make sure to bring up all of these items and answer the questions that they may not be asking. Do those things cost extra or are they included? Will they need special parking passes? Can they have guests at the pool? Do they need to reserve the conference room or is it first come first serve? What about where packages get delivered securely? This is a chance to showcase the community beyond the walls the resident will be living in, so showcase all it truly does have to offer.
Proximity / Location
Location, location, location. No matter where your multifamily community is located, its location is prime and perfect and special to certain prospective residents. If you’re near a shopping center and tons of restaurants, that’s great for certain people! If you’re a bit outside the city, but next to a transit stop for easy transit, that’s perfect for certain people. If you’re in a quiet area with walking trails, paths, and a lake nearby, that’s ideal for others. Never discount the location of your community. Always tout its location as an asset during the process of connecting with prospective residents.
This is one of those apartment checklist items that you can and should feel pretty confident about. If a prospective resident is inquiring about your community, the odds are they already know that the location could work for them. So dive deeper as you’re touring together. Does the prospective resident have a family? If so, they may want to know how close they are to schools, parks, or other family friendly activities. Is it a young couple or young single? They may want to know how close they are to vibrant restaurants and nightlife. Perhaps it is an older couple who wants to have nice a little bit of peace and quiet, but also wants convenience with grocers and doctors and necessities nearby. This apartment checklist item can be easily discovered by asking very simple questions of the prospective resident to find out what they are looking for beyond the apartment unit itself and what matters to them.
Whether you’re connecting in person with a prospective resident to walk the community or doing so via video, there is a lot of information that can be garnered by asking the right questions and building a relationship with each prospective resident from the start. While you may never know 100% of what lies on a prospect’s apartment checklist, you can get pretty close to knowing what makes that person / family tick and what will make them one of the happiest residents you have. If done correctly, considering what’s on a prospective resident’s apartment checklist can be just the thing to make sure they add “sign lease today” to it.
Until next time…keep it real!