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Tips for Renting your Property During a Recession

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By : Shamon Kureshi    99 or more times read
I have recently found myself in a recession…again. While each recession is different, I find that one thing remains the same: The Fundamentals. We look for the magic bullet, we wait for the economy to get better, we wait for employers and companies to hire, and look for the launch of new companies. Instead of waiting and looking, we need to go back to The Basics.

As landlords, however we are more exposed than most. In an economic downturn, Landlords suffer lagging property values, decreasing rents, increasing vacancy rates and tenant turnover, and greater competition from other rental agencies.

For the rest of this article, I’ll share some insights that seem to help our company combat the adverse factors of the economy. With proper attention, a Landlord can enjoy full occupancy with market rents.

Tip #1: Curb Appeal

I’m not suggesting just the perfect lawns or the best ripped-wrapped ponds; clean, bright, un-tattered flags! Think about how you have placed your signs, your flowers, your stripped lots and the state of your sidewalks. The overall first impression is created by the look of the property when the tenant gets out of his or her car.

Tip #2: Signs

Do you have too many signs? Are they clean and well lit? I find that a lot of current real estate signs are confusing, landlords, realtors, and other industry professionals place bandit, snip signs, or trailblazers at the entrance of our communities but generally not in a manner that helps point traffic to the vacant units. They can serve a very important function as directionals. Move them. Let them bring the people in! Recently, I drove by a community and on one side of the entry they had a banner announcing DSL. The other side a banner boasted a $99.00 move-in special. In addition, I saw six snipe signs, a sandwich board, and balloons-- all at the Entrance! Why so many signs? Plus, if they already had signs at the entrance, why have more of them? They already had a monument sign.

Tip #3: Telephone Techniques

How well do you answer your telephones? Do you need to brush up on telephone techniques? How many appointments have you made from the telephone and how many potential residents have shown up for their appointment? You need to treat each potential renter as though they were your only renter. Treat them with courtesy and respect, both on the phone and in person. Paint word pictures. Talk about features and benefits. Create interest. You have a product. Sell it. Put excitement in your voice. Also, learn to ask the right questions to get the right answers. This will really expedite your qualifying process. I remember working on-site while my assistant manager spoke to a customer in Arizona for 20 minutes. She finally asked the right question, only to find out that the potential resident needed a furnished one-month lease.

Basic #4: Help each other with internal goals.

Goals help motivate and keep things exciting. Managers, let the site folks help develop the goal boards. Let each person have on-going responsibility to keep the goal boards updated.

Basic #5: Staff Meetings

What do your weekly staff meetings look like? I hope your engineers come to the meetings as part of the team. You must see them as a very important piece of the puzzle for resident retention, not to mention they are the eyes and ears of the property.

Basic #6: Parking Areas

Keep parking lots and/or garages clean and free of cigarette butts and other trash. Maintain the seal coating with nice clean strips. If you owned the community/high-rise, think about how you’d feel driving onto the grounds and living there.

Basic #7: Buildings

Keep clubhouses, leasing centers, and apartment buildings clean and in excellent repair. Purge cobwebs on a daily basis. Keep the floors clean and vacuumed. Make sure all areas have a pleasant smell. Fresh flowers and a bowl of fresh fruit can help. Monitor all light fixtures to keep them free of insects and make sure all light bulbs work. Don’t forget the guest restrooms. The bathrooms reflect you’re the diligence of your maintenance and custodial. Details, Details, Details!

Basic #8: Personal Presentation

If you had to rent an apartment from you, how would you perceive you? Think about your level of product knowledge, your knowledge of the competition, your command of the English language. As yourself if you practice the 80/20 rules: 80% listening and 20% talking. Think about the techniques you practice in greeting, qualifying, take to site, and closing. Think critically about all these things because I maintain that we can all improve.

Stop looking. Stop waiting. Re-evaluate your goals and refocus your tenant policy. 
Everything else will follow.

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