Woman apartment

How to fill apartment vacancies and find tenants

Managers should be creative when marketing their units to prospective tenants
Monday, June 9, 2014
By Chaim Rivlin

With technology constantly advancing, property managers have new and easy methods at their fingertips to help them fill apartment vacancies and find tenants. That said, being noticed by prospective tenants is only half the battle. Once noticed, the next step is to foster a sense of community around the building, with the goal of filling each suite with happy, long-term residents.

Go where the people are

Long gone are the days when apartment hunters simply checked the classified section of their newspaper in order to find the perfect rental. Today, properties must be highly visible in all the right places, and they have to be online.

According to internet analytics company ComScore, the top online classified site in Canada is Kijiji, boasting a reach of over 7.7 million Canadians per month. Sites that specifically target apartment hunters can also help bolster online advertising and internet presence.

Posting apartment vacancies on rental sites is a budget-friendly way to get apartments noticed. For added visibility, paying to make a new listing the “Top Ad” or “Featured Property” can make it is the leader of the pack for up to 30 days. Prices for these features range from $13 to $99, but if the ad is composed with a little flair and some personal touch, the payoff may cover the initial expense. It is important to create eye-catching ads that espouse the benefits of calling a building home.

Use high quality photographs

There is something to be said for presenting a professional, polished appearance, and this can be done via great graphics. According to Kijiji, adding high quality photographs to online ads nets about twice the number of responses as plain text ads. Not only will online ads benefit from the use of high quality photography, but so will property videos, social media and custom QR Codes. Highlighting the beautiful features of a well-kept property will show potential tenants that a management team is competent and cares about the apartment complex.

Sponsor community events

Part of being a good neighbour is being involved in the community. This applies equally to property managers. By sponsoring community events, potential tenants will see an active, supportive addition to the community and a management team that cares. Aligning with charitable causes helps to shine a positive spotlight on a building and the issues that are important to its tenants. Involving tenants in charity drives is another way to foster a community-based atmosphere, creating happily spirited residents who will be thrilled to recommend their building to friends, family and colleagues whenever opportunity strikes.

Be creative

Whether it is a promotional offer for one free month’s rent, Wi-Fi, or on-site babysitting services, coming up with enticing ways to lure potential tenants from the crowd can help get notice and elicit inquiry. Managers should take the time to look at what competitors are offering, and brainstorm ways to make their message stand out.

They can network with local businesses to offer tenants special deals exclusive to them. This could include free pizza, discounts at the neighbourhood shops and boutiques or a free month’s membership to the local gym. Finally, managers need to promote, promote, promote. After all, these incentives will mean nothing if no one knows about them.

Happy tenants, happy property manager

One of the most effective occupancy techniques for your apartment building is one that money cannot buy — word-of-mouth marketing. Responding to tenant maintenance requests in a timely manner, having an open office that welcomes suggestions, throwing tenant appreciation events, taking pride in the exterior and interior maintenance of the building all help to foster a strong sense of pride and ownership. When the time comes for tenants to renew their leases, they will be more than happy to do so if they feel entrenched in the community. Furthermore, they’ll love to talk property management up if and when their friends point out negative experiences they might be having in a competitor’s building.

Managers should take advantage of all the marketing tools that are currently available. Whether free or not, building a strong marketing campaign, showing community engagement and reinforcing core values, is the best advertising of all.

Chaim Rivlin works for RentSeeker, a Canadian online apartment finder and real estate marketing firm that, offers a host of digital marketing solutions including listings and syndication, social media marketing, website design and search engine optimization.

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