The phrase “If you build it, they will come” rang true in the 1989 baseball film “Field of Dreams.” But when it comes to Multifamily, simply building a new apartment community is not enough to bring prospects through the door.
The effort to build occupancy before a Multifamily property is finished being constructed is referred to as a lease-up. During a lease-up, prospects sign a lease committing to live in an apartment community that isn’t yet complete.
This brings a unique set of challenges, so it’s important to have a plan to ensure the community’s success.
In this post, we will go over our best apartment lease-up marketing ideas to help you shore up occupancy before your community is finished being built.
What Does Lease Up Mean?
In Multifamily, a lease-up refers to a newly constructed community that is not completely finished yet, but is scheduled to be open during a specific time frame. During a lease-up period, communities are working to fill their new apartments with renters while establishing their brand. This is typically done by building websites, marketing, and hiring on a full community staff. A stabilized & relatively high occupancy rate is the ultimate end goal of a lease-up.
Establish goal for the lease up
The lease-up period is a critical time when communities work to sign as many leases as possible. Typically, the goal is for the community to reach stabilization before opening, which is usually 95 percent. The timeline ranges from 6 to 18 months, depending on the size of the community.
A new construction lease-up is make-it-or-break-it time for an apartment community. Not only does the community need as many residents as possible, it also needs the right residents. The first residents of the community will play a strong role in shaping reputation, especially online, so keep that in mind as you establish your goals and start doing outreach.
Find your lease-up tactics
In order to have a successful lease-up, leasing staffers need to make prospects feel confident and comfortable enough to sign on the dotted line before they can fully experience the apartment community. This can be challenging, but with excellent customer service, 3D renderings, digital advertising and more, you can create demand, get prospects excited, and establish a thriving apartment community. Let’s take a closer look at how to do just that.
1. Make customer service a priority.
The leasing staff should be prepared to handle detailed questions about the apartments and the overall community during the lease-up. There might not be much to show prospects during the lease-up other than renderings and 3D floor plans (more on that in a moment!). Having a team that knows their stuff—building materials, flooring, square footage of the apartments, and what amenities are included, for starters—will give a great first impression and establish your community as one that values top-notch customer service. That can also help to build trust, which is crucial during a lease-up.
2. Prioritize renderings and video assets.
Photography and in-person tours aren’t possible during an apartment lease-up, but technology is. As early as possible, get your community’s blueprints and construction files converted into 3D renderings of your community. You can also take it a step further by creating a virtual tour video based on the renderings, giving prospects and immersive experience.
3. Set up your Google My Business page.
One of the most important steps you can take to establish a web presence for your new community is to create and regularly update your Google My Business page. Google is the No. 1 review site, outpacing rivals like Facebook and Yelp. Convenience could play a factor in Google’s prominence —4 billion people across the world already have a Google account, so users can easily leave reviews for businesses without the hassle of signing into a separate review platform. And because GMB is a Google product, the information you add to your apartment GMB listing can directly influence your SEO rankings.
In addition to GMB, you should also establish a presence on the other top review sites as well as Multifamily-specific ones, such as Apartments.com, ApartmentGuide, and ApartmentRatings.
4. Advertise on Google and on social media.
With the right messaging and platform, pay-per-click (PPC) digital advertising can pay off big. The Google Ads and and Facebook Ads platforms offer targeting options to ensure that the ads appear for those who are the most interested in hearing about your community. Google Ads appear on the search engine results page, above the organic listings, and Facebook ads show in several spots, including users’ Facebook and Instagram timelines. If you have great visual content of your community, social ads could be a great choice.
5. Invest in technology.
Grabbing the attention of prospects is one thing; keeping it is another. As prospects start contacting you about your new community, it’s crucial to make sure your team follows up and doesn’t lose these contacts. An ideal way to do this is to enlist the help of an artificial intelligence-powered virtual leasing agent that can help nudge prospects down the funnel with a completed application as the goal.
Chatbots are another form of AI technology that lives on apartment websites and is available to reply to prospects’ questions and capture their contact information around the clock. Both AI leasing agents and chatbots can help to strengthen your community’s customer service, too.
Lease-ups can be maddening, but with the right marketing tools, tactics, and technologies, you’ll be able to hit your goals. Respage offers a variety of Multifamily digital marketing solutions and expertise to help you have a successful lease-up. Reach out and let us help you get started!