Lease Up timeline: When to start (and accelerate) your marketing


Construction of an apartment building with construction equipment and scaffolding

Launching a new Multifamily property can be a challenging task. The success of the project hinges on signing as many leases as possible within a tight timeframe in order to have a healthy cash flow. 

How long does it take to fill a vacant apartment? The average time to build new Multifamily construction is about 18 months. Before construction is complete, occupancy needs to be at 90 to 95 percent to reach stabilization. And they have to be the right residents. The first people to call your community home will play a strong role in shaping its reputation, especially online.

So, it’s important to have a strong apartment lease-up timeline and marketing strategy in place to guide you through this process. In this post, we’ll outline the ideal lease-up timeline with tasks to complete during each phase—from the blueprint stage to the grand opening—and how to align your marketing efforts to make your new apartment community as successful as it can be.

Phase 1 — Laying the groundwork: How to advertise your apartments for rent

The blueprints are complete, plans are in place for construction and the interior design details are underway. The local community has probably noticed that something new is going up, so it’s time to start creating some buzz.

18 months before launch

Teams should be careful about where to spend their marketing dollars, especially in the beginning of advertising apartments for rent, so the best practice is to get the most important basics in place, then build from there. You will want to focus on these tasks:

  • Purchase a domain name for your community
  • Create a logo and branding elements
  • Finalize the exterior and amenity renderings
  • Order temporary construction signage, including a construction fence banner
  • Launch your social media profiles
  • Develop marketing ideas for your lease-up
  • Claim your Google Business Profile listing
  • Send a press release

12 months before launch

By this time, construction has started. Keep in mind that construction delays are to be expected, and this is exasperated by supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, it’s crucial to be in regular contact with your contractors so you can adjust your marketing plan accordingly. As long as your project is on schedule, you can start building interest and directing prospects into your marketing funnel.

It’s time to complete these marketing ideas for apartment lease up tasks:

  • Design a website landing page
  • Start collecting leads and building a waiting list
  • Send another press release with updates on the progress of the project

Phase 2 — Into the thick of it

The countdown is on, the opening date is fast approaching, and you’ve built some chatter around town about your new apartment community.

6 to 9 months before launch

Move-in dates are getting closer every day, so it’s time to prepare for your first residents. You’ll want to complete these deliverables at this stage:

  • Create an email campaign directed at prospects on your waiting list. Every month, send updates on the timeline, construction photos and any other buzzworthy bits to drive excitement about the project.
  • Develop a cadence for social media postings to highlight the new community. Focus on elements that make your community different—and better—than the competition.
  • Design your printed marketing collateral, including business cards, brochures and flyers.
  • Order swag and move-in gifts.

3 months before launch

As your residents become more and more eager to move in, be very upfront about any possible delays that might push the move-in date back. You should have these tasks in progress by this point:

  • Launch your apartment community’s website, highlighting things like amenities, apartment finishes and the surrounding neighborhood. Include renderings and construction photos as well as a strong call-to-action and a form to capture leads. Ensure that it’s mobile-friendly, loads quickly and has a strong SEO strategy.
  • Step up your social media postings.
  • Begin your social ads and Google Ads campaigns to push leads and build retargeting marketing lists.
  • Send another press release announcing move-in dates. Include photos and links to your website and social media profiles.

Phase 3 — Preparing to open

The construction timeline is on track and the buzz is building. Hard hat tours are in full swing, final details are being addressed, and your leasing team is taking pre-leases.

1 month before launch

Marketing efforts should be full steam ahead. Your budget for marketing and advertising for leasing the apartments should depend on your location, competition and the total number of units available. If you’re in a competitive market, you should plan to spend more at this point. Here are some tasks you should be concentrating on now:

  • Ramp up your advertising in the 30 days before official move-ins start.
  • Create and plan a social media content calendar.
  • Monitor your progress with SEO and make refinements if necessary.
  • Plan your grand opening event.

Move-in time

With your Certificate of Occupancy in hand, it’s time to welcome your first residents. The leasing office is set up, maintenance and construction crews are working on last-minute repairs, and leads are hopefully rolling in. These are the deliverables:

  • Start soliciting reviews from your first residents and incorporate them into your marketing.
  • Add live pricing to your website and availability.
  • Have professional photos taken of your completed community for marketing use.
  • Shift your social media messaging to include content on what it’s like to live in your community. 

A solid marketing timeline can keep your Lease Up on track

An apartment lease-up has so many moving parts and marketing deliverables that it can be overwhelming. But a solid marketing timeline like this one can help to keep you on track. 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!


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