Am I Leasing Apartments During the Best Season?
Are you starting an apartment lease up this Summer? Or maybe it’s Winter and you have already started leasing. Whatever it may be, make sure you are very aware that seasonal leasing is a thing.
Depending on what market you are in, different times of the year may either be better or worse for you. Let’s take Philadelphia for an example.
Philadelphia’s prime leasing months are from late February to June. If you have an apartment lease up in this location, expect that these months will be insane for you. You can count on the remainder of the months to be very slow. Don’t panic when this happens, it is totally normal and all part of the leasing process.
Typically, the northern markets tend to be busier during Spring. This is primarily because you have people that would rather not move during the Winter when it’s snowing. People will usually wait until Spring to move to avoid the bad weather.
In places like Florida, it is different. You don’t have people trying to avoid the snow, but there are other factors that will either slow you down or speed you up.
Unlike the northern markets, you may notice that people in Florida don’t mind moving during the cooler months. So you could notice an increase in traffic during Fall, for the people that are looking to move in Winter. Since the weather is only very pleasant during the Winter in Florida, people don’t mind moving at this time of year.
What you may notice regardless of location, is that leasing activity will slow down during the holiday months. Let’s face it, no one’s mind is on leasing when people are more concerned about eating holiday snacks and buying gifts.
So if you are starting an apartment lease up during this time of year, you may want to consider starting at another time of the year. But if it’s out of your control, then just take into consideration that you are starting at the worst time of year. Don’t be too panicked when weeks go by and you don’t get any leases.
Instead of starting a lease up during the worst times of the year, try starting at the BEST times of the year. As mentioned, you will want to find out what your market’s in-season months are. If your market increases in traffic during March and April, then you will want to make sure that you are on your A-game with marketing during these months.
Getting the most out of your in-season will help big time. There are a few ways to maximize those in-season months. We’ll talk more about offering promotions and specials, increasing your marketing, and hiring more leasing staff.
Are you currently offering any specials? Specials, or concessions, can be $1,000 off the first month rent, or maybe even a free month! If you are not offering any specials, then you may want to save your specials for those in-season months. When prospects know you are offering specials, they are more eager to schedule a tour. This is a great way to encourage more traffic to your building
Let’s take a look at Joe’s building again. He spent all of the slow months offering his free month special, thinking that he would sign more leases this way. To Joe’s surprise, the exact opposite happened. Joe had very little to no leases those few slower months.
Naturally, Joe started to believe that the free month special wasn’t working. So what does Joe do? Well, he discontinues the free month special altogether. So the busy season comes around, and now Joe is not offering any specials.
Well, that building next door is. And guess where everyone is going to lease? That’s right, at the other building.
Joe made the big mistake of taking his free month concession away. Had he left this free month concession, he would have gotten some leases.
Even though Joe missed the concession bus, there is still hope. What if Joe amped up his marketing? Well, let’s see what that would look like for Joe.
When it comes to marketing, Joe is doing the minimum. He is spending $2,000 monthly on Google Ads, and other internet marketing. Joe has a marketing manager that sends out e-blasts to all prospects that sign up for more information. His marketing manager swears by hosting Open Houses, and inviting all prospects to these Open Houses.
But clearly, Joe is just not doing enough. Just because we are in season with leasing, does not mean we should slow down on marketing. It actually means we should speed up to make sure we get the most out of the leasing season.
After a few weeks go by, Joe notices that it’s time to make a few marketing changes. He boosts his marketing budget to $3,500 per month, and he does more than just Open Houses. He has his marketing manager start e-blasting all the prospects, letting them know Joe’s building is offering a free month concession. Do you see what we are doing here with offering concessions and boosting our marketing?
Joe is about to amp up on his marketing to make sure that he gets the most traffic during season. So Joe does this by increasing his marketing budget and by offering great promotions.
The other way that Joe could maximize during leasing season is to hire more leasing staff. Regardless of how much marketing you are doing, every building is going to notice a boost in traffic during high season. So it’s important to be prepared when this happens.
Right now, Joe only has 2 leasing specialists. Joe is struggling to get leases as it already is. Joe’s leasing team complains about not having enough time to follow up with leads. How is he supposed to get even more leases if the current leasing staff are struggling? And it’s not even leasing season just yet…
Joe’s only answer is to add more leasing specialists to his team. This way he is fully prepared for the season and gets the most leases he possibly can. So Joe hires one new leasing specialist.
Great! Joe has one new leasing specialist! The only issue is that Joe is busy training his new leasing agent that he is starting to lose focus on everything else. Little did Joe know this was going to hurt him. Hiring new staff should always be done at the right time.
Now Joe has another leasing specialist to train and monitor, and he needs to prepare for a strong leasing season. Let’s take a look at how disastrous something like this could be…
Joe just hired Suzy, a new leasing specialist. Suzy has only worked as a leasing specialist for 2 years. Suzy still has a lot of training needed. But Joe sees something in Suzy, and believes she would make a great addition to the team.
Leasing season has struck. It’s Suzy’s first week on the job, and 3 tours come in on the same day. Suzy is the only leasing specialist on site that day. So Suzy takes all 3 tours. While 3 tours in one day may not seem like a lot of tours for some buildings, for Joe’s building it is a lot.
At the end of the day, Joe reads Suzy’s daily snapshot (a report that states how many tours and applications there were). He notices on there that Suzy had 3 tours, but no one wanted to apply. Considering how much money Joe is dumping into marketing, and having a new leasing specialist, Joe is getting a bit nervous. Is this going to continue as the season continues?
What if the entire leasing season goes on and Suzy continues to tour prospects with little to no success?
You get the idea here. Hiring new leasing staff can be extremely helpful if the leasing specialist is great at their job and requires little training. But it can also be just as harmful if it’s not done the right way. Harmful enough to say you just flushed all your hard work and marketing dollars down the toilet. Who has time for that?