4 Strategies for a New Construction Lease Up
by McKenna Hogan, on Nov 18, 2019 8:45:00 AM
New developments can be tricky - they’re tasked with filling as many units possible before even having a physical property. And although they have the allure of being “brand new,” that’s not always enough to reach maximum occupancy.
Luckily, with all of the new technological adaptations on the market these days, there are plenty of ways new construction can fill vacancies and build awareness.
Below we’ll discuss six detailed strategies for a new construction lease-up.
1. Make sure people know you exist
Yes, we know - optimize your Google My Business listing. Not to beat a dead horse, but as a new construction, this is detrimental to your success.
As we mentioned, developments have the benefit of providing brand new content, but it will only boost your ranking if you strategize your online presence.
So in order to build your brand in a way that will resonate well with both Google and potential renters, your GMB listing should contain these aspects:
- A website link
- Correct contact information
- Optimized photos
- 3D digital content
- Interactive content
As a general rule, make your business listing informative, reliable, purposeful, and efficient. Your listing is often the first thing renters see during their search, so give it some TLC.
Once you’ve managed SEO boosting tactics, you can work towards these new construction lease up strategies below.
Click here for an in-depth look at Google My Business insights.
2. Let digital content do the work
We know it, you all know it - new developments need digital content.
However, you can throw out those typical strategies used for established communities. A new construction lease-up is going to need specific tactics to bring people in before construction ends.
Because 85% of the consumer's experience with a company will include zero human interaction come 2020, lease-ups don't have much to worry about when it comes to giving in-person tours. There are plenty of digital tools at their disposal that create a seamless experience online.
For this we recommend 3D tools such as:
- Stacking plans
- Site plans
- Virtual tours
- Virtual Reality tours
Stacking plans are real-time availability tools that allow users to navigate various levels of a building as well as view floor plans for different units. Prospects are able to filter by type of room, price range, and even square footage.
This tool is an excellent way of providing every aspect of an in-person tour without actually visiting a physical property. Aside from being able to see what a unit will look like, renters are able to see exactly where it stands via the interior and exterior of a development.
Site plans assist in showing real time availability by providing a garden style apartment that can be either a still image or interactive, and allows prospects to choose different buildings within a development through a community map. Site plans provide floor options as well.
3D virtual tours on the other hand give prospects an entire view of a development with the use of 100 percent photorealistic 3D renderings. So after a potential renter decides on a specific building and floor, they’re able to tour the entire unit as if they’re actually there from a desktop, mobile device, iPad, etc.
Virtual reality is similar to virtual tours in the sense that you’re able to view an entire 3D model unit or building virtually. With the use of a VR headset or Google Cardboard, renters can literally walk through a photorealistic development.
Virtual reality is perfect to leverage for businesses that don’t yet have a physical leasing office, but still need to give tours.
In addition to having quality content, you’re also getting ahead of the game by embedding digital content to your GMB listing due to the fact that it’s a free range aggregator.
3. Show off what makes your community unique
New communities already have a certain allure to them due to the fact that they’re “untouched.” This gives them a little bit of a marketing advantage, but it likely won’t be enough to fill max occupancy.
According to ApartmentGuide.com, some factors for renters are considered less as amenities and more as deal breakers. This includes air conditioning (92%), dishwashers (86%), and in-unit washers and dryers (77%), so it’s best practice to ensure these are clearly listed.
In addition, labelling developments as “luxury” or “modern” just doesn’t cut it these days. Being used so liberally really takes the significance out of the word, especially when it’s used lightly.
Instead of giving your new development a generic description and assumed perks, illustrate what about it makes it worth being that new and improved community in the neighborhood.
For example, is your community pet-friendly? Environmentally-friendly? AI savvy?
Believe it or not, these are the characteristics modern renters are searching for in an apartment, not how the lobby has complimentary sparkling water. And they’ll be expecting all of those “amenities” described above, so don’t make that your main selling point.
| Related: Rental Marketing Ideas You Need for 2020
Renters these days are starting to care a lot more about brand personality and social justice as opposed to cool-factor. So make sure your community is shown in a desired light, and look to social media and content marketing to give your community a likable persona.
4. Strategize staffing & partnerships
No one wants to roll up to a brand new community only to be greeted by a leasing agent with an attitude.
In fact, Appfolio conducted a survey that showed as much as 27 of respondents top reason for eliminating a property is based on bad property management.
And since no one has previously resided in this development, you lack the advantage of testimonials or referrals - an extremely efficient marketing tactic. So if you staff rude people, it has a good chance of dictating how you’re perceived as a community.
In addition to character, hiring experienced staff that knows the pressures of pre-leasing will pay off in the long run. We’re not being dramatic when we say new construction lease-up is not just a 9-5 kind of job.
Kimberly Hurd, Senior Director of Residential Services at Indianapolis-based Milhaus Management states the top challenge in staffing new construction is “keeping your team motivated.” She furthers this statement by adding that leasing goals are aggressive, and communication between every different department can be insanely challenging.
But aside from those on the job, networking with the people working close in proximity to your business can be a win win - as a new community, your reputation kind of affects surrounding businesses as well.
The people you bring in -or don’t- directly affects the type of business they receive, so it bodes in everyone’s favor to get together and cross-promote. Whether it’s a local diner or a post office, using each others business to build awareness and gain support is a new construction must.
This word of mouth marketing tactic is tried and true, and has proven to build positive relationships within the community.
Appfolio’s survey sites that almost 24 percent of renters found their current residence by word of mouth - and since previous renters aren’t available for referrals, you’ll have to rely on other businesses to aid in this.
An easy way to cross-promote is by simply mentioning what type of businesses are near your community on your domain. It’ll be best practice to list nearby schools, jobs, and future developments as well.
In return, they should post listings and use verbal marketing to bring positive attention to your community.
Furthering this point, leveraging those businesses within your content -such as blogs and social media- will increase visibility for both businesses.
Prove your new development is worth renting sight-unseen
The National Apartment Association says it best, new construction is basically selling a “work in progress.”
Without an established reputation, your community has a lot of work to do to gain high acclaim. And you better believe every aspect of the new construction lease up process counts.
Ensure potential prospects have all of the means necessary to make an informed decision if you’re expecting them to sign a lease sight-unseen, and focus on the easy or smaller tasks that can get done even with your crazy hectic lease up schedules