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4 Tech Tips to Thrive During Leasing Season

By Nat Kunes,Vice President of Product for AppFolio
AppFolio is an IREM President Level Industry Partner, and this article is published as part of that partnership

In a recent survey we conducted with residential property managers, we found that 82 percent of property managers struggle with managing leads and property inquiries throughout the year. And when it comes to leasing season, that struggle only intensifies. For most property managers, peak leasing season runs from May through September. Understanding the nuances within the local market, and even within individual properties, helps leasing agents attract high-quality tenants, manage incoming leads, and keep vacancy numbers as close to zero as possible throughout the year.

These four tips will help you conquer leasing season, without the stress and worry that comes with a sudden surge in applications and property tours.

1: Maximize Your Maintenance Department
The bar is continually being raised, customers demand highly-quality service, which means everything on your property must be working properly, allowing prompt service. Investing in maintenance is an investment in the future.

You may be thinking that maintenance and leasing are worlds apart. In reality, your maintenance department is a profit center that deserves some serious attention in the weeks and months preparing for leasing season. When you stop trying to reduce maintenance costs and realize a lean, well-equipped operation generates revenue, by keeping staff and tenants happy, you'll see profit margins rise. And here's why...
When your equipment and amenities aren't in perfect condition, the overall performance and appearance of your property suffers. It’s hard to put your best face forward when you have to tell prospective renters your pool or community sauna is undergoing repairs.

Before marketing available units, take advantage of mobile inspection applications to streamline a complete property evaluation, and make necessary improvements and repairs.

2: Align Rent Tiers with Current Trends
Now that you've officially given your property and equipment a complete once-over, it's time to revisit rent prices. For many companies, market analysis is time-consuming and costly. They dedicate staff members to call around checking competitor rates and amenities. Then, they set their rental rates based on the findings.

Automation in property management software will do this for you – faster, more accurately and usually at a fraction of the cost typically spent on payroll.

3: Rethink Marketing and Promotion
Gone are the days when a single photo of a house or apartment community is enough to entice prospects to get more information. Today, people expect a comprehensive sneak peek before they do a drive-by or schedule a walk-through.

Use your website to deliver value-added content apartment seekers want:

  • Take enough photos to show several angles of each room and make sure to add image descriptions for room dimensions, wall color, appliance measurements, etc.
  • Upload a video tour of individual units and the full property, high-lighting amenities like work-out rooms, the pool, lending library, and pet station.
  • Provide the ability for prospective renters to schedule showings on your website to cut down on phone calls
  • Go a step farther and utilize lockboxes for prospects to tour the property themselves

Marketing with automation technology can ease the workload during the entire year, especially leasing season. If you're still creating promotional material for each website or listing channel, consider using listing technology that allows you to simultaneously post your availability to multiple sites popular with connected rental home prospects.

4: Simplify Application and Approval Processes
Is your team still calling credit bureaus, past landlords and current employers to verify creditworthiness? If so, you are investing way too much time and money. Not to mention the extended wait time prospects endure to hear back from you.

Speed up the process by:

  • Making digital applications and mobile lease signing available
  • Using automation to streamline application review and processing
  • Make use of a decisioning feature within your screening tool to receive recommendations based on your criteria,  ensuring you never risk violating any Fair Housing regulations.

Leasing season provides myriad opportunities to build long-lasting relationships with new tenants. Automation positions property managers to attract and retain high-quality tenants, without the headaches, stress or unnecessary spend.

 

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