Before peak leasing season is in full swing, there are several steps that multifamily property owners and managers must take to ensure that they make the most out of the busy time. Owners who invest the time and effort now will drive strong net operating income and stable cash flow for their properties year-round.
With the busy season starting in early summer, now is the time to implement low-cost changes that will generate a high return on investment and impress new and prospective residents.
As a property management firm that manages 171 apartment communities totaling 23,645 units, we’ve identified several key strategies to implement prior to peak leasing season in order to maximize property value, attract new tenants and drive long-term revenue.
Invest in capital improvements
First and foremost, multifamily owners should utilize this time wisely to invest in capital improvements that will add long-term value to their apartment communities. By addressing deferred maintenance items and upgrading the common areas, owners can ensure that their properties are leased at maximum capacity by the end of the summer.
So which capital expenditures will generate the highest return on investment? Investing in communal gathering areas and indoor/outdoor amenity spaces can help establish a sense of community at your property, thereby driving resident retention and minimizing turnover. Some of the most sought-after amenities that build this sense of community include larger clubhouses, BBQ areas and on-site movie theaters, among others.
Upgrading and modernizing interior features of empty units is another way that owners and investors can not only increase revenue, but also reduce maintenance costs in time for the peak leasing season.
For example, installing vinyl flooring can enhance the overall quality of a unit, and benefits property owners in the long term by providing an opportunity for higher rental rates and increased revenue. While vinyl flooring does require an initial capital investment, the lower maintenance required will result in a greater return on investment in the long run.
Ensure superior staff training
Providing memorable customer service is another way that property owners can attract and retain tenants, especially during the crucial peak leasing season. Owners should look to property managers to ensure that their on-site staff is well-trained and prepared ahead of these busier months.
When hiring new staff for the peak leasing season, property managers should evaluate any training programs already in place and see what needs to be changed or improved. Hosting workshops for existing employees, with a special focus on sharing experiences and dealing with high-pressure situations with tenants, can also improve quality of service, which in turn translates to higher resident satisfaction, retention and overall occupancies.
By providing superior staff training, property managers can streamline operational efficiencies and improve the overall performance of a multifamily community. Well-trained staff members will be better prepared to handle resident requests and address challenges that may arise.
When it comes to successfully leasing an apartment community, investing in the right staff can be just as important as investing in property-level improvements.
Leverage new technology and digital platforms
By the start of peak leasing season, multifamily owners should also ensure that the most current asset management platforms are being used to optimize efficiency.
In keeping up with the digital age, property owners must evolve with changes in technology and harness new digital platforms to improve their bottom line profitability. By staying up-to-date with the latest technology, owners and managers will be better positioned to minimize operating expenses and maximize long-term revenue.
For example, one asset management platform that Western National Property Management is utilizing is InfoTycoon, which allows property managers to leverage and consolidate data in real time, thereby increasing net operating income and portfolio value.
This platform allows property managers to customize forms for in-unit inspections, document deferred maintenance items and generate comprehensive reports to track the financial performance of a property. By utilizing this program, property managers can reduce the inspection time by half, enabling them to streamline the move-in, move-out process for residents during the busy season.
The key to strong asset performance is to implement the above strategies before peak leasing season is fully underway in order to maximize revenue.
By investing in capital improvements, providing superior staff training and leveraging new technology, property owners can maximize occupancies and minimize turnover, resulting in strong net operating income that boosts the bottom line.
Scott Wickman serves as regional vice president of Western National Property Management, the residential real estate management arm of Western National Group. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Western National Property Management currently oversees the management of 23,645 apartment units in 171 communities throughout Orange County, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Northern California and Las Vegas.