The housing market crash resulted in the home ownership rate dipping to a 6-year low, and as per the data gathered by the real estate marketing firms, landlords and property managers are finding it exceedingly difficult to fill apartment vacancies. Layoffs and bleak job prospects have resulted in a decline in the demand for apartment rentals. It’s believed that many people are still struggling to find a full-time employment and many students are choosing to move back with their parents due to lack of good job opportunities. In times like these, the usual marketing gimmicks will not yield the desired results. However, resourceful and creative marketing can help lower the vacancies and save apartment owners a great deal of distress.
Emphasizing Basic Amenities
In good times, when jobs are plentiful and people have no immediate concerns about the forthcoming day, highlighting a horde of facilities to the tenants can help property managers differentiate their apartment community from those offering basic facilities. When times are hard, a community that offers all basic amenities at a reasonable price is just what people are looking for. Also, dropping the rent may not be a bad idea rather than leaving the apartment vacant.
Offering Lease-to-Own or Rental Purchase Plans
This type of marketing focuses on young couples, who would have purchased a home but are unwilling or unable to avail a home mortgage. A landlord, who owns apartments that are turning out to be a loss-making proposition due to a large number of vacancies, can try selling off individual units as condos by offering a rental property purchase plan. This plan involves the tenant paying an option fee to acquire the right to buy the condo at an agreed upon price at some point of time in the future. The option fee, that is paid to the lessor is usually 1 to 5 percent of the price of the condominium, and the term of the contact is around 2 years. The landlord, or in this case the lessor, receives regular rent from the tenant of which 25 to 33 percent goes towards down payment. At the end of 2 years, the lessee/tenant may exercise the option to buy it. The odds in favor of the lessee are slim, considering that the housing market picks up in 2 years time. The demand for single family homes will increase, while the demand for condos will fall, thereby making the predetermined price of the condo seem inflated as compared to its actual market value. The landlord has a good chance of retaining possession of the condo, while receiving rent from the potential lessee. In other words, he can have his cake and eat it too.
Focusing on Safety
It’s believed that residents feel safer in gated communities, especially when the crime rate is up. Layoffs, impending foreclosures, and bankruptcies act as a catalyst for crime. While marketing, one should focus on safety features like 24-hr patrol service, bright lighting, direct emergency buttons, and easy access to the local police. It should be marketed as one wherein apartment managers encourage contact among tenants, so that suspicious activity does not go unnoticed.
Focusing on Larger Apartments or the Concept of Space
With a number of households choosing to double up, it may be prudent to promote apartments with 2 or more bedrooms. There has been a marked increase in the demand for large apartments. The occupancy rate for 3 and 4 bedroom apartments has increased significantly, while studios and efficiencies have experienced a sharp fall in demand. In other words, it would be advisable to focus and highlight usable space rather than other perks that accompany apartment life.