Whether you’re a developer or an investor, leasing your multifamily unit faster increases profitability. Construction delays may be inevitable, which can create cash flow problems.
But the earlier you can pre-lease units, the better off you’ll be. You’ll have peace-of-mind knowing that when your units are ready, tenants will be, too.
But trying to sell tenants on a property that isn’t built yet, especially in an uncertain economy, comes with its own set of challenges. How can you improve lease-ups in your multifamily unit?
It starts with building your brand and, ideally, ends with professionally produced 3D architectural rendering services and video real estate tours that showcase the lifestyle tenants can expect in your MDU.
1. Start with a brand.
You should spend at least as much time considering your apartment’s brand as you spend thinking about floor plans of apartments and what amenities you will include. In fact, amenities, layouts, and the size of the apartments will all contribute to your overall brand, as will colors, design, and décor.
To create your brand, start with your tenants. Who are you looking to attract? Who is your ideal tenant?
Of course, keep Fair Housing Act regulations in mind and know that you can’t discriminate against anyone seeking housing on the basis of race, gender, familial status, religion, or disability. But you should still have an idea of the demographics that your apartment will appeal to.
Remember, your ideal tenant will affect every decision you make, from rental unit prices to concessions. Whether this is your first multifamily property or your tenth, spend time creating a strong, recognizable brand that will resonate with your target audience.
2. Convey that brand online.
If this is your first multifamily unit, you may not have a strong online presence. Start with the major real estate listing sites like Zillow.com to promote units. But consider establishing your own website as a place to drive traffic so customers can learn even more about your brand. Your own website will come in handy, too, if you plan to scale your business in the future with multiple MDUs.
3. Set the right rates.
Rents in the U.S. experienced a 1.7% growth, year-over-year, in February 2020 according to ApartmentList.com. That’s slightly ahead of the year-over-year growth from 2018 to 2019, but nowhere near the 3.2% growth in 2016. Of course, rent growth varies regionally.
Look at similar properties in the area, taking into account square footage, number of bedrooms, and amenities. You’ll also need to set a realistic price based on your operating costs, including any mortgage and taxes on the property.
No one is sure what rents will do in the coming months as a result of COVID-19. We have never experienced anything like this.
A high number of foreclosures could increase rent demand, which would raise rates – much like during the housing crisis of 2008. But in the short-term, with people unwilling or unable to move, average rent prices may well drop across the board. The fact is, rents have been inflated for some time due to high demand. If you’re eager for a fast lease-up, lowering the rent price could help considerably in these challenging times.
4. Decide on concessions.
Today’s tenants often expect some sort of landlord concession, whether that is a discounted price or added services. Determine if the market in your region warrants concessions and what types of concessions those should be. Again, depending on what rent prices due in the coming months could affect the concessions you offer.
In the past, landlords have offered things like the first month’s rent free, or $100 off rent every month for the first year.
Concessions don’t have to revolve around discounts, however. You can provide a gift card to a local restaurant for take-out, for example. Consider concessions that will be “on-brand” for your multifamily unit. If you have a dog walk area, you may partner with a local pet store or dog grooming service to provide coupons, gift cards, or free services. Or perhaps offer a gift card to a pet store delivery service like Chewy.com.
5. Create a lifestyle around your apartments.
In any economy, price won’t matter as much as what you’re offering to prospective tenants. Lifestyle selling is the key. Your goal is to create an experience around your multifamily units that will make people envision themselves living there for years – regardless of your rent price.
By building a brand prospective tenants can relate to and then creating a lifestyle experience around your MDUs, people won’t care if your apartments aren’t built yet. They will feel as if they have to live there, regardless of the price.
The lifestyle relates to everything about your apartments, from the amenities to the décor to the way the sun streams in the south-facing window of that two-bedroom unit. Similar to staging a home for a quick rental, use online marketing materials to “stage” your apartments before they are even complete.
6. Showcase that lifestyle through photorealistic 3D architectural renderings.
You can offer fabulous amenities, fun and relevant concessions, and create a brand around your multifamily unit. You can use your website to create a very specific vibe. But the challenge for landlords and developers is to showcase that lifestyle when they can’t take prospective tenants on a tour.
That’s where photorealistic 3D renderings of individual units and common spaces can help. As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words, and 3D photorealistic renderings bring your apartments to life in a way no marketing copy or real estate listing descriptions can.
Our photorealistic renderings use details that help tenants picture themselves living in your apartments. From fresh flowers on the dining room table to artwork on the walls and that high-end coffee maker on the kitchen counter, we “stage” our renderings with the décor and accessories that appeal to your target demographic.
From stainless steel appliances to granite countertops, we can realistically render the lifelike textures of high-end apartments. Our 3D renderings can also bring even the simplest spaces to life with relatable details.
Perhaps a few toys scattered in the corner could showcase a family friendly apartment complex. Or a leash hanging near the door may indicate that you welcome pets – and provide the amenities dog owners look for.
Best of all, 3D architectural renderings can be viewed from anywhere, making it easier for people to make a decision on your apartment without traveling to your office. Even once the pre-lease-up phase has ended and your apartments are complete, renters who may be relocating can get a feel for your apartments and amenities without traveling a long distance. Your 3D architectural rendering services will help you stand out from competitors in the region.
Prospective tenants in the area may be sold on your apartments through 3D architectural renderings before they even set foot in the door.
7. Create Web virtual tours to help tenants envision life in your multifamily unit.
Once you see the power of technology to help you lease-up your multifamily units during the construction phase, you may want to take it a step further. Web virtual tours can help keep your apartments full by making it easier to fill vacancies faster.
Web virtual tours like this one bring your property to life on any internet-connected device, enabling prospective tenants to fall in love with your property right from their couch, without leaving their current home.
Read our tips on how to prepare for capturing a real estate virtual tour when your multifamily property is complete and you’re ready to share it with your ideal tenants – wherever they might be.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our Web virtual tours and 3D architectural rendering services.