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Monday, 11 January 2021 05:23

How To Fill Your New Asheville Apartment Building

Apartment buildings are a major investment, and savvy owners can realize quite a significant return. The key is minimizing vacancies and building a healthy pipeline of prospective tenants on your waiting list to slide into units as soon as possible. The right tenants are as good as money in the bank. The wrong ones… well, they can be a nightmare! Filling your new Asheville apartment building requires more than completing background, employment, and credit checks (though you should never skip this step). It also involves implementing sound strategies designed to help you attract and retain great tenants.

So let’s get that apartment building filled up:

How To Fill Your New Asheville Apartment Building 

Invest in Property Maintenance

Proper, and proactive, maintenance is essential in filling your new Asheville apartment building - and keeping it full. In fact, poorly maintained properties are the second most common reason for tenants vacating. It may be your building, but it is their home. They want to take pride in it, and, of course, be comfortable in it. 

A well-maintained building is not only attractive to tenants, it’s often less expensive. Take utilities, for example: with updated and efficient appliances, you can essentially lower their monthly bills. Win-win.

Make maintenance a top priority; it’ll help you retain tenants, build a waitlist, and keep your property attractive and functional for years (and decades) to come. Keep on it: maintenance is never done! 

Market Your Property 

First, nail down the basics. This is the most effective way to advertise your property and fill it up. The most important steps are:

  • Creating excellent property listings
  • Posting them where potential renters are most likely to see them

An effective property listing includes a compelling title to let people know what you’re offering, a detailed description, and - last but certainly not least - photos. Let’s leave the title for now; even though it is the first thing potential renters see, it’s helpful to write it last.

The property description needs to be clear and concise; now’s not the time to wax poetic about a great apartment! Instead, paint an accurate picture of the apartment’s most important features (number of bedrooms and baths, onsite amenities, such as fitness center or pool, onsite laundry or in-unit washers and dryers, new Energy Star appliances, parking, etc.).

Photos are the other critical piece of the puzzle. They are powerful tools in drawing people to your building. As the old cliche tells us, “A picture speaks a thousand words.” It’s old - but so true! Clear, high quality, and (ideally) professional photographs sell properties. Well, in this case, they rent them out.

Next, list your units on the sites on which your pool of renters spends their time. According to an Avail survey, top listing services are:

  • ApartmentList 
  • Craigslist
  • Hotpads
  • Trulia
  • Zillow
  • Zumper
  • Facebook

When it comes to listing, KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. We’d never call you stupid; it’s just an expression. And a great piece of advice.

Screen, Screen, Screen

Earlier, we mentioned background, employment, and credit checks. Yes, do it! But you also need to consider how likely a prospective tenant is to renew their lease and whether they are a good fit for the building. This will help keep your vacancy rate down and reduce turnover - both of which are crucial in generating a strong profit margin.

Here are some facts and figures for you to digest:

  • Age. Folks under 25 are the least likely to renew a lease year to year. Those aged 25 - 34 are the most likely to renew. You cannot discriminate based on age, but it’s something to think about. And it may work with your business model. For example, if your building is in a university/college/trade school neighborhood, you may want to compromise a bit on tenant longevity in exchange for a lot of prospective tenants in your pipeline.

Again, do not discriminate against renters based on age; this is against the law.

  • Roommates. The roommate situation can also be a factor in whether tenants are more likely to renew their leases. Surveys show that 32% of those with roommates do not plan to renew versus 23% of those without. Again, you cannot discriminate against a potential renter based on factors like their marital or relationship status.

To use our college example again, many students find a roommate and plan to rent for a  year or so. This is to be expected; the flip side is that you’ll have new students coming into the market each year.

  • Space. The single most common reason that tenants do not renew their lease is that they want/need more space. If a solid renter doesn’t plan on renewing, see if you have a larger unit available on your property. They can slide in, you fill that vacancy, and life goes on.

Be Pet-Friendly

Not crazy about the idea of having pets roaming around your units? The mess? The noise? The hassle? The potential for damage? Well… yes, you will hear landlord horror stories about bad tenants and their furry, feathery, or scaly friends. However, allowing pets can help boost cash flow and attract the right kind of tenants. (Remember, you’re screening these folks, so you should spot red flags before they and Fido move on in.)

Benefits of allowing pets?

  • You can charge a pet fee (generally $200 - $500) or include a monthly rent-add on (generally $10 - $50).
  • Pet owners are typically more responsible. They’re keeping their dog, cat, etc., safe and sound; they know about responsibility. 
  • Pet owners are more likely to renew their leases. It can be a big hassle trying to find a pet-friendly apartment building. Once they’re in, they’re more likely to stay. 
  • You tap into a huge market. Consider this: 68% of households have pets, and only a little over half of landlords allow them. These are your people.

If you allow pets, be sure to have a solid policy in place - and check with your insurance company about any exclusions or areas of concern.

These are top ways to fill your new Asheville apartment building and keep great tenants where they belong: right at home!

Asheville Phoenix Properties specializes in comprehensive and targeted property management services; we can help you implement the steps we’ve covered above so you can realize a generous return on your investment. Contact us today