With the exception of the retail sector, business is typically slow during the holidays, and the property management business is no exception. Leasing rates between mid-November and December 31st can be extremely slow for even the most visible properties, with the units that are vacant at the end of October statistically more likely to still be vacant at the end of the year.
If you’re looking to change these statistics and decrease your year-end vacancies, you may want to consider implementing some creative leasing options including:
- Going viral. Use social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter or blog about how great your property is on your website. Create a video and upload it to YouTube or post some photos of the property. Be sure to include amenities that would be terrific in the winter months such as an indoor heated pool, or cleared jogging paths. Make sure that you provide a link back to your website where additional information can be found.
- Have an open house. Again, use social media to spread the word, along with flyers and a large sign in front of the property. Be sure to offers snacks and refreshments along with community tours. Consider having a raffle for those who tour the complex that day, and offer one-day only specials for those who sign a lease before year end. Remember, even if the majority of those touring the units that day do not sign a lease immediately, it’s likely that they’ll remember you when their current lease expires.
- Step out of your comfort zone and offer new tenants something other than move-in concessions. Everyone gives move-in concessions, particularly during a slowdown in the market. Offer new tenants the chance at something a little different such as a being eligible for to win six months free rent, a luxury vacation, or a flat screen TV.
- Offer flexible leasing terms. While most people are content with a standard 12 month lease, there is a market out there of people that need more flexibility, such as a 9 month lease, or even a 15 month lease. If you’re married to a standard lease, you may lose out on some quality tenants.
- For new properties, you may want to consider using local media such as radio to assist with reaching potential tenants. While this can be expensive, getting a property leased up quickly will save money long term.
While none of these strategies will guarantee a substantial decrease in year-end vacancies, chances are that implementing one or more of these lease-up strategies will result in better occupancy rates by year end.