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Apartment Tours: 6 Steps to Make Tenants Want to Rent From You
David Schwartz Sep 7, 2016 9:00:00 AM
Apartment tours are an instrumental part of keeping your building occupied.
Whether you are conducting them yourself or are entrusting the responsibility to someone else, knowing the difference
between what makes a good tour and what makes a great tour is vital.
Good apartment tours are pleasant, efficient, and don't end in disappointment (a low bar to reach). Great apartment tours, on the other hand, are visionary, thorough, and end with forward momentum (a worthy goal). The visitor either signs a lease right there or leaves with a strong interest in the property.
Similar to many other things in life, there is a formula for generating optimal results. In this article, we'll reveal what that is for apartment tours.
Follow these 6 steps and you'll be on your way to signing more leases...
How to Conduct Successful Apartment Tours
After checking your online photos and reading your community reviews, your prospective renter wants to schedule a tour. Whether you're scheduling the appointment with the prospect or their realtor, your goal is to learn as much preliminary information as you can:
How many people are there?
How many bedrooms do they want?
Is there anything of particular importance to them?
The more info you have, the better prepared you'll be to match them to an appropriate open unit. Once the tour is scheduled, your work begins.
1. Prepare The Unit
Exactly how you prepare will depend on whether the unit is available or vacated. If the unit has already been vacated, make it "move in ready" before showing. That means thoroughly cleaning, re-painting, and updating both internal and external elements. Caulk dingy bathtubs, fix anything broken and polish appliances so they shine! Most importantly, no one wants to live in a gloomy apartment. Open the shades and turn on the lights.
One often overlooked element is the apartment front door. First impressions count and a freshly painted door starts things off right.
If the actual unit is unavailable for showing, you'll ideally have a model unit to show. The best model units contain simple, high-quality furniture and decor. The worst are over-decorated in your personal style, making it hard for the prospect to imagine themselves in the unit.
2. Interview The Prospective Tenant(s)The best salesmen ask the right questions, listen carefully, and offer relevant solutions. This is exactly what you want to do before beginning your tour.
When your visitors arrive, invite them to sit down. Explain that you'd like to learn a little more about them and what they're looking for so you can help determine if you're a good match. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- What is most important to you in a home?
- What features do you absolutely need?
- What features would you like (but could live without)?
- What do you do for work and for fun?
You may think this is the realtor's job (and it is), but it's yours too. Once you have the information you need, you can personalize the tour with the right elements in mind.
3. Paint a Picture
As a leasing professional, it's your job to set the tone. Lead the prospects through the front door and verbally introduce each room (i.e. this is the living room). Emphasize the room's best features, dimensions, and details.
Using the information previously obtained, help the tenant visualize what their life could look like in the unit. For example, say the person mentioned they wake up early to write. You could point out that the sun rises through the living room balcony that has enough room for a French bistro table, an ideal spot for sitting with a cup of coffee.
Conversely, don't waste time emphasizing elements that aren't important to a potential tenant. Someone who hardly ever cooks doesn't care about cabinet storage for culinary equipment.
4. Take Your Time
No one likes to be rushed. Some people need more time than others to envision themselves living in a space. You can help tenants feel more relaxed by walking slowly through each room, pausing, and reflecting.
Another great thing about taking your time? You can thoroughly describe features and benefits.
If you have eco-friendly shower heads and water aerators installed, mention it! And don't just stop there, tell the story of why you installed them in the first place. Conservation is becoming a huge selling point for young renters.
Additionally, you'll want to proactively address any potential objections. Assuming you asked the right questions during the interview phase, you'll know what those are. Finally, give tenants some space to talk among themselves without hovering.
5. Know The Answers
Savvy tenants will ask tough questions. Be prepared by studying the answers ahead of time:
- What is your renewal rate?
- How old is the building?
- Have recent improvements have been made?
- What is the average response time to maintenance requests?
Always be honest. Though it may be tempting to stretch the truth, don't. Should this person indeed sign a lease, they will find out you lied soon enough. Additionally, if you don't know the answer to a question, don't pretend you do. Instead, tell them you will find the answer for them.
6. Follow Up
Finally, the most overlooked part of the "great apartment tour" is the follow-up. According to research funded by Apartments.com, renters typically take 30 to 90 days to find their next place to call home.
While you should always ask for the sale the day of the tour, some potential tenants will want to think things over. It's important to follow up with a phone call within 2-3 days. Ask the person what they liked about the community, what they didn't like, and if they have any additional questions. You may be surprised about the things you learn during these calls.
Sometimes you'll gain valuable feedback for making future improvements. And sometimes you'll even be able to solve an objection and close a sale. A caveat: People who have already ruled out your property won't want to talk with you and that's OK. The ones on the fence will be glad you called.
Make Tenants Want to Rent With You
Ultimately, you can't make anyone want to rent with you. But you can conduct a great apartment tour. And that means taking the time to learn about individual needs, showcasing your space in its best light, and following up in a timely fashion.
Do these things and you'd be hard-pressed not to see better results.