Veteran property owner and manager Justin Becker has some ways you can get more rental applications in this time of the pandemic.
By Justin Becker
How do you get more rental applications? This is the cornerstone question for any property manager. Quite simply, to draw in new business and ensure you have the tenants that are right for you, you need to have good strategies to increase the number of rental applications you take in. However, the ways that we garner new tenants are constantly evolving.
Property managers must consider that what has worked in the past now has to be shifted for the future. What are the new solutions to get more rental applications by increasing innovation and strategy?
Here are six ways you get can get more rental applications:
No. 1: Lower the Price of Rental Applications
The rental-screening process is imperative to ensure that the right people move into our apartments and rental houses.
By looking at the prospective tenant’s household information, income, and longevity of employment, as well as general background information, we can vet an applicant before they even set foot on our property. For this reason, rental applications are paid for by the renter to recover the cost incurred and so that potential tenants are well-informed of the requirements of renting the property.
However, since rental applications are not priced for profit, and the screening-report fee is nominal, this is a great way to get more rental applications during the pandemic. Show potential tenants that you have their best interests at heart by offering free or discounted rental applications. Since filling out an application is a commitment, tenants who see free or discounted applications are more likely to connect. If you have income-based apartments, this is even more of a great selling point.
No. 2: Offer Specials and Move-In Perks
Move-in perks and rental specials are always a phenomenal way to get more rental applications.
For instance, you can offer a $399 security deposit to entice potential tenants. However, you must also mention any requirements there might be, such as credit-score restrictions. Another special could be a free first month’s rent or delayed rent—for instance, no rent until February 1st. Move-in perks like discounts on local eateries or simply offering a welcome package are fun ways to get tenants interested.
When a tenant thinks they may get a stellar deal on a new place, they are more inclined to fill out a rental application and seal the deal.
No. 3: Unleash the Power of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing refers to marketing efforts made through websites, email, and other internet applications.
The pandemic has made the use of digital marketing and digital applications a must-have for property managers. Social media, email marketing, and digital advertising are powerful ways to help your properties get seen. For instance, while social media is already a common way to get in touch with potential tenants, the pandemic has made it a premier way to respond to inquiries about properties. Tenants that can no longer visit the property face-to-face can still get in touch through social media at a time that is convenient for them.
Among the above efforts, one of the most effective is digital advertising, especially when it comes to niche display.
For instance, many sites such as Trello.com, Apartments.com, Trulia.com, and more, offer advertising. Research has shown that the pandemic has caused these sites to get more hits than they did pre-pandemic. You can capitalize on this increase in search by tapping into the digital-advertising realm. For many of these sites, you can pay a slight fee to get your apartment or rental home shown at the top of search listings. The key to using these sites is to understand the return on investment based on the advertising dollar spent. For instance, Zillow charges $9.99 a week and has become one of the best sources of quality leads. The return on investment is high because if just one unit is rented, we have made that advertising dollar back 20 times over.
No. 4: Find Programs That Help
Similarly, the pandemic has also created a need to be innovative when it comes to digital applications.
One of the most common is online email and lead capture. By having these on your website, you can automate the process of receiving tenant applications. Future tenants love to fill out the information on their time rather than by calling directly or visiting the property physically.
Another digital application that is helpful to have onsite is a chat-box application. This application will come programmed with a script that will respond to the most common questions. Property managers love this because it allows them to interact with customers without doing so directly. This can cut back significantly on time that can be spent elsewhere, and potential tenants love it because it allows them to reach out 24/7.
Having these programs makes it easier for future renters and yourself, especially during a pandemic, so highlighting them can increase interest in your rental properties and the overall number of rental applications you get. Keep in mind that they can have large upfront costs, and they may not be right for everyone.
No. 5: Showing off Your Amenities
Do you have a swimming pool?
What about other outdoor amenities, such as a dog park or basketball court?
Amenities are one of the best ways to separate your business from those of your competitors. What do you have that other apartment and rental houses do not offer? What do you have that is better or bigger? This is what tenants are interested in.
During the pandemic, however, the amenities you spotlight may need to change.
For instance, you can highlight the regularity with which your amenities are cleaned. You can also highlight any outdoor spaces you have in a way that showcases how open they are. After all, social distancing is easy in a dog park. Another example is those who have mobile homes for rent. You can highlight the fact that there is an ample amount of open space around these units. Since many people are now working from home, you can showcase any community spaces and bill them as co-working spaces. Amenities are a great way to increase your rental applications because future tenants love knowing there are community offerings.
No. 6: Highlighting Your Precautionary Measures
What safety and precautionary measures do you have in place?
While safety should always be the highest priority, you may need to get creative in how you market these health considerations.
To get more rental applications, tenants must first know that you have their health and safety in mind. This is especially true during the pandemic. What precautionary measures are you implementing for COVID-19? Describe specific cleaning schedules, how amenities are cleaned, and what your mask requirements are. You can also highlight any additional health and safety steps you have taken for the guests themselves, such as extra hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, or quarantine boxes. Of course, once you put out this information, you must then do what you say you will do.
Rental Applications Conclusion
Although the pandemic has been a time of unprecedented uncertainty and hardship, it is also a time for solutions.
The best way to increase your rental applications, no matter what time we are living in, is to think outside the box. Creativity breeds results. How can you be creative and proactive when it comes to highlighting your rental property business? This is the key to ensuring that you will always have a plentiful number of rental applications.
About the author:
Justin Becker is a property owner in the state of Michigan and has a passion for managing communities. He owns apartment complexes and mobile home communities, and has been writing his own blogs for his properties for several years.