How to Create Better Blog Posts for Your Apartment Community

Image of female touching virtual icon of social networkAs a property manager, you know the importance of keeping up a blog. It helps promote your brand, keep residents informed, and makes your apartments a little more personal. But to keep your tenants (and hopefully prospective tenants) reading your blog, you need catchy posts. Here are a few tips to help you create better, more tenant-focused blogs.

Know Your Target Audience

Think about your target reader. Most likely, your readers will be current tenants, but you may have a few prospective tenants keeping up to date on your blog too. If you’re not sure what types of posts your tenants want, create a survey and ask the top ten things your tenants want to read.

Create Killer Titles

Your title ultimately determines whether someone will read the blog post. So, make sure you use blog titles that get their attention. That might mean using a controversial title or just using a list approach, such as “5 Ways to Create Better Blogs”.

Make Your First Paragraph the Attention-Getter

Your readers aren’t going to bother reading your entire blog if the first paragraph is boring. Make the first paragraph really count and keep it catchy. It should sum up what the reader is about to get if they read the entire post. Some ways you can make that first paragraph more interesting can include:

  • Asking a question
  • Sharing a statistic
  • Presenting a common issue your tenants are likely looking for an answer to.

Break It Up and Make It User Friendly

Have you ever opened a website or blog and found nothing but a wall of text? That’s not interesting or easy to read. Break up your blog posts using small paragraphs, but also use subheaders to really grab your reader’s attention. That way they know what they’re getting in each paragraph.

Keep It Conversational

The purpose of having a blog for your apartment community is to really speak to your readers — your tenants. So, write as though you were speaking to them in person and keep it interesting. Readers shouldn’t feel like they’re getting a lecture and your posts should be written in the first or second person — never in the third.

Use SEO Effectively

Your posts will need some keywords and a stellar meta description to get the attention of search engines too. By using SEO and ranking in the search engine results, you can attract people who aren’t tenants and encourage them to read your blog as well, which could help fill your vacancies faster when they pop up.

May 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips

Are You Reading Your College Student Market?

Young women taking a break on moving dayCollege students are big renters. They need the flexibility and terms rental contracts give them — and because your average college student has no clue where they will be a year from now, they are one of the markets you should be marketing to the most. As a property manager, it is important to know your target audience. Sure, you don’t want to alienate the other markets (young couples, single adults, etc.), but each marketing tactic you take should still address your target renter effectively. So how do you engage your average college attending tenant?

Think of How College Students Look for Apartments

College students are on the go, tech-savvy and in a hurry to find what they are looking for. Most college students will look for their next apartment online, which means you need an attractive advertisement, listing that shows off how you help college students, and of course, pictures. If you offer special rates for college students, use that as part of your advertisement — letting them know that you are a budget-friendly option. If you have amenities that help them save even more, such as an on-site laundryroom, fitness center, etc. that could help too.

Offer Short-Term Contracts for College Students

College students don’t know how long they can commit to one residence. They may be waiting for student housing to open up, looking for roommates or they might be transferring to another school. So if you want to attract college students, you need to offer short-term options. Yearlong rental contracts are rarely sought after by college students. If you can, try month-to-month lease options or even three or six-month lease periods so that you can accommodate those special situations.

Be Tech Savvy

College students don’t want to have to write checks to pay their rent. Offer mobile apps or online bill pay options so that they can pay their bills without having to deliver a physical check to your rental office every month. As a benefit, offer free Wi-Fi in your community center or give out Apple iTunes gift cards as tenant rewards.

Remember that college students are mostly influenced by parents and friends. So your listings need to not only speak to the student, but those who help them decide if your apartment is right for them. College students are looking for housing because they need a place to live, but also they’re looking for a sense of community. If you’re close to a college, you’re bound to have a lot of college students looking at your apartments, so make sure you tailor your units to their needs just as much as your other target renters.

May 2014

The Pros to Renting

Businesswoman With House Model And KeysMany people look at renting as an unnecessary expense or assume they won’t save by renting. But, you would be surprised at how many financial benefits there are for renting. From the flexibility of the lifestyle to monetary savings, here are the top financial pros to renting.

Rent is Consistent

Your rental payment is something you add to your budget every month. While your rent might go up when you renew your lease, the rent usually sticks with the standard cost of living for the area. With homeownership, on the other hand, you have other expenses such as maintenance or repairs on your home that create an inconsistent monthly budget.

You Get Amenities

Apartment complexes often come with amenities that would cost quite a bit to add to your home or buy a home with them. For example, most apartments have a community center (that you can rent for parties too), a pool and even a gym. All of these things are included with your monthly rent, which means you aren’t paying any extra to enjoy them each month — while you would have to pay extra to enjoy these things if you lived in a house.

You Don’t Have to Worry About the Housing Market

The housing market is constantly changing. One minute a home’s value is up, the other minute it is back down. When you rent, you don’t have to worry about how the housing market is doing. Also, if you change jobs, go to a new school or have a new addition to your family you can upgrade the size of your apartment or townhome without having to worry about selling and dealing with real estate agents in the process.

Credit Scores Aren’t As Big of a Deal

While your credit score could affect you getting an apartment, those credit requirements are nowhere near as stingy as credit requirements for a home loan. So, if you have a little debt, it’s unlikely you’ll be denied your apartment — but you could be denied a home loan for a small load of debt.

Next time you find yourself thinking renting is the more expensive option, think again. You might be surprised at how much you would save renting an apartment versus buying your own home or condominium. Sure, you don’t own it, but that is also a financial benefit — because you don’t have to do all of the responsibilities that come along with owning a property.

May 2014

Five Ways to Turn Away Potential Renters

Apartment Lease SignYou might have an attractive advertisement, but if you aren’t doing all that you can to keep interested renters at your property long enough to sign a contract, your vacancy rate could remain high. There are some things about apartments that turn away potential renters for good. So, if you’re looking to fill those vacancies, make sure your apartment complex isn’t committing one of these five turn offs.

Bad Smells

Any type of bad odor will turn someone away from a property. Things like pet urine or feces, backed up sewage, cigarette smoke and other odd odors are a few things to look out for. If you are noticing foul odors in your apartments or in the community center, hire a company to do a thorough cleaning — possibly steam clean the carpets, rugs and walls too — to get rid of it before showing it to potential renters. Nothing leaves a more positive impression than clean smells.

Having Carpeted Bathrooms

Carpeting in the bathrooms went out in the 80s. If you see carpet in the bathroom, you think of everything that carpet can absorb — including fungus, mold, etc. Do your renters a favor by removing carpet. It will not only make units more appealing, but also reduce the likelihood you have to hire mold abatement services in the future.

Appliances That Don’t Work

People rent so that they don’t have to buy appliances or worry about repairing them — that’s the property manager’s job. But, if you have a unit with broken appliances or appliances missing, it’s unlikely a potential renter will take the apartment. Broken appliances tell renters that you don’t take care of your units or your renters’ needs.

Gross or Dirty Carpets

It’s likely your apartment units will have carpeting. Potential renters won’t care why the carpets are dirty, but if they are dirty, it tells them that you don’t’ regularly clean or require renters to care for their carpets. Have carpets regularly cleaned, especially in leasing offices and new units. If the carpets cannot be cleaned thoroughly, then replace them.

Inadequate Storage

Apartments don’t always have adequate storage. While there are some things you cannot fix, you can add extra storage for your renters through storage units. This can be included in the rent — which is more appealing to renters than having two rental payments. If you can, modify the interior of units to maximize space — especially if the units come with a small square footage.

May 2014
POSTED IN Market Tips

Is a Month-to-Month Lease Right for You?

Young realtor explain lease agreement or purchase contract withIf you’re the type that likes to move a lot, a month-to-month lease could be the answer. But, before you sign the first month lease you find, you need to know your options. Month-to-month leases are less committal than traditional 12-month and 18-month leases, but they also come with their own strings that could prevent you from moving when you need to. So, it is best to weigh the pros and cons before signing anything.

Month-to-Month Leases are Flexible

The biggest reason people opt for a month-to-month lease is because they plan on moving soon — such as taking a temporary job or renting just until a home sale goes through. These allow you to have a place to live without any long-term commitments. Also, if for some reason you don’t need to move the next month, you can renew — giving you as much time as you need until you’re ready to relocate.

You’ll Pay More in Rent

Because you’re renewing your lease every month, some property management firms actually charge more for rent on their month-to-month contracts than their annual or longer contracts. This is because a monthly lease means they could have a vacancy soon, which is an expense for them. Also, because you’re renewing every month, the property management team has the opportunity to raise the rent according to market rates every time you renew — while with a yearly lease they can only raise the rent when your year is up.

Being in One Place Can Be Easier

Moving isn’t all that easy. When you stay in an apartment long-term you get to know your property managers, can get terms that are more flexible and you get used to the area. If you’re the type that doesn’t like change, you won’t enjoy a month-to-month contract — because your budget could change significantly depending on the rental market.

Be Wise With Month-to-Month

A month-to-month lease should really only be used if you need a short-term option. If you know you’re going to be relocating in just a few short months, sign a month-to-month, but if it’s up in the air, talk to the property owner about a quarterly lease or even a six-month lease versus the month-to-month. That way you have more stability with your rental payments and have a little time in between moves to figure out what you want to do or where you want to go.

May 2014
POSTED IN Legal Tips