Top Strategies for Boosting Occupancy Rates in a Transitional Market
The recent pandemic has shown us how quickly the housing market and the economy as a whole can change. Disasters and unforeseen events happen and can have a large impact on local rental markets, leaving some property owners with unexpected vacancies. COVID-19 has changed living preferences and economic conditions for millions of people. As a property owner, it’s critical to adapt quickly to market changes as they arise in order to retain your occupancy. One of the best ways to do this is with a full-time property management team that is always assessing the local market and adjusting management and marketing strategies. However, there are a handful of strategies to focus on, both short and long term, that can help you keep occupancy rates high:
Focus on Tenant Retention
Positive tenant relationships are one of the most important factors for maintaining a high occupancy rate, especially during market changes. Keeping units filled for multiple lease terms reduces the amount of time and energy you put in to find new tenants, and makes each new lease signing more valuable. In times of transition, it is worth putting in the extra effort to accommodate current tenants:
- Always accept tenant feedback and make management changes to accommodate popular requests.
- Have discussions with current tenants about their lease renewal concerns.
- Be flexible and open to making updates or alterations to the property or amenities to improve the overall tenant experience. For example, with more people working remotely, you may need to invest in a better internet service or upgrade any shared workspaces.
Boost Your Marketing Campaign
Of course, you are likely to see higher vacancy rates in a time of transition, so the next best strategy is investing in your marketing campaign. The most (properly) targeted marketing strategies are going to give you the highest return; rather than reaching the highest number of prospects, you want to reach the right prospects. Some of the most often overlooked marketing strategies include manual outreach to local businesses and organizations to build your reputation and awareness within the local community, as well as increasing incentives for resident referrals. Other essential marketing strategies include:
- Social media advertising: Expand your following and presence on social media platforms and consider investing in paid advertising on these platforms.
- List on multiple online rental platforms: Get your listing on all of the major rental sites. Another strong listing strategy is to post listings at the same time to generate many prospects at once.
- Paid advertising: Pay per click campaigns are often an effective short-term marketing strategy to generate prospects in a transitional time.
Rather than branching out into many new marketing strategies, you should first increase investment in your current marketing strategies that have the highest returns. Although market transitions are an excellent time to rely on these short-term strategies and paid campaigns, it’s always smart to invest in long-term marketing and online presence. Take a critical look at your website and compare it to your competitors. Invest in boosting SEO and website authority, and make sure your site offers a smooth, user-friendly experience.
Be Flexible and Available to New Prospects
Perhaps more importantly than attracting new prospects is making a strong impression on these prospects. Respond quickly to new messages, inquiries, and tour requests about your properties. Spruce up your property curb appeal and find new ways to make property tours exciting. Additionally, in times of transition it’s important to be reasonable, transparent, and accommodating with potential tenants. Building a memorable personal relationship with prospects is a sure-fire way to get and keep your property rented.
Reassess the Local Housing Market
Understanding the wants and needs of renters is an essential component of landing new tenants and retaining your current ones. Unfortunately, you may have to adjust your rent to keep up with local rates. Of course, you should try other techniques first, but if the rent is preventing you from filling a property, it’s time to weigh out your options. A lower monthly income is better than no monthly income.
In addition to reassessing the local going rates, you also may discover new amenities to offer or even decide to emphasize different perks in your advertisements and showings. For example, with more renters working from home, it will be beneficial to show off any rooms or spaces on the property that can be used as an office.
At the end of the day, property owners that are the most able to adapt quickly and accommodate a rapidly changing market will be the most resilient and retain occupancy rates effectively.
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