There’s another wave of new apartment building completions coming up shortly and we’re getting calls from landlords wanting to be one step ahead in finding tenants for their new apartment. Despite what the developers might have told you, the majority of apartments in your shiny new project are going to be rented. It doesn’t mean they won’t also appeal to owner-occupiers, but investors dominate off-plan sales, and that’s very much been the case in this cycle.
So you’re going to have a lot of competition for a tenant and if you want the best tenants, faster, and for more rent, you might need to do what your neighbors are not doing!
Use a different agent. If the onsite managers have 20 or 50 or 150 apartments to lease, and all available at the same time, then you’re going to get lost in the crowd. The on-sites won’t promote your apartment – just the building as a whole. This isn’t just a pitch for your business – if you don’t choose us, find the best property managers to do the job. We’re only going to have a handful of apartments in your building (at most) and we’ll be able to give the leasing task a much higher focus. No, we don’t know the building as well as the onsite manager. But we do know the local rental market inside out, we’re drawing tenant inquiry across a big range of homes, and we have a specialist property management team – not a caretaker who’s doubling as a property manager.
What appeal is unique to your apartment and your building? Great marketing isn’t just high quality professional photos (yes, we do those for our landlords) but about understanding who your likely tenants will be and how to find them. A couple of Brisbane’s largest property developers spend big dollars and planning time on tenant campaigns because they know their typical onsite manager is not a marketer. You need to stand out of the crowd, and especially at this first letting when they’re all available together. How will you do that for your apartment?
Get a salesperson involved. In many real estate agencies the tenant inquiry is handled by property managers, who are typically excellent multi-taskers and attention to detail people. But when your property is vacant you want a dedicated leasing manager who exhibits sales skills. Someone who’s trained in sales and converting inquiry. It can make a huge difference to your vacancy time and the rent achieved.
Don’t be scared to be competitive on rent. We know some brand new apartments that have sat vacant with onsite managers for upwards of 3 months. If you are $20 less than your competitors you will rent faster. Do the simple maths and you’ll be ahead – and you can increase the rent next time to get it back to where it should be. And also consider price pointing when you set your asking rent. Tenants using the websites use search ranges so if you’re at $610 you’ll get a lot less inquiry than if you’re at $600, when the $550-600 per week searches will find you.
And while the focus is on getting that first tenant, please consider the timing of your lease expiry. Getting an 8 month or 14 month term will likely mean you have less competition next time around. Stick with the usual 6 or 12 months and you’ll be neatly lined up against all your neighbors’ apartment again!