Let’s say you need a Marketing report for your community. You call several communities in your area. You’ll learn the rental rates, learn there are no specials, and they are 97% occupied. You are concerned since your community is at 87% and trending 83%.
Let’s say your Regional Supervisor is wondering why your community has dropped to 87% occupied, when your competitors are in the 90's!! You are told to find out what is up or get your occupancy back in the 90’s!!!
Since I have a rapport with the area community managers, I decided to visit them in person, share my frustration and get their input. The first one I visited is equivalent to my community. The manager greeted me, and we walked back to her office. We did the usual formalities, and then told her that I was frustrated and needed her input. My community is currently at 88%, and trending 83%. I wonder how she is maintaining the mid 90’s. She started laughing and said, “Who said we are in the mid 90’s?” I explained to her we did a market survey, and this is what we were told. She confessed that was not true and with the two skip-outs she just found she is at 86%. Plus, what she has intended to vacate at the end of the month will put her at 84%. So, why were we told the occupancy is 95%? We checked with the leasing consultant who had responded to the market survey. When asked why she didn’t tell the truth about the real percent of occupancy. She said, “It’s none of their business how we’re doing right now”. I could have jumped out of my seat, but to my blessing the manager of the community was “on it”! She told her that we should be honest on our reports. She explained I got the “word” from my supervisor to get the community back into the 90’s. All because this market survey shows we are in the mid 90”s. It appears as though she is doing poorly. She also added that if someone was considering building more apartment communities in the area, this may appear there is room for more to be built. WHICH IS NOT THE CASE.
So what is the moral to this story? PLEASE be honest when you are called for the rates, specials and occupancy of your community. I hope you are honest with your owners!! Much is weighting on those occupancy reports. The reports can have a negative result for you and your community if the actual results are inflated.
Linda Hansen ARM, HCCP
Director of Property Marketing
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