Friday, July 20, 2012


Ok, so budgets are being slashed every year and the demand to do more with less is getting stronger. The big question is how does one get more bang for their marketing buck? The RI.T.E. Stuff. Now I am not suggesting you bust out singing this glorified 90’s hit with your team as back up dancers (although it may not hurt), but I am referring to Treat'em R.I.T.E.

We spend so much time, energy and money to produce quality residents and many properties are pushing them right back out the door due to their poor service and attitude! Why is there such blatant loss of money and are you guilty? Let’s look at what I mean by Treat'em R.I.T.E.

R – Respect  ~ How many times have you come in contact with someone whose name was difficult to pronounce and you just blew it off? Or they made an appointment and you were at lunch when they arrived? Maybe they called ahead asking for a copy of their lease and when they arrived it wasn’t ready? It’s the little things that make a big impact and show people how much respect you have for them.

I – Interest ~ Really listen and show interest in their wants and needs. When you ask a prospect what things are important in their apartment home, listen to what they tell you.  You are interested in finding a home that is just right for them. Continue visiting and building rapport with the prospect and ask more questions, because you are interested in their needs and wants. People normally love to talk about themselves, so let them!

T – Thoughtful~ Do you anticipate the needs and wants of your Prospects and Residents?  Are you thoughtful enough to provide unexpected service?   A follow-up call, text or email updating them on the status of a work order, task or that you’re just touching base, is a HUGE ally in the battle of “Closing the Back Door”.  When a service request has been submitted as complete, contact your Resident and ask how satisfied they are with the service that was performed in their apartment home.  If you have made a promise to provide the Prospect with a “perk” of any sort, make sure you follow through.  Under-promise and over-deliver!

E – Enthusiasm ~ Majority of prospects lease from emotion and because they like YOU! Show your enthusiasm and be eager to please your residents! I have a mantra that I have stuck with for years Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic!  If you haven’t tried it, you should! I know many times I have heard apartment professionals say “It’s hard to be enthusiastic all the time”  Of course you will deal with many people who don’t possess the RITE stuff, but that’s no excuse for you to not Treat'em R.I.T.E.!   If you are not feelin' it - then Fake it till you Make it.  Enthusiasm IS contagious; your energy will grow and spread…. And it’s the rude ones that need your enthusiasm the most!

Possessing the RITE attitude is not a difficult task and can work wonders on helping you achieve your leasing and resident goals. Share this list with your entire team and outline your own RITE expectations. Although I don’t believe in threatening team members you could suggest anyone not having the RITE attitude can perform a full lyrical, demonstration of NKTB’s song The Right Stuff at the entrance of the community. to help replace the lost revenue from having the wrong attitude! (Just don’t forget to upload it to YouTube, HA)

How many times have you walked in somewhere only to given the famous pointer finger, suggesting you wait a minute, all with no smile and an eye roll that screams “WHAT”!!

Great customer service is the lifeline of an apartment community. Take an audit of the service you provide for your residents and prospects.  Does it exceed their expectations?  Do you Treat'em R.I.T.E.

Linda Hansen ARM, HCCP, NALP
Written by Tina Clauder

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

55+ Apartments, now Leasing

I just completed a lease-up on a LIHTC community that has a 55 and over age restriction.  Finding the right marketing to attract the small window of the qualified prospect can be challenging.  When you do find a qualified prospect, build a rapport, so you develop the comfort level needed to close the rental.  Seniors are more reserved with their financial status, and with LIHTC housing, all their income and assets must be reported.  The prospect must love their new potential home and you; enough to feel comfortable to share all their financial affairs.

Some things I have learned in working with the senior, low-income market are:

  • Thrifty Nickel is an excellent print advertising source.
  • If your area has a local paper, ask if they will allow you to place an ad by the obits or TV section.
  • Don’t get to fancy on the ad.  If they see a fancy high priced ad, they may overlook it thinking that it is for a fancy high priced apartment.
  • The low-income senior may have fewer family members involved in the decision process of their apartment.
  • Therefore, the use of the ILS’s (internet listing site) is not on the top of the marketing list.
  • Sites for seniors are preferred. 
  • Build a partnership with the local Senior Center. 
  • Offer an open house to the members of the senior center.
  • Offer support and/or help to the center.  Buy and serve the cake for the day they celebrate the birthdays.
  • Offer prizes for the Bingo or other game days.
  • If the move is during the winter, have a moving company available for them at a discount price.
  • Since seniors often do not lease the apartment on their first visit, follow up with the usual thank you card and phone call.   But also send them a copy of your community newsletter displaying the events and activities that will be happening the following month.
  • Do not be in a hurry when taking them on a tour.  Closing on them too soon makes them skeptical, and they may RUN away.
  • Tell them about the application process.  Advise them about the questions on the application, and explain why you need this information.  At the same time, review all the wonderful things they will enjoy from this apartment community for the hassle of the application process.
  • Remember all the basics of apartment leasing.
    The community must be clean and appealing.
    You must look polished and professional and have a very friendly/ warm 1st impression.
    Stand up – walk to meet them at they enter the leasing area.  Make them feel comfortable as soon as possible.  Offer refreshments.
    Show all the amenities the community has to offer and tell about any activities at these amenities.
    Craft day in the multipurpose room.
    Pool exercises dates and times.
    Computer training the business center.
    Organize training in the fitness center.
    To name a few suggestions.
    Senior community lease ups are fun, enjoy!!!
    Linda Hansen

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