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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