The Rental Red-Zone

The Rental Red-Zone

By: Nicholas A. Dunlap


Fall is here and that means football is back.  The hits, the passes, the drives, the last minute excitement that we wait for year round is now upon us.  And there’s nothing better than seeing your team drive down field and score the decisive game winning or game ending touchdown.  There’s nothing like hitting the 20 yard line, the red-zone, and throwing into the end zone…The official raises his hands – TOUCHDOWN!

Apartment operators are in a red-zone of their own with the end of the year rapidly approaching.  The holidays are just over 30 days away, and as a result there will be less rental activity. People tend not to move in the months of November and December.  As such, it is important to keep current residents in place while  making sure that your curb appeal is on-point and your rates and specials are top rate.  Keeping your existing residents in place can help to keep your backdoor numbers high, but front door sales remain paramount.

So, what can you do to ensure your success in the rental red-zone? Follow these simple steps to make sure you don’t false start, fumble or turn the ball over as you head for the end zone.

1.  Know your market rates/specials and position yourself aggressively in your marketplace.  Realize that there is no better time to close a prospective resident than the time they step foot in your leasing office.  The better your curb appeal, price and special, the less likely they are to leave and the more likely they are to lease.

2.  Shut the backdoor, but keep the front door open.  Move-outs are rare during the holiday season but if you do not aggressively pursue your renewals, you could lose residents.  Step up your efforts to close the backdoor, just as you have the front door wide open for new prospects.

3.  Respond quickly to your results.  If you see a rate, special or program is not working, make a change.  Failing to respond to changes in the marketplace can quickly result in a 2% shift that can mean the difference between 10 vacant apartment homes and 20.  Last I checked, you want to be known for your high occupancy, not high vacancy, so be pro-active.  Inactivity can hurt you.

It’s the middle of October, like 2nd and 10 from the twenty yard line.  Throw for the end-zone.