By Carol Jackson
It starts with understanding the pros of renting versus buying from a family’s perspective, so that we can clearly communicate our advantages and determine what it is exactly that the family is looking for in their rental. Multifamily living offers a ton of perks such as professional management, flexibility, less maintenance and increased safety.
In the end, families are looking for three things when choosing where to live: location, value and convenience. Here’s how we can approach prospective family renters with these buckets in mind.
1) Understand your location
Location, location, location. We hear it all the time, but for families, it’s more significant than ever. When discussing location, think about everything from the apartment’s proximity to the child’s school and what a parent’s commute might look like, to where the closest dry cleaner and food delivery are in the neighborhood. For an apartment community, location can also mean the actual positioning of the apartment unit. Is it ground level? Does it face a park for parents who might want to watch their young children from their doorstep? For families with older children, maybe these details aren’t important. Find out if the family is seeking something that’s more private or closer to amenities, and tailor your conversation from there.
2) Emphasize your value
Be sure to emphasize all your property’s amenities and how you create a resident experience. For families, places such as dog parks, playgrounds, on-site daycares and pools, and general family activities offered by your community, such as resident appreciation days with kid-friendly activities, are details you want to bring to their attention. Are there spots for kids to hang out with friends or sit outside to do homework, or places for parents to grab a coffee and lounge by a fireplace? If you have a pet policy (breed, size), be sure to let them know that as well.
Beyond amenities, how do you add value to your units specifically? As a Class B apartment owner/operator, we show our value through top-level service, kitchen and bath upgrades and spacious living plans. Learn what makes your apartments unique.
3) Communicate your convenience
Convenience. This is where renting can truly shine over purchasing a home. In this bucket, you’ll want to toot and tout everything a 24/7 on-site maintenance staff can offer for a family. Talk about your safety precautions, the fact that you can accept packages on a family’s behalf during off-hours, and remind prospects that not having to shovel snow or mow the lawn gives them more time to spend with family!
Parking is also an essential component for families. If you do not provide parking right in front of the family’s unit, can they reserve a space closer to the building? For families who rely on public transportation, talk about where they can access train stations and bus stops and if local shops are walkable.
Policies like online leasing and renewal can play into convenience as well. These tools save time, allowing parents to get back to what’s important. Do you offer any flexibility if the family decides to move within your community, or even to another community within your portfolio? This might be a deal-breaker for a family that’s still deciding where to establish roots.
Then there’s the more obvious, check-the-box items for us landlords. Don’t forget to point out any lead paint, weather-related issues and your general method of communication with residents. Letting families know about any residential newsletters or safety/emergency notifications can help put their worries at ease.
Before the family signs the lease, spend time going through it with them so that they are aware of the move-out expectations for their unit. For families with young children, this is crucial. If the family will be responsible for any carpet stains, wall drawings, or damages to the unit, highlight or call that out in the lease.
At the end of the day, people, and families especially, are busy! When searching for your first or next dream home, every detail matters. Let’s do everything we can to make the rental process smooth and enjoyable for our family renters.
Carol Jackson is area vice president of the Maryland region at Morgan Properties, the 25th largest apartment owner in the U.S. with 139 apartment communities and over 38,000 units located in 10 states: PA, MD, NJ, NY, DE, VA, NC, SC, OH and NE.