What It Takes to Get that Lease Signed

Apartments don’t just sell themselves. You might have tons of natural light, a modern chef’s kitchen and be located near transportation, but, then again, so is your competitor’s place. So then real estate agents and developers must reach in to their bag of marketing tricks.

Staging an apartment is probably the easiest, and most effective, way to hook renters. As all writers know, the most difficult thing about writing anything–book, article, grocery list–is staring down that black screen. Once something–anything–is on that page, it becomes a lot easier. Same goes for apartments. Blank walls are terrifying. Add some beautiful paintings, not to mention a nice couch and some tables, to a model apartment, and suddenly people can picture their own furniture being there, plus additional ways to decorate.

There’s the well-known real estate agent strategy: Bake cookies before perspective buyers or renters come visit the property. It can transform a run-of-the-mill house into a home, subconsciously taking people back to the comfort and safety of their homes when they were kids. Plus it’s an almost universally appealing smell that only people with hearts of stone could resist.

That’s not the only way to get people to sign on that dotted lease line. It seems, at least in New York, that cocktail parties in the apartments are de rigueur. People get to relax and see what it would be like to entertain there. Plus, a little bubbly always improves people’s moods.

And, of course, every apartment needs a good story. Was it designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? Maybe the building was a former hotel where royalty and starlets alike checked in (if you happen to have JFK and Marilyn Monroe’s alleged love nest, you’ve hit real estate pay dirt). Or perhaps it’s a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen type place.

But why would a good story be necessary to sell or rent an apartment, especially in the midst of a national housing crisis where vacancy rates are notoriously low? This strategy probably works best for luxury housing units, where the people have many, many options. A good apartment story gives renters that little something everyone yearns for: bragging rights.

Sometimes, it’s not even the apartment itself that is marketed, but the real estate agent. As recently reported on MHN, NYC’s most expensive rental is going on the market (at a mere $165,000 a month), and its real estate agent is the daughter of a celebrity. Again, this leads back to bragging rights. Who wouldn’t want to throw a dinner party for friends in their new home and casually mention, “Oh, do you like the place? James Bond’s daughter got me such a great deal.”

What are some of the strategies you employ to make your buildings especially desirable for perspective buyers and renters?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor