MC Residential Rolling Out Different Approach to Leasing Tours

Taking the stance that salespeople often get in the way of and create an uncomfortable atmosphere for the consumer, MC Residential is in the process of rolling out a new apartment touring strategy that gives the prospect the opportunity to view apartments without the distraction of leasing staff.

Tucson, Ariz.—Taking the stance that salespeople often get in the way of and create an uncomfortable atmosphere for the consumer, MC Residential is in the process of rolling out a new apartment touring strategy that gives the prospect the opportunity to view apartments without the distraction of leasing staff. The program, dubbed Go Solo has already been implemented at seven apartment communities in the Tucson, Ariz. area, with the goal of implementing the program in other markets across the country.

“In general it’s awkward for both the leasing person and the prospect when you’re looking at a unit,” Eric Brown, vice president of marketing for MC Residential, tells MHN. “You never know if the person is under a time constraint. Do they want to go faster, do they want to go slower? With this process they can spend as much time in the unit as they want. They can come back later in the day or the next day with their parents or their boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife. This affords them a lot of flexibility and really no pressure.”

So how does it work?

When a prospect arrives at an MC Residential property, a leasing staff member serves as the point of contact for the property to answer questions and then marks out a property map where currently available, lease-ready units are located.  When the prospect is ready to view the units, the leasing staff member gives them a universal Go Solo key that will open any of the available units, as well as a literature pamphlet about the property.

From there, the prospect is free to view any of the Go Solo-keyed units and spend as much or as little time in them as needed. The units are also keyed with a separate deadbolt that is locked at the end of the day to prevent prospects from entering the units after hours.

“Your Go Solo key only works during business hours,” he says. “And obviously those locks are changed at the time that the move-in occurs.”

Brown says that the Go Solo process has allowed the company to restructure and extend the properties’ hours of operations without sacrificing leasing staff costs.

“In the past you might have had, for instance, a 200-unit building where you have a leasing person and a property manager,” he says. “They both come to work at 9 and they go home at 5:30. With Go Solo, the same two people, the property manager works from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon and the leasing person works from noon until 8 at night. So we’ve essentially stretched out our leasing hours because no longer does the leasing person have to lock up the clubhouse and walk up to the unit with the prospect. The leasing person remains in the office and continues to do whatever they are doing in the office.”

He says that prior to Go Solo, properties were able to give roughly six to eight tours per day per leasing person. Now, he says, they are able to do an almost unlimited amount of tours.

Brown says that these tactics have allowed for a more streamlined approach to operations. For example, property staff have more time to address immediate resident concerns such as maintenance requests and preparing previously occupied for new residents.

“[It’s] a very, very big number for increase in NOI,” Brown says, adding apartment turn time has improved as well. “We’ve moved that whole process up by several weeks in some cases.”

While the Go Solo program, which is integrated with the company’s web-based Centralized Leasing program, is currently only in place at MC Residential’s Tucson properties, which is totals about 1,100 units, the company plans to expand the program to other markets within the next several months.

MC Residential, which has a portfolio of about 6,500 units, plans to implement Go Solo at its Phoenix properties next, followed by the company’s Tulsa communities in October, its San Antonio and Austin properties in November and Dallas and Houston in January.