‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: What to Do When Your Building’s Selling Point No Longer Sells
Back in the day, you could get a bucket of fried golden goodness at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then people got super into health and fitness. Plus, in the ’90s, not only did the term “supermodel” come into existence, but belly-baring t-shirts were all the rage (thanks a lot, Gwen Stafani and Sporty Spice). And in 1991,…
Back in the day, you could get a bucket of fried golden goodness at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then people got super into health and fitness. Plus, in the ’90s, not only did the term “supermodel” come into existence, but belly-baring t-shirts were all the rage (thanks a lot, Gwen Stafani and Sporty Spice). And in 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken faced a dilemma. “Fried” was in the name, after all, and admitting to eating fried food was no longer en vogue. So Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded itself as KFC. Did they still sell fried chicken? Of course. Still do, in fact. But it shifted the focus, and people who were “eating healthy” could continue to eat there, even though we all know they’re definitely still eating the fried chicken and not the grilled kind.
Anyway, even if you manage an awesome building, there might be a time when your biggest selling point no longer sells. For example, my parents were recently telling me about some condos they had looked at that were on the water. And, of course, were super expensive because of the great views. But, recently it was announced that a big commuter bridge would be built right there, effectively destroying those great water views. Which, in turn, would completely lower the property value. So what do you do then? (Besides cry. I would totally cry.)
Here are some suggestions about what to do when your building’s main selling point is no longer a selling point.
Find a new selling point. If the view is no longer great for your property, stress the brand-new pool to prospective residents. Or if it’s in a formerly quiet area that now sounds like a stereotypical NYC street (ambulances, jack hammers, and people screaming, “Hey, I’m walking here!” every five minutes), then talk up the convenient access to public transportation. There has to be something that’s appealing about the place.
Camouflage that eyesore. My mother-in-law has an amazing apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Apparently, it used to be even more amazing with a view of the East River. But then another building was put up right next to hers, and, poof, no more view (unless you’re into spying on your neighbors, but so rarely do we end up living next to Colin Firth). So, what to do? Nothing? Sell the place? Give it to your beautiful, smart, and oh-so-modest daughter-in-law? No. Her solution was creative window treatments. When you open them, yeah, you still see the other building, but who really leaves their blinds open, anyway? You can do this on a building-level as well. Install beautiful drapery in your units, so while the view outside might still not be great, the view inside is awesome.
Fix it. If your building is now near a construction site, making it difficult for commuters, you could offer a shuttle bus for residents to the nearest public transportation. If your building’s gym is getting a little run down, buy new equipment. If your vending machines are out of Doritos, what are you waiting for—get more Doritos.
Spin, spin, spin. If you can’t fix it, make it a positive. Old architecture? Boom, it’s charming. Low-pressure showers? Ta-da! You’re energy efficient. Found a skeleton family in the closet? Well, who doesn’t love a haunted house? Actually, maybe not that one. Homie don’t play that. Renters will be able to see for themselves and make their own decisions, but no sense turning them off in your ad before they even come to check out the place.
Reduce the rent. Some money is better than no money. A property manager’s gotta eat, right?
What are some other things to do when your building’s selling point no longer sells? Has this ever happened to you, and what did you do?
-Jessica Fiur, News Editor
Photo credit: TonyV3112