Developers are bringing property managers into the fold earlier. The emerging trend is an effect of the massive amount of multifamily product under construction. With several thousand units per year coming to market, developers are leveraging property managers earlier to help curb competition. Property managers are also requesting that developers hire them early on in the development cycle to better prepare for leasing.
“We engage with developers at various stages of a property’s development. However, the earlier we can be brought on board, the more value we can deliver as we prepare for a lease-up,” Cindy Wick, regional VP at Western National Property Management, tells GlobeSt.com.
Analyzing both existing apartment stock and the construction pipeline is integral to developing a leasing strategy. “The most important aspect of preparing to lease a new community is analysis of what is currently working combined with research on what is coming to market, both locally and on a national level,” says Wick.
This includes looking at current design trends and amenity offerings among the apartment product that is under development. “We look at new trends in apartment homes such as bike repair rooms, pet-friendly amenities including pet daycare and grooming, as well as new fitness offerings, and from there we make strategic recommendations on what is needed at the property level,” says Wick. “We also look carefully at how our team will communicate with residents, and gather details on how our prospective residents like to shop for apartments.”
In addition to analyzing the market and potential competition to develop a leasing strategy, hiring a property manager during construction can give developers an opportunity to form its operational strategy. “We can also work with the developer to ensure that all operational processes and procedures are in place so the property can operate smoothly from the start,” says Wick. “This will help to garner positive resident experiences from the beginning, which can be shared to attract new residents as the lease-up continues.”
Forming operational policies early can also help to curate the leasing strategy and ensure it is strong well after the delivery. “From there, we draw upon tried-and-true leasing strategies that our team has used to successfully lease multifamily properties throughout the U.S. In the current market, this means setting up and preparing for the property’s digital footprint, including creating, running, and monitoring online and social marketing sites,” says Wick. “In addition, we typically plan a series of on-site events to ensure potential residents have the opportunity to connect personally with the property and our team.”