Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What To Do In A Slow Down

Let me set the stage for you...

Last month you were at 100% occupancy and the the phone wouldn't quit ringing... you couldn't handle all the calls.  You were turning people away in droves, raising you rents, and had a waiting list 200 people deep.  It seemed like the good times would never end.

And then it all stopped.  Now the phone doesn't ring, no one is asking about your specials, and your five best long term tenants just told you they were moving out.  Your boss is freaking out and it's all coming down on you.  Worst of all, you have no idea why.

First, this happens... because of the normal cycle of schools, businesses and holidays, you are going to have some slow times.  Thankfully long term projections for the apartment industry are great.  The economic downturn hurt lots of industries but the rental housing market isn't one of them.  Lot's of folks that used to be able to go out and get a loan for a house simply can't any more, consequently the rental housing industry is stronger now and has a stronger outlook then before the recession.  But that doesn't help you right now.

Here's what to do...

1.  Spend you ad money locally.  You're going to get more millage out of $500 spent in a local shopping guide or apartment guide then on some weird non-local web site or newspaper.

2.  Hit facebook.  Do something fun for your residents (like free hot chocolate in the office) and tell the world about how much fun your residents are having on your facebook page.

3. Put up holiday decorations around your street sign.  It shows the world that active, fun people run your community.

4.  Call the major employers in your town human resources department.  Tell them about your special this month and get their permission on send them a fax about it to put on their company bulletin board.  A fax is better than an email here because it's already printed out for them.

5.  Give to a charity.  Is there any charity even you can help sponsor to get your name on it.  Call around to some non-profits in your area to see if there is something you latch on to.  Oh, and this will help someone else also :)

Remember, things are really looking great for apartments so there's no reason to think this is a long term problem.  Chin up!  You're going to make it through this just fine.

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