These have been uncertain times over the past year-plus, and they have made the act of investing in apartment properties much more unpredictable than before. Although there will always be demand for homes, the value of properties such as these will tend to fluctuate even more during uncertain times.
One of the best things that an active investor can do upon investing in single-family apartments and engaging in multifamily investing is taking a close look at what the competition is doing.
For example, consider all of the ways that you can simplify the renting process for the prospective renter. If you can place the entire process online, from providing basic information about your rentals to the signing of a lease, that would be preferred. However, if that is not possible, whether permanently or temporarily, make as much of it as easy to research and complete as possible.
Having photographs of the property both inside and out is a must-have. Probably around 25 would be the best balance of not too few and not too many.
In addition, consider offering virtual walkthroughs to allow your virtual visitor to experience their prospective new home more fully without needing to leave their screen. This allows them to either be sold on it on the spot or be intrigued enough to want to learn more or see it in person. This can be done through one or more videos or through a more immersive walkthrough experience.
Of course, these online visuals have become especially important over the past year-plus as so many have felt that it is not in their best interest to actually come on-site unless they must. A lack of a virtual walkthrough or a poorly put-together one can turn off prospective renters, particularly if your competition is offering this feature.
Regardless of what visuals you are providing, keep in mind that prospective renters will also want some visuals of what the neighborhood is like and what is nearby. Is it near a park? What is the view like from its windows? As is commonly known among those involved in apartment investing, location is one of the most important features that renters consider.
You may also want to consider uploading a drone-flyover video.
Another step that you should take as an active investor in these types of properties is being thorough in the text of the listings for each place you own. Well-written, engaging text that both educates and draws in the visitor is preferred. At a minimum, you want some prose there. Not only is this essential to draw the reader in, but it is also important for SEO-related reasons.
Regardless, make sure to include all of the necessary specifics within the listing, such as its price, location, number of bedrooms, type of flooring, if it includes a balcony, if pets are allowed, how much a security deposit would be, and if utility costs would be included in the rent or paid for separately.
This limits the need for potential renters to contact you with questions, saving time for yourself and your staff. It also removes what could be a mental stumbling block that may cause them to move on and consider different properties to rent.
Applying, Being Screened, and Completing a Lease
Active investing at a high level also means that you should make the application, screening, and lease completion process as simple as possible. Group those steps together as part of a procedure on your website or, in lieu of that, otherwise simplify them as much as possible.
One of the benefits of investing in a significant number of apartment properties is that you can have one application take care of the application process for all of them. The same goes for screening; the more places that a prospective renter can be simultaneously screened for, the more apt they will be to ultimately decide to rent one that they have been approved for.
The lease-signing step of the process might be the most difficult one to incorporate into your website, and this may require the prospective renter to instead make a trip to your property, but do consider doing this if you can.
As you progress in this active investing opportunity, it is important to keep abreast of your metrics. For example, keep up to date on how many of your visits turn into applications and, of those, rental agreements. See how those figures vary from apartment type to apartment type and see how tweaking certain aspects of your listings affect these things.
One of the best examples that you should consider mimicking as an active investor is Apartments.com. See what about its design impresses you when you put yourself in the shoes of a prospective renter. Of course, you could also simply use their services for listing your rentals if that ends up making the most sense financially and otherwise from your end.
Of course, many of these recommendations can be applied to commercial investing and commercial properties as well. Whether you are taking advantage of a multifamily investing opportunity or a commercial investment opportunity, you want to ensure that your properties are being shown in the most positive, informative light possible and that those who want to take advantage of any commercial properties that you own may do so with ease, from the inquiring stage to agreeing on a rental.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.