The holidays are over and everyone’s taken some time to rest and recover for a new year in multifamily. If we are all being honest, November and December were likely the months where the industry took their foot off the gas and we often see this continue into January and even parts of February in previous years. For 2024, however, this is the time to start ramping up... and quickly.
Even though the year ahead will be competitive, the positive outlook is that someone still ends up on top. January is the time to get honest with your current processes and get a firm grasp on what needs to be done differently in order to retain current residents and attract new leases. Quality gets compromised when you’re reactive, meaning proactive work will be rewarded and reactiveness will not.
Many will get caught up in participating in day-to-day operations instead of looking at how the day-to-day plays a role in the overarching goals of your properties. Our advice is to consistently zoom in and zoom out on your goals. Such as in life, success will not be linear and especially not this year.
Here are the 4 things you need to do now to ensure you end up meeting your goals and stay on an upward trajectory:
You already know your yearly budget. But as of right now, a comprehensive and proactive approach to budget management is going to play a huge role in how your year-end looks. As a multifamily supervisor, your role extends beyond the oversight of financial metrics. It's also going to be about creating a strategic financial plan that aligns with goals and adjusts if projected outcomes are looking lackluster.
Regular budget review meetings, the frequency of which may be influenced by market conditions, provide a forum for collective strategizing and all supervisors, including maintenance, leasing, and marketing, should be a part of this. The additional benefit of this ongoing review isn't just financial understanding, but also having foresight. It's a proactive approach, like looking out for icebergs ahead while leaving your teams with some runway to pivot, concert efforts, or re-evaluate approaches and strategies for new leases and resident retention.
These budget reviews will mostly help gauge how monthly, quarterly, and year-to-date projections are aligning or not aligning with actuals. As you track this progress regularly, you’ll be able to address any concerns or untapped revenue streams ahead of time. Supervisors can collectively examine where there is still the opportunity to account for every dollar and leverage those dollars to their fullest potential. This could be as simple as property managers doing due diligence with the collection of lease violation fees.
Additionally, you should already have structured commissions and bonuses in place for your staff, but in instances where meeting budget becomes a concern, consider introducing a kicker for your agents-- a bonus on top of a bonus.
This kind of additional bonus would be for those who exceed budget expectations, not just meet them. It would ultimately motivate your employees to work harder and reach even higher. And if they do exceed that goal? Their accomplished work will pay for the bonus in the end, investors will be happy with the results, and new business will have come in. Essentially, it’s a win-win bonus to incentivize your employees to achieve even higher results.
The trajectory of success this year isn't going to just be in the financial strategy, but in the unified strength of your teams. Picture this as a symphony, where every team member, from the groundskeeper up, plays a pivotal role in creating harmony. Communication is the conductor of your properties’ success and the quality of that communication will either create a chaotic sound or a harmonious tune, which naturally impacts your results.
The biggest influence of this conductive communication is helping every team member understand the 'WHY' behind any decisions and budget constraints. Simply conveying the rules won’t get all that you want out of your employees. What will get their attention is your transparency around decisions while also calling attention to how each individual's contribution shapes the overall picture of success. When the entire team understands the rationale behind choices or budget constraints and their individual contribution to the overall goals, there's a natural buy-in and a shared commitment to a common cause.
Even better, this buy-in will promote more collaboration from your teams. As challenges or concerns are inevitable, your team will feel empowered to tackle them head-on. When you gather your teams for brainstorming sessions, they are not only more likely to participate, but add true value in conversations around mitigating risks and thinking outside of the box.
These proactive brainstorming sessions are only creating more armor for your properties, as it prevents hasty or reactive decisions. The energy and involvement in these conversations ahead of leasing season will ultimately reveal a trajectory for success. Make sure you’re not just communicating but orchestrating and shaping the sweet sound of team spirit.
Start by revisiting the basics with your teams, not because you’re assuming their lack of knowledge but reinforcing the foundation so that its muscle memory. Dive into the intricacies of your software tools. Whether it's navigating new features or maximizing use of existing functionality. A team that truly knows its software is a powerful force in the competitive leasing landscape.
Education is empowerment. Provide your teams with the knowledge and tools to excel. This isn't just about feeding them with information but instilling a sense of ownership and pride in their roles, especially when it comes to their relationships with renters and prospects. When teams are empowered with tools, education, training and resources, buy-in becomes second nature and momentum is built more easily.
As you gear up for the upcoming leasing season, see it not just as a busy period but a prime opportunity to refresh, retrain and reignite your teams. In doing so, you're not just preparing for success – you're orchestrating it with an optimistic spirit that propels your teams to new heights.
As we navigate the promising expanse of 2024, it's time to shine a spotlight on areas that could be the game-changers in attracting and retaining residents. Remember, every lead matters, and the little details can create a lasting impact. Here are some areas of marketing worth examining and preparing for:
Start by examining your property’s website as it serves as your digital storefront and a typical first impression of your property for new leads. Consider looking at the websites of competing or neighboring properties. What's catching your eye? What might be resonating with potential residents? Now, turn that discerning eye inward to review your own property's website and identify areas for improvement. Leads will be drawn to a property that is creating an immersive digital experience, one which stands out from the rest.
Here's where the opportunity sparkles – there's a significant gap in the industry waiting to be filled when it comes to social media. Evaluate how your property is engaging with renters on social media channels and what neighboring properties are doing. Are you curating a space that not only attracts new renters but retains current residents? Look beyond how many followers you have and review the actual engagement you’re getting on your channels.
Organic social media is a powerful and free tool, so play off the value your property has to offer, especially anything additional to providing a place to live. This is what will separate you from other properties, sharing more than just promotional content. You can offer resources, entertainment and showcase the sense of community your property brings where it makes sense. Make it magnetic, task-oriented, and aligned with the algorithm and renters' general desires.
Every post, every interaction, and every bit of content should be tailored to be attractive and relevant. Put on the shoes of your residents – what would improve their quality of life as a renter? Use the answers to those questions and provide them with content that not only resonates but offers real value.
Conduct surveys to delve into the minds of your residents. What are their pressing concerns, both with the apartment community and life, and how can your property be a source of support and solutions? These responses can result in ideas for your properties to go above and beyond, such as providing monthly budget templates or hosting community events. Engage with on-site staff to understand the conversations happening within the community. These insights can boost a marketing strategy that resonates with residents and potential renters on a personal level.
The first couple months of 2024 are more important than many in the industry believe. If you aren’t having buy-in conversations with teams, making proactive decisions and putting strategies like these in place, you need to start doing so now. If you wing it in the first quarter, you’re going to find yourself and your team in reactive mode which will limit your potential. However, if you are proactive now, you will see momentum soar into the following quarters and deliver better results throughout the year. Don’t wait and don’t sit back. Despite the competition of the year, someone ends up on top and by being proactive you increase the likelihood that it will be you!
If you’re interested in ResMan as a software provider for your daily operations, book a demo to see the product up close.