For owners of new multi-family properties, the challenges associated with lease-ups are numerous. From attracting potential tenants to a work in progress to coordinating between various departments, the key factor that every step in the process comes down to is communication. Without excellent communication between parties, lease-up can happen too slowly or too quickly, and the property can be plagued with setbacks that might have been avoidable.
The lease-up process is very different from the ongoing need to fill units in already-established properties. A big reason for this-and a big reason why communication is so important-is that the parties involved in lease-up aren't the parties involved in keeping an established community well populated. Whereas, in an established property, the bulk of communication happens between the property management company and the maintenance team, there are many more parties involved in lease-up. The property owner or management company must communicate with the construction team, the property developer and the team in charge of marketing the new property to prospective residents.
If these teams aren't on the same page, real trouble can ensue. For example, if units are leased too quickly, it can create a rush to complete any remaining work on time, which can lead to quality control issues. Similarly, it's in everyone's best interest to avoid miscommunication that results in delayed move-in for residents. Being able to mutually agree upon a schedule, and make modifications if situations arise, requires that the different parties involved in the lease-up process keep each other well informed.
Ultimately, the last thing a property owner should want to happen is for a new resident's move-in date to be delayed. As moving is a stressful, time-consuming process, residents typically have to make a number of arrangements with their jobs, moving companies, childcare providers and their current property managers or landlords. Delaying their move-in causes real inconvenience, and does not establish a good foundation for their relationship with their new property owner.
Establishing good communication systems
Multi-family property owners should plan to utilize any effective communication system at their disposal during lease-up. From using mutually accessible web-based scheduling applications to sending regular status updates via email, checking in by phone and holding regularly scheduled meetings in person, there is much that the property owner or manager, the construction team, the developer and the marketing team can do to ensure they remain in contact with each other. As the process begins, it can be helpful to discuss preferred modes of communication so everyone starts on the same page, which will make it easier to stay in communication as lease-up proceeds.
There also needs to be clear and prompt communication between the property owner or management company and residents. Particularly during lease-up, you may encounter situations in which residents are moving in before common areas or amenities have been completed. Notifying residents of timelines for completion, or if there have been any delays, is crucial to establishing good will and making the property an attractive community to all of its residents, both current and future.
Property management companies that offer lease-up services to their clients can provide assistance throughout the process, from the initial sit-down with the client, through preparation and marketing phases and culminating in the successful leasing of individual properties. By employing strong communication practices throughout, these services can help multi-family property owners begin to establish successful, welcoming communities for their residents in which everyone involved can take pride.