How Apartment Operators Manage Investors
By Peggy Panzer, The Laramar Group
Apartment communities have the nonstop, continual mission to keep residents pleased with their living experience. While much effort is dedicated to that pursuit, there is another group that must be made happy — your investors.
The quest to keep residents happy generally consists of keeping their homes in perfect operating condition, the amenity spaces active, the community clean and communication flowing. Satisfying investors is a bit more abstract, and apartment operators should always consider the bottom line.
Investors aren’t often — and shouldn’t need to be — involved with the minutia of a community’s day-to-day operations, but they are often involved in the large-scale initiatives you’ve implemented and their financial impact. With that in mind, consider these three approaches to maintain a strong relationship with investors:
Use the data they value most
Big data is among the most coveted commodities in the apartment world. The challenge is converting various data subsets into actionable processes. Investors prefer data-driven initiatives over those simply based on experience or feel, so it’s a win if you can utilize analytics to help improve the bottom line. For instance, drill down on a community’s phone call data to measure the relationship between a prospect’s time spent on the phone and their likelihood to lease. If you discover a correlation, train your onsite team to pique and maintain the prospect’s interest while on the phone. This results in a longer call, thereby increasing the chances of them signing a lease.
Demonstrate ways to increase cost savings
We know swimming pools are seldom used in winter. Consider the idea of only heating the pool during warmer, heavy-use months. It cuts costs and carries the bonus of serving a green initiative. That’s just one example of how to cut unnecessary costs and improve an investor’s ROI. Another idea: Adopt a smart-apartment feature that dims the lights in corridors and other common areas when no one is present. Small efficiencies add up and investors appreciate the proactive approach.
Use common-sense tactics and problem-solving initiatives
Let’s talk about package management. The increasing popularity of e-commerce has left our leasing offices overflowing with resident packages, making our sales team focus more on resident package requests than nurturing leads and current residents. Adopting a package locker system is a strong solution to the growing package-delivery problem. Start-up costs can be paid up front or can be built into the contract and paid over a multiple-year basis. Either way, the property will realize savings because of increased operational efficiencies and residents will be happier because of a streamlined experience. Residents will be more likely to renew, and your onsite associates can go back to more crucial tasks, such as securing and retaining renters.
Unlike residents, investors aren’t a group that has an everyday presence at your community. But they’ve dedicated time and resources to your community because they believe in the potential to create an exceptional living space and grow their bottom line. Earning their trust by demonstrating these characteristics will make a strong foundation for any investor relationship.