The beauty of marketing to, and getting leads from, apartment complexes is that the addresses never change, but the people who live there do, so you are constantly marketing to new people.
I owned a mortgage company. I also owned a buyer/broker real estate company, and at the same time, co-owned a mortgage company with a larger builder. Over 20 percent of our leads were generated by consistently marketing to tenants who lived in apartment complexes.
In fact, the NAR, in their report called “Profile of Home Buyers and Home Sellers (latest version), reports on “Prior Living Arrangements—Before Buying a Home.” Here are the statistics:
37% Married Couples rented before buying a home
49% Single Females rented before buying a home
47% Single Males rented before buying a home
58% Unmarried couples rented before buying a home
To me, getting leads and marketing to apartment complexes is a no-brainer—when it comes to targeting the largest number of people with a single campaign. And once you have set it up as a pillar of your business, you can use it over, and over, and over again.
But, you’ve got to do it right.
Here are 10 things that will help you get the same results that I did!
Tip #1 – Consistency Is the Key! The beauty of marketing to apartment complexes is that you are constantly marketing to new people, because tenants move in and out on a regular basis. Send a series of 3 post cards, within 10 days of each other, in February and July, because over 60% of apartment dwellers move in May and September.
Tip #2 – Send Post Cards Instead of Letters. – Post cards are easy to read and cost less money to create. However, I recommend that the post card size be at LEAST 5” x 7” and you spend the extra money to send it first class mail. Instead of 2-color or 4-color printing, save money by using colored card stock and print with black ink.
Tip #3 – Create a 14-Week Mailing Campaign – So what do you send between the months of February and July? One of the most successful campaigns I used is one called “7 Tips on How to Buy Real Estate.” Mail one tip every 2 weeks. Start on April 1, and the campaign will be completed by July 1.
Tip #4 - The Headline Is the Key to Getting your Message Read. One of the most effective headlines I have tested says, “When your lease is up, do you know where you are going to live?” It’s thought-provoking because it gets people thinking about where they’re going to live when their lease expires.
Tip #5 - Give Prospects Multiple Ways to Contact You. Not all prospects are the same! Some want to call you and talk your head off. Some only want to email you. Others want to visit your website first—and then decide if they want to do business with you or not. Consider including your cell phone number too.
Tip #6 – Have a Follow-up Plan – Do you have a systematic plan to keep in touch with prospects? One of the best ways is to ASK them for permission—“do you mind if I call you in 2 days to follow up? Can I send you something in the mail? Can I email you the information? Can I send you a free report or white paper?” Send whatever you promised within 24 hours because timeliness is the key!
Tip #7 - You’ve Gotta Have a Database – Even if you still use 3 x 5 cards, it’s better than nothing! As your leads come pouring in the door, you need a way not only to keep in touch, but to track your conversion from prospects, straight through to the sale. With a database, you will be able to track how long it takes from first contact until they purchase something. You can also track where your leads are coming from…real estate ads, newspaper, postcards, seminars?
Tip #8 - The Internet Is Your Friend. When choosing the “right” apartment complex, you can find literally anything about the complex, including number of units, location, rental amounts, and the list goes on. Check out the website for free tips on how to do your research in helping you choose ones that are most likely to respond.
Tip #9 - How to Check for Vacancy. No, the apartment manager is not going to tell you that 40% of the units are vacant. Drive through the complex around 8 pm to see how many lights are illuminated; how many cars are in the parking lot; how many grills are on the balcony or patio. Include your return address on your post card and pay for first-class postage. If units are vacant, the post office should notify you.
Tip #10 - Schedule Home-Buyer Seminars. Instead of spending tons of money placing an ad in your local homes magazines, send a post card to apartment complexes announcing your event with a short outline of what they will learn. Focus on the “wealth building—tax savings—ownership aspect of homeownership. Stay away from mortgage programs, home inspections, title insurance—basically the technical stuff. You’ll get more attendees if you focus on the financial and emotional benefits.
So, if you’ve ever thought about marketing to apartment complexes, it’s the perfect storm. Rents are rising. Home prices are stabilizing. Mortgage interest rates are awesome.
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By Karen Deis, ApartmentToolKit.com, providing apartment address mailing lists and marketing kits for real estate agents, loan officers and home builders.