Property Owners: Offering a Move-In Special? If Not, You’re Behind.

It’s no surprise that property owners are racing for the same tenants after significant market disruptions. Average rent in Downtown Denver for a 2-bedroom apartment was $2,498/month in 2020, similar to the overall per unit average in 2019 at $1,855/month. There is no limit that landlords can increase rent and it’s no secret the cost of living in Denver continues to rise as the population increases. As 2021 continues and retention rates have started to stabilize, move-in specials are all the rage. If you’re not participating – you’re missing out on attracting quality residents.

What is a Move-In Special?

Typically when thinking about what a move-in special is you probably think of giving away free money whether that be in the form of free rent or discounts. While that may be very incentivizing and certainly an option if all your competitors are offering them, there are also other types of specials to consider first that don’t break the bank – and still keep you competitive.

Types of Move-In Specials (With less monetary focus)

Flexible Lease Terms

Setting expectations needs to be airtight between you and the tenant, however it is possible to provide just the right amount of flexibility within a lease to help residents make it feel like home. Adjusting lease terms can be VERY incentivizing for many residents depending on what’s important to them. This allows them to feel valued while still maintaining your rent prices. Below are a few suggestions that you can look into adjusting if you don’t already offer them:

  • Include an early lease termination clause, with a 30 or 60 day notice
  • Allow tenants to have pets
  • Allow tenants to paint your property inside, with expectations and rules on how it gets painted back when leaving
  • Subleasing is not often allowed but when moving to the next location, this could be just what residents need in a lease to navigate unknown futures

Welcome Packages

Creating good repour between your property management and residents is key to retention. That relationship begins even before they sign the lease and it can be easy to get the signed contract then forget about them. Enhance their welcome with a package consisting of local restaurant gift cards, coupons or new apartment staples. Perhaps tickets to the local sports game is enough of a incentive for potential residents to pick your property. Especially when everyone is offering similar move-in discounts. Remember the different types of personalities you cater to and make a welcome package meaningful and unique.

Here are a few unique ideas you could include in a welcome package:

  • Gift cards to local restaurants
  • Kitchen welcome basket (mixing bowls, spatulas etc.)
  • Bathroom supplies (towels and soaps)
  • Sports tickets
  • Free lunch to scheduled food trucks that come on property
  • Technology package for the work from home resident (standing desk, headphones etc.)
  • Plants
  • Local event tickets (Renaissance festivals, Fall markets etc.)

Financial Move-In Special 

Well, we mentioned it earlier and there is no denying that money matters. If you have several vacant units sitting around, the quickest way to fill them is through on of the following:

Waive the Application Fee

The lowest hanging fruit is waiving the application fee for potential residents which averages between $25-74 according to Apartment List Data compiled in June 2021. Moving is stressful enough and especially costly when paying for other moving services as well. Simple savings you can offer will start the relationship off on a high note and doesn’t break the bank.
image.pngFree or Discounted Month (or two) of Rent

All over Colorado and online you will find lists of all the apartments offering move-in specials from $500 off first months rent to 50% off. When you are looking at the same pool of shopping residents, these move-in specials are tipping them toward their “next home”.

Rent Decrease

Of course you don’t want to decrease your monthly rent prices but vacant units are hurting more than decreased priced units. Think about it.

Remember to Work with Your Property Managers

As ownership, often it’s the responsibilities of your property management company to handle these types of incentives in addition to all the other tasks that ensure smooth operations. Without the property managers, move-in specials are likely to fail.

Your property managers are the first lines of communication with residents of your property. Consulting with them will be essential in understanding the wants and needs of your residents and how best to tailor an incentive program that drives quality residents and creations more retention. Here’s a list of questions to discuss with your property managers to help determine what type of incentive is best for your property and residents:

  1. What are the most frequent complaints you receive?
  2. What type of events have had the most resident attendance?
  3. What type of reactions do potential applicants give regarding application fees?
  4. Do you know what surrounding properties are offering for incentives?
  5. What information do we have on why residents move out after 1 year?
  6. Does your property interiors and exteriors look as nice as surrounding properties?
  7. What demographic residents do we currently have?

If possible, encourage property management to send out satisfaction surveys periodically to help answer some of these questions and guide you in selecting the right incentive for your property.

Don’t have a property management company? No problem! Reach out to your local Apartment Association for a list of recommendations! Fortunately, Endeavor Exteriors partners with the Apartment Association of Metro Denver (AAMD) and would be happy to work with our team there to help provide you with recommendations.

Curb Appeal – Attracting Residents to Quality

We couldn’t let you leave without mentioning one last important factor that residents consider when searching for their next home – curb appeal. At Endeavor Exteriors, we care about your residents and want them to feel like your property is truly their home. In plain terms – they care if your building looks nice and how it makes them feel.

That’s where we come in. There is no better way to increase property value and grab resident attention than a nice looking property starting with the outside. Windows that block outdoor (or neighbor) noises, outdoor living on balconies, a nice paint job…now you’re starting to feel the value residents are looking for in day to day living. It starts with exterior remodeling.

We are dedicated to providing quality exterior remodeling services, exceptional customer service and resident updates through any remodeling project. We will even keep residents up to date throughout the project and have some great tips for property managers that help keep residents happy before construction.

Choosing the Right Move-In Special

Ultimately, considering your bottom line, what surrounding properties are doing for move-in specials and the insights of your property management group will determine what is best for your property.

Author: Kimberly Mertlich