The leasing cycle is the best time to create meaningful relationships with your future residents. How you communicate during the apartment application process is the first thing a prospective resident will experience. So make this experience a good one!
Future resident engagement is akin to customer engagement. Integrate future resident engagement into your leasing process to set your property up for success. Fostering open communication during the application process is paramount to your marketing efforts.
In this blog, we’ll go over:
- Using your website to aid the apartment application process
- 5 ways to convert prospects into applicants during the apartment application process
- Tips for managing your apartment applicants
- How the apartment application process changes once a lease is signed
Watch how ButterflyMX works:
Using your website to aid the apartment application process
Your building’s website is one of the first things prospective residents will see. Rather than expecting them to navigate through your site, have your site navigate for them!
This doesn’t mean you need a state-of-the-art website. In fact, just a few small tweaks will bring in more applicants. There are many small changes you can make to your website to encourage visitors to apply.
Two effective ways to streamline the apartment application process using your site are adding chatbots and creating strong calls to action.
While speaking directly with a person is the best way to establish contact with a prospect, chatbots, also called AI leasing assistants, are a great tool to fill in gaps. This way, you’ll always have someone there to greet residents, even when your office staff is away.
Be sure to equip your chatbots with answers to commonly asked questions. You should also provide the number to your property management office and your business hours.
Create strong calls to action
Your call to action (or CTA) is a way to entice website visitors to take a certain action — namely, to book a tour or submit an application!
Opt for direct CTAs that tell website visitors exactly what you offer. A CTA that reads “click for information” may get some traction, but not as much as “schedule a tour.” If you present prospective residents with the results they can expect, they’re more likely to click through your site.
Here are some effective guiding CTAs for multifamily websites:
- Schedule a tour
- Request a video tour
- See this unit’s view
- Sign up for rental specials
- Share listing with a friend
- Talk to a leasing agent
5 ways to convert prospects into applicants during the apartment application process
So your website interested someone enough to send their information your way — congratulations! You’ve done the hard part: getting their attention.
Now, your focus must turn to keeping their attention and getting them to apply. This is your chance to turn them from a prospect to a resident.
Here are five ways to keep prospects interested during the application process:
- Send automated emails
- Get your prospect in front of a person
- Send a virtual tour
- Invite them to follow your property on social media
- Create an apartment application process map
1. Send automated emails
Your applicant is likely looking into several properties. No matter when they’re looking to move, residents respond best to properties that contact them first. So don’t shy away from setting up an automated email response system!
Sending an automated message thanking prospects for their inquiry buys your team time to prepare for meaningful engagement. It’s also an easy way to communicate important concrete information like when their requested unit will be available.
Most importantly, an automated response eliminates the possibility of a lead being ignored. No matter how busy your property management team is, responding to every single lead is essential to your success. But this can be a monotonous and time-consuming process.
So, an automated response gives a positive first impression and gives your team time to prepare for your next steps. It also establishes first contact with future residents that will cement your property in their minds.
2. Get your prospect in front of a person
Connecting prospects with a person will show how dedicated you are to easing their apartment application process. As soon as possible, get them on the phone with a property manager or staff member to discuss the leasing cycle. This will form an interpersonal connection and allow you to answer complex questions that your chatbots can’t handle.
There are two main ways to initiate contact with your prospects:
- Set up a phone call: Send your leads an email inviting them to choose times for a phone call to discuss their interest. You can include this in the automated email, or in a follow-up email 24 hours later. In either case, make the phone call invitation personalized. Note the unit they’re interested in and the earliest date that it’s available. Additionally, outline the things they can expect to go over in the call, such as touring processes and required application paperwork.
- Cold call: Have you tried to set up a phone call to no avail? Calling your prospect directly to set up this crucial phone call is key. As millennials and Gen Zers comprise the majority of the rental market, cold calling has fallen in popularity. But, it’s still an effective way to grab a prospect’s attention.
3. Send a virtual tour
Virtual tours are more important now than ever. In order to stay competitive in a rental market dominated by millennial renters, you can never truly be closed. Young, technology-obsessed prospects want convenience over everything. To cater to this new essential, offer virtual tours that prospects can view at any time, not just during your business hours.
Even the most thorough prospects may forget details about the apartments they’ve reached out to. Being memorable is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face during the apartment application process. To keep prospects interested, send them a link to the virtual tour of the unit they’ve inquired about. Reminding them of the beautiful unit that first caught their eye will draw them back to your property.
You should also send virtual tours of your amenities! Be candid about all your property has to offer and show off the facilities your current residents love. This is a huge chance for you to convert.
4. Invite prospects to follow your property on social media
One of the best ways to increase interest in your property is to show them what they’re missing!
Send your property’s social media profiles to new leads and invite them to keep up with your building online. This will let them know that you’re a hands-on property manager who truly cares about each resident’s experience.
You can make this message more personalized by reiterating the rent of the unit your prospect showed interest in. Also, note recurring fees that may apply to them, such as parking, pet rent, and your utility payment policy.
5. Create an apartment application process map
Some of the most commonly asked questions during the apartment application process are:
- How long will it take to get approved for an apartment?
- What will be reviewed with my rental application?
- What can I expect when applying at your property?
You can save yourself the time of answering these individually by creating an apartment application process map. This “map” is simply a checklist of every step your prospects can expect to take should they choose to apply.
By answering the questions above, you’ll eliminate many uncertainties. Additionally, a checklist with a general timeline of the process before move-in day will ease your future residents’ stress.
And remember: Making the effort to ease the apartment application process now may also increase the likelihood that they re-sign their lease when the time comes!
Tips for managing your apartment applicants
Your work to keep a prospect interested doesn’t end once they’ve applied! In fact, nurturing applicants during the background check and tenant screening processes is what will successfully turn them from prospects into residents.
For best results, update your applicants on each major step in the screening process. To do this, consider setting up automated text messages. This way, your applicants won’t be overwhelmed with emails or calls, but will still have documentation of their application process.
In addition, you should personally call each applicant at least once while their application is pending. Introduce yourself as their potential property manager and let them know how they can contact you directly. During this call, invite them to browse your website’s virtual tours and amenities as they wait to sign their lease.
How the apartment application process changes once a lease is signed
Your communication before move-in day may be why your residents eventually re-sign their leases. It may also determine whether they refer friends and family to your property. Because of this, your property marketing efforts shouldn’t end just because a lease is signed.
Instead, you should continue to reach out to your future residents leading up to and during their move. Consider creating a guide that outlines move-in day. Let them know what to expect and what services, such as freight elevators and dollies, they can reserve to ease their transition.
Increased outreach will only enhance your resident’s apartment application experience. It’s always wise to be especially available for your future residents!
Resident retention begins far before move-in day! Practicing robust engagement during the apartment application process allows you to create meaningful relationships with your future residents.
Future resident engagement includes:
- Building a website that answers visitor questions and naturally navigates them to submit an inquiry or apply.
- Increasing meaningful, consistent outreach to applicants.
- Creating a clear timeline that future residents can expect during the application process.