Leasing up a new construction community is much different than simply filling empty apartments at established communities. The process is riddled with unforeseen barriers that can be minuscule, yet time consuming, for the management. There are many people involved and a lot of moving parts, so it is very easy to have a fracture in the information loop. It is important to remember that opening the proper channels of communication between management and construction is the most effective way to limit the frequency of hiccups and allow for quick issue resolution. Once construction is underway, communication is the only way to ensure each necessary step is carried out and deadlines are met.
If there is disconnect between management and construction, move-ins can be scheduled for unrealistic dates which can both force a rush in production (ultimately increasing the risk of faulty work) and increase applicant cancellations due to frustrating move-in complications. We should remember that residents will be coordinating their work, social, and moving schedules around the original move-in times so changes can be a very frustrating inconvenience.
There are many different steps that can be taken to ensure coordination between the construction team and property management. Hold weekly or even daily meetings with the construction supervisors heading each aspect of the project. In these meetings, present the leasing activity to make sure the time frames correlate with the estimated project completion dates. You can also use this time to point out specific issues that need to be addressed before the apartment is rent ready. One new tool that could prove very beneficial when improving communication is TextConnect. This program uses text messaging to directly connect with multiple parties. In this case, the property manager could enter a new lease date which would then populate on the phones of all concerned parties. Google Docs is also a simple and effective tool that can be utilized to perform the same function as TextConnect. Essentially a computerized make-ready board, Google Docs allows everyone to add to, change, and access the same information to ensure all parties are on the same page.
The process of leasing up a new construction community will undoubtedly have inherent complications and while it is difficult to predict when these inconveniences will occur, we can certainly make every effort to prevent them.