Why do people only ask about price when inquiring about an apartment?  The most likely answer is that leasing consultants have conditioned them to do so.  When someone is only giving out a price or special over the phone, we are telling our prospects that price is the most important factor in choosing an apartment.  But studies show this is not the case.   In most cases location, maintenance, amenities and floor plans are more important than a price point.  

What makes this condition even more puzzling is the fact that an apartment is the most personal purchase a person will make all year.  It is where they will spend 14 hours of their day.  It is more personal then the clothes they wear or the car they drive.  But we never hear of people calling a car dealership and asking “how much are your cars?” 

One of the many unfortunate side effects of the recession is that people became much more price conscious in their shopping habits.  The result is a complete disappearance of the value sell. 

Now we find ourselves in the golden years of multifamily.  With a recovering economy, job market and millions of potential renters shunning home ownership, it is time for apartment owners to strike while the iron is hot.  Three years from now when the housing market recovers and tens of thousands of additional multifamily units come online, apartment owners are going to look back at 2012 and 2013 and say “why was I afraid to push my rents?” 

Start by reselling your leasing teams on the feasibility of such rent increases.  While market analysis and research is widely studied on the corporate level, on the front lines of the leasing battle our people have yet to grasp the leverage they now have on potential renters.  The other night I was watching the movie Ocean’s Eleven and I couldn’t help but think of the current leasing landscape when George Clooney said to Brad Pitt “the house always wins, except when you have that perfect hand and you bet the house.”   It doesn’t get much better than this my friends.  It’s time to go all in!