By Daniel Berlind, CEO of Snappt on Dec 20, 2022

Analyze your best leases, not just leads, to gain a leg up in the new year.

Don’t fight the holidays. 

That’s a year-end mantra experienced multifamily real estate pros know well. After all, there’s little even the best property managers can do to increase foot traffic and leasing velocity in late December and early January. The simple truth is that most people prefer to spend this time of year with friends and family and avoid move-outs when it’s wet and cold outside if they can. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to write off this time as a loss. It’s the perfect season for your property management company to put in just a few hours of strategic prep, which helps sharpen your team’s focus and opportunity in the new year. Here’s a template of property management tips for a few areas to concentrate on to get the most out of these slower days in the leasing office. 

Gauging your marketing channels

This is a great time to look at where your best incoming traffic came from, so you can focus on those channels in the coming year. Here are some categories to break it down into.

  • Social media: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn 
  • Print: Ads in local circulars, free apartment guides, brochures
  • Referrals: Directories, Craigslist
  • SEO: Keywords, meta descriptions, location-based searches
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing
Leverage your property management system’s lead referral tracking tools to drill down into each channel to figure out which ones resulted in the most leases and put a focus on those areas in the new year. Is TikTok the place to be to find prospective tenants? If so, what strategies work there? Is this the year to ditch the time, effort, and money that goes into print advertising? Successful property managers know the key in this business is to let the data be your guide.

Know your own website

No matter what source your original leads came from, you’re likely funneling them to a single place: your own website. Take the time now to analyze how effective it has been in converting your incoming leads to leases. 

Google Analytics is your friend here. Set up your own parameters and drill into them to track the incoming sources of potential tenants to your website. The Google Search Console can provide reports on traffic and your site’s performance in search results to highlight any areas that need improvement, such as indexing issues for new or updated content.  

Once you understand what’s driving renters to your site, tune up what’s under the hood and test how your site does with free tools, including Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom Tools Test. For insight that shows where you measure up against your multifamily competitors, check out RentVision’s SiteScore

Finding good tenants goes beyond just quantity - it is the quality of your leases

 It’s one thing to know where your leases are coming from. It’s another to know how your quality tenants found you. I’m not talking about lead-to-lease conversion, though that’s important. Instead, managers should also be looking at lease quality to really know the net result of their lead-generating efforts. 

For example, what is your property’s on-time monthly rent payment score? Where do those great tenants who always pay on time typically come from? Is there one source of reliable tenants that stands out among others? 

This is where plumbing your PMS, combined with your lead analysis, can give you a real insight into the quality of residents that come from each of your marketing channels. The best tenants- and the right tenants- will flock to your site this way.

Analyzing the sources of bad tenants already in your rental properties 

 Looking at the other end of the spectrum of your rent roll is also critical here. This may seem counterintuitive. Focusing on evictions or people who are slow to pay, have bad credit scores, or any type of red flags – the kind of residents we don’t want – is usually far down the list of an apartment marketer’s priorities. 

But in a recent survey of more than 230 institutional property managers nationally, the top challenge operators faced was tenants who pay rent late. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said overdue payments were somewhat too extremely common.  

That’s why this is a metric marketers should put more focus on to make sure the leases they land at their buildings are as profitable as possible. 

Thus, as you’re looking at where your good tenants came from, consider the sources for the worst ones as well. Is there a pattern or trend with good new tenants? After a background check, do you find they have a lot of eviction histories? Does one source or another stand out? That might be an area to analyze with a tenant screening report.

Multifamily’s new metric: lead-to-lease quality

Looking at lead-to-lease quality helps during the next step of the leasing sales funnel – the leasing application process. 

Today, one in eight rental applications contains some form of leasing fraud. Most come in the form of altered bank statements and bogus pay stubs, credit history, and more documents that are easily obtained online today but are hard to spot with the naked eye. They may even be covering up a shady rental history, a broken lease agreement, or a criminal record. Qualified tenants have nothing to hide, and while you may be able to tell a bad apple from a good one in person, analyzing documents for possible fraud is a lot trickier and more time-consuming. 

Technology can combat this. Snappt’s leasing fraud prevention software analyzes the digital DNA of these potential renter’s documents to flag risks upfront before they convert to leases. Then again, looking at your marketing channels through a fraud prevention lens with tenant screening processes can help trim the number of bogus applications you get in the first place. 

While you can’t fight the holidays in terms of leasing traffic, you can take this time to prepare for the coming year to ensure you’re focused on your best marketing channels. That means not only those sources that produce the most leases but also the ones that result in your best residents as well, the ones you’ll happily rent to and renew a tenancy with throughout the new year.  

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