8 Tips to Increase Rent for New and Renewed Leases

Originally Presented by Kate Good
8/25/2011

Our friends at Vaultware have been tracking rents and report that rents are increasing in each region of the country when compared to rates last year. It seems everyone is doing it! Are you raising rents? Don’t let your apartment community get left behind and leave money on the table. Here are 8 tips to help you increase rents. (Click on this link for the Vaultware Rent Increase Study http://kategoodblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/vaultware-says-raise-rentseveryone-is.html)

1. Set yourself up for success. You can’t pull a rent increase out of thin air because people are going to want to know why rent is increasing when it seems the country is still in an economic crisis. In this email you will see charts tracking rent increases across our country. The apartment industry is recovering faster than other sectors of the real estate industry. Be prepared for this conversation as there is certain to be pushback from the renter who, based on sluggish economy reports, is not expecting a rent increase. In fact, they may be looking for a concession!

2. Prepare your team for this question “Why are rents going up?”. Have a response that everyone understands and is comfortable delivering. Educate your team as to why rents are increasing and prepare them for this conversation with residents. Remember, every member of your team should understand this strategy and what to say to a resident. Your service team spends more time with residents compared to us. Do they know why rents are increasing and how to discuss this with customers?

3. If you are nervous about raising rents, get over it. This is a business and although we love our customers and want to help them, we still have a fiduciary responsibility to make this apartment community profitable. Deliver your rent rates with confidence. I know there are customers you consider friends and you are aware of their personal plight. Pushing a rent increase may be difficult but you have to take your emotions out of this part of your job and meet the properties economic potenial.

4. Flat rate pricing makes it very difficult to increase rents. Get the highest rent you can by understanding what makes each individual apartment unique and valuable. Some are worth more than others to the renters and should be priced accordingly. In addition, when you have everyone paying the same price, everyone is going to expect the same deal upon renewal because let’s face it, residents talk to their neighbors. This is a difficult pattern to break until you create price differential.

5. If you are hearing “no” find out why. Understand what the market is telling you. Make adjustments.

6. Monthly market studies are worthless. You have to study your market each week if not each day! This market intelligence will help you find your optimal rent rates. Check out Vaultware’s market survey product and get instant alerts when your competition is adjusting rents. Now that will make you smarter!

7. Apartment All Star, Michael Benton, reminds us that competitors don’t steal happy residents. Great point! Above everything, a good customer service program should be part of your rent increase strategy.

8. Invest in Yield Management software. Having a tool like this will help you maximize rents on a daily basis taking a lot of the work and emotion out of the process. YieldStar or Rainmaker will be on the job even when you need a day off! Look into this. This is a solid investment that pays for itself.