The Perfect Property

The Apartment Model Strike: How Property Managers Can Avoid Move-In Problems

by Zachary Thompson

As a property manager, it isn't uncommon to use model apartments to show prospective tenants when they arrive at your apartment community interested in renting an apartment. Unfortunately, model apartments can sometimes do more harm than good. This is because there is often misrepresentation with models and this can damage your overall "brand". To avoid the strike of the apartment model, here are three things that you can do to avoid problems at move-in:

1. Show the Apartment The Tenant Will Be Renting.

Although it may not always be possible to show the apartment that the tenant will actually be renting due to carpet being installed, walls being painted or appliances being upgraded, you should always try. While some people who come to communities are going to enjoy looking at model apartments that property managers have spent hundreds or more dollars on to spruce up and look fantastic, the truth of the matter is that most people are going to want to see the apartment that they are going to be living in. So, it may be better to allocate that money on getting those vacant apartments ready to move in as soon as possible. If the actual apartment is not ready when the prospective tenant arrives at your community, show them the model and then invite them back when the actual apartment is available for showing.  

2. Consider Using Virtual Tours.

When you have apartments that are ready for move-in, you may want to consider grabbing a cell phone or a video camera and videoing a virtual tour. This allows you to video the apartment room by room and capture feature by feature to show potential tenants before they even step foot on your property. You can post these on your apartment community website, Craigslist ads, and even YouTube channel. You can create new virtual tours when upgrades are made, such as new appliances or fresh paint colors.

Keep in mind that a virtual tour also works great if you have someone come in looking for an available apartment and you don't have one available to show, although you will have one coming available next month. If you have previously made a video of that apartment, you can show it to them so that they can get an idea of the floor plan.

3. Always Put Things In Writing.

Make sure that if you aren't able to show the actual apartment to the tenant that you summarize the differences between the model and the apartment that they'll be moving into. You and the tenant should both sign off on this in acknowledgment and provide the tenant with a copy. This will help to avoid any future problems. 

For more information on this topic, contact a company like CJ Real Estate, Inc.