May 24, 2017

What Your Building Manager Wishes You Knew


Renting is tough. But renting in a market like New York, San Francisco, or D.C. can be really tough: there is insane competition for housing, while at the same time there are seemingly endless options. It can be daunting to approach a broker, leasing agent, or building manager.

Traditionally, there has been a huge power imbalance in how much information a prospective renter has versus the access that a real estate professional has to information. That has evened out in the past few years as real estate catches up with modern marketing practices: by taking advantage of being able to list real-time availability on properties’ websites, by posting virtual tours, and even by utilizing review sites.

Even then, there are some pieces of information that every building manager is pretty much dying to share with prospective renters but don’t get to on a regular basis. These are their open secrets:

  • Prices for apartments change, sometimes daily. This is a simple function of supply and demand. There are many organizations that track their supply and adjust pricing accordingly. A good leasing agent will tell you to rent now not because they’re being a cheesy salesperson, but because savvy real estate marketing means sharing as much info as you can without the overshare.
  • Your management office wants to hear from you! Is your upstairs neighbor’s rendition of the James Bond theme song both loud and off-key? Don’t suffer for weeks or months: tell the leasing agent. Is your tub not draining? Before you stock up on Drano, check with your Super first. This is also a great way for a building or rental company to spread the word about superlative service. Many organizations will link their service reviews to a website like to show how connected their staff is to their residents.
  • Renewals are not a way to kick out residents; they are a way to initiate keeping you. When a renewal comes with a rent increase, bear in mind that there are new costs every year: for the great leasing agent that always delivers your packages and knows your dog’s name, for the new roof deck furniture, even so that there is a budget to call the plumber in the middle of the night. By and large, it costs less to keep a resident in place than to renovate an apartment and put it on the market. (In this case, part of the marketing plan is to avoid having to market your apartment).

In every community, there is so much going on behind the scenes that their clients will never see. While an organization can work towards sales goals and meeting budgets, the most forward-thinking will also take a holistic approach to marketing and make sure that every member’s goals are aligned: from the property managers and brokers to the on-site leasing agents and engineers. These are the communities that make renting easy: they’re the ones to keep an eye out for and they’re among our clients.