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Renting Red Flags

Which is more important renting the unit or satisfying the residents?

We, at ApartmentVideo.ca, wish to share with you some tips on what renters look for and what sets off Red Flags in a rental. It’s no secret that prospective residents look at a rental as their future home. They are thorough and unforgiving when it comes to what they look for and what they want to see. We want to offer you some insight on what we have found renters like and don’t like in rentals. Some of these points are ‘no brainer’ ideas, but you would be surprised to know most of these are not followed in many buildings, causing many renters to turn away and look elsewhere.
    1. Cleanliness. If you have not staged your unit, at least make sure the unit is free of garbage. Vacuum the unit, wipe down the counters, clean the bathroom, and make sure outlet switches are free of dirty fingerprints.
    2. Professional onsite-manager. Residents will have plenty of contact with this individual, so make sure you pick someone professional, friendly, honest, and personable.
    3. Safety. Residents want to feel safe where they live. Working security cameras, proper lighting, and functioning locks are the main things residents look for.
    4. Modern and functional appliances. When a resident sees an old stove or fridge they immediate get turned off. This doesn’t mean you must only have the newest appliances on the market today, just make sure they are current and in great working order. Having high efficiency appliances is not only a bonus for your pocket book, but if the residents pay their own bills, they will appreciate them as well.
    5. Clean and modern laundry facilities. It doesn’t hurt to have smart card machines so residents do not have to save their coins. Or perhaps if coin operated machines are all you have, install a coin machine in the laundry room so residents can convert their cash into coin in a pinch.
    6. Ample parking or well maintained and well lit parking area. Residents can sometimes tell what the interior of the building is like just by inspecting the parking lot. If the parking lot is full of beat-up cars, cars up on blocks, or garbage, residents will be turned away assuming the interior will not be kept up as well.
    7. Flexiblity. Renters want to be able to visit the building on their schedule, not yours. So set up a model suite for anyone to view at anytime and then work out a schedule for viewing the actual unit at a later date. If the property manager or onsite staff aren’t willing to be flexible with potential residents, they won’t be willing to give them a chance.

Are you giving residents what they want?

Or are you setting off Red Flags???

 

7 Secrets To Your Better Bottom Line-Secret 7

This is your last secret in my series, “7 Secrets To Your Better Bottom Line.” Just to clarify, I’m not in the home decorating business. I’m in the income-producing apartment business. I’ve been eliminating vacancies for more than 3 years with staged apartment videos and these are the realities of our industry today:
  1. People believe 80% of what they see with their own eyes and only 20% of what they read
  2. Staged apartment videos allow people to see apartments they’re interested in, reducing the number of places they must physically visit.
  3. When they visit after viewing a video, they only go to verify what they already saw–and to smell the air in the building to be sure it’s clean. (Seriously, they do this…even you do this.)
  4. Beige box apartments rent slower than beautifully furnished and staged apartments. Showing the same space without furniture removes its perspective. Remember the artist MC Escher? No matter how long you studied his artwork, the perspective kept changing (and the stairs kept going up and down!) Without perspective, residents can’t tell if their sofa art will fit in the room or not
  5. Residents don’t live on the outside of your building. Showcasing pictures of big buildings is old, tired marketing. (64% of smartphone owners use their mobile device to shop online…they want interactive media, like videos and images to share on social media, so make sure your site is mobile)
  6. Free Rental Sites. Most important is to get widespread distribution of high quality large colour images, and well produced videos onto a Purpose Built distribution and advertising website…plug into www.FreeRentalSite.com … it’s Free!
I have some great ideas for ApartmentVideo.ca’s next staged apartment video. Let’s meet. To Your Better Bottom Line!

7 Secrets to Your Better Bottom Line – Secret 6

While the U.S. economy may have tanked, money is still cheap in Canada, but the economy continues to sputter. Result: apartment vacancy rates are only 1%-2% in most large urban centers. I talk to a lot of REITs and property owners/managers everyday. Here’s the trend I see:

Read the rest of this page »

7 Secrets to Your Better Bottom Line-Secret 5

OK, it’s time for Secret #5 in my series, “7 Secrets To Your Better Bottom Line.” Eighty percent of the market for apartment rentals are people who need to rent a place to live. Only 20% are people who choose to rent. That means you’re in the “need to rent” business at least 80% of each month. Staging a beautifully furnished apartment and then creating a professional video with voiceover is the marketing strategy that optimizes this business reality. I’ve discovered 6 secrets to staging an apartment effectively.
  1. Pick furniture and decoration that makes residents feel it’s desirable and achievable, furniture they can afford to buy. Choose light, brightly colored pieces. Good quality, but inexpensive
  2. Stage it so residents see they could live there with their furniture. Lay it out so they see how much fits into the space
  3. Don’t decorate so it looks like somebody else lives there. No personal photographs, personal effects, or curtains. When you show an over-decorated apartment, residents can’t visualize their own furniture and artwork there.
  4. Select wall art with dimensions big enough to occupy available wall space, so residents can say, “I could put my 32×32 Picasso replica right there over the couch!” or “I could frame a Van Gogh poster and it will fit beautifully right between those 2 windows.”
  5. The perfect bedroom holds a double bed, 2 dressers, 2 end tables, 2 lamps and a chair or computer desk.
  6. A “beige box” shows residents no perspective. The perfect living room/dining room contains a couch, loveseat, 2 chairs, a big center table, 2 end tables and artwork on the walls


Staging is an art. As Jean Alebeek at Morguard said, “I can’t believe how great your staged apartments look! you really do excellent work…we love it”
But it’s an art that attracts a more desirable tenant, and allows you to charge a little more rent!
Contact us today for ApartmentVideo.ca’s complimentary 20-Minute “Apartment Staging Assessment.”

7 Secrets to Your Better Bottom Line – Secret 4

Here’s Secret #4 in my series, “7 Secrets To Your Better Bottom Line.” The folks over at Centurion Properties are known as “the smartest guys in the room” when it comes to apartment marketing. (To see what I mean, check out this video of Greg Romundt, President, CEO, Trustee of the REIT, talking about tracking leads to conversions at Apartment WebCon.)
So when executives at Centurion say, “In looking to improve our web site and overall marketing effort, we engaged TBM Productions [ApartmentVideo.ca] to stage and photograph our apartment portfolio. TBM Provided a cost effective solution for our business, the results were impressive and clearly allowed us to better articulate our value proposition to our prospective customers.” it’s worth checking out the math. Staging an apartment creates an evergreen asset for ApartmentVideo.ca. When residents come for a tour, you might have to show them a beige box, but they’re already pre-sold because they saw your staged photos and videos. They’re there to sign on the dotted line.

Contact me today so I can show you how it works.

To your Better Bottom Line!

7 Secrets to a Better Bottom Line – Secret 3

Let’s roll the video! After my last blog about how to eliminate the high cost of newspaper ad and ILS expenses from your balance sheet, I had people asking me, “Ian, how does your video & staging service work?” Let me explain…

1. First, you get a price quotation for our staging, photography, and video services and approve it.

2. You provide us with the addresses and keys to your buildings and a date the units will be available for their video shoot.

3. We arrive that morning with our crew: The trained & certified professional stager, photographer, videographer, and my team of movers.

4. We pick up the keys at your office and then, under the professional stagers direction, my movers unpack the furniture, decorations, and accessories (including dishes, bed covers, photos and fresh fruit for color and contrast). Neither your building supervisor nor on-site staff are ever disturbed. No one at ApartmentVideo.ca has to lift a finger.

5. We stage the apartment in the morning. At noon the photographer / videographer begins shooting. By 5pm, we’re packed up and gone.

6. The next day, all your photos are delivered and ready for posting to your website.

7. You approve the video. We post it to several video hosting services, like YouTube, and manage your classified ad campaigns.

8. You count your savings, and give yourself a raise.

Contact me today to schedule a no charge, no obligation “Story Board Consultation”

7 Secrets to a Better Bottom Line – Secret 2

You know how a full-page print ad to market a vacancy costs approximately $5,000? You stopped that, right? Well, It’s probably also costing you another $1,000 per year in fees per apartment building if you subscribe to ‘paid for’ Internet Listing Services (ILS). Using a ‘paid for’ Internet Listing Service is so 2010…It’s time to break that habit too. In the New Normal, managing the bottom line is not an option, it is a necessity. Imagine wiping those fees off your balance sheet and getting the same results (likely better) by driving internet traffic to your own website.
Here are 5 simple steps to make the transition from old marketing to social marketing:
  1. Use merchandising strategies to stage beautifully furnished units that appeal to any renter and makes them say, “I want to live there!”
  2. Create an apartment video for each staged apartment model
  3. Post hi-res professionally acquired photos in every online ad
  4. Post your videos on your own YouTube channel
  5. Run ads on free listings like www.FreeRentalSite.com, Craigslist, Kijiji, and other free services with links that drive traffic back to your website, not to the ILS (where residents finish looking at your property and jump immediately to your competitor).
  6. Save up to 42% off your marketing budget– straight to the bottom line–and fill your vacancies faster.
Bold move? Absolutely. But totally do-able. Here’s what Wayne Tuck, VP Operations | COO, Centurion Property Associates Inc., the leading property management firm in Canada, said about this strategy:
“In looking to improve our website and overall marketing effort, we engaged TBM Productions to stage and photograph our apartment portfolio. TBM provided a cost-effective solution for our business; the results were impressive and clearly allowed us to better articulate our value proposition to our prospective customers.”
Let’s connect—this week. You could reduce expenses like this in the next three months. I’ll show you how. To your better bottom line!

7 Secrets To A Better Bottom Line

We are now at the beginning of 2013, so lets ‘up our game’ a little and add more cash to the bottom line.
Vacancies have dropped in most of the country, as homeowners sell and move into temporary residence. It’s time to recognize this and take advantage of two trends:
  1. Earning higher income from your properties as a result of lower vacancies – supply & demand – more well heeled potential tenants
  2. Investing more on your website through staging, video, photos, and SEO.

    Read the rest of this page »

6 Secrets To Rapid Occupancy – Secret #6

While the U.S. economy may have tanked, money is still cheap in Canada. So cheap that apartment vacancy rates are only 2%-3%. I talk to a lot of REITs and property owners/managers everyday. Here’s the trend I see: Savvy marketers and investors are leveraging their cash by building out their website assets:
  1. Booking professional photo shoots of their best units as “evergreen” assets
  2. Staging their “homes”and creating videos to differentiate their properties from the majority of apartments that feature “beige box” images
  3. Undergoing website makeovers
    • If you have more than twelve (12) buildings, may we recommend Landlord Web Solutions, the industry leader for this size of website.
    • If you have 1 – 11 buildings, we have a powerful economical solution to fit your budget.
Contact me today to discuss a budgetary proposal for a website makeover ian(at)apartmentvideo.ca

6 Secrets To Rapid Occupancy – Secret #5

Just to clarify, I’m not in the home decorating business. I’m in the income-producing apartment business. I’ve been eliminating vacancies for more than 3 years with staged apartment videos and these are the realities of our industry today:
  1. People believe 80% of what they see with their own eyes and only 20% of what they read
  2. Staged apartment videos allow people to see apartments they’re interested in, reducing the number of places they must physically visit
  3. When they visit after viewing a video, they only go to verify what they already saw–and to smell the air in the building to be sure it’s clean. (Seriously, they do this…even you do this.)
  4. Beige boxes rent slower than beautifully furnished staged apartments. Showing the same space without furniture removes its perspective. Remember the artist MC Escher? No matter how long you studied his artwork, the perspective kept changing (and the stairs kept going up and down!) Without perspective, residents can’t tell if their sofa art will fit in the room or not
  5. Residents don’t live on the outside of your building. Showcasing pictures of big buildings is old, tired marketing. (64% of smartphone owners use their mobile device to shop online…they want interactive media, like videos and images to share on social media.)
Contact me today and I’ll share some great ideas for your staged apartment video! ian(at)apartmentvideo.ca