You’ve heard it a million times – first impressions are critical because they are the most lasting! It takes only seconds for renters to evaluate your staff and your community, and their original thought can be hard to reverse. But no pressure! From the outside passer-by to the face-to-face communication, below are tips to help you deliver a great first (and lasting) impression at your apartment community.
1. Keep your landscape well maintained: Set a schedule for your maintenance crew to trim the shrubs, pick the weeds, mow the lawn and plant flowers. If your team does not have time to whip out the gardening gloves, visit your local nursery for ready-made flower containers, hanging flower pots or window boxes to quickly and affordably dress up the entrance to your community.
2. Enhance your entrance: What better way to say welcome than, well, Welcome? Dress up the front door with a hanging welcome sign or mat. Allow for a grand entrance by lining the walkway with flowers and lighting. Outdoor, low-voltage fixtures can be added, not only to light up your community, but, also as a safety feature for guests and residents.
3. Cleanliness is key: Inside and out, the cleanliness of your building can transform your community’s appearance. It goes without saying that furniture should be dusted often, floors vacuumed or swept and all areas kept tidy. Try to reduce the amount of clutter on the leasing desk; the more organized the leasing office appears, the more credible and professional you will seem! The exterior may be a larger task, but remember, things like chipping paint and dirty panels and windows can be perceived as old. Budget for an exterior power wash every year to keep things looking sharp.
4. Appeal to all by staying neutral: Who says neutrality is bland? When it comes to decorating, neutral colors can be cozy and chic, while allowing you the freedom to update the look of your common areas with accessories! By adding new, less expensive accents with contrasting textures; such as throw pillows for the couch, wall art or even fruit arrangements on the desk, you can add energy to the room. To start, pick two to three neutral colors in your scheme and go with a jewel color for your accent. For example, if your walls are taupe, light gray or cream, add in a purple or green throw pillow or lamp to liven things up, while still maintaining a neutral palette.
5. It’s your time to shine: Let’s face it – physical appearance matters. As with any professional encounter, a well-dressed, well-groomed and well-mannered employee is appreciated and trusted. When communicating with guests, be sure to smile, stay confident, courteous and attentive. Pay close attention to what your guests are saying; address their concerns, listen to their interests, learn their name and repeat. You want to make potential renters feel at home, so don’t make yourself a stranger!
Achieving and maintaining the perfect appearance isn’t always simple and should be a team effort. Work with and train your leasing office staff and maintenance teams to always put your community’s best foot forward.
What tactics do you use for making a great first impression at your community?