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The 7 Minute Guide to a Fast and Successful Lease-Up  

Use these tips for a fast and low stress Lease Up

Lease Up and pre-leasing is a critical time for the success of your investment, and it's also the most expensive part of marketing your new building. Success in your Lease Up means hitting occupancy targets quickly and seamlessly, but failure in your lease up can mean months of lost operating income. Needless to say, the stakes are high.

A successful Lease Up comes down to strong branding, PR, advertising, good photography, and general awareness in your market – much of this should be done before you even have a building ready for tenants via pre-leasing marketing.

Here are some ways to get the most out of your budget during this crucial phase of the project:

The short list to pre-leasing

Pre-leasing marketing occurs when you are getting ready to open your new apartment building to the public, and you are trying to attract new tenants like madmen. 

These marketing ideas will help your leasing agent fill more apartments:

  • Invest in good branding – it will be the foundation for all of your marketing and promotional efforts throughout the lifetime of your investment.  
  • Building Signage: Make sure that people can find your building when they pass it on the street.
  • Website: make sure people can learn about the community you are building.
  • Leverage PR, Influencer marketing and news. Getting in touch with local news reporters and influencers helps establish your name. It builds trust and awareness in your market – and it’s typically free. 
  • Use PPC Ads: even a moderate budget in apartment PPC can help you reach prospective tenants and stand out from the competition. PPC allows you to bid on keywords like “New Apartments Near Me” and send traffic to your dedicated website where you can inform and generate leads.   
  • Post on Zillow and apartments.com. This one is obvious, but it is such an important piece to any successful Lease Up. Use good photography and descriptions to stand out in a crowded market. 

Branding your new apartment community is key.

The first thing you should do when marketing your community is to establish a brand. Branding allows you to stand out from the competition and tell people what your community is all about. We highly recommend working with a professional at this phase. While branding can seem like a big expense, it’s an investment that will pay dividends throughout the entire lifespan of your building.

Invest in good Building Signage 

Depending on the stage of construction, you might opt for something simple that tells passer by’s what you’re building before it’s finished, or if your building is far enough along, good signage on the building or in front of the entrance to your complex goes a very long way. 

Good apartment signage makes a statement subtly. It allows you to be found for those who are looking, but it’s not so loud or obnoxious that it annoys any existing tenets. 

Your website is your first impression.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to your website. The first, and most important, is that it should be easy to navigate. Nothing is more frustrating than having a hard time finding out who you're supposed to contact or how to request more information.

Next up? Make sure your website is mobile-friendly! This means that when someone uses their phone or tablet (or even desktop with weird sizes), they'll be able to access the same information as if they were using a standard laptop/desktop computer without having to worry about losing out on key details.

The third thing we want from our websites is for users to feel good about their time on the site. We in the biz call this the user experience (UX). When people visit our website they shouldn't feel like they're being bombarded with information or distracted by unrelated content; instead they should feel welcomed by an inviting aesthetic, get exactly what they came to the site for, and engage with your brand in positive ways.

Your website is an online brochure/marketing piece (i.e., digital flyer), but also your 24/7 brand representative. If your website has been set up correctly with SEO keywords and other SEO best practices, then it should rank fairly high on Google when someone searches for “apartment communities near me” or similar—and if someone sees one of these types of searches while visiting their favorite social network site, such as Facebook or Twitter, then they might click over to see what's happening with your property. You want to make sure your site is ready to sell them any time they may be in the mood to look for a new home.

Get the word out about your new apartment community with PR.

Reach out to a local reporter (or a few of them). If you’re able to get in touch with a reporter at your local newspaper or TV station, tell them about your new apartment community and ask if they would be interested in writing an article about it. The more buzz you can generate around your property, the better it will be for filling up all of those empty apartments.

Don't forget to use and share on social media channels. Social media is another great way to spread the word about your new rental property and attract potential tenants who are not reachable through marketing techniques like emails or direct mailers. Make sure that your social media posts are professional and polished so you don't come off as spammy! Building a social following can be hard work in the beginning, which is why we recommend teaming up with local influencers to help grow your following quickly. Often times, these influencers will ask for payment, but typically it's still a very affordable way to generate interest in your building or complex.

Use digital ads to fill up your waiting list.

Digital ads, such as google, facebook, or snapchat, are fantastic tools to drive guest cards. These tools are especially valuable in pre-leasing, but still play a vital role once you open your doors.

The trick is creating an effective branding strategy that ensures people are shown your building when they are actively in the search for a new home. PPC, Zillow, and Apartments.com are all platforms with which we've seen amazing results in this space.

PPC is a bit of a science and an art, and often takes a bit of research or know-how. Which is why we built another guide on how to get started with apartment marketing PPC.

You can find a few ideas on who to target below.

  • Target renters who are moving soon.
  • Target renters who have recently moved to the area.
  • Target renters who are looking for a new apartment.
  • Target renters at your competitors buildings through geofencing

Promote your amenities in your ads and on your website

Amenitized living has blown up in recent years, and for good reason. Don't forget to display your amenities across all of your efforts.

  • List the amenities that matter most to your target audience.
  • Include a photo of each amenity.
  • Include a description of each amenity, including what it is and why it matters to tenants.
  • Include a link to the amenity page, which should include details about each amenity in more detail and what makes it special for tenants, as well as links back to the main site if applicable (for example, if there’s an application process).
  • Include a link to the amenity page on a mobile device so potential tenants can see before they sign up!

Bonus tips: 

Monitor and improve your lead to lease conversion.

Once you have leads coming in, converting those who are qualified should be your number one goal. And measuring success here can be like walking in the dark unless you know what to look for -- that's where Lead to Lease conversion measurement and optimization comes in. It should be one of the key metrics tracked by your leasing team. To see how your team is stacking up, check out our Lead to Lease conversion calculator.

Use one-time offers to get people in the door

Offer a one-time discount or using a loss leader strategy, you can price one or two rooms lower than the rest of those in your building. It's a great way to get people in the door.

Alternatively, use deals to sweeten the deal, for example, waiving the second months rent or offering a temporary discount can be a great tool to help convert those on the fence.

Nurture leads with email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with prospective renters and nurture leads through the leasing process. It's also a great opportunity to improve your lead-to-lease conversion rate, which can help you fill more units faster.

If you want people to come in for tours, emails are a great way to get them there. The trick is making sure you don't overdo it: don't send too many emails or overwhelm your prospects with information too soon. Try to find interesting things to highlight about your new building in your emails and keep a consistent cadence.


A successful Lease Up, although important, doesn’t have to stress you out. Follow these tips and ensure that your leasing team stays busy. We truly believe that any well priced building can thrive in any market with the right branding, PR, advertising, and community awareness. 

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