These past few years have been unlike any I have personally experienced in my career to date. With shut-downs, campus closings, the great resignation, quiet quitting and supply chain shortages, paired with greater traffic, leasing velocity and unprecedented rental hikes, this world we are in is ever-changing.
I am typically the eternal optimist mixed with a dash of realist, yet I cannot help but wonder how this fall’s occupancy numbers will land? And how the ever-rising amount of folks being laid off could impact our space? At conferences and on LinkedIn, as well as other channels frequented by folks in our sector, I keep hearing and seeing how amazing leasing and occupancy is tracking year-over-year, as well as how incredible the rental increases have been in helping offset expenses rising due to inflation.
I have also personally heard folks in our space state, “Parents will find a way to send their student to college.”While this is likely a true statement, when considering the current state of the world around us, how can we be certain that parents will find a way? What if they are laid off? What if their student can attend college while commuting? This may be a viable option for many — especially considering the rental rate increases — but for some, this still will not be something in their control economically.
Couple all of the above with a mass move in (which is just a few short four months away) and let’s discuss how things might play out. There is a possibility for higher than average no-shows. How can you mitigate this?
I have used three points and five points of contact in my career. I am a betting woman, and I am betting that this simple — yet often ignored — task can prevent you from being the owner or management firm that posts an unprecedented amount of no shows!
In a three-point contact case, I would have contacted the prospective or renewing resident a minimum of three times. The first point of contact would be, ‘thank you for signing a lease with XXX property.’ The second point of contact would be a guarantor touch point, thanking the guarantor for their business and reiterating that a lease was executed. The third and final point of contact would be a confirmation touch point that they are moving in on August 12, into unit xx, with roommates x, y, z, and that rent is due August 1. In a five-points contact, I would add in two touch points where the above third point moves to final, and you reach out two more times in the interim.
Why all the touch points?!? This is where the meat is y’all! These touch points are more about confirming, touching base, building excitement for move in and ensuring that the resident and their roommates are all still planning on coming.
As we all know in this industry, a hundred things will change between an early lease signing and move-in day. In the interim period between lease signing and move in, that is where this change occurs, and I can only stress how critical and crucial this is to MITIGATE NO-SHOWS.
Teach and train your team to understand that while someone changing their mind does not cancel a lease, there is a very different outcome when we get all bums in beds. By not carefully crafting your efforts and properly training your team on how to identify a potential no show, you leave yourself exposed. It is imperative that managers and onsite teams listen in and communicate when they get an ‘I am not sure I am still coming’ type of response.
Let’s MITIGATE together this year and all join in. I look forward to seeing how this year rounds out and cannot wait to be proven wrong. But who am I kidding, there is always one — that one asset that comes up from the deep to surprise you when you least expect it. Let’s let the surprise this year be that we do not have a no-show problem due to the ever-changing dynamics in our world, nor do we have a future looming delinquency concern.
Sending all the best to the onsite teams as they complete their final leasing efforts, as well as prepare for turn. Hoping it is smooth sailing for all!
—Monica Morgan is president and founder of The Pivotal Cos.