Overcome Prospects' Objections to Lack of Storage Space
One of the things prospects focus on when looking at a unit is how much storage space it has, says management expert Doug Chasick. Having ample storage space can mean the difference between a clutter-free unit that's comfortable to live in, and a cluttered one that's uncomfortable. Unfortunately, many tax credit sites' units lack ample storage space, which sometimes turns away prospects.
But there are things that you, as a site owner or manager, can do to overcome prospects' objections to a unit's lack of storage space. Here are three strategies Chasick recommends:
Create additional storage space at your site;
Get a local storage facility to offer residents a discount; and
Get a furniture rental company to offer residents a discount.
Strategy #1: Create Additional Storage Space at Site
If your site has unused space in, for instance, the basement or laundry room, create storage spaces in those locations. Once you've cleared that extra space, your leasing staff can inform prospects about it whenever they complain about a unit's lack of available storage.
You can also purchase large, lightweight wire storage bins and stack them in the basement. Residents who want extra storage are assigned a bin, which can be locked to keep their belongings secure.
You can also offer to purchase storage sheds for residents and prospects, which they can add to their balconies as a move-in or renewal incentive. (To keep your site units looking uniform and neat, do not allow residents to buy their own storage sheds.) In suburban and rural areas, these sheds can also be placed in unused spaces in parking lots.
If you decide to provide storage space in other parts of your site, make sure you set guidelines covering the use of such space, Chasick advises.
For example, you will have to decide whether to offer the storage space free of charge or to charge residents a fee for its use. Some sites charge residents a monthly rental fee for the use of extra storage space. But if you charge a fee for the extra storage space, it won't seem like much of a benefit. However, if your site's storage space is included in its eligible basis, you can't charge residents a fee if you're already charging the maximum allowable rent.
Strategy #2: Get Local Storage Facility to Offer Residents Discount
Another option is to ask a local storage facility to offer your residents a discount in exchange for a site's referral of the resident, Chasick suggests. Just make sure you choose a facility that's close to your site, so that residents don't have to make a long trip to move their belongings into and out of storage. If you do that, your leasing staff can tell prospects about the discount you arranged for residents at the local storage facility.
Strategy #3: Get Furniture Rental Company to Offer Residents Discount
A third option is to get a local furniture rental company to offer your residents a discount, so that they will have an incentive to rent armoires, dressers, or other furniture to use as additional storage. Most furniture rental companies are happy to offer residents a discount in exchange for getting referrals from your site. And since renters usually don't have large pieces of furniture, your residents may appreciate this option most because it gives them the chance to fill their units with attractive and functional pieces at low cost.
Your leasing staff can tell prospects about the furniture rental company's discount and also show them the company's brochure containing photos of furniture prospects can rent.
Doug Chasick, CPM: Senior VP Multifamily Professional Services, The CallSource Apartment Doctor, 180 Heron Dr., Melbourne Beach, FL 32951-3719; (888) 222-1214; firstname.lastname@example.org.