Today I would like to evaluate the use of 7 techniques that will set up an enjoyable work environment for your staff and greatly impact your leasing success. These 7 techniques are meant to help you give prospective tenant that great first impression that means so much in $$$.

  1. Curb Appeal – When a prospective resident drives by your property, they have to say WOW! Some of the most economic ways of making that happen are: Keeping the property clean, frequent upkeep of the landscape, and every 1-3 years (depending on need) power-washing the exterior of your apartment and leasing office. Not only will this attract prospective residents, it will help with resident retention, and will make it more enjoyable place of work for your staff.
  2. Lighting – The type of light and the placement of light fixtures is important both inside your leasing office and throughout your property.
    1. First, lets address the issue of lighting outside. It is important that your property have lighting throughout for various reasons, but the two most important ones are safety and careful lighting of your apartment’s curb side sign (if you dont have one, you should) will add aesthetic value to your apartment at night.
    2. Lighting fixture should be placed higher than eye level, because low lamp like fixtures can shine direct light into people’s eyes. There are several types of light, but the best and most calming light is natural light (because of this, sky lights are great). The human body natural physiological response to light is general awareness and the general psychological response is happiness. The physiological excitation elicits a psychological response of happiness. The best way to explain this is: What is a nice day? Sunny and warm or dark and gloomy? When it is a nice day outside, people tend to be more active and typically enjoy themselves more.
  3. Color – Colors are a second important component of the environment. Dark colors and red (fire-like) colors are the worst choice. You will want to have light pastel colors that promote calm and secure feelings. Careful color selections can make prospective residents feel happy right when they walk in your door, and will keep your staff happier for a longer period of time. Read more about the psychological response to colors.
  4. Smell – This should be fairly self explanatory, but I have been in dozens of apartment offices that are musty! If your office does not smell good there is a big problem. The physiological response to bad musty smells is to leave the area! When you smell something old, musty, bad, etc, the sensory nerves in your brain trigger a “get out of here” or “dont eat this” response. So please, find a happy, soothing fragrance, it will do wonders for your prospective resident’s first impression, not to mention your staff will enjoy it as well.
  5. Sound – Soothing sounds such as running water have evolutionarily become a source of happy thoughts for humans. When I was an undergraduate, I participated in a study (as in I was a test subject) where we were asked to sit in a waiting room for 30 minutes before we were asked random questions about our week and our day. There were two test groups. One was placed in a “waiting” room with sounds, such as flowing water (like from a fountain) and light music. The second test group sat in the same empty “waiting” room without the soothing sounds. Six-hundred students and faculty participated in this study (300 in each scenario). As you may have guessed, people waiting in the room with soothing sounds, answered the questions positively 80% of the time, while people sitting in the room without the sound, answered questions positively only 48% of the time. SO, hopefully if you follow this logic, your staff and prospective tenants will respond positively 80% of the time.
  6. Comfortable Seating – Ok, this is a big deal especially when you want to have a prospective resident fill out an application or a lease. Sitting comfortably elicits a response from the parasympathetic system (or in other words, a calming effect). It is also smart to have snacks near by, because when the parasympathetic system is stimulated, a secondary response is slight hunger (so a bowl of different types of candy works quite well).
  7. A Mirror – This tip came from one of my neighbors. For over 25 years he has been a customer service consultant for several companies including Ford, and GMC. Having a full wall sized mirror behind your front desk at your leasing office will do many great things. First, it will make your office look much bigger than it actually is (this is great for properties with small leasing offices), this also positively affects your prospective resident’s first impression of the property because they wont feel as cramped in a small office as they usually would. Secondly, having a full wall sized mirror will help you deal with angry residents. Putting a large (full wall) mirror behind the customer service desk will drastically reduce angry resident outbursts. The reason it works: People do not like watching themselves be angry (just like you dont like to watch them get angry), it is a subconscious psychological reflex to seeing their angry selves staring back. Simple, but effective.

I hope you enjoyed it,

Sergio Navarrete

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