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How to Cut Vacancies by 50%

Stuart Lomas told an intersting story this week. He has four properties in Edmonton, two of which were vacant (one up in Hermatige and one in Millwoods) .

They were doing well with their advertising. Lots of inquiries, and plenty of prospective tenants to come and look at the places.  The rents were appropriate, and the suites were nice. Stuart was doing all the things he should, and after each showing he gave them an application form.

Six showings: zero applications

So Stuart made a simple feature sheet to give out. It had three important sections to it:

  1. Address and a list of features
  2. Four nice, bright, simple pictures
  3. Strong call to action with easy instructions to submit the application.

Then he made a point of handing the feature sheet out with the applications when showing the units. The results?

Three showings: three applications

That’s pretty compelling math, and you’re likely using similar sheets for other  marketing efforts. I suspect that it took about an hour of his time to make the two of them. At $50/hour, that’s $100 to make the sheets. If he wasted six hours on the unsuccessful showings at an hour each, that’s a 600% ROI!

You can download the two feature sheets (PDF) here and here. And here’s what they say. Go make your own!

Welcome to #xxx Habitat Crescent

Clean, quiet and comfortable, your new home features:

  • 3 cozy bedrooms upstairs, facing east and west
  • Full bathroom upstairs, half bath on the main floor
  • Full open basement with laundry facilties and fridge, suitable for activity or storage
  • Fenced and grassed yard with a deck, patio, outdoor table, and flower beds
  • Bright kitchen with newer appliances
  • Two private parking spaces right at your front door
  • Walking distance to shopping, dining, and schools, and right beside the park
  • 5 minutes bus to the LRT, then direct to Downtown and the University

Please call (780) 555-1212 with any questions or to book a viewing.
To make this YOUR HOME, fax your completed application to (780) 555-1213,
or drop it in the mail box at the property and call (780) 555-1212 to let us know!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • qmanrei July 16, 2009, 8:45 pm

    Great idea. There are so many different ways to increase the number of applications that you receive. I love booking appointments on top of each other. It gives the feeling that the property is in demand and inspires a little competition.

    I also post signs, using brochure stand about features in the home. Just to direct people to some of the features if they are exploring the house.

    • Chris July 17, 2009, 9:03 am

      I’m also a fan of the back-to-back showings. I’ve been a big fan of these signs, and think they’d work like a hot damn for the right property. (Maybe not in a -30 Edmonton winter)

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