Welcome to the official blog of Block Real Estate Services, LLC (BRES). BRES seeks to offer insight and news concerning commercial real estate, financial investments, construction and development of the 212 communities we serve locally and nationally.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Apartments as a Consumable Product

Apartments are consumable products. At our company, Block Multifamily Group, (BMG) we understand this concept through the Retail lens. Through this lens, we imagine the property as a retail shop, with the front door being the property’s entrance; the product for sale being the units; the store being the grounds and the salespeople being every member of the Management, Leasing and Maintenance staff. This approach has proven to be a critical management tool, and we have seen great on site improvements as a result. 

We break the concept down to 3 areas:
  • Staff
  • Site
  • Units 

The onsite staff must be ready to work every day, and they must know what is expected of them. They need to follow the vision of their corporate leadership. This vision sets the tone and "regional managers need to keep it a topic of conversation and a central theme of managerial oversight” because “when you see the property everyday it is easy to overlook certain issues” says BMG's Portfolio Manager Robin Ellis.

You need to make sure every part of your store is ready for business, and the product –the site and showable units- smell good, look good, and are in good repair before the doors open. It is important to reiterate that not only is your product on sale everyday to prospective residents, but it is on sale everyday to existing residents. Everyday residents should have it reinforced that “this is home” and that their management team takes care off them. Through the Retail lens, it is like keeping the jeans folded and the shirts hung after customers have been rummaging through the aisles looking for their size. A property that looks good and is running well, is one that the staff can take ownership of and have pride in.

It is not good enough to simply mow the grass and keep the trash picked up. The amenities must shine and the model or show units must be as on par as everything else. Some things to keep in mind:
  • Do you have patio furniture, the grills the media center in proper working order?
  •  For the show units: the walkway, hallway and entryway –are they ready for a tour?  
  • When you open the door for a prospect, is it homey? Are the lights on, the blinds opened, decorations in place?
  • Are you selling the amenities of the unit: The closet space, the green energy saving features, the view, the privacy, the fireplace? 
Imagining your property as a retail shop, with your units being the product, helps you and your staff put yourself in the right mindset to impress prospects. Your staff must know the product, take pride in the product and sell the product!

Contributing Author:

Justin Larson
VP/Director of Sustainability
Block Real Estate Services, LLC