What Kinds of Prospects Match Your Home?


What Kinds of Prospects Match Your Home?

Different Tenants Have Different Wants and Needs
— Play To That

A typical suburban Detroit home.The Detroit Metropolitan area is home to an amazing variety of homes. From the classic turn-of-the-century Bungalow and Cape Cod to the Craftsman and Colonial homes of the ’20s and ’30s to the Ranch styles of the ’50s and ’70s, you can find almost any kind of single-family residence. For a property manager, these varieties mean more than just what a house looks like — they can help define what kinds of tenants are statistically probable to be the ‘right’ ones for each home.

What Are the Traits of Your Property?
Of course, there’s more to a property than just ‘Ranch’ or ‘Bungalow.’ Before you can really start tenant-matching, you need to analyze your property, taking special note of:

  • Location: Probably the most important part of any property’s marketing campaign; the things that your home is nearby will be the things that best inform your potential tenants. If your home is near a college, target market students; if it’s near a golf course, market to seniors and so on. Homes near an arterial thoroughfare are great for professional types, and of course homes near great schools are good for families.
  • Square Footage: Actually it’s less important than you might believe. What people are looking for when they claim they’re looking for square footage is spaciousness, which can often be accomplished with an open floorplan, large windows, light paint, and bright lights. That said, if your location indicates a good place for a family home, it may be a bit gimped if you have less than eight hundred square feet to split between three bedrooms.
  • Amenities: Certain amenities are almost custom-made for certain tenants. On the one hand, cable hookups, washer/dryer hookups, and other things you can reasonably expect to see in any home aren’t going to mean a lot — but if your home has a valuable amenity like a dishwasher (great for older tenants who don’t want to wash dishes or younger tenants who couldn’t be bothered) or a workshop in the basement/garage, it can point you toward the right kind of tenant to market toward.
  • “Uglyfiers:” Certain things just make a property less attractive, like being next to a gas station or having a front yard made of packed earth and little else. There are two solutions: one, you could add something extra (like lowered rent or new paint and flooring) to make up the difference, or you could try to find an audience that might take the downside as an upside, by marketing to the ‘no yard work’ crowd or the ‘mechanic’ types, respectively.

How Do You Market to Specific Market Segments?
There are two aspects to every marketing effort: content, and channel. For many property managers, ‘channel’ is an automated choice: you put your ads up on CraigsList, in the local paper, on your website, and maybe on a few other media. But there are a multitude of other options for PMs looking to find a particular market segment. For example, you might well find that ‘quiet neighborhood’ type by putting a flyer up on the posterboard of your local food co-op, or find that elderly tenant who will appreciate the lower square footage and the dishwasher by advertising in the newsletter of your local Area Agency on Aging.

Then, there’s content. Fair Housing laws prevent a lot of targeting within the content of an advertisement, but you can always emphasize particular facets of a home within the text of an ad. So even though you can’t say a home is “great for kids”, you can totally put in bold the words ‘family room,’ ‘playscape,’ and ‘fenced yard,’ and let the prospects figure out for themselves that this is the kind of place that matches their needs.

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