It’s that time of year when drive by traffic can slow down as one gray, rainy day blends into another.  Occasional sun breaks do little to brighten up your community, but rather expose areas with built up dirt and left over dead leaves.  In some neighborhoods dense with apartment buildings, there is nothing to separate one group of fray or brown buildings from the next; they just blend into the dreariness of the day.

Several smaller apartment communities on a block could actually be mistaken for one larger community to people who are driving by.

The question is:  “What can I do to make my community stand out from all the others in the area?”

Answer:  The first thing to take a close look at is the signage you are using.  This may seem very basic, but …

  • Are the signs you are using clearly visible?
  • Can they be seen from a distance in all directions and are your signs clean?
  • Are your signs placed in such a way that it’s clear they are identifying YOUR building and not the one next door?
  • Is your signage creative and colorful?
  • If advertising a promotion, are you using clever, eye-catching signs, banners and/or balloons?

Once a visitor drives into your community, will they be able to find the rental office.  What about managers and assistants who work out of their apartment homes?  If this is you, are there well-placed directional arrows and appropriate signs so prospective renters can easily find your apartment?

The second thing to carefully assess is the cleanliness of your community.  This time of year is especially challenging because of the unpredictable weather.  One day it’s pouring down rain giving you water and mud issues to contend with, followed by a sunbreak so you have just enough time to clean.

This is also the time of year when weeds begin making their appearance in the shrubs and flowerbeds.  They are looking for the sun too, even though it’s not exactly gardening season yet.  However, with “all hands on deck,” this seemingly impossible goal of a clean property is completely realistic.  It can be accomplished if all staff members are willing to take on responsibility for the outward appearance of the community.

For maintenance staff, that would be washing down gutters, downspouts and siding and power washing to keep sidewalks and other areas from taking on the dreaded “green hue” that is so unattractive this time of year.  For office staff and visiting property managers, that would mean picking up litter when you see it as well as pulling an occasional weed and keeping flowers cleaned up.

Speaking of flowers … do you have any?  If you don’t have colorful plants or flowers, how are you brightening up your community to enhance its curb appeal?  Is there a freshly painted fence or curbing that differs from your neighbors?  What about the use of flags or balloons to highlight the entrance to your community?  If you use balloons, do you keep them properly inflated?  Nothing communicates apathy and a lack of attention to detail like deflated (dead balloons)!

No  matter what you have going for you in the “inside” of your community, no one will ever find out if you can’t draw them in from the “outside.” If the basics aren’t handled at the curb, your prospective renters won’t make it to the front door.

Clear, clever signage plus clean, colorful curb appeal equals countless cars carrying customers!

 

Joyce (Kirby) Bica is the former owner of Shoptalk Service Evaluations. For more information, email shptalk2@gmail.com.   Reprinted with permission.