How many vacancies does your community have right now? Even one is too many. Empty homes can decrease the curb appeal of your community and lead to compliance issues. They can also have a negative impact on the feeling of community among the members of your association. All of these contribute to why it’s so important to keep every home occupied. 
The obvious solution is attracting buyers. This is where your association Board members must put on their marketing hats. That’s not as intimidating as it may sound! Follow our suggestions and you will be marketing your community like a pro. 

1. Start at the entrance.

Your association’s entrance is much more than the way that your residents and guests come and go. It’s the face you show to the world, which makes it extremely important when it comes to forming a first impression for prospective buyers and residents. Think of it as a billboard for your entire community. Your entry should be well kept and pleasing to the eye, nicely landscaped and maintained. It should entice people to come in – and at the same time, establish the feeling and mood of your entire community. 

2. Walk a mile in the buyer’s shoes.

It’s easy to be too close to a situation to properly evaluate it. You need a fresh pair of eyes to take a new look at the familiar streets and buildings in your neighborhood. So try this exercise: leave your community, then return and try to see it as if you’ve never been there before. If necessary, enlist a friend. Are the common areas inviting? Are the streets well-lit and properly maintained? Are the homes in compliance with the rules of the association, with properly trimmed grass and hedges? How does the landscaping look? Is it easy to park and find your way around? Looking at the familiar streets and buildings in your neighborhood through fresh eyes will help you see areas for potential improvement and features to highlight. A professional property management company has the right resources to help you evaluate your community as well.

3. Build your community.

Turn your residents into your best advocates! Getting people together for a summer barbecue or holiday get-together creates positive experiences for residents.  Give them something positive to talk about, and they essentially become your most effective sales agents. If your current residents have good things to say about their community to their friends and family, then those friends and family will be more likely to look to that community when it’s time for them to find a new home. Curate events of interest based on the culture of your community – consider doing a brief survey to help with that process. Beyond pool parties and cookie exchanges, you can invite guest speakers to give presentations (check with local colleges for possibilities), you can hold panel discussions on interesting topics and you can even partner with local businesses to hold trunk shows or wine and food tastings. No matter what events your community hosts, the important thing is that community members feel engaged and have fun. 

4. Show them the money.

The savviest buyers will want to learn more about the financial health of the association before they consider purchasing a home in your community. Be as transparent as you safely can be. Create a mechanism for showing prospective buyers your documents during the sales process. If they know they’re moving into a community that is managed responsibly, it may be the deciding factor between choosing yours and the one down the street. If your association is currently experiencing financial challenges, address them immediately and openly with prospective buyers, including your Board’s plan to reverse the situation. Look to your property management company for assistance and advice on how to do this. 

5. Get online!

Creating a special splash page or landing page dedicated to prospective buyers on your community website is a great way to draw them in. If you live in a highly competitive real estate market, this can be a valuable tool in helping buyers learn more about what a great place your community is to live in. 
Of course, any marketing strategy involves time and effort, but by following these basic tips, you’re well on your way to attracting your next qualified buyer – and your next great neighbor. For more help, contact FirstService Residential, Florida’s leading property management company.

Wednesday September 21, 2016