According to ApartmentGuide.com, over 35 million Americans move each year, many of which will make the transition during the summer months between April – August (Gregory, 2020). With over 43 million renters in the US, Managers and Owners alike need to be aware of the phenomenon referred to as Seasonality.
Generally defined, Seasonality is a characteristic of a time series in which data experiences regular and predictable changes that recur at specific points each calendar year. Apartment searches and moves follow this same seasonal trend where searches begin a gradual increase in January, and slowly ramp up to their peak in August. Moving to a new community begins to escalate in March before a similar peak in August (Brouwer, 2018).
Given this measurable trend that has been observed year-over-year, it is reasonable for Property Managers to assume an average occupancy loss of between 10-20% just in the peak months of June – August alone. On a 200-unit asset, this means anywhere from 20-40 units that need move-outs and inspections completed, scheduling of any maintenance or vendor labor inside of the unit to get it ready, all while simultaneously marketing the unit for rent to avoid any income loss!
The amount of work to receive, turn, and lease-out even a single unit can be a daunting task for onsite teams depending upon the condition of the unit, let alone when Managers get a few dozen units back at the same time. Prioritized checklists like the one provided by Apartments.com can help ease the turnover burden when managing multiple vacant units (Kenan, 2020):
- Advertise ASAP – As soon as you receive notice from current residents, do not wait to advertise the upcoming vacant and try to get it pre-leased!
- Schedule Vendors – Almost simultaneously with advertising the unit, key vendors should be scheduled quickly to allow ample time for all repairs to be completed.
- Walkthrough – While you can already have vendors scheduled for routine and common items, you will not gain certainty of what exactly needs repaired in a unit until you can walk it with the current resident.
- Change Locks – Following walkthrough, make sure that all keys have been returned and apartment is secure.
- Final Cleaning – A thorough cleaning can be a time-consuming task, but cannot be forgotten to ensure the new tenant receives the unit in the best possible condition.
AFI Managers believe that the best way to soften the blow of tenant turnover is by ACHIEVING RENEWALS! The more DELIGHTED residents that continue to renew, the easier the Managers job becomes. However, when a move-out does occur, we encourage staff to NEVER WAIT. Managers should begin working renewals 90-120 days IN ADVANCE of lease expiration date to ensure work is scheduled promptly and that ample advertising time is allowed for upcoming vacancy, all while ALWAYS FIGHTING FOR THE RENEWAL!
Brouwer, Chris. “How Does Seasonality Impact the Rental Market?” www.apartmentlist.com, ApartmentList.com, 5 Feb. 2018, www.apartmentlist.com/research/rental-market-seasonality.
Gregory, Lesly. “The Ultimate Moving Checklist + Printable Reminders.” www.apartmentguide.com, ApartmentGuide.com, 20 Mar. 2020, www.apartmentguide.com/blog/apartment-guide-moving-checklist/.
Kenan, Jamia. “Nine Step Apartment Turnover Checklist .” www.apartments.com, Apartments.com, 22 Oct. 2020, www.apartments.com/rental-manager/resources/article/nine-step-apartment-turnover-checklist.
Manolas, Kasia. “When is Peak Rental Season?” www.avail.com, Avail.com, 7 Aug. 2019, www.avail.co/education/articles/when-is-peak-rental-season.
“Number of renter occupied homes in the U.S. 1975-2019.” www.statista.com, Statista Research Departments, 5 Nov. 2020, www.statista.com/statistics/187577/housing-units-occupied-by-renter-in-the-us-since-1975/.