This post courtesy of Michael Monteiro, CEO of Buildium LLC, maker of online property management software for landlords, professional property managers, condos and homeowner associations (HOAs) and is author of the The Buildium Property Management Blog.
Attention Property Managers and Landlords: Are you seeking new ways to appeal to prospective tenants? Look no further than your local grocery store to see two trends that can be incorporated into a successful property marketing program: environmental awareness and economical living. Take a look at the check stands around you and it’s abundantly clear that the days of plastic bagging are gone—reusable canvas totes are rapidly becoming the norm as people increasingly turn toward incorporating sustainable measures into their everyday lives. Stroll through the aisles and you’ll also likely see many shoppers pausing to compare prices. For obvious reasons, economical choices and cost-cutting measures are clearly far more prevalent than they were a few years ago.
Sure, the grocery business and property management are two completely separate industries, but these general consumer trends toward (environmental sustainability and more economical living) are long-term shifts extending to all sectors. Adapting your property’s marketing strategy to cater to these interests is just good business, plain and simple. And exercising a few green marketing strategies is the perfect way to cater to customers’ increasing desire to go green and save money in one fell swoop.
Before you actually market your property as eco-friendly, you have to ensure that you are environmentally friendly. Taking steps toward going green can be as big or as small as your budget allows. Following are a few tweaks—some large and some small—that can increase your property’s green quotient:
- Set up a comprehensive recycling program that goes above-and-beyond local laws and ordinances that can be easily utilized by all tenants.
- Use green building materials such as bamboo flooring and recycled glass countertops.
- Install solar or tankless water heaters.
- Use energy efficient or fluorescent lights.
- Incorporate daylighting with windows and skylights.
- Install energy efficient heating that doesn’t use electricity.
- Replace outdated appliances (such as refrigerators and dishwashers) with ones designated Energy Star.
Now that you’ve greened up your act, it’s time to let prospective tenants know about it; when advertising vacant units highlight your property’s green features. Remember, a good green property marketing strategy lists more than just green features—it appeals to prospective tenants on two levels: logistical and emotional.
Logistical Green Marketing
Begin by letting prospective tenants know about your property’s environmentally friendly practices and exactly how these measures will save them money. After all, going green makes good monetary sense. Because many green measures involve energy efficiency, there is a direct correlation between saving the environment and saving cash. Make sure, for example, that prospective tenants know that the property’s lighting fixtures are fluorescent or otherwise energy efficient, which translates into less energy used and subsequently lower electric bills. Have you installed energy efficient appliances? If so, explain how less electricity or water translates into direct savings.
These may sound like small things, but for many tenants right now, every last dollar counts. According to green-energy-efficient-homes.com, an energy efficient residence can cost as little as a quarter of the price to heat, cool, and light as the average home. Clearly layout the potential savings by doing the math for prospective tenants. Calculate the amount a “green” unit’s monthly utility bill is compared to a unit with regular non-efficient features. Take the difference and multiply it by 12 to demonstrate exactly how much money your tenants stand to save on bills.
Emotional Green Marketing
Now that you’ve explained why your property offers prospective renters a more cost effective living option, it’s time to tap into the more esoteric realm of green marketing. While going green makes good fiscal sense, it’s not the only reason people are cleaning up their act. Things like social responsibility, making a difference, and the ability to feel better about the way we live are increasingly important to people. Point out that your property affords prospective renters with all these options. And, make no mistake, for as important as economical living is these days, people still want to incorporate green living into their lifestyles. According to Reuters, a full 82 percent of U.S. consumers are buying at least some green products even during the current economic crisis.
According to eco-innovations.com, when it comes to housing, Green Appeal is a legitimate draw for consumers. “Similar to ‘curb appeal,’ Green Appeal leaves a lasting impression on buyers by distinguishing a property with noticeable green features such as high performance windows, energy efficient appliances, water-conserving fixtures and clean indoor air. In contrast to curb appeal's simply aesthetic value, Green Appeal increases property value with long-lasting economic, environmental and family health benefits.” And if that doesn’t convince you, consider this: Even REALTORS® have begun seeking out green certifications to cater to this emerging market.
During this time when vacancies are more difficult to fill than they have been in recent memory, consumers’ demonstrated interest in all things green offers property managers the perfect way to set themselves apart from the pack. Best of all, not only will green marketing open your properties up to a new demographic, but it will likely generate more loyal, long-term tenants. After all, people who feel good about the way they live—and are living more cost-effectively to boot—are likely to stay right where they are.