How To Reposition Your Property For Maximum Return
By Terri L. Norvell, Business Coach & Consultant

Is your property income meeting expectations? Is the competition accelerating around you? Does your property look tired and "scream" with potential? A repositioning may be just what your property needs. Repositioning can be a big undertaking, but the whole process can be segmented into three actionable steps. Hereís how to decide what to do, and how to get it done!

Defining Your Position
Shop your competition to seek out similarities and differences between their property and yours. Look where they excel. Is it service, location, amenities, size, floor plans, etc.? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Then, research current trends and forecasts in your market area and sub-market. Whatís the anticipated economic and rental growth over the next 1-3 years? Are there prominent industries and employees to attract? Any new acquisitions in process? Itís as important to look outside your immediate property as well as inside. Update your current resident profile report and then interpret the data. What are the similarities of your residents, where do they come from, can they afford to pay higher rent, etc.? What target resident profile do you want to attract?

Action Application
After youíve done this research, you want to determine your propertyís Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What currently sets your property apart and what differentiating qualities do you want to develop after the repositioning? Once you clarify the vision, you can use the repositioning to capitalize on the existing strengths and overcome the obstacles.

Creating the Game Plan
Your property may need both interior and exterior updating. Beginning with the exterior enables a noticeable "curb appeal" attraction. The overall image of the property will change with updated (new or modified) signage, landscaping, lighting, paint, and amenities. The Leasing Office deserves special attention since this is your point of sale. It should be contemporary, well lit, free of clutter and very inviting. The apartments can look and feel years younger with a few high impact updates. Start with a review of the paint color, condition of the flooring, light fixtures and hardware, status of the cabinets and appliances. The goal is high-impact, high-pay back improvements. Construction revisions are usually not necessary. Note: cleanliness is critical, very low cost, and provides a quality that is noticeable.

Action Application
You want to offer more than livability - you want to create desirability. This can be accomplished by paying attention to the details on both the exterior and interiors. Notice how the property "feels". Perception is important. Residents will pay more for apartments they perceive as meeting and exceeding their desired level of quality.

Implementing Project Management
First, determine what specifically will be included in the repositioning, then prioritize based on the impact, budget and timeline. Budget is generally a primary concern. Many of these upgrade investments can qualify as capital expenditures, so be certain to budget accordingly. Paying attention to the bottom line encourages creativity, so look for innovative solutions and alternatives when carrying out the plan and choose vendors with these qualities. Itís important to assign one project manager to oversee your vendors and staff. This is especially important if the upgrades are scheduled over a period of time, as it ensures coordination of efforts and continuity. Follow through is critical as the best plans can fall short of expectations without control. A successful repositioning will extend the life of the property, enable you to raise rental rates and ultimately your NOI.

Action Application
Be certain to keep the lines of communication open between management, the property staff and your residents. Your property staff can greatly assist with the implementation, and residents will object less if notified in advance of possible disruptions to their living environment.

Terri Norvell is a national business coach and consultant
for fast growing and entrepreneurial businesses.

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