As expected, it’s been a very active few months of ownership since Stirling Properties successfully completed its first multi-family acquisitions in August. A total of 370 units were acquired in 4 apartment communities – Coventry Terrace in Baton Rouge, and Willow Gardens, South College Gardens and Acadian Gardens in Lafayette. Stirling Properties is the Asset Manager for the properties and BH Management Services, Inc. was hired as the primary property management firm because they specialize in apartment communities of this type, and to date they have exceeded our expectations.
The first month of ownership primarily consisted of training the property staff, taking inventory of units, lease audits, accounting setup, and property stabilization under the new management team. In addition, each management office was overhauled in order to bring them to BH standards for professionalism, quality, and function. The problem tenants and immediate maintenance concerns were also identified and addressed.
Upgrading these properties was the next step. At each property a model unit was identified and converted into a furnished leasing model. Also, BH further defined the scope of improvements for each property based on needs that they assessed after being on site. The primary areas that have been addressed include common areas, sidewalks, railings, exterior painting, soffits, signage, landscaping, porches and balconies, and general appearance. Amenities have become increasingly important for leasing of apartment properties, and as a result of BH’s recommendation, a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi system has been installed at each property for resident use on-site.
BH has a very proactive approach to marketing. Outreach marketing for the properties includes postings to Craigslist, Facebook, online advertising for off campus housing, postcard flyers and outreach stickers, promotional products, and participation in the LSU Housing Fair. A Preferred Employee Discount Program was also implemented. A car magnet promotion was put in place at Coventry Terrace in an effort to drive additional traffic and to help prospective residents locate the property. Residents receive a small monthly rental discount for agreeing to attach this car magnet to their vehicle.
Resident retention efforts are also underway. Coventry Terrace will host resident events monthly and a Fall Social is planned at Willow Gardens for an early December Saints game, barbeque and Toys for Tots drive. Monthly newsletters, resident referral flyers and early bird contests are also planned.
“Stirling Properties is very excited about this multi-family portfolio and we expect it to exceed our expectations once BH has had the opportunity to be on-site and fully implement its operational and marketing strategies,” stated Townsend Underhill, Vice President of Development at Stirling Properties. Based upon the demographic and economic trends in the nation, Stirling has grown very bullish on the multi-family asset class and we look to expand our holdings in this type of asset.
For more information about Stirling Properties’ Acquisition Team and its objectives contact Jeff Marshall at (985) 246-3765 or firstname.lastname@example.org.