Bigger isn't always better - Originally written for Appfolio's Property Manager E-Zine

Bigger isn’t always better. 


When she was in 8th grade, as is tradition in my family, my sister got her first set of matched luggage.  It was dark blue with tan piping and I remember it was from Jaguar.  For 8thgrade promotion, I think she received all the pieces to that luggage set that she hadn’t gotten for the holiday season prior. There was a garment bag, and a little overnight suitcase, and there were also make-up cases and duffel bags.  And then there was the MONSTER. 


I had never seen a suitcase this big before.  I was tall for my age, and chubby, but I could fit inside of it entirely with the lid zipped shut.  I thought it was the coolest suitcase ever.  That was, of course, up until the one year we packed it for a vacation.  It was an ideal solution, we thought.  We each had plenty of room to fill up with our stuff. It all fit in there nice and neat with a non-bulging lid.  We stood the MONSTER up and quickly found that, fully loaded, it was heavy, hard to control, and, on the whole, very annoying to deal with.  I had never before realized it was possible to have too much suitcase.


It’s possible to have the same experience with an apartment as a renter.  Trends in America for the last few decades have had us renting bigger and bigger living spaces and buying more and more “stuff” to fill them up with. The sun is quickly sinking on that trend, and foreshadowing shows that what we’re about to see is a lot of downsizing. Whether it’s from Boomers who can no longer keep up with the demands of a large house, or Gen Y renters who are eco-conscious about the space they take up and the energy they use, we are going to see a lot more people inquiring fora smaller sized apartment than they would have previously rented.


This gives those of you out there who top out with the two bedroom floor plans a chance not only to get back in the game, but to score some of those rentals for your own property. When you get a call about whether or not you have three bedroom floorplans, you may want to encourage your leasing consultants to ask more questions before dismissing the lead.  Statements like, “We do have some large two bedrooms with a lot of square footage, do you think that an extra large second bedroom would work for your needs?”  Pointing out that in many floor plans, those third bedrooms can be not much bigger than the size of a walk in closet will help with selling the downsize to many folks.


As a leasing consultant, it can be hard to push for more information without worrying about looking pushy.  Remember to encourage your staff to be inquisitive.  And if you’re trying to encourage them to be better information gatherers, do your best to eliminate any negative connotation words from your vocabulary, such as “nosey.”  Those kinds of words are exactly what keep your leasing staff from asking the deeper questions.  It’s not being nosey, it’s determining needs.  Bigger isn’t always better for everyone.

"Wholesome Goodness," ...Whatever that means.

Improv Insights in a Multifamily World