This is the first article in a five-part series that examines how to "rehab, rebuild and rebrand" your multifamily community through marketing: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

For the multifamily owner, investment manager or property manager, marketing a community can take a large chunk of time and expense. For the owner who doesn't have a dedicated marketing manager, it can probably be an overwhelming part of your role.

So, how do you get a true return on investment? Search engine rankings through Google play a vital role to your community's lead-generation success. But maintaining your tenants' happiness — hopefully with favorable reviews in return is also important for the day-to-day operation. It only takes a few bad comments to start a stream of negativity that can spiral out of control on the Web.

Investing in multifamily real estate can provide a big reward and a long-term revenue stream. It also has big risk.

This series addresses our primary research, plus the sage advice of apartment investment giants and marketing gurus. We hope the content provides value to you when marketing your real estate investment.

You've acquired a new community, now what?

Maybe you're experienced and your portfolio consists of more than 500,000 units across the U.S. Maybe you target a niche market of university students that live in older communities in the Southwest. Or maybe you are just starting out with a set of duplexes and a community of 40 units.

No matter what your size, getting your community rehabbed, rebuilt and rebranded takes considerable time, energy, thought and expense. It's not as simple as preparing a home to sell to one family you are now marketing to multiple families, singles and demographic age groups with diverse sets of needs.

You've done your due diligence and have acquired a rehab community. It's not a brand-new building from the ground up. Maybe it's a class C property you want to turn into class B.

During the acquisition phase, hopefully you've acquired the previous owner's insurance claim reports, as-built surveys, warranties, vendor contracts, floor plan, property blueprints, licenses, permits, soil reports, electronic art files, Web hosting provider information, ADA compliance upgrades and much, much more.

Now the fun part: How do you upgrade and stay within your budget?

Do you add free WiFi to attract the millennial crowd? Maybe adding a large dog run will get the attention of your target prospects and keep your tenants sticking around. Or maybe updated playground equipment and a splash pad will generate excitement among the small families you want to attract or retain.

What ever your community focus, understanding the persona of your audience will be as important as the amenities in which you choose to invest.

Key considerations for owners:

  • Understand the finances and the rent roll — What money is coming in?
  • Calculate current/future capital expenses — What money is going out?
  • Find the right property manager — Who will manage the day-to-day?
  • Market to the right customer — Attract, qualify and lease.

In the second part of this series, we'll look at how to build your community, brick by brick.