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From Abandoned School to 100% Occupancy rate: What can we learn from this Investment?

All the professionals told us that all roads lead to residential eventually

Adam Colucci, a real estate investor and his two business partners, were advised this when they purchased an abandoned high school in Bowden, Pennsylvania. After being purchased in 2019, the 3 investors took time to assess how to best use this building. By fall of 2021, they converted the school into Bowtie High Luxury Apartments, and all 31 apartment units were filled within 6 months.

How can the story of this successful occupancy guide your listing process?

1. Build upon what makes your property unique, whether it's the available rooms or location.

Your property's unique characteristics can be utilized as strengths to sell your listing.

As they turned the abandoned school into Bowtie High Luxury Apartments, they worked with the National Park Services to preserve its historical significance. Its shared spaces were converted for tenants' needs while preserving the historic features.

The listing below highlights its cozy room, location to University of Alberta, and availability of a private washroom.

2. Let your pictures showcase the property to capture students attention, before your description does.

Using beautiful photos, they showed how they had transformed the school, taking advantage of making a great first impression. Their pictures highlighted their final product by utilizing natural lighting, and showing the entire space. Your photos should allow tenants to view each room entirely so they can envision themselves living there.

3. Provide space for students to personalize their space for their needs.

This abandoned high school could have been turned into a 60 apartment units, but after the 3 investors assessed the leasable space, there was only enough square footage available for 31 units.

When listing individual rooms, how much general space can you provide to the student to accommodate their needs for studying, cooking and storage?

4. What combination of amenities does your property have, and how do you offer it to students?

The investors of this apartment unit converted its gymnasium into fitness centers and provided a storage unit for each apartment, to cater to their future tenants' needs. Students want to find a place to stay that is affordable; and offers amenities that save them time and expenses such as laundry and parking access.

Simple ways to do this effectively can be seen in the available listing below.

4. Price competitively.

Bowtie High Luxury Apartments used competitive pricing to achieve 100% occupancy within 6 months. They priced 12.32% lower than the average rent their target customers would pay in that location. Additionally, a 2022 study found that Canadian students can pay up to 25% more than the median rent of the general population. This means that students will take the time to compare their options. Their goal is to find a good property as pictured below, that they can afford which means they will:

- maintain a longer tenancy

- recommend the home and landlord to their friends once they move out

All roads lead to real estate, and by highlighting your property's uniqueness and features with great photos, providing a space that students can personalize for their needs and pricing competitively, your property will receive increased viewings and applications.

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