24 May RESIDENT RETENTION
As a seasoned property management pro, you know what June through August means: absolute CRAZINESS. Your office is likely inundated with tours, leases, move-ins, move-outs, and renewals in a way that an outsider might not understand. The make-ready board is jam-packed, and you need to handle the influx of prospective residents while still caring for your current residents – it’s a delicate balancing act and you still want to give 100% to every person that comes into your office.
It’s overwhelming, it’s hectic, but it’s rewarding. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day demands that the importance of resident retention falls to the wayside. Trust me – I get it! Resident retention starts on move-in day, so what better season is there to start planting some seeds?
1) MOVE-IN DAY
Move-in day is stressful! The more you are able to ease some of that stress for your new resident, the better. Are they inside signing their lease and their movers just showed up? Run outside and direct them where to go. Another easy gesture is to always walk your new residents to their apartment. Do you remember your first day at your property and how confusing the layout may have been to navigate? Maybe even getting lost or turned around a few times? That’s how your residents will feel. Walk them up to their new home and leave them with a map to help them get used to their new surroundings.
It’s been a week since move-in day, it’s time to check-in! Whether you send an email or give them a phone call, it’s important to make them feel comfortable to come to you with any future issues they may have. It’s also a good idea to send a reminder email of important things to remember as a new resident. This doesn’t have to be rule oriented – remind them of all the cool resources and amenities they have access to!
From shuttles to pet spas to valet dry-cleaning, properties have some pretty amazing services for their residents. Make sure yours know about everything that’s available to them! You can communicate this through newsletters, a welcome packet, and at any annual resident events you have. Refreshers never hurt for new or longtime residents.
4) ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Maybe the most important thing in property management but always worth a reminder – attention to detail is vital to your success. A resident walks in while you’re with a tour and submits a non-urgent maintenance request but you don’t write it down – swearing that you’ll remember to take action after the tour. They’re leaving in 5 minutes anyways, right? Then more residents walk into your office to pick up packages and you completely forget about the work order. One of the most valuable yet simple tips a manager ever gave me was to WRITE IT DOWN or you’ll regret it later. It was 100% true. Sticky notes are your best friend.
5) YOUR RESIDENTS
Residents will remember if you don’t act on their requests, questions or emails. They should be able to depend on you and be your number one priority. While tours and move-ins are extremely important, so is making sure your residents are happy and taken care of. Even if you don’t have the means necessary to take care of an issue right away or if it can’t be accommodated for some reason, listening with an empathetic ear goes a long way. When applicable, follow up with them later and make sure their problem has been taken care of. It’s your job to make sure they’re getting the most out of their living experience.
6) YOUR PROPERTY
The building is yours to take care of when you’re manning that office. Doing regular walk throughs around your property helps ensure that it’s always at its best. Chances are high that you’ll sometimes find an unexpected mess or that things are out of place and looking sloppy. If your team does regular checks around the property, it’s a perfect time to make sure everything is in order for the people living there.
Resident events are perhaps the greatest resource available to you as a property management professional. Depending on your company – how cool is it that you’re given a budget to throw events for your residents? Take advantage of that as much as possible. When you have a great event and high turnout, your residents get to meet, mingle and maybe even become great friends, it’s not at all uncommon. If you foster a sense of community at your building, chances are people will want to stay. Moving is stressful, remember? These events don’t need to be fancy. One of the most successful events I’ve ever seen was a BYOB pizza party in the clubhouse – and that’s it!
GO GET ‘EM, CHAMP!
Even though it’s impossible to make everyone happy and satisfied – especially in property management – you’re doing your very best. Sometimes you need to be a therapist, a parent, or a mediator but you do it all for your residents. Keep up the great service and remember: you’re awesome.