investing in resident retention

 

Savvy property managers know that retaining residents equates to money earned. By keeping your existing residents, you’ll avoid the expenses of long-term vacancies — and multiple months of lost rent payments. Undoubtedly, there’s always room for improvement. From applying a fresh coat of paint to investing in a smart property access solution, focusing on resident satisfaction will always lead to increased loyalty and higher resident retention.

So, how do you retain residents?

Here are four ways that property managers can boost resident retention:

  1. Enhance communication with residents
  2. Create a sense of community
  3. Invest in property maintenance
  4. Adopt new technology
  5. Offer a resident benefits package

 

1. Enhance communication with residents

One of the most crucial elements of reducing tenant turnover is maintaining communication with them.

Being responsive to your residents’ concerns shows respect and courtesy, two essential aspects of excellent customer service. It’s also important to keep your tenants up to date on any new information regarding safety protocols or local mandates.

In particular, establish a line of communication with new residents as soon as they sign leases, so they feel welcomed from day one.

 

Here are a few ways property managers can improve communication with residents:

  • Ask for feedback often: Requesting resident feedback gives you the opportunity to improve and shows residents you care. Ask for feedback frequently, such as when a new resident moves in or after completing a service request. Then, even if a resident does move out beyond your control, at least they’ll have great things to say about your company.
  • Maintain a positive attitude in your communications. Every property manager knows that sometimes you simply can’t accommodate a resident’s request. But even in these instances, communicate with residents using friendly, positive language — and be sincere.
  • Provide residents with helpful resources. For example, did the building’s garbage collection policy just change? Be sure to email the update to your residents and post printed copies in areas where they will be seen. There’s nothing more frustrating to a resident than taking out the trash only to find that collection day has changed from Tuesday to Thursday. Further, implementing a resident referral program is a huge helpful resource for residents.

Now is the time to focus on creating a healthier relationship between property management, building staff, and residents. You want your residents to not just think of your building as a place they live, but as a home they’re invested in. Creating these positive interactions will cut down on time spent resolving conflicts while bolstering your relationship with tenants.

 

retain residents with communication

 

2. Create a sense of community

Many residents crave regular community events and social activities. Residents may look toward their neighbors to socialize and establish community — and that’s where you come in. Host community events so that your residents can get to know each other and feel at home.

Here are some ideas for community-building activities:

  • Host social events such as happy hours
  • Hire professionals to offer classes, like cooking classes and fitness programs
  • Create weekly newsletters and online discussion boards where you can share community news, events, and other important information
  • Cater lunch or dinner for residents by ordering food delivery to the apartment or hiring a food truck

These methods will foster a positive community culture. They’ll also open up communication lines between property managers and residents.

Pro tip: Creating a sense of community is vital at any apartment building, but especially at horizontal multifamily properties. At a horizontal multi-tenant property, residents are more physically separated from each other, making it harder to get to know neighbors. Hosting fun resident events can help bring them together and create a sense of belonging.

 

food truck event to boost resident retention

 

3. Invest in property maintenance

With many Americans working from home, more of your residents are on the premises during the day than ever before. Having more residents around during business hours can make it difficult to tackle large projects around the property without disturbing anyone.

Before 2020, most residents would be out during the day, allowing property managers to take care of projects without disturbing the entire community. But now, remote work is so widespread — and this trend is only growing. To adapt to this challenge, you must make efforts to minimize the side effects of both large- and small-scale projects.

 

Large-scale maintenance projects

If you’re investing in any big projects that require ongoing (and potentially disruptive) work, be sure to communicate with your residents early and often. Let them know about future projects far ahead of time. Send out details regarding the scope and timeline of upcoming projects to limit surprise disruptions and resident frustration.

This shows two things:

  1. First, that you care about residents’ living experience.
  2. Second, that your management team puts forth the effort to improve the property for residents.

 

invest in property maintenance for resident retention

 

Small-scale maintenance projects

Large projects aside, regular building maintenance is also a critical factor in getting more lease renewals. Taking care of problems quickly, hiring professional landscapers and cleaners, and showing tenants that you’re invested in keeping the property safe, clean, and modern goes a long way in solidifying positive relationships.

 

4. Adopt new technology

These days, technology touches everything we do — so it’s no surprise that modern residents seek tech-powered apartment amenities. Investing in property technology (proptech) will simplify your residents’ lives and significantly impact their decision to renew their lease or opt for a long-term lease.

Some of the most worthwhile proptech solutions include:

  • Smart video intercoms are a simple and affordable way to facilitate safer and more convenient property access. A video intercom is a great starting point when adding technology to your building
  • Keypads for amenity access to high-traffic spaces, such as at pool gates during summer months.   
  • Smart locks on each unit door as a more convenient alternative to locks with physical keys.
  • Package rooms, which use technology to provide seamless access to couriers and serve as a secure space to store deliveries.
  • Smart thermostats so that residents can adjust the temperature and conserve energy even when they aren’t home.

When selecting proptech systems to invest in, be sure to choose products that integrate with each other. The more your tech-powered systems ‘talk’ to each other, the easier they will be to use. And the easier they are to use, the more your residents will embrace and adopt them.

 

Watch how ButterflyMX works:

 

Investing in technology can help you boost resident retention by:

  • Ensuring maximum security. Residents’ preferences are changing — safety is now their top priority. Technology like a video intercom can make your property more secure by providing an audit trail of door access events and letting residents see who’s at the door before letting them in.
  • Delivering a simple access experience. This means residents enjoy a seamless experience accessing the building, navigating amenity spaces, and entering their homes. Residents will never want to leave a building with this level of comfort and convenience.

 

5. Offer a resident benefits package

A resident benefits package is essentially a curated package of services that you can give residents at an extra fee. In most cases, you’ll tack on a small monthly fee — likely anywhere from $20 – $100 — as the benefits package fee.

There are several vendors who offer benefit package curation and management, so the work won’t fall to you. All you have to do is sign up with the vendor and they’ll manage partnerships with service providers.

Examples of services and perks included in a resident benefits package include:

  • Renter’s insurance
  • Maintenance plans
  • A resident experience app
  • Resident rewards program
  • Utility concierge

By implementing a resident benefits package, you can effectively boost resident retention rates and decrease vacancy rates. What’s more, you can even generate a new stream of revenue and streamline operations for your staff.

Pro tip: Introduce a benefits package at the time of lease renewal or when a new resident signs a lease.

 

Invest a little to improve resident retention

Keeping your tenants happy and reducing the frequency of move-outs will save you money and create a long-lasting sense of community. Residents who see your multifamily building as a home — not just an apartment — are far more likely to renew their leases year after year.

When you combine communication, respect, amenities, technology, and perks, you’ll see increased resident retention rates in no time.

 

amenity to necessity white paper

 

Author

Johanna Gruber

Based in Los Angeles, I enjoy learning and writing about the real estate industry, and exploring how proptech can help people live and work better.