After 18 years of property management experience, I still see easy win opportunities for property managers. The goal is to keep the back door closed, and renewals are almost always better than trying to find a new resident! Here are five things property managers can do right now to ensure they have happy residents.
Communicate! Despite living in a digital world, residents want to hear from you! Make sure you are taking the time to make them feel valued, even when you are delivering a message they don’t want to hear. Every interaction is an opportunity to drive home how valuable your company is to them, as well as how much you value them as a resident. Even when you are delivering a message they don’t want to hear, they will appreciate the communication from your team.
Make sure those work orders are completed! Maintenance is such a key part of a positive resident experience, and unfinished service requests are a great way to guarantee an upcoming vacancy. If the resident isn’t happy with the quality of work or the time it took to get the repairs done, they may be more inclined to shop the market when that renewal comes in the mail. On the other hand, when you make sure those requests are taken care of timely and professionally, they are much more likely to remain a happy resident.
Be dollar-smart and not penny-foolish. While rent growth is great, make sure you aren’t pricing yourself out of a renewal. Very rarely can the costs of vacancy be recouped, so make sure that you factor in what it would cost you in turn costs and vacancy loss if the home sits vacant. In a market with an average rent of $1200, even one month of vacancy loss means you need to collect at least $100 more per month than the last resident was paying just to cover the month the home sat vacant. Once you layer in turn costs, the amount your new resident would have to pay just to cover those costs may not justify that “healthy” rent growth.
Don’t be afraid to use social media to keep in touch with your residents and help get them involved in their communities. Many residents choose their home because of the amenities and the community itself and keeping them engaged in the community and its happenings will keep them in their homes long-term.
Empower your team members! Make sure they have the authority to make good decisions to keep both resident and employee morale high. Remember – perception is reality for most residents, and if they feel your team members are going out of their way to make sure they have a good experience, they are far more likely to remain a paying, happy resident!