Last week I made this rather bold statement”
When it comes to resident move-outs, the truth is 30% Will Move…30% will Renew…no Matter What You Do!
I got a little flack from that comment and I do agree that these percentages may be different in your community. Especially the first number. Some readers wish their potential renewals would be as high as 30%, but that is another story. The point is some will stay, and some will move, and we have less impact on those residents than we would like to believe.
But We Do Have Influence – And the more we focus on service AND use available technology, the more likely we will keep those residents who remain between these two groups – those who will move no matter what and those who will stay for sure. Your strategy starts with a new mindset. Regardless of how it is delivered, a renewal is just a transaction. The better option is to create a plan to re-lease the apartment to the current resident.
Forget Renewals – Rather Create a “Re-Marketing Plan”. The day the prospect puts down their deposit and commits to moving in, start your re-marketing to that individual. The goal on move-in day is to re-lease this new resident when their current lease term ends. Later we will discuss some of the great industry technology that will assist us with tools like surveys and reminders. What I want to do first is go a bit old-fashioned (as some have already tagged me) and remind you of what our residents REALLY want. Email me if I’m wrong…but I’m not.
What Our Residents Really Want!
It’s so simple and obvious that it’s sometimes overlooked.
- Immaculate Environment – Clean, green, and pristine. Don’t be too smug if you have a new community that has come wrapped in new landscaping and a healthy groundskeeping budget. You are lucky! So many communities don’t seem to have the budget or a plan to keep their property beautiful and that costs the owners tens of thousands or more in rental income. Good residents like to live and renew their leases in clean and litter-free communities. Bad residents are attracted to dirty properties that have tacky and trashy grounds.
- Friendly, Efficient & Professional (FEP) Service – The service level is defined by your resident profile and rental rates. A new downtown high-rise may have “Concierge Service” and a small older community might do fine with just a part-time person in the office. Yet, all interaction with the office, service tech, vendors, and others must be FEP-friendly, Efficient, and Professional…whatever that means to the community’s residents. That includes face-to-face, phone, online, text, centralized call center, whatever.
- Good Neighbors – Translation: “Safety and Security”. More than ever our residents want to feel guarded from the crime and destruction they see every day on TV and social media. If your community gets even an unwarranted reputation of crime and mischief, people move out and you attract those residents you don’t want. Yeah, I know we can’t promise safety…but that sure is heck what our residents expect and want. Just ask someone managing a crime-ridden apartment building about their turnover.
- Fair and Equal Treatment – I’m talking “fair and equal” even beyond the federal Fair Housing Act requirements. Your residents want fair and equal treatment in all aspects of management, maintenance, and resident services. This includes the way that your online and automated services respond to their requests and needs. Technology makes management easier for us but it must also make it easier for our residents.
Did I miss anything? Do you think your residents would care a bit about your activities, collaborative workspaces, outdoor living areas, wellness centers, or whatever the latest service or amenity is that we force on them…would they care if you weren’t even providing the big four listed above?
These four items are basic and elementary. They are also the starting point of any lease renewal strategy. Giving your residents what they want is the best way to get what you want; long-term residents.