Resident retention is generally the forgotten factor in property management, while the art of apartment marketing and leasing to new prospects continues to be studied, sliced, diced and pureed by the apartment industry to get optimal strategies of getting people in the door. Actually, the better a community reaches apartment marketing and leasing, the more it can mask its shortcomings on the resident retention side. So much effort is made on the leasing side of the business enterprise that our front line troops are called “Leasing Professionals.” Focusing on Leasing is not a bad idea; however, neglecting another half of your business can alienate your residents, cause high turnover, and severely impact your bottom line.

Which is more important: Resident Retention or Apartment Marketing?

When we discuss the worthiness of Resident Retention, it is not to say that apartment marketing isn’t also quite crucial. In other words, to boost retention, we should not sacrifice leasing. Having said that, an increase in retention is vastly more beneficial than an increase in leasing. This will not be a surprising concept. When comparing a new resident to an existing resident, the existing resident is a lot more profitable, with almost no make-ready costs and no loss because of vacancy. Additionally, a long-term renter is much more likely to refer friends and coworkers than a new renter would.

When you see the difference in profitability between your two groups, it is shocking just how much more we spend on prospects. While prospects and new residents get the good thing about cheaper rent and extensive marketing, existing residents, those that pay the bills, often obtain the short end of the stick. This difference can lead to alienation of your current residents, a situation you need to strongly avoid.

Why is resident retention not on the radar?

Even though we all understand the concept of resident retention, surprisingly little is well known about how to accomplish it. Therefore, most communities choose to either ignore it all together or choose methods that not achieve the expected goals. Let’s first consider a few of the most common mistakes made in current retention “techniques.”

Customer Service and Maintenance

Let me be clear about this: Customer support and maintenance are NOT resident retention programs. We constantly hear how important both of these items are, that is completely correct. However, rather than going above and beyond, these things are an expectation, not just a perk. Specifically for Class A and Class B properties, residents do not see strong maintenance and customer service as a luxury item that they should be impressed with. They instead see these things as a required part of living at your community. Look at a restaurant advertising that its food is served warm. Isn’t that expected at a restaurant? And when this is the best trait the restaurant can offer, would you really expect the food to be that great? For a residential area to advertise a feature that needs to be standard, they’re actually implying that the rest of their service is not too impressive!

The infamous summer party…

Summer parties can be quite a fun perk, but are rarely an excellent investment. Firstly, summer parties can be quite expensive if food is offered, generally ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 for a 300-unit community. Ironically, you spend less when you get a low resident turnout at these events. Imagine the price if 100 percent of your residents attended! However, probably, you’ll only have around 25 % of your residents show up. Ki Residences Singapore Of these, it’s likely that no more than 25 percent includes a lease coming up to create an impression on the renewal decision. Therefore, you’re impacting only 6 percent of your “target audience.” This means for an average community of 300 units, you’re spending roughly $2,000 to attain 18 residents – that’s $111 per resident! Even though the party influences several others that renew later in the year, investments in these parties usually do not justify the reward.

Just what exactly are some programs we can implement?

First of all, know your community. Fair Housing laws limit how much demographic information we can keep about our residents, nevertheless, you should at least have an idea of the different faces of one’s community. Additionally, instead of having one giant one-size-fits-all party, you can coordinate several smaller, targeted parties over summer and winter. Having more frequent parties lets you target different demographic groups in your community at differing times instead of “putting all your eggs in a single basket” approach of large summer events. Spacing these events over summer and winter will also guarantee your events coincide with all of your residents’ renewal periods, thus giving you the biggest impact possible. Here a few ideas that can you can explore that are less expensive:

Older Residents

Bridge or Mah Jongg Night
Dinner Rotation – This is often quite popular! Have a sign up period for singles or couples. These groups then take turns rotating amongst their apartments hosting small dinner parties for every other.
Singles Crowd
Poker Night at the Clubhouse (for prizes instead of money)
Networking Night
Dance Classes
Sporting events
Children Friendly
Ice Cream Social
Kite Day
Scavenger Hunt
Also, remember that you have purchasing power! Most events around town offer group rates you could transfer to your residents. This can make them feel a part of an exclusive club with money saving deals all the time!

The continuing future of resident retention

Have you heard the word “Resident Portal?” In the event that you haven’t, continue reading! A Resident Portal is actually a website for the residents, adding a genuine social element to your community – contemplate it a “digital clubhouse.” If you haven’t noticed, the vast majority of residents have a social presence online. Resident Portals take that concept and merge it with traditional apartment properties to make a true “community” environment. A basic Resident Portal includes a community calendar of events, utility sign-up features, maintenance requests, and online rent payment. However, a few resident portals offer a lot more in terms of a residential area social experience. These expanded resident portals range between about $125/month to $200/month for a 300 unit community, meaning you can aquire a whole year of service for exactly the same price of one summer party. When done properly, resident social interaction can create strong emotional bonds between your residents, leading to impressive improvements in your retention rates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *