Resident retention is generally the forgotten element 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. In fact, 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 manufactured on the leasing side of the business enterprise our front line troops are called “Leasing Professionals.” Focusing on Leasing is not a bad idea; however, neglecting the other half of your business can alienate your residents, cause high turnover, and severely impact your bottom line.

That 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 vitally important. In other words, to boost retention, we have to not sacrifice leasing. Having said that, an increase in retention is vastly more beneficial than a rise in leasing. This will not be considered a surprising concept. When comparing a new resident to an existing resident, the existing resident is much more profitable, with almost no make-ready costs and no loss because of vacancy. Additionally, a long-term renter is much more prone to refer friends and coworkers than a new renter would.

When you start to see the difference in profitability between your two groups, it is shocking how much more we devote to prospects. While prospects and new residents get the advantage of cheaper rent and extensive marketing, existing residents, those that pay the bills, often obtain the short end of the stick. This difference can result in alienation of your current residents, a situation you should strongly avoid.

How come resident retention not on the radar?

Even though most of us understand the concept of resident retention, surprisingly little is known about how to accomplish it. Therefore, most communities elect to either ignore it all together or choose methods that do not achieve the expected goals. Let’s first look into a few of the most common mistakes manufactured 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, instead of going above and beyond, these things are an expectation, not just a perk. Especially 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. Consider 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 meals to be that great? For a residential area to advertise a feature that should be standard, they are actually implying that the others of their service isn’t too impressive!

The infamous summer party…

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

So what are some programs we can implement?

First of all, know your community. Fair Housing laws limit how much demographic information we are able to keep about our residents, nevertheless, you should at least have an idea of the different faces of your community. Additionally, instead of having one giant one-size-fits-all party, you can coordinate several smaller, targeted parties throughout the year. Having more frequent parties allows you to target different demographic groups in your community at different times instead of “putting all your eggs in a single basket” approach of large summer events. Spacing these events throughout the year will also guarantee your events coincide with all of your residents’ renewal periods, this provides you with you the largest impact possible. Here some ideas that can it is possible to explore that are less costly:

Older Residents

Bridge or Mah Jongg Night
Dinner Rotation – This can be quite popular! Have an indicator 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, understand that you have purchasing power! Most events around town offer group rates that you could pass along to your residents. This can make them feel part of an exclusive club with money saving deals all the time!

The continuing future of resident retention

Have you heard the term “Resident Portal?” If you haven’t, keep reading! A Resident Portal is essentially a website for your residents, adding a true social element to your community – contemplate it a “digital clubhouse.” If you haven’t noticed, almost all residents have a social presence online. Resident Portals take that concept and merge it with traditional apartment properties to produce a true “community” environment. A basic Resident Portal includes a community calendar of events, utility sign-up features, maintenance requests, and online rent payment. Ki Residences Singapore However, several resident portals offer much more in terms of a residential area social experience. These expanded resident portals range from about $125/month to $200/month for a 300 unit community, meaning you can aquire an entire year of service for the same price of 1 summer party. When done properly, resident social interaction can make 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 *