Here are some key factors in improving your resident retention levels:
1. A Beautiful, Safe Place to Live
First and foremost, your apartment building or complex should present an environment that residents will feel proud to live in. Rusted metalwork, water stains on ceilings, broken gate locks and other defects may give the impression, fairy or unfairly, of an unsafe building and an uncaring management. Ron Derven, writing for NAIOP, points out that residents weighing their renewal options tend to factor these signs of neglect into their final decision. Maintaining a beautiful, safe, well-kept residential property sends a clear message that you wish to earn your resident’s continuing business, lease after lease.
2. Green Options
Sustainability has grown into a significant selling point for apartment complexes. While “going green” may have no impact on a large segment of your residential population, some will inevitably respond to this positive development. Steps toward creating a green residence may include installing low-wattage bulbs, low-flow shower heads and “smart” electronics that shut themselves off after a period of non-use. National organizations such as the American Apartment Owners Association work with property owners and managers to improve and promote their buildings’ sustainability, so allying yourself with this sort of organization can make the point that you care about the environment — and, by extension, about your residents who feel the same way.
3. Accessibility to Management
Residents who feel that they have a clear communication line to management may feel more sanguine about signing on for another term. The Source for Housing Solutions recommends maintaining a steady stream of resident feedback through such simple expedients as monthly emails asking for comments and questions. Managers may inspire further interaction by holding a contest among residents who complete customer satisfaction surveys, with prizes awarded to the winners of a drawing. The organization also suggests annual resident-manager conversations as an easy way to express concerns, discuss improvements and encourage retention.
4. Prompt Followup
Paying close attention to your residents’ daily needs, and following up on your staff’s efforts to meet those needs, can have a major impact on resident retention, according to the Institute of Real Estate Management. Managers and their employees must make prompt response to work orders a priority. A follow-up call to confirm that the work got done to the resident’s satisfaction lets the resident know that you care about their well being as a member of your community — and your thoughtfulness may yield rewards at renewal time.