You’ve done the hard work to market your communities and fill your vacant units. Now you need to focus on ways that you can keep your valuable residents right where they are.
Resident churn is costly; on average, you can spend between $1,000-5,000 to turn a single apartment. If you have a high turnover rate, the expenses can quickly add up.
When you reduce resident churn, you improve the resident lifetime value (RLTV), or the overall amount of revenue earned per resident for the duration of their stay at your community. Residents who renew their leases year after year have a higher RLTV than those who only stay for one lease term.
Ultimately, it’s more cost effective to keep your residents than to look for new ones.
What can you do to protect your bottom line and help encourage your residents to stay put? Here are three steps you can take:
First, make sure that everyone on your staff is on the same page about your policies and procedures and that every resident interaction is well documented. If one member of your staff speaks with a resident, that conversation needs to be added to the renter’s file or logged within your PMS. That way other staff members can get up to speed quickly on prior resident communication. Make it easy for your staff to find this information by setting up a filing system or, if you’re keeping digital records, a consistent naming convention. That way, staff can easily continue an existing conversation with a resident, which may decrease frustration on both sides if an issue needs to be revisited.
Then be sure you are always communicating with your residents clearly and professionally. This means you should be reaching out on a consistent basis – don’t wait until a lease is up to start a conversation. Send resident surveys to gauge satisfaction and fix any issues before they become major problems. Bonus: This may prevent renters from leaving negative reviews, which can ding your online reputation, by giving them the opportunity to express concerns directly to you and your team.
Maintenance issues are always a top concern for residents. Make sure your maintenance teams have a system in place to prioritize urgent requests (like broken air conditioning or clogged toilets). Unfortunately, maintenance calls may not be answered while your leasing team is out of the office. Consider implementing a virtual leasing center to handle emergency maintenance calls when your team is unavailable, including after hours or on weekends. This will help ensure that maintenance requests are handled promptly.
As with other resident communication, document all document maintenance requests and follow up after the issue has been addressed. If the problem isn’t resolved, they’ll let you know and you’ll have another chance to improve their experience. If they’re satisfied, they may also leave you a good review online.
Do your best to make sure your residents are excited to live at your community. Host events that speak to their interests and make sure you communicate about those events early and often. If you have access, use professionally designed flyers posted in your communal areas as a good way to boost attendance. Additionally, reach your tech-savvy renters on the go with mobile-optimized emails and text reminders.
The most influential factor in a resident’s decision to stay or go is the way you interact with them while they live at your community. If you take a proactive approach to make sure their needs are met and they feel adequately informed of what’s going on, they’re more likely to feel a sense of loyalty and satisfaction.