A responsive, professional service team is your best ally in the fight to keep your residents right where they are! Once a new resident signs their new lease a large part of how they continue to feel about their new home is in the hands of the service team. From the home’s excellent move in condition, to keeping the property and amenities clean and functional, to regular service requests, and even the occasional after-hours emergency – each one of these situations is an opportunity to keep your residents close or give them an excuse to give their notice.
Three ways that your service teams can help retain residents:
Start with a comprehensive service team resident retention plan: 60 – 90 days out from renewal time have a service team member knock on doors with a kit comprised of some basic items like a furnace filter, light bulbs, caulking, door stops, 9 volt batteries, etc. A simple but powerful line that I often used with residents was, “We were just stopping by to see if you need anything.” If the resident has an item or two that they would like addressed then do it right then and there. If they have a project that may take some time, make a work order and set up a time with the resident for when they would like the issue taken care of. If they say everything is great in their apartment, leave a flyer that has instructions on the different ways your property offers to submit a service request. I suggest trying to reach each resident face to face by stopping by at least 3 different times during the day. If I could not catch them at home I would then leave the flyer on their door. The experience of having the service team come to them and asking if they need anything is one your residents will remember.
Involve service team members at all community events: By being involved, I don’t mean just set up tables and empty the trash (Although we do that too!). Have them in attendance and playing an integral part of the event. Sometimes an office staff will just assume that the service teams don’t really want to be involved, but often times that is the furthest thing from the truth. Having a presence from your service team at all resident functions is a great way to show that everyone who works on the property really is a part of the team. It gives both the residents and service team members an opportunity to interact with each other in a more social context.
Getting your property cleaned up and your amenities ready for use: At this time of year (especially in cold weather climates) it’s time to clean up that debris old man winter left behind. Sweeping curbs, refreshing spring flowers and landscaping, cleaning breezeways, putting away winter equipment, etc., – the list of tasks to accomplish is a long one! When it comes to your property amenities, the swimming pool is probably your first priority to get up and going, so think about opening it early… and by early I mean in April! Although it may be a little cool still to take a dip, people will always come sit around the pool deck, so when they invite their friends over to sit out or cook out by the pool in April, their friends may think, “The pool isn’t open at my community for another month.” If you get one referral or new lease from opening your pool early it is well worth it!
In short, if your residents get great service and are comfortable with the people who take care of them and their homes, a bump in rent will never be the deciding factor for them when it comes time to renew or give their notice.