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

Which is more important: Resident Retention or Apartment Marketing?

When we discuss the value of Resident Retention, it isn’t to state that apartment marketing isn’t also vitally important. In other words, to improve retention, we ought to not sacrifice leasing. That said, an increase in retention is vastly more beneficial than an increase in leasing. This should not be considered a surprising concept. When comparing a new resident to a preexisting resident, the existing resident is much more profitable, with almost no make-ready costs no loss due to vacancy. Additionally, a long-term renter is a lot more prone to refer friends and coworkers when compared to a new renter would.

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

Why is resident retention not on the radar?

Even though we all understand the concept of resident retention, surprisingly little is known about how to perform 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 typical mistakes made in current retention “techniques.”

Ki Residences Singapore Customer Service and Maintenance

Let me be clear relating to 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 items are an expectation, not just a perk. Specifically for Class A and Class B properties, residents do not see strong maintenance and customer support as a luxury item they should be impressed with. They instead see these items 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 that 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 should be standard, they’re 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. For starters, summer parties could be very expensive if food emerges, generally ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 for a 300-unit community. Ironically, you cut costs when you get a low resident turnout at these events. Imagine the cost if 100 percent of your residents attended! However, more than likely, you will only have around 25 percent of your residents arrive. Of these, it’s likely that no more than 25 percent includes a lease coming up to create the feeling on the renewal decision. Therefore, you are impacting only 6 percent of one’s “target audience.” This implies for the average community of 300 units, you are 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 do not justify the reward.

So what are some programs we are able to implement?

To start with, know your community. Fair Housing laws limit how much demographic information we are able to keep about our residents, but you should at least have a good 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 over summer and winter will also guarantee your events coincide with all your residents’ renewal periods, thus giving you the largest impact possible. Here some 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 an indicator up period for singles or couples. These groups then take turns rotating among their apartments hosting small dinner parties for each 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 that you can pass along to your residents. This can make them feel part of an exclusive club with money saving deals all the time!

The future of resident retention

Have you heard the term “Resident Portal?” In the event that you haven’t, continue reading! A Resident Portal is essentially a website for the residents, adding a genuine social element to your community – contemplate it a “digital clubhouse.” In the event that 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 make a true “community” environment. A basic Resident Portal carries 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 community social experience. These expanded resident portals range from about $125/month to $200/month for a 300 unit community, meaning you can obtain an entire year of service for the same price of 1 summer party. When done properly, resident social interaction can create strong emotional bonds between your residents, resulting in impressive improvements in your retention rates.

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