This biweekly sponsored column is written by the experts at Gordon James Realty, a local property management firm that specializes in residential real estate, commercial real estate and homeowner associations. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.
If you’ve ever been in property management, you know that it takes a lot of time, effort, patience and funds to find and retain quality residents. It costs a lot of money to keep turning over units, so it’s a win-win for everyone when residents are happy — they don’t have to move and you don’t have to pay apartment turnover fees.
The team at Gordon James Realty has compiled a list of action items that you may want to consider in the new year in order to keep your residents satisfied:
- Rent them a place they’ll want to move into and come home to. Make sure you’re handing over the keys to an apartment that’s been thoroughly cleaned with no sign of former tenants. Renters want to move into a clean palette – a place to make completely their own.
- Educate your renters from the get-go! If they don’t know the rules, then they aren’t able to follow them. Upon move-in, give them a run-down via the lease, an email, a flyer, and word-of-mouth. Be sure to include things like noise restrictions, pet policies, parking policies, trash day, etc.
- Send them a welcome letter. Everyone wants to feel welcomed! Especially if they are first-time renters or new to the area. Let them know that you’re glad to have them here and remind them of your contact information should any problems arise. It’s also a good idea to educate people who may be new to the area by giving them suggestions on local restaurants, bars, gyms, grocery stores, hiking trails, breweries, movie theaters, parks, etc.
- Leave them a housewarming gift. A thoughtful housewarming gift doesn’t have to be extravagant. Leave them something small that will make them think of the awesome leasing staff – a bottle of wine, flowers, or some property swag like koozies, cups, sunglasses, etc.
- Keep up with them. About a month after they move in, reach out via email to make sure everything is ok and that they are happy with their living situation so far. That being said…
- Don’t get too friendly. After you’ve confirmed that everything is satisfactory with their living conditions and you’ve reminded them how to reach you should a problem arise, keep your distance. You do not need to be “popping in” regularly. That creates unnecessary pressure on the tenant and they may feel like they are being “watched.”
- Host events. Community-wide events are a great way for residents to meet one another and a good opportunity for you to get positive exposure online. For example, you host a Thanksgiving party or a Super Bowl party and many of your residents will likely post pictures on Instagram, tweet and/or Facebook about the event – free marketing for you and your community!
- Ask for feedback. The only way to improve is to ask your residents for feedback! You can send out a survey via email or keep response cards in your leasing office. Your residents will appreciate the fact that you are trying to better the community.
- Don’t be tardy with maintenance and repairs. When a tenant reaches out about a broken laundry machine, faulty lock, etc., make sure you respond ASAP! Even if you can’t get to them right away, make sure you let them know that their request has been received and someone will fix the problem as soon as possible.
- Send season’s greetings. Everyone loves getting mail! Pop a ‘Happy Halloween’ mini bag of candy in their mailboxes, and ‘Happy Holidays’ cards.
- Be realistic. Last, but certainly not least, try to be as reasonable and lenient as you possibly can. Accidents happen. Property sometimes gets damaged. Property managers should consider purchasing tailored landlord insurance in case anything happens. Hope for the best, but always be prepared for the worst.
Have any other ideas to keep residents happy? Share them with us!