The newsLINK Group - Why (and How) You Want to Retain Long-Term Renters

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Retaining Long-Term Renters Title: Why (and How) You Want to Retain Long-Term Renters Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Losing customers is a bad thing in any business, but it is particularly bad in the apartment rental industry. Maintaining current residents generates revenue and increases the number of new-resident referrals you are likely to get. Editorial: Why (and How) You Want to Retain Long-Term Renters 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Losing customers is a bad thing in any business, but it is particularly bad in the apartment rental industry. Maintaining current residents generates revenue and increases the number of new-resident referrals you are likely to get. In contrast, empty apartments generating no revenue are a lost opportunity for income. That lack of income strains your budget over time and impacts other operations and leasing teams. Just how expensive is it to lose renters? According to Khalid Saleh on the Invesp website, attracting a new customer is five times more expensive than just keeping the one you have. On the Multi-Housing News website, Jami Matusek estimates that the cost savings averages as much as $2500 per renewal. Despite these facts, 44 percent of business put more effort into finding new people than the 18 percent that focus more on building a positive relationship instead, although some businesses do put an equal focus on both areas. What is the main way to build customer loyalty and retain someone’s business? You do it by giving them a good customer experience. Start early by using a campaign that begins the day someone signs a lease. Send a note or an email thanking the person. Make a welcome basket and leave it in the rental unit. Check in with tenants once a month, and invite them to talk to office staff when they need something. In addition, be responsive when a tenant’s unit needs maintenance. Have maintenance workers leave notes in units once work is done, and follow up by having someone from the leasing team talk to tenants within a day or two to make sure the maintenance was satisfactory. Pay attention to when the lease is up for renewal and use that time as an opportunity to strengthen the connection between tenants and their current community by putting money back into the rental property. Small periodic upgrades can make it clear you value the people living in a community. Paint is an obvious starting point, but you can do more than that. Long-term renters are likely to appreciate it if you put in devices that can be run by a smartphone, such as Nest Thermostats, and they will also probably like upgrades such as outlets that have USB ports. You might want to consider making the entire building “smart”: having an integrated, internet-based system that controls tasks within the building such as emergency alerts, HVAC, lighting, and security. The goal should be to provide tenants with fast, easy, secure internet no matter where they are in the building, private and public spaces alike. Make it so people can use their smartphones even in the elevator, and use that connectivity to keep tenants up-to-date about maintenance issues and restaurant coupons for nearby businesses (especially the businesses that might be located within the building). How do you know which upgrades to choose first? The best way is to ask the people living in your apartments. Benchmark the current building, especially with respect to internet service, so you have some idea about problem areas and upgrades. Put together a list of possible changes they list that would increase the appeal of the apartments and then budget appropriately. Many small changes are affordable. Look for the ones that will have the most impact for the least amount of money, and start there. Once you know what direction you want to take on internet service, make sure you develop a plan to follow. Ask tenants who are into smart technology to help put the plan together. Strongly consider putting in a fiber infrastructure if you don’t have one already. If you have fiber already, decide whether it needs to be updated. Fiber will allow you to be flexible and to grow, and systems are becoming increasingly affordable. You can also consider finding a provider to optimize your system. Train staff so they have the expertise to manage the system, and check on quality so you are sure it is serving your tenants and employees well.

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