MISSING: Residents! REWARD: $$, Higher Occupancy, Better Word of Mouth! | National Apartment Association

MISSING: Residents! REWARD: $$, Higher Occupancy, Better Word of Mouth!

Are your residents vanishing from your community at a rate that makes you consider putting up missing posters? If so, did you know that their disappearance was probably preventable? Before you contact the milk carton company, let me explain.
We spend tons of money on training and advertising to get our residents in the door, but once they’re in we change our focus to the next. To me, that’s utterly absurd and quite expensive as well. According to research data provided by Satisfacts, the average cost to “lose” a resident is around $4,000. This can of course vary, but the least I’ve ever seen is around $2,000, which in my opinion, is still a pretty good chunk of change.

What can we do differently? How about providing the same level of service to current residents as we do to prospective ones? We wouldn’t think of not following up with a prospect, so why do so many of us in the industry so bad at following-up after the move-in? A post-move-in follow-up allows us to temperature check the new resident about the move-in process, condition of the apartment, etc. This sets us up for a successful residency, right from the start.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Inevitably, there will be a maintenance issue at some point, and how we handle that is both crucial and typically poorly handled. We wouldn’t dream of not following up with a prospective resident, so why do so many of us not follow-up with a current resident who’s experiencing an issue in the apartment we “sold” them?
Interaction with residents is also important. Too many times I’ve seen members of the on-site team walk right past a resident without so much as a “hello”. Rude, right? I say “Hello” to people on the street, and always when I’m on-site. Making residents feel welcome and at home will go a long way come renewal time. Something as slight as ignoring them or not making eye contact could cost you that renewal. And the resulting turnover will cost you at least $2,000. Isn’t a simple greeting worth that much?

When your current residents were prospective residents, you likely won the lease because you not only met their needs, but because of who you “were” when they leased with you. If you aren’t the same person once they’ve moved in, they’ll likely feel duped and will be less likely to renew.
If you apply the same principles of leasing an apartment home to your current residents, you’ll end up with more renewals, happier residents, higher NOI due to reduced expenses, favored word of mouth, wait lists and higher occupancy. All of that makes you and your community look like rock stars … and who doesn’t want to be a rock star?