Move ‘Em In, Move ‘Em Out

The Guide To Successfully Turning Units

While researching unique perspectives on move-ins and move-outs in the property management world, I kept attempting to resort to a metaphor. Then I came across the origin of the word “metaphor” itself, which means “to carry” in Greek. In the context of a typical metaphor, the “carrying” is referring to the sense of one word to a different word, but I figured there were other ways to manipulate the idiom. I started thinking of all the ways that “carrying” is associated with moving. Not only for the obvious reasons of moving boxes in and out, but in the mindset of a owner/manager, transferring and carrying out promises, papers and the term of the lease.

When a resident gives notice, utilize the amount of notice that is currently required in the market. Twenty days is plenty of time to coordinate with them a pre-move-out inspection which will not only benefit them, but also benefit you in the long run. Come prepared with a “make ready checklist.” Schedule the necessary vendors (a carpet cleaner is almost always required). You don’t like having to clean more than you anticipated and do so in too short of an amount of time, just as much as past residents despise receiving deposits back which are half of what they were expecting. 

Conduct the move-out inspection WITH the resident present. Close respective utility accounts. CHANGE THE LOCKS! This is an important turnover task because no matter how friendly and moral driven a resident may seem, they could have given a key to a friend over the past nine years of their tenancy, so who knows who could have access to that given unit! Ensure that the smoke detectors are working and have battery life. Lastly, spruce up the unit to prepare for walkthroughs. 

After you have conducted walkthroughs and found the resident of your dreams with a check in their hand and a thumbs up on their application, you are ready to perform the correct steps for moving in a resident. Schedule the move-in with them so that you accommodate their needs and show that you are available to welcome them into their new home. Ensure that they have signed the lease in all the necessary areas. During their move-in walkthrough, require that they complete their move-in inspection form, so that you are not held liable for anything that they hadn’t caught after they have already moved in. 

Ultimately, moving is a metaphor in and of itself. An owner is transferring and carrying out their promise to each resident as they come and go. The relationships that you build with your residents begin with their experience upon move-in and are “carried out” when it comes time for them to leave. To quote a current relevant movie and book, as an manager/owner you might occasionally feel discouraged as Gatsby did at the end of his novel: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Follow these steps on moving residents in and out of your units and turnovers will become as smooth as if you are floating with the current rather than against it.