When a Move is More Than a Move In | National Apartment Association

When a Move is More Than a Move In

This month, our Education Team has been focusing on tools, tips and data surrounding move-ins. While there are certain times of year where move-ins are more common, they occur year-round at typically every community. Because they are such a common part of what we do every day, it is easy to take for granted that all staff know what to do, when to do it and how to do it.
However, as property management professionals, we must always remember that no matter how many times we’ve facilitated move-ins, for the people who are moving in, this is not an everyday occurrence. It’s also not an easy process.
In addition to the physical toll that packing, moving and unpacking can have on a person, there’s an emotional toll as well. For an individual, this move could be a result of a break up, job loss, job relocation, or a family issue. For parents, they are not only anticipating the thought of new neighbors and new routines but also the impact on their kids. Not to mention all the details like hooking up utilities, phone and cable and renting appliances, if needed.
Even in the most exciting of circumstances – a first home, or a move to a place that has been a dream for years – moving means change, adjustment, and a lot of work! We can have a huge impact on how well – or how badly – a move-in experience can go. Put yourself in the following situation: A mother, father and their two young children arrive bright and early Saturday morning with their U-Haul and minivan, ready to walk into their new home after travelling cross country for two days due to a job relocation.

The leasing agent sees them pull up and immediately starts looking in the PM system for a clue of who they might be. The family walks in, looking a little tired, though the children are bouncing with excitement. The leasing agent looks at them with a smile, and asks their names.
The parents, who are already worn out, realize they will have to wait even longer as documents are printed out, keys are located and papers are signed. It’s going to be a long day for them.
When they finally get access to their new home, their apartment smells musty. The carpets have been cleaned and vacuumed, but there is a fine layer of dust on the countertops. Once the boxes and mattresses have been unloaded, it’s late, and everyone is absolutely exhausted. The dad decides to whip up some food on the stove, only one of the burners is not firing up.
Before they moved, the staff had been great. When they toured the property a few months ago everyone was friendly, and whenever they called with questions, the staff was always helpful. But here they were, not even 24 hours in their new home and not one thing had been easy, pleasant or helpful. No one was expecting them, their home was not clean, and now the stove didn’t fully work, which meant they’d have to make a call in the morning.
He wondered if he should take another look at some of the surrounding communities. A move-in is an emotional experience no matter what the circumstance, and the easier we can make the process for new residents, the more likely they will be to renew their lease a year from now.
According to data from the SatisFacts Insite® Move-In Index, 95% o f new residents from around the country say their lease was prepared and keys were available when they arrived to move-in. However, only 90% say their new home was clean, and nearly one in four say they had a problem with an appliance or fixture at move-in.
At your next move-in, remember to anticipate the expectations of your new residents, no matter how basic. Meet with your team to go over what needs to happen during a final walk-through before a turn is considered complete, and what should always be ready for new residents the moment they walk in your door.
Know their names, be excited for them and calm their worries. You may not be able to make all their fears go away, but you can make sure their stove works! Make it easy for them from day one, and it will be easy for them to renew by day 365.