How Not to Lose a Resident in the First 10 Days
By Priyanka Agarwal
First impressions are always the most lasting ones. Not taking care of these nine issues can ruin a resident’s early days at your community.
A few days after a resident moves in to your community, the last thing you want them to write in a review is, “I had the worst leasing experience ever in an apartment” or “Do not move here, they don’t care about you once your name is on the lease” or “I would not recommend this place to my worst enemy.”
What causes a new resident to become frustrated with their home? Watch-out for these common complaints voiced by new residents in online reviews.
Residents resent being slapped by “hidden fees” not communicated at the time of leasing. They sometimes claim that the leasing team did not explicitly mention the additional fees for features such as a paid parking spot, valet trash, utilities or maintenance, among other things.
Pest and mold infestation
No one wants to walk into an apartment home or even a room infested with pests or mold. Residents often echo that they feel “disgusted” by the “unacceptable living conditions” in their new home if they find roaches, bugs or rats. They hate seeing the bathroom covered with mold. Residents interpret this as management not “valuing” or “caring” about them.
Residents expect all appliances—from the oven lights to the kitchen exhaust to the microwave and the washer and dryer—to be in functional and well-maintained condition. They don’t want to find any with broken or missing pieces.
Residents become very frustrated when they walk into a dirty apartment with paint on the floors, shredded or stained carpet, smelly interiors, holes in walls or a stove splattered with food, among other things.
If the bathroom or the kitchen sink is dysfunctional, it poses a big problem for new residents. They don’t want to face any plumbing issues, such as the shower not working, no hot water or bathtub or sink drainage not working.
Air-conditioning not working
A big turn-off is when the air-conditioning or heating is not working properly in a new home. What makes matters worse is if their maintenance request to fix this issue is not resolved within the next few days or if there is no property communication about the repairs.
Exterior spaces not maintained
Residents also pay close attention to the cleanliness and maintenance of hallways and outdoor spaces. For instance, if the lights in the hallways are broken or if you are a gated community and the gates are not functioning properly, all of this takes away from the residents’ sense of safety in your community.
Unresolved maintenance requests
When a resident does place certain maintenance requests in the first few days, and if those requests are not completed as promised, this may drive them to post a negative review for your community.
Attitude of the leasing staff
Residents feel extremely let down if the leasing staff is not attentive to their requests or if they do not return their phone calls or emails. It is imperative for the office staff to handle residents, especially new residents, with kid gloves.
The best way to fix these issues is to be proactive and inspect, fix and communicate. Before move-in conduct a thorough inspection of the apartment and fix all issues. Communicate clearly with residents right from the start and through all stages of each service request. Additionally, be sure to have a preventive maintenance plan in place. You and your team need to do whatever it takes to avoid reading the following in a review about your apartment community from a new resident:
“How management didn’t catch any of these issues before leasing it to another tenant makes no sense. But, this place would get a five-star rating if certain individuals in management assisted residents properly and disclosed necessary and pertinent information to their future residents.”
Priyanka Agarwal is a public relations consultant for J Turner Research