Topic: 50 Resident Retention Ideas in 50 Hours

Brent Williams's Avatar Topic Author
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It's time to combine the brainstorming power of the Multifamily Insiders community to come up with 50 resident retention ideas in just 50 hours! The clock is ticking, so let's get to it!

1) Apartment Upgrade program for lease renewals. Allow your residents to upgrade one component of their apartment each year they renew, such as an accent wall, upgraded sink fixtures, or ceiling fan. The upgrade stays with the apartment, so you get a benefit for the renewing resident, plus you have improved the unit.


(For every new resident retention idea, number your idea!)

(Also, share this post with your friends to make sure we hit 50 ideas in just 50 hours! So share on Facebook, Twitter, and email!)
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Peggy Crowley's Avatar
Peggy Crowley
2) Know your residents...talk to them...not at them...care. It's as easy as that.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams. Reason: Added number
Linda Hansen's Avatar
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3. BE NICE!
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams. Reason: Adjusted number
Karma's Avatar
Karma
4) Take care of them all year, not just at renewal time. Make sure service requests get done, listen to them, know their names, get to know them, make time for them ALL YEAR. This way when renewal time comes they want to stay bc they feel like they are cared about.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams. Reason: Added number
Rose M's Avatar
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5. Respond to calls and maintenance requests promptly.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Donje Putnam's Avatar
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6. Work on renewals all year by sending your residents treats and letters every month, not just 90 days before their lease is up. Gum- stick with us. Candy- we're sweet on you, etc.
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Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Donje Putnam.
Donje Putnam's Avatar
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7. Work on making your residents feel like part of a community by having resident events and getting them involved in living at your community.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Brent Williams's Avatar Topic Author
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8) Bonus privileges the longer they stay. For example, each year have a new “graduation upgrade”. Maybe they begin to get the Purqz benefits after the first renewal. When they hit 5 years, they get their own preferred parking spot. What should they get for 10 years?
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Sandy Martin's Avatar
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Notice them: I love your new car! Is that a new hair style? Taken a vacation lately? Where? Seen a good movie lately...O, I loved that too! How are the kids? How is school going? etc., etc.,

Everyone has something they are interested in.

If you see them leaving with golf clubs every Wednesday...How was you game?

See the kids bouncing a basketball... Are they on a team?

When local schools win championships..recognize it in your newsletter.

Get personal, just not too personal!!!

They love it!
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Posted 10 years 3 months ago
BT Investment Group's Avatar
BT Investment Group
Sandy Martin wrote:

Notice them: I love your new car! Is that a new hair style? Taken a vacation lately? Where? Seen a good movie lately...O, I loved that too! How are the kids? How is school going? etc., etc.,

Everyone has something they are interested in.

If you see them leaving with golf clubs every Wednesday...How was you game?

See the kids bouncing a basketball... Are they on a team?

When local schools win championships..recognize it in your newsletter.

Get personal, just not too personal!!!

They love it!


Sandy- You are 150% correct!!!!! Its all about making that connection!
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Lisa Davis's Avatar
Lisa Davis
Get on the Sure Deposit program (it costs your company $0). You can charge $87.50 or $175 for $500 or $1000 worth of coverage and give the refundable deposit back to your resident as a renewal gift. Plus you could still do a carpet cleaning or small upgrade in their unit. Everyone loves cash back in their pocket and this program can earn your company money and help you collect on former residents...its a win win... B)
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
J. Krebs's Avatar
J. Krebs
Thank them for being your resident.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Nate Thomas's Avatar
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11) Customer Service is always the one thing that trumps everything! During their lease contract do something which is a focus on that tenant.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Nate Thomas's Avatar
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12) Get gifts cards that relate. Work a special deal with certain vendors where tenants can go and get discounts just for living at your property.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Alecia Truex's Avatar
Alecia Truex
13) Find local vendors that are willing to deliver, pick up, or discount just for your residents. Remind them of these perks in newsletters.

Also, if you check out the newspaper "events & things to do" it is super simple to update a newsletter to reflect what is going on in your neighborhood. (Sometimes you will find a local museum or other cool spot that offers free admission 1 day a month. Who wouldn't want to know about that!)

Showing that there are even more amenities to living in your community than activities on site.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Sharon Lund's Avatar
Sharon Lund
14) Remember them on Birthdays with a card & a cupcake.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams. Reason: Added number
Brent Williams's Avatar Topic Author
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15) Effective resident portal! I don't just mean the ability to make maintenance requests or pay rent online. I mean a way for residents to interact and get to know each other. How many residents actually attend your live events? 25%? That means three quarters of residents are not meeting anyone new, not making any emotional connections with their community. Help them do it in the comfort and privacy of their own home, so they can get involved in a non-intimidating environment.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams.
Sharon Lund's Avatar
Sharon Lund
16) Special treats for the Valentine's Day everyone likes to be remembered.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams.
Mindy Sharp's Avatar
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17) Set up a Referral Directory! This includes information in a fun format about the city and area Residents live in with QR codes they can scan for discounts. This is updated all the time!
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams.
Juan Carlos Diaz's Avatar
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18) Accent wall programs with color choices. Studies have shown that when tenants choose an accent wall, it creates an atmosphere where they "feel at home" because they made a sentimental choice where their living space is reflected on their decoration and color schemes. Tenants "feel" at home and lease longer and take care of the unit better...retention & occupancy go up. Email me for program details. :)
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Pixi21's Avatar
Pixi21
20) Offer services such as free copies and faxes. We keep stamps at the office in case they need one in a pinch. We keep quarters for the laundry and vending machines. We have loaner jumper cables and vacuums. Maintenance will help a resident jump their car.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Angela J's Avatar
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21. Fail forward. Just because you tried something once and it didn't go as planned, learn from what didn't go right and try again.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Nikki's Avatar
Nikki
22. Also, call them by name! Residents will remember this simple act. By knowing your residents by name, it shows that you care enough to think about them persoanlly throughout the day and it will go a long way in creating that connection that will more than likely put you ahead of the pack at renewal time!
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams. Reason: Added number
Mindy Sharp's Avatar
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23. Have an easy to understand, inexpensive Transfer Policy so Residents can easily relocate within your own community! This has worked for 4 Residents this year (2012) alone.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Andrea A's Avatar
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24. At my previous property we made Renewal Gift Bag- they LOVED it! :P They didn’t seem concerned about the value of the gift either. It was the fact that we had thought of them to make such a pretty little gift. It definitely made them smile and renewal was more pleasant during signing. They walked out happy and we retained one more renewal. It was just a small gift wrapped in tissue and tied with pretty ribbon. I gave it a personal touch and attached a thank you card that was signed by the staff. The gifts were placed on a table by the front door…pretty little gifts grabbed lots of attention for sure. RENEWAL TIME!!!
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams. Reason: Added number
Resident Transfers's Avatar
Resident Transfers
I find that transfers within a complex/community are a very expensive proposition and typically only permit this to occur if a tenant is at the end of their respective Lease. The reason is simple, The cost of rehabbing a unit regardless of security deposits etc... has skyrocketed in recent years. Just cleaning and painting an average unit can cost about $1500 and that's assuming no damage, problems, or repairs. If a unit requires carpet add an additional $1500 etc... Marketing expense also contributes to this and can be a large number depending on the season.

Also, You shouldn't forget that the unit you are transferring them to was probably just rehabbed so you're essentially incurring twice the cost to obtain one tenant prior to completing their Lease (i.e. before you see profit).

Bottom line is that retaining a tenant by moving them is only beneficial in a very limited circumstance in my opinion. Even if you can increase their monthly rent it may still never outweigh the cost of the move.

My average tenant in a two bedroom apartment resides with us for 23 months. Those who reside in our townhouses that have extra amenities like washer/dryer hookups etc... tend to reside for 60 months or longer.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Stephani Fowler's Avatar
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I agree with Mindy on the transfer policy. Ours is simple; withing the 1st year there is a fee of $500 afterwards is free. I'm not sure where the figure of $1,500 just to paint and clean comes from. I pay less than $200 per unit for paint and $80 to clean. One side of my building is literlly 19' from a busy train track. Often times residents move in to units on that side simply because that's all we have available but the train bothers them. If it means the difference between losing a resident or keeping one.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Transfers are also very expensive for my community. Our company uses only the lowest price vendors. $1500 for new carpet, $600 to paint, $230 to clean, etc. We had to stop permitting transfers due to the expense. Residents can still move from one unit to another within our community, but they must do so just like they were moving to a new community. They have to give notice, pay for Application/screening/deposits, etc.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Brent Williams's Avatar Topic Author
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Alright everybody - we are about halfway through at 24 Resident Retention ideas! Let's keep going and finish the 50!
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Amy Kosnikowski's Avatar
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25.) Minding Your Manners Pays Off! To stay focused on customer service use positive words and phrases such as: Definitely, Surely, Absolutely, Certainly, Consider It Done!, I am at your service, I would be happy to! And my personal favorite, “It would be my pleasure!”
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Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Amy Kosnikowski's Avatar
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26.) Increase the ability for residents to communicate with us whether it is a suggestion, a service request or question. By increasing their accessibility to talk to us will allow us to provide a better level of service. Several ideas are place a magnet on every frig with all contact information, send out periodic emails enquiring Is There Anythinkg That We May Do To Better Your Apartment Home?, link to resident portal or website, place a suggestion box in mail area or in common areas, hang “Just Checking How You Are Doing?” on doors quarterly, etc. The key will be to respond consistency and stay on top of all communications.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Meghan's Avatar
Meghan
27) Call residents after a maintenance request was completed in their apartment to make sure it has gone smoothly. If you have a large property and can't do this for every maintenance call, just do it for residents who might be particular about things, or just pick a few at random to do.
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams. Reason: Added number
Angela J's Avatar
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28. Think subliminal and use positive language/terminology. You don't have "tenants" you have "residents". You don't manage "units" you manage "apartments" or "homes" or "apartment homes". You don't work at a "complex", instead you work at a "community".
Posted 10 years 3 months ago
Michael Dvorscak's Avatar
Michael Dvorscak
Could doing it with select residents be a fair housing issue? If so, it could be done for every "nth" maintenance request.
Posted 10 years 2 months ago
Meghan's Avatar
Meghan
That's a good question, Michael. At the very least, I would recommend it for any resident that placed more than one call for the same issue.
Posted 10 years 2 months ago
Brent Williams's Avatar Topic Author
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29. Understand Your Amenities! Some amenities are great for the initial sale, but don't provide any value for renewal. If someone moved in thinking they were going to hit the gym everyday, but hasn't stepped foot in it once, is the gym valuable to them? So take the time to track the usage of your amenities! Those that get used the most, create specific events/contests/promotions specifically for them!
Posted 10 years 2 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Show your residents the value of your amenities- lead by example!

:)
Posted 9 years 5 months ago
Hollie C.'s Avatar
Hollie C.
My husband's company has one of these. It's like Facebook for the residents in their community, except it also includes paying rent, work orders and other things. Well, in theory, it's a GREAT IDEA. but we don't live in a cum-bay-ah world! It's not like the residents have any incentive to behave or be socially responsible. It has turned into a place for everyone to complain on! I have read many many different properties pages to get perspective and it's this way across the board. "It took maintenance 6 hours to respond to a maintenance call for my burnt out light bulb, don't they think that I am important?" and "I don't know who the lady in the office thinks they are, she's not foolin anyone with those outfits!" or "If they would have hired non-illegals to fix my ac in the first place, maybe I would have a cool apartment by now. This office doesn't care about us!" YES, these are almost verbatim quoted posts! AND, then if there is an issue at all, like say a building water shut of to repair a valve that takes half the day, it allows all the people to gripe complain and start asking for money back. NO ONE REGULATED THEMSELVES and PEOPLE EMBELLISH and STRETCH THE TRUTH. I pray that his company understands that they have to take most the comments with a grain of salt, but as for the other residents... forget that, it does more to make people want to leave than to stay.. I would double think, triples think and then decide that this may be a bad idea. It ends up making the staff's life being controlled by the "bad press" one person is posting, they are running around trying to put out fires that have become full on blazes... seems to me that fire prevention would just be easier! I SAY DON'T DO IT!
Posted 8 years 8 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
30. Do the math for your residents. Compare costs of paying a renewal increase and avoiding the hassle of moving to what it would cost them to hire a moving company.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
don's Avatar
don
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Lots of good points!

But what is the percent of people leaving that is out of your control? health? job? family?
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Rhiannon Morris's Avatar
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We work with some properties where our Clients feel it is helpful to offer Residents a credit towards their utilities, or a monthly cap either in dollars or gallons each month. By paying a share, their Residents feel more connected to management. They feel they are being taken care of - part of a community who truly wants to see them enjoy their lifestyle there. I was discussing this with a potential Client earlier this week, who has Residents that are veterans and mostly disabled. We are going to implement a floor, where they cover the first 1,000 or so gallons of their utility bill, and we in turn lowered our fee to help keep the bill at a minimum. It feels good, to do good!
Posted 8 years 6 months ago
William Robinson's Avatar
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Choose a day or 2 out of the week, and examine your work order requests. Try your best to call every resident back to ensure that it has been completed to their satisfaction, additionally take the time to ask if they have any additional request.

My resident were so appreciative when I did this.
Posted 8 years 9 hours ago
manuel delacerda's Avatar
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You are absolutely right, take care of them year round. Managing is a daily routine, not just once a year. Build positive relationships with all tenants. Team up with maintenance once a wk to visit units. This will guide you to preventive maintenance and following year's budget control. Being all over your property will earn your tenants respect. This is your best asset for resident retention. Beware of the tenants that never complain, they usually wait till the lease is up. Remember the "Golden Rule," 96% of tenants move because of bad service.
Posted 7 years 11 months ago
donald's Avatar
donald
can't agree with all of this
Posted 7 years 11 months ago
Jenette's Avatar
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Manuel, I love this one. I have everyone do occasional "pop-ins" while maintenance is in a tenant's apartment. And you are so right that it makes a huge impact to be out visible on the property. I tell them to become best friends with the tenant, make small talk, ask how everything else is with the apartment, etc. Most tenants will ask about changes to the apartment at one point or another. Site people do not have to get approval to paint a room, install a new bathroom vanity, ceiling fan, gratis carpet shampoo, kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls, anything reasonable that will make the resident that much happier when they walk in the door. I also tell them to use this as a negotiating tool for renewal.

In regard to the above paragraph, when I have refresher or training sessions I tell them to put themselves in resident's position - how would you feel coming home to a dingy, dirty property and an apartment that has a ten year old paint job and a carpet that has never been cleaned. When they get that mental picture going I tell them that the last thing we want when the resident comes home is to say "ugh" when they open the door - these are people and this is their home. They should be able to feel good about it and not feel embarrassed to have friends or family visit them.

Also what seems to be very popular is we'll hang mirrors, curtain rods, tv wall units. Can save a wall unit from ripping out of the wall Tenants love it and we're assured that the tenant hasn't drilled 11 huge holes in the wall with anchor screws while trying to first figure out what the stud is then find it. :laugh:

I guess that's three things: 1, 2 3
Posted 7 years 11 months ago
manuel delacerda's Avatar
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Jenette, these occasional pop-ins is what I call good service. Is it not the best feeling when a tenant thanks you for doing something they didn't have to ask for? Why not do things before they ask. This is also a good way to keep your floating expenses under control. When you promote service, you retain your tenants. "Keep up the good work."
Posted 7 years 11 months ago
Asheville Consultant's Avatar
Asheville Consultant
The best for pet owners is to simply remember their pets name and ask about them when you see them. Works for wowing prospects too if you call them a week after touring and remember their dogs name.
Posted 7 years 9 months ago
William Huepppauff's Avatar
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Host a Black Friday Launch Party for residents.

Over the years Black Friday has become a tradition among many Americans. Host a Launch Party at your community very early in the morning with (strong) coffee, hot chocolate, donuts and fruit. In most cities the newspaper published the day before Thanksgiving is the largest of the year because of the Black Friday ads. Order enough copies for your residents and deliver them on Wednesday with print collateral promoting your Launch Party.

Attachments:
Posted 7 years 6 months ago
Last edit: by William Huepppauff. Reason: 1st image too large
Scott Richardson's Avatar
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I think Prefferential, reserved parking is a great idea! Something affordable which recognizes the outstanding residents is a win-win! Upgrading splash walls, ceiling fans and other tight-budget in-house options can offer more timely 'perks' to the right Residents; continually reminding them you care through affordable praise and recognition.
Posted 7 years 2 months ago
Vivian Turner's Avatar
Vivian Turner
I would like to know more about the accent wall program or any others you can share with me.
Posted 5 years 8 months ago
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