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5 Ways to Create a Great Move-Out Experience

5 Ways to Create a Great Move-Out Experience

It can all fall apart in the end.


An apartment community may have a great relationship with a resident and provide that person with a truly outstanding living experience. But if the resident encounters a rocky move-out, it can completely sour their feelings about the community and lead to angry online reviews and feedback.


Things certainly don't have to turn out that way. Below are some tips for creating a positive move-out experience for your residents:


Set expectations about the security deposit – or eliminate it altogether. Anger about the small amount of their security deposit refund (or anger about getting no refund at all) is a common sentiment in online reviews, just ask your onsite teams.


Because of the tension refunds can create at move-out and because of the various administrative hassles associated with managing deposits, more and more apartment communities are making a fundamental shift in operations and  eliminating security deposits.


If that route doesn’t feel right for your company at this moment, you should at least work hard to manage residents' expectations about their refund. Give them some sense, both when they're paying the deposit and again when they're nearing move-out, of what the average refund looks like at your community. Explain the reasons why charges are typically deducted from a refund. Provide a checklist of the steps a resident needs to take to maximize their chances of getting a sizable refund.


Communicate, communicate, communicate. This one would seem to go without saying but, all too often, apartment communities don't keep their residents as in the loop about the move-out process as they should.


Well before the process starts, remind residents of the move-out charges they'll be responsible for. Provide them with a list of all the steps they will need to take before vacating their unit. Promptly respond to any questions they have.


Be pleasant. Again, this one may seem obvious, but it's so important to be polite and cheerful when dealing with residents who are moving out. Move-outs can be stressful for everyone, and it can be easy for associates to let that stress get the best of them in their interactions with residents.


Make sure to conduct a thorough move-in inspection. As J Turner Research has noted, many negative online reviews about move-outs claim a resident was charged for damages they reported at their move-in inspection. So onsite staffs should make sure they are being extremely detailed and thorough when filling out move-in inspection forms.


Consider leveraging new technologies to help with the move-in process. Empowering residents to fill-out, as well as include photos of any repairs or damages they see during their move-in inspections via a mobile app, or similar, can further ease the move-out process and boost resident satisfaction.


Make sure the resident is present for the move-out inspection. J Turner Research also notes that conducting a move-out inspection in the resident's absence sets the stage for a bad move-out experience. "Residents want to be present at the time of the move-out inspection," writes Priyanka Agarwal of J Turner Research. "They begin to question the details in the bill when the inspection is done in their absence."


Creating a great move-out for residents requires onsite staffs to be highly organized and on top of a lot of details. Add to the mix the fact that associates may be more motivated to go the extra mile for prospects and renewing residents, and you can see how easily move outs can go awry.


But ensuring an easy and pleasant move out is still very much worth it. For starters, it helps you reduce negative reviews. Furthermore, prospects will be more willing to rent from you if they've heard that you will take great care of them from the beginning of their lease until the very end.

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