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Gainesville Apartments

Trimark Properties is a leading developer and manager of niche infill student housing in Gainesville, Florida. A cross-functional Trimark team works together to develop articles for this blog, with contributions from the leasing, marketing, development, maintenance, and accounting teams. They often meet to discuss what's working well at their company and share their stories in these articles.

WRITING TEAM:
Aubrey Morey is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Trimark Properties. With 13 years of experience in student housing, digital marketing, and sales management, Aubrey is focused on cost-effective, strategic multifamily management.

Claire Washburn is a University of Florida student pursuing a bachelor's degree in English and Communications Studies. She is also a tenant at one of Trimark Properties' most luxurious apartments, Tuscana Luxury Apartments.

Genevieve Howard is a business student at the University of Florida with a passion for technical communications. Prior to joining Trimark's communications team, she worked for another student housing firm in Gainesville.

How to Foster a Sense of Community in Your Apartment Complex and Increase Resident Retention

How to Foster a Sense of Community in Your Apartment Complex and Increase Resident Retention

Tenants living in apartments should feel close to one another, right? After all, residents in neighboring apartment units live in closer proximity than do people in houses. These conditions don’t always lead to relationships between tenants, or a relationship between property managers and tenants. However, Trimark Properties has a few tips that we’ve used to create a sense of community in our properties that encourages tenants to stay with us, long-term.

Gathering Places – Having an attractive gathering area for residents to relax in is important in building a sense of community. Gainesville’s Solaria Luxury Apartments offer gathering benches in the courtyard for tenants to meet their neighbors. This outdoor courtyard also has a beautiful fireplace with Spanish accents – a place people want to look at. Our company uses landscaping and other methods of upkeep to show our care in making the property appealing. This level of care speaks to tenants and makes them want to stay in a place that demonstrates such incredible care.

Management – Facilitate group activities and other perks. Simply build the option for residents to congregate, like the courtyard built at Solaria. Make yourself known and your team members known by making nametags visible to demonstrate you are a person that cares. Demonstrate availability by making residents feel wanted when offering your services at any time. Seeing is believing – so the smiles and friendly faces of your team go the extra mile in making residents feel comfortable in their community.

Social Networking – Make a Facebook page for each of your individual properties so that residents have the ability to connect and bond with each other. Tenants usually need an initial push to overcome their shyness and make friends with the people living below and next to them. Technology is an easy and affordable way to help residents make that jump. Young residents, in particular, are already accustomed to using technology as a means of communication. Tenants feel comfortable using applications like Facebook, GroupMe, and Instagram to relate and communicate with others. Using these already-familiar applications to communicate with your residents makes them more likely to use the application and then get together for a meeting. In Gainesville, young college residents make up the majority age group. Our property-specific Facebook groups are highly effective in connecting these individuals with each other.

Technology – Another tech-savvy method to connect with tenants is to use a text reminder system for updates, building repair, events and news each month for each of your properties. Text messages are an easy way to send out information quickly, and can be used to announce events such as birthdays, graduations and holidays. Having an effective alert system makes tenants feel both in the loop and involved with their living space. Additionally, connecting a text-based service with work order requests such as alerting residents when maintenance workers are in their apartment and when the order has been successfully completed is helpful to show tenants that you care about their well-being. Lastly, an online system to leave comments and suggestions for work orders or a good experience in the office is helpful so that tenants can input their personal opinions and hopefully feel like their opinions have weight. Our office in Gainesville is located mere blocks from many of our apartments, but many of our residents opt to leave an online comment instead of physically coming in. The ability to leave comments is vital for a company since when tenants leave a comment about the quality of service received, we can take their input and change our methods for the better.

Start Having Community Events – Create a community potluck or themed dinner at a nearby restaurant. Residents having a beautiful meeting place makes planning and execution of your event ridiculously simple since residents only have to walk downstairs to join the fun. Getting involved with regular events reinforces familiar faces and can create close bonds among residents. Gainesville apartments are plentiful, so we want to stand out to residents with our focus on involvement. Additionally, residents are much less likely to leave a property if they feel like they have lasting bonds that they don’t want to break.

Maintenance – Whether or not you are involved physically on your properties, or just in the office, maintenance workers continue to be extremely effective factors in building connections with tenants. While property managers are not always on-site, they can use their maintenance team as a gateway for communication. While completing service requests, maintenance workers can get a feel for the mood of tenants and how they like their new home by asking questions and showing they care. Tenants put in a lot of work orders for various reasons and are often home when maintenance comes knocking. Our workers are extremely friendly and personable, shown by their relationships with our tenants. Building connections between management and tenants through maintenance workers is important since tenants feel cared for when members of our maintenance team or office staff know them by name and ask about updates in their lives. Tenants are more likely to show allegiance to a company they feel connected to, giving you a long-time tenant and showing that closer relationships translate into better retention.

 

Written By: Claire Washburn

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Leave your comments

  • Great post, Claire. I would like t make a suggestion. Please refrain from referring to the residents as tenants, and to their homes as units. You will be surprised how simple changes in terminology makes a difference in perception. it takes some effort, however many of us have have accomplished newer terminology. I always say "tenants' lease office space, residents lease apartment homes."

  • Anne, thank you for your thoughtful suggestion. Point well taken!

  • Samantha DePrima

    Claire,

    I truly enjoyed your article, and found it refreshing to hear from someone in our industry who doesn't have an antiquated, myopic view on collaborative living. I think our overall sense of community gets slightly diminished when we choose to transition from the white picket fence ideal to a more non-traditional living space such as an apartment complex. We all know that great maintenance, amenities and an all-star management staff can boost retention but the concept of feeling like you are part of a niche neighborhood & being a member of a community where you know the name of the person whose front door is only 10 feet away from yours can be an equally important factor when it comes time to renew a lease. I look forward to your next blog/article!

    My best,
    Samantha DePrima

  • Claire,

    I truly enjoyed your article, and found it refreshing to hear from someone in our industry who doesn't have an antiquated, myopic view on collaborative living. I think our overall sense of community gets slightly diminished when we choose to transition from the white picket fence ideal to a more non-traditional living space such as an apartment complex. We all know that great maintenance, amenities and an all-star management staff can boost retention but the concept of feeling like you are part of a niche neighborhood & being a member of a community where you know the name of the person whose front door is only 10 feet away from yours can be an equally important factor when it comes time to renew a lease. I look forward to your next blog/article!

    My best,
    Samantha DePrima

  • Thank you, Samantha! My views have largely been shaped by the student market that we cater to, so it was necessary for our company to change our strategies so that we could make these students feel as if they found a new home. I appreciate your comment so much, especially on such an important topic.

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