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MISSING: Residents! REWARD: $$, Higher Occupancy, Better Word of Mouth!

Are your residents vanishing from your community at a rate that makes you consider putting up "missing" posters? If so, did you know that their disappearance was probably preventable? Before you contact the milk carton company, let me explain…

We do an awful lot of training and spend so much money on advertising our communities to get them in the door…  but once they’re in, it’s like we change our focus to who’s next. To me, that’s utterly absurd and honestly… it’s quite expensive.

·         According to research data provided by Satisfacts, the average cost to “lose” a resident is around $4,000. Now, this can of course vary… but the least I’ve EVER seen is around $2,000… still a pretty good chunk of change and too much, in my opinion (and I'd wager that it's too much for any owner as well).

What can we do differently? Well… how about providing the same level of service to current residents as we do to prospective ones? We wouldn’t dream of not following up after someone toured with us (called us, emailed us, etc…) so why are we so bad at following up after the move-in? Doing that allows us to temperature check (something I am very passionate about when I train sales) the now current resident; with regard to the move-in process, condition of the apartment, etc… setting us up, right off the bat, for a successful residency.

BUT, it doesn’t stop there… inevitably; there will be a maintenance issue. How we handle THAT is crucial and typically poorly handled. Again, we wouldn’t dream of not following up with a prospect… so why is it so difficult (I know it’s not, but I know a lot of us don’t do it regularly or even at all) to follow up with a current resident who’s experiencing an issue in the apartment WE “sold” them?

How about interaction with the residents? Too many times I’ve seen members of the on-site team walk right past a resident without so much as a “hello”… rude much? I say hello to people on the street and ALWAYS when I’m on-site. Making residents feel welcome and at home will go along way come renewal time. Something as little as ignoring them or not making eye contact to avoid having to say hello could cost you that renewal and that move-out will cost you at least $2,000… isn’t a simple hello worth that much?

Keep in mind that these residents were prospective residents once and you likely won the lease because you not only met their needs (which I am quite sure other communities did as well), but because of who you “were” when they leased with you. If you aren’t the same person once they’ve moved in… they’ll likely feel duped and then they won’t renew and they’ll probably give you poor word of mouth. All of which could have been avoided if you were just the same you they knew & liked!

If you apply the same principles of leasing an apartment home to your current residents; you’ll end up with more renewals, happier residents, higher NOI because of reduced expenses (which, depending on your company, results in better bonuses and higher salaries), favorable word of mouth, wait lists and let’s face it… higher occupancy w/ high economic occupancy… makes you and your community look like rockstars and who doesn’t want to be a rockstar? 

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