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Resident Retention: Love You Long Time... I think

I've lived in a handful of apartments over the years, and though I might not be able to tell you what I ate for dinner two nights ago, I can tell you how long I lived in each of my apartments. There was my first apartment in a historic home. No A/C, poor heat, but I loved it. Just over a year. Next one? 1 year. Then 2 dreadful months. Then 18 lovely months. I could go on, but I won't. The 18-month place, I would have stayed for years, but I ended up moving out of state. The next long-term apartment was 2 years, and I would have stayed there longer too, but we bought a house. I remember how long (or short) I stayed and exactly why. Most residents do. However, very few property owners bother to track length of residency for their residents. They look at turnover, occupancy, traffic conversion, but not length of residency. And why not?  This one metric tells you so much. It can be one of those indicators of how well (or badly) things are going on site. Check it out: In 2008, out of more than 30,000 satisfaction survey respondents, we found that nearly 30% had been living in their apartment for 1-2 years. Over 16% had lived there for 3-5 years, and over 10% claimed more than 6 years in their current apartment. Are these residents celebrated? They should be. These are your bread and butter customers, the foundation upon which your......
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Making Your Leasing Tour Stand Out: Create Fun and Excitement

People love unique and exciting experiences. Read the book"Rejuvenile" and you'll learn how much adults love fun. Some examples:#1 Vacation destination for adults: Disneyland and DisneyworldAverage age of online gamers: 29Cable channel with the highest adult viewership: Cartoon Network In property management, you've got the opportunity to create all kinds of energy, fun and excitement in your tours. Are you? Here are some fun and PROVEN ideas to create an interactive and memorable experience:LIVE MODELS: Hire some local theatre students, community players or just plain outgoing people to 'act' in your models. The pretend to live in the models and engage your prospects as they tour. Take my word for it - it's a blast! One bedrooms can be "Crabby Little Old Lady (or Man)". Spilt two bedroom floorplans can be "Frenemies" and one bedroom/den plans can be "Workaholic". Let your imagination run wild and create an engaging presentation.QUIZ TIME: Tell your prospect ahead of time that they can win a discount on their first month's rent (or some other prize). All they have to do is listen to your presentation very carefully and score a 75% or higher on the 'quiz' at the conclusion of the tour. Take my word for it, it's a very fun way to make a memorable tour. The quiz must be very easy and the Leasing Professional should make sure s/he points out 'quiz questions' along the way. For example: "Our building offers 24 HOUR EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE". The prospect will realize at once that it's a quiz......
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Resident Retention: Please Re-Lease Me!

I see and hear reminders that 'leasing season is just around the corner.'  This makes me wonder, "Are you and I watching the same news?" Because from everything I'm reading and seeing on CNN, CNBC, WSJ, and all those other bearers of bad news, there are few new leases to be had!  I mean, yes, there will be some leasing activity, but not the volume to which we are accustomed. Not this year, anyway. I'm turning into a broken record (if you remember what that is) on the issue of retention, and here's another way of putting it: It's time to truly re-group and re-train our leasing teams and focus attention on the upcoming RE-LEASING season.  Leasing season is a nice way of saying many leases are ending, which leads to residents deciding to move, which leads to vacancies. Which we will have difficulty filling. So, now's the time to get our rears in gear and let our residents know how much we value them. This is All Hands On Deck! This is serious biz. But it doesn't have to painful... just consistent. And believe me, it will pay off! Remember I recently shared that only 76% of residents report their work orders are completed correctly the first time? One of our greatest challenges as an industry is a lack of focus on work order follow-up calls. To really WOW your residents, set a new standard that every completed work order will receive a follow-up call or email. All you have......
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Resident Retention: Recession-Proofing your Community

According to First Advantage SafeRent, year over year, 2008 vs. 2007, application volume has decreased nationally by 7.8% and this negative trend is consistent across A, B and C asset classes (http://fadvsaferent.com).  And RealFacts reported that rents decreased across the entire U.S., with occupancy dropping from 92.9% to 92.2%.  Talk about Gloom and Doom!  Things are not looking great. When faced with a shrinking applicant pool and net effective market rent decreases, retaining existing residents who are typically at higher rent levels becomes mission critical.   But check this out:   Annual Survey Respondent Renewal Intentions How Likely Will You Be to Renew Your Lease: Annual Survey Results   2008 2007 Change Very Likely 43.6% 43.6% 0.0% Somewhat Likely 28.0% 26.7% 1.3% Not Likely 16.4% 20.3% -3.9% Don't Know 11.5% 8.9% 2.6% Refused 0.2% 0.3% -0.2%  Source: SatisFacts Research (www.SatisFacts.com)   There’s an interesting opportunity presenting itself to those who will embrace it. The message that is loud and clear is that retention is the answer to recession-proof your community.  It is critical to hold on to the residents you have, as there are fewer and fewer prospects and rental applications coming through our doors.  With accelerated job losses and the subsequent move outs those losses produce, renters with job security become very valuable assets to property managers looking to reduce turnover costs and ride out the storm.  The national turnover rate has slightly declined, although it has been consistently high over the last six years ranging each year between 59%......
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