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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

Why Exactly Are You Staying At Your Apartment?

It occurred to me tonight that every survey that I have ever seen in our industry regarding a resident's apartment decision related to why he or she decided to move. Rent increase? Maintenance problems? Rent concession at a competitor? Crime? I realized that this question tied in perfectly with the Hygiene Theory I blogged about earlier. Isn't this question about their basic expectations? If the move is controllable (i.e., not a job transfer, bankruptcy, ect), it likely means that either the community did not fulfill the basic expectations, meaning you were effectively pushing them out the door, or you didn't provide them reasons to stay, such as unique perks, amenities, or sense of community. But I've never seen a survey that asks, "Why exactly are you continuing to stay here?" With this question, you could almost place a value on a resident: For example, a resident who actually loves staying at your community is "worth" significantly more than a resident who only stays because his lease tells him he can't leave. Do your residents adore your community or are they only staying because they are too lazy to actually move?  If your resident retention plan relies upon the laziness of your residents, you might have a problem!

In the end, this second question really tells you how satisfied your residents are where as the first question tells you how dissatisfied your move-outs were. As you now know, these are two completely different things! I realize that you could never actually pose that question to your residents, at least with that wording, but I think the answer would be quite enlightening.

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