The past year has been one wild ride for apartment properties. It’s not a ride anyone would’ve liked to go on. It’s been 100 years since this type of crisis has affected the world’s population. No one ever thought something like this would happen in our lifetimes.
So, it’s not surprising most apartment property managers and owners are flying by the seat of their pants. They have no playbook for a crisis like this. The one thing that has not changed is that apartment property managers and owners want to keep the residents for as long as possible.
The Cost of Not Retaining Apartment Residents
Apartment property managers and owners know one of the best ways to maximize profits is to retain residents. “What’s the Financial Impact of Reducing Turnover?” shares an example of how longer retention leads to higher profits. An apartment building contains 100 units. The rent averages around $2,000 per month. The property contends with 50 percent turnover in one year. If 50 apartments stay vacant for one month, the property loses $100K in revenue.
That’s not all. A turnover comes with administrative and repair costs. In this scenario, it runs about $750 per apartment. That brings the final tally for 50 percent turnover to $137K in one year.
What if turnover drops to 30 percent? The numbers change from $100K to $60K on lost rent. Maintenance costs come down from $37.5K to $22.5K. The numbers add up to $82.5K for a savings of $55K, and that’s just from reducing turnover by 20 percent.
Simply put, the longer you keep a resident, the fewer the costs property management will have to incur from a turnover. When residents leave, the property management company must contend with the costs of cleaning up and preparing the apartment for the next renter. If another resident does not come along quickly, the property company loses out on rent.
What can you do to increase apartment resident retention? Here are five things you can do to encourage residents to stick around as long as possible.
1. Build and Maintain a Community
Everyone has their own lifestyle. Some are night owls. Some are early birds. Some love to go out. Some are homebodies. It can prove challenging for neighbors to meet and get to know each other better. Thus, apartment property management needs to build an inclusive community for residents.
Most everyone is connected. You can establish an online community. If you’re not sure what social network to use or you don’t have your own, find out if residents have accounts with specific networks. Some apartment property management apps incorporate communities. As soon as a new resident moves in, invite them to the online community. Ask the community to help welcome new residents to make them feel at home.
Another way to build community is to have a communal space. It could have a bulletin board with the latest newsletter. This way residents who aren’t active online have a way to stay on top of the news. Obviously, until the pandemic passes, avoid having public gatherings in common areas. Is there an entrance that most people pass through? Post updates there for residents to catch.
2. Communicate Effectively with Apartment Residents
An online community can be an effective communication tool. Still, it’s wise to offer multiple communication options. Everyone has his or her own preference for receiving updates. It’s important to find a way or multiple ways that ensure everyone receives the same update.
Regularly ask for input and feedback from residents. If an idea looks feasible, implement it and thank the resident publicly for the suggestion.
Sometimes residents won’t be happy, and their feedback may sound angry or frustrated. It’s hard to hear things like that. However, remain positive and grateful. If they had never given the feedback, you would not know what needs to be improved.
3. Offer Relevant Apartment Amenities
Don’t offer an amenity just because it’s cool and people may like it. Some amenities fare better than others. Hence, you want to provide the right amenities. Besides, apartment amenities are no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.
Residents appreciate things that ease their lives. It could be ridesharing, washer and dryers in the units, or cleaning services. It could be having an onsite grocery store or grocery delivery.
Do you allow pets? More people may want to add a furry animal to their family especially at a time when more stay home and work from home. Possible amenities could be pet conveniences such as dog walking and bathing services.
Residents may prefer working out without leaving the building. Having an on-site fitness center
with exercise machines, weight machines, and free weights may be invaluable.
With more people staying home for work and school, a fast, reliable connection is a must-have. When new and better networks become available, check it out as residents will want the best network service possible.
One surprise comes from the 2020 NMHC and Kingsley Associates Renter Preferences Report. Based on a survey of more than 370k apartment renters in 5,300 communities, more than half want an onsite business center.
4. Implement New Technology
Apartment residents stay on because the building meets their personal and work needs. It creates a safe space where they feel at home while optimizing their work setting. Technology simplifies things while helping them feel secure.
Residents are likely to want voice-activated technology like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Of those surveyed by NMHC and Kingsley Associates, one-third already owns voice-activated technology. Moreover, 43 percent were interested in or won’t rent from a place without a voice-activated virtual assistant.
The oldest members of Gen Z have either worked for a few years or recently graduated from college. Many of them are looking to live in their own place. As the first generation of digital natives, they expect their apartment to offer smart home technology.
Another technology several generations want is apartment security and video surveillance. According to the National Apartment Association, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers want these options. It gives them the peace of mind to feel safe at a place where they spend most of their days. More than half will pay more for security features per an Assurant survey of renters.
Video surveillance systems can do more than stop crime. They can spot and report safety hazards. More seniors are trading homes for apartments to drop the responsibility of maintaining a home. Video cameras are useful to ensure older residents using a walker, canes, or wheelchairs remain safe.
Video surveillance with artificial intelligence and trained monitoring operators watch the entire property. The AI looks for any one of its many programmed scenarios. As soon as it recognizes a scenario, the system notifies the operator who looks into it. If someone is behaving suspiciously, the operator can alert the suspect on a speaker system. This adds a layer of security.
The presence of video cameras adds another layer of security. They can help deter criminals. If a suspect doesn’t notice the cameras or wears a mask, the operators can use the speaker or call law enforcement. Often, this leads to the apprehension of the suspect before damage occurs.
A video surveillance system can save footage. You’ll have the needed proof for any incidents, crimes, and liability claims. For instance, a delivery person may claim getting injured on the property. Analysts can review the video footage to find the incident and determine whether or not the person got hurt on the apartment property. Video surveillance makes it possible to hire fewer employees and skip or use fewer security guards.
5. Create a Remote Worker Friendly Space
Thanks to the pandemic, remote working quickly grew popular. With many companies pivoting and implementing technologies to support remote working, some have discovered that it’s working well. It won’t surprise anyone if many companies allow remote working permanently or set up a hybrid option. In the hybrid model, employees may work from home a set number of days of the week while going into the office on the other days.
Before the pandemic, an IWG study mentioned on CNBC says 70 percent of people around the world work remotely at least one day a week. The New York Times references a Gallup survey that states 43 percent of working Americans telecommute for at least some of the time.
Clearly, there is a strong need to take steps to attract remote workers. It’s another justification for having high-speed, reliable Internet and Wi-Fi connections. Xfinity Communities’ Networking with Residents: Technology Drives the Multifamily Industry reports that 87 percent of renters say technology played an extremely or very important role in keeping apartment residents satisfied.
Remote workers may want an on-site coworking space or business center. This lets workers socialize with others without leaving the building. It helps them separate their home and work environments. Residents may not want to have meetings in their apartment. So, having on-site conference rooms can be valuable.
Residential property management must offer apartment amenities
geared to remote workers. Otherwise, they may decide to move to a city with a lower cost of living or to be closer to their family. This will help you retain apartment residents and attract new ones.
To retain apartment residents, you want to offer the right apartment technology and security options. Video surveillance maximizes security, which makes residents happy and delivers a fast ROI for you.
Investing in Apartment Resident Retention
Apartment property management must take steps to hold on to their apartment residents. With remote working becoming more prevalent, an apartment property needs amenities its residents want and need. Adding these five things will help capitalize on loyalty while boosting your bottom-line.
Want to learn more about securing your apartment property? Here’s your free Complete Guide to Securing Your Apartment Building. This guide reviews your options for securing your apartment building to protect your employees, residents, visitors, and vendors. It explores four lines of defense that enhance apartment security. More importantly, you’ll know how to select the right security system for your budget. Want to learn more? Contact us.