Ashley Halligan, an analyst at Software Advice, provides us with some rental property management software reviews and strategies for 2012. Many of these tips can be applied to corporate housing rental property landlords and managers too.
A 2011 SatisFacts study estimated the average cost of a rental property turnover adds up to $3900. After days lost to vacancy, repairs, standard maintenance, professional cleaning and marketing, the overall cost of turnover can sometimes equal several months of rental income. Encouraging lease renewal is a cost-saving focus that all property managers should have strategies for. After conducting interviews with leading industry experts, we’ve gathered three strategies to encourage lease renewal, lessen resident turnover and, subsequently, save significantly over time.
BEGIN WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE
Perhaps it seems redundant to give emphasis to customer service, but another SatisFacts study shows 54 percent of resident turnover is a direct result of avoidable circumstance. Some residents left because they felt customer service was not satisfactory while others felt management wasn’t responsive following maintenance requests.
Doug Miller, Founder and President of SatisFacts Research, suggests focusing first on “exceptional service.”
“The marketing fluff is nice, but only if accompanied by exceptional service,” says Miller. And what determines exceptional service? Miller believes it’s sincerely meeting residents’ needs and not assuming you know what they want. This also includes courteousness and professionalism; promptness of responsiveness; and, follow-up on completed service requests.
FOCUS ON VALUE
Value can be perceived beyond monetary savings; by focusing on residents perceived value, longevity can become more secure. According to Jen Piccotti, Vice President of Education and Consulting at SatisFacts, value is defined as how easy it is to be a resident.
“The way residents see it, [value] is defined as how easy it is to be a resident in this community for the price I’m paying,” says Piccotti. “Staff can gain huge amounts of loyalty by thinking in terms of making life easier, less stressful and more convenient for their residents on a daily basis.”
THOUGHTFUL PERKS & GESTURES
Gables Residential offers a handful of incentives to residents. They offer the Gables Great Rewards Program which rewards residents for tenure. Additionally, Gables hosts social events to infuse a sense of community in their communities. Some properties offer electronic vehicle charging stations and, of course, pet-friendly policies are always helpful in maintaining retention.
Retention strategies do not have to be a hefty investment; a sense of thoughtfulness and creativity go a long way. Lynette Hegeman, Vice President of Marketing at Gables Residential, explains, “Integration doesn’t always mean you have to spend a lot of money. It’s about innovation.”
Overall, a clear sense of commitment to residents will make a lasting impression when it comes time to renew a lease or seek housing elsewhere. Hegeman suggests that the smallest gestures can really make or break a tenant’s perception, “It can be as simple as handing out newspapers or coffee in the morning.”
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