Let’s face it: resident renewals are much less expensive than attracting new residents.
So why don’t we spend as much time chasing the satisfaction of our current residents as we do pursuing new ones?
My mantra for property managers is: Focus on transforming your properties to better serve the residents you already have. Optimize your properties with your current residents in mind and you’ll see a much higher return on your invested resources -- including a boost in your NOI.
Softer rents demand better performance
We’re in the middle of a long- running positive rent growth cycle that’s now starting to see a decline. Sure, some rents are continuing to grow, but for the first time in several years we’re beginning to witness rent softness and even negative growth in some cities and submarkets.
To put it bluntly, this is a pivotal time for property management firms. Underperforming properties are likely costing you more than you realize, and you’re at risk of losing even more if your current residents don’t renew their leases.
Improve operations to increase satisfaction
It’s essential that everyone on your team -- from VPs to vendors -- work together to improve your properties through the lens of your residents. Any attempt at increasing NOI absolutely must be a team effort if it’s going to be successful.
In my experience, one of the best ways to foster collaboration is to proactively measure performance.
So here are 7 questions I suggest every manager ask themselves as they consider making changes and improvements to turn around underperforming properties. If any of your answers include, “Hmm…,” “No,” or “I’m not sure,” then it’s safe to say there are proactive steps you can take to optimize your property and increase resident satisfaction and renewal rates.
- Do you know the difference between your residents’ needs and wants?
- Are your associates truly skilled and engaged?
- How does your product’s quality compare to other market options, in the eyes of your residents?
- What simple, daily actions can you take to improve your community’s resident satisfaction?
- Where do you currently lack visibility in your operations?
- How can you better synchronize your leasing, maintenance, vendor, and on property management team members?
- How accurate is your current method of measuring your community’s performance?
Kevin George spoke in depth on this topic at NAA's 2018 Apartmentalize. The session, Transforming Your Underperforming Properties, answered to each of the questions above and discussed simple tools that can be a game changer for properties.