Improving Tenant Retention: How Property Managers Can Lower Single-Family Turnover Rates
When it comes to renting a single-family home, property managers know that renewing a lease is often quicker and more cost-effective than seeking out new tenants and participating in lease trade-outs. Yet, with more and more renters seeking either a permanent residence or a more cost-affordable option for their families, how can management keep them signing up for another year?
The answer lies in making the home as attractive as possible, though this doesn’t always have to mean digging into company pocketbooks to shell out cash for major perks. Conversely, with a little strategy and foresight, property managers can find ways to keep tenants happy that don’t cost a fortune and actually improve the value of the home in the process. Today, we’re discussing a few of these strategies and what they mean for today’s modern manager.
Focus on Value-Adding Upgrades
One way to encourage renters to renew their lease is to make the home as appealing as possible. In this sense, property managers can incentivize and celebrate a renewal through making important upgrades to a property that add value. This doesn’t mean shelling out cash to install a bowling lane in the basement. Rather, it means that if the home could use new appliances, a fresh coat of paint, a paved driveway or even a new roof, managers can help make those changes happen.
As a result, the family is more apt to continue living in their new space, and the home’s value is improved. On a more personal level, there are other incentives that a property manager might offer that aren’t as related to the property itself but are equally appealing. Consider the renters’ interests and priorities. Do they have small children? If so, you may consider gifting annual passes to the local children’s museum or amusement park. A couple who works miles away in the city might benefit from a prepaid gas card, smart device, or even a portfolio cover. The key here is to make the incentive personal yet useful, in the same vein that the aforementioned home upgrades serve dual purposes.
Encourage Seamless, Simple Communication
A common tenant complaint is that communication with the property management company is difficult. Emails are responded to days later, phone calls go missed and voicemails are unchecked. To make your company stand out, be sure to check all avenues of communication regularly and ensure you’re set up to receive real-time notifications when a new message comes in.
You should also take into account the personal communication preferences of your tenants. Have they reached out to you previously via social media messaging? Though it might not be your preferred form of communication, be sure to check these platforms and respond to all inquiries or comments promptly. From there, use the same platform to engage on your end, as well. Doing so helps renters feel seen, heard and appreciated. It can also reduce the likelihood that a complaint or concern will go unaddressed.
Moreover, any time there is a scheduled maintenance activity, you should let renters know immediately, via their preferred channels, so they’re not surprised by the visit. Keeping them in the loop on what’s going on in and around their home is key to keeping their confidence and ensuring their trust.
Foster a Sense of Community
If you’re a property management company that oversees multiple single-family homes, there are also myriad ways you can foster a sense of community between them, even if they are located in different areas. Consider hosting tenant appreciation days throughout the year, where renters can come together to share a catered meal and hear from your team about its latest updates and plans for the future. You can do something similar around the holidays, as well.
Of course, the community-building efforts don’t have to always center around a meal. From fantasy sports leagues to Bingo nights, your imagination is your limit when it comes to bringing everyone together. As you do so, you’ll remind renters that they aren’t just a number in your system. They’re a part of your company family, and they’re appreciated.
You can also invite maintenance and repair crews to these events, as well. Tenants can appreciate recognizing and speaking to the teams who will be working on their properties, or who have helped them in the past. This is also a great time to recognize crews that have gone above and beyond to perform special installations, work long hours and take on difficult projects to meet homeowner needs.
Keeping Tenants Happy and Returning for the Long-Term
As a property manager, you wear many hats. From repairman to administrative assistant, your job duties are far-reaching. Yet, though it can be easy to get caught up in the chaos and daily challenges that await you, keeping your focus on your tenants is critical.
When you consider both their needs and wants, then work proactively to make their environment as comfortable and community-based as possible, you’ll be in a better position to earn their coveted year-after-year renewal.