2019 is looking to be another busy year for property managers. Marketing vacancies, prepping units, showing properties and completing the seemingly endless pile of paperwork can be stressful, but not as stressful as gaps in tenancy. This year, it may be helpful to adjust your approach from trying to get your properties re-leased to instead working to get current tenants to stay. To follow is a five step plan to increase your lease renewals over the next several months.
Moving from one place to another isn’t something most people decide to do on a whim. Yet, many property managers wait until just a month or two before a lease is ready to expire to ask residents whether they plan to renew or not. At that point, it’s probably too late. Instead, your efforts to retain tenants should start much earlier. Actually, it should start from the moment they move in and last throughout their tenancy. A focus on maintaining a high degree of satisfaction is one of the biggest keys to success.
The modern renter is tech-savvy and has high expectations of how they interact with the people in their lives – including their property managers. Being able to communicate via electronic means, such as email, text and social media is important, as is being able to pay rent and access any information they need right online. Furthermore, today’s renters value modern amenities, such as tech-enabled smart home devices. If you want to increase the likelihood of lease renewals, you’d be wise to start integrating more technology into your business as well as your properties.
Solicit (and use) feedback.
Property managers often get so caught up in the day-to-day minutia of work that they forget to consider the other side of the coin – that is, the tenant experience. Just because you may know everything there is to know about property management doesn’t mean you know how your residents are feeling. And if they’re not happy, they’re not going to stay. Survey your tenants on a regular basis and be honest with yourself about their feedback. Use it to make improvements where necessary. It will pay off in the end.
Keep properties in great shape.
Regular upkeep is an important component of tenant retention and should not be overlooked. Many property managers focus solely on one-off repairs and forget the importance of ongoing maintenance and routine updates. If you neglect your properties and allow them to become run-down or outdated, not only will you have a difficult time keeping your current residents, but you’ll also have a tough time re-leasing once they’ve moved out. Be proactive about property care.
Sometimes it takes a little more than high-tech features and regular property upgrades to encourage residents to stay onboard. Offering incentives, such as a free month of rent for re-upping can add that extra push for renewal. And keep in mind that other property managers may be working hard to lure your good tenants away with their own incentives. Be vigilant about what offers are out there and be ready and willing to match them if necessary.
When it comes down to maximizing tenant-generated revenue, retention is a much better investment than acquisition. The five steps above should help you increase your lease renewals, save money and enjoy much less hassle over the coming year.