Tips for Increasing Resident Retention in 2014

Tips for Increasing Resident RetentionThere are numerous reasons your current tenants might decide to move — new job, growing family, etc. While some of these reasons are out of your control, there are other reasons that are entirely in your control.

Sometimes tenants move because of issues with your property, lack of communication, etc. You can take steps to decrease the number of move-outs for these types of reasons so that your retention rates for 2014 are solid.

Listen to What Tenants Have to Say

Often if you take the time to listen, you’ll hear a lot about what tenants think of renting from you. Listen to their feedback, including any good or bad feedback. If someone has a suggestion for improvement, really take it into consideration. Consider having annual or semi-annual surveys passed out to the tenants to get a constant stream of feedback.

Update

There are times renters move because appliances and interiors are too out of date. Give apartments an update, such as newer appliances, paint or replacing the carpeting. Simple, affordable updates can make apartments feel cleaner and better cared for. You don’t have to do extensive remodeling and there are plenty of updates that can transform your units for just a few hundred dollars. But, by taking the time to update you can keep your property competitive with newer units or those that have been renovated in the area.

Think Before You Raise the Rates

Naturally you will have to increase rental rates, but there is a right way and a wrong way to increase them. Always be honest with your tenants, and tell them why the rates are going up. Be courteous to your current residents as well, giving them a few months’ notice before you actually raise the rent.

Show Appreciation

There is nothing wrong with showing appreciation to your tenants. Send out greeting cards for the holidays or offer community meetings where residents can get a free meal or snack. The more appreciation you show for their loyalty, the more likely they are to continue being your resident. Consider offering a referral incentive to current residents. Such as a $50 gift card for referring a new tenant or $50 off their next month’s rent.

Respond in a Timely Fashion

You’re busy running a property, but ignoring your current tenants’ requests and maintenance issues won’t keep tenants when it comes time to renew a lease. Always respond to your resident in a timely manner. Even if you cannot perform a repair right away, let the tenant know the request has been received and give them a timeframe for when they can expect a repair. Just taking the time to acknowledge their requests can go a long way.

Remember that it is cheaper to keep current tenants than find new ones. So by taking the time to really keep your current residents happy you will have plenty in the budget for updates, appreciation gifts, etc. Just by implementing a few of these tips you might see an increase in retention rates this year and for years to come.

17
Jan 2014
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Tips for Moving in the Winter

real estateMoving any time of the year can be stressful, but when you add in the colder temperatures, ice and possibly some snow the concept of moving becomes a lot more complex. The good news is it is most likely cheaper to move in the winter, because movers charge off-season rates.

Get Your Apartment Ready Ahead of Time

Moving in the winter means extra preparation. Check with your property manager to make sure your apartment is ready for move-in before you pack up and head out. Heat, electricity, water, etc. should all be turned on and ready for use. If you plan on installing cable, make sure you at least have the appointment set up to do so and mark out a space in the new apartment so that furniture or boxes aren’t piled up where the cable installer needs to access.

Check the Weather

While you are moving in the winter, there are days where the weather will be more favorable than others are. Scan the weather report for the week and try to avoid moving on days it will be windy or snowing.

Clear Walkways

Snow and ice should be cleared from walkways at your current place as well as the new place. Because you will be carrying boxes and heavy furniture, you need to prevent any slips and falls. Areas where you will park your moving van should also be free from snow and ice.

Bring Hot Drinks

Moving in the winter isn’t fun for anyone — including those who are helping you move. Bring along some hot drinks and hot snacks for everyone who is helping you move that day. If you can, try bringing along extra mittens, scarves, and hats for those who might forget on moving day.

Moving in the Winter Means Being Prepared

Weather can change at any minute, especially in the winter. While you might have checked the weather and made sure things are clear, the weather could change and leave you needing a backup plan. Try to move from your current place before your move-out date, so that if weather stalls moving day you aren’t rushed to get out. Arrange to move on day people don’t have to request time off from work. That way if plans change or the moving date must be moved, no one has changed their work schedule for nothing.

Bring along an emergency contact list, including the number for your property manager. You should also have numbers to roadside assistance. Give your moving and travel plans to someone who isn’t moving with you, such as a family member. Check in with that person, especially if you are moving long-distance, so they know where you are.

Moving in the winter doesn’t have to be a hassle. As long as you prepare ahead of time and plan for the weather, the moving process can be a lot like moving in the middle of summer.

15
Jan 2014
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How to Welcome New Residents to Your Property

Welcome ResidentsApartment dwellers are known for their short term at apartments, but sometimes it’s not because of the lifestyle — it’s because of how they feel in the apartment. It’s important you welcome new residents to your property, even after they’ve signed the lease. By giving them a sense of community and belonging they’re more likely to renew their lease when the time comes — making it easier for you to keep up revenue.

Do a Follow Up Shortly After Move-In

You don’t want to be right there while your tenants are trying to move in, but a few days or a week after you might want to send a follow up email, newsletter or phone call to see how they’re adjusting. If there is money in the budget, consider giving them a welcome gift. It doesn’t have to be extravagant and it could even be just a $10 gift card to a local store or restaurant in the area. Some other inexpensive welcome gifts can include pens, magnets, reusable grocery bags or even a key chain or coffee mug.

Always Respond Quickly to New Renters

You want a good first impression on your new tenants. Always respond to phone calls and emails as fast as possible to show your new renters you care about their concerns. Don’t just seem interested at the start. You need to remain responsive throughout the duration of their lease to make a positive lasting impression. Even if you cannot come to a solution to their inquiry, acknowledge it has been received and that you’re working fast to fix the issue.

Create Social Activities to Welcome New Residents

Having a sense of belonging is important in a new community. Consider every quarter or once a year hosting a welcome party. At this event new residents and current residents come together to mix and mingle and get to know one another. In the summer, host a pool party or barbecue. It doesn’t have to be lavish, but by taking the steps to help everyone become more comfortable in your community you’re increasing the chances they’ll want to stay.

Make Sure New Renters Know Who You Are

Most renters have no idea who owns or manages their property. Often they meet with office staff to view the apartment and sign the lease. Instead of just being a name, welcome new residents in person. Make sure you meet every new resident and be more than just a name on a business card. Whether you’re the property manager or owner, having a presence is important when it comes time for your tenants to renew their lease.

Just by taking the extra time to welcome new residents you can increase the likelihood they will renew. Because turnover is high it’s important you try to keep the tenants you have. After all it costs more to attract new tenants and fill vacancies than it does to keep current residents happy.

13
Jan 2014
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Life Hacks Every Apartment Dweller Can Use

bigstock-Giving-Away-The-Keys-1867201An apartment, regardless of size, doesn’t have to be limiting. Whether you have just moved into your first apartment or you’re a veteran, there are a few hacks you can apply to maximize your limited square footage. Some might be a weekend project, while others can be completed in an hour.

Hooks Are Your Friend

Coat hooks aren’t just for jackets and scarves in the closet. In fact, they’re great for keeping your bathroom clean and orderly. Use hooks to hang up towels instead of the usual towel rod. This ensures everyone has a place to hang their own towel and keeps the towels off the ground.

Get Creative with Litter Boxes

If your apartment lets you have a cat, you’ll have a litter box. These don’t take up a lot of space, but often they’re right in the middle of your living space. Instead of having your litter box out in the open, consider placing it inside of a piece of furniture. For example, a side table can have the bottom drawers removed so that you can place the litter box at the bottom and let your cat sneak in and do its business. This can also help mask some of the scent too.

Utilize Under the Bed Storage

Underneath the bed, you could have ample storage space for shoes, seasonal items, etc. Instead of using a traditional metal frame, place your bed on overturned narrow bookshelves. This gives you access to different storage spaces and still the look of a finished bed.

Hang Bikes

Don’t leave your bike in the living area or in the hallway — it just takes up space. Instead, hang your bike on the wall to get it up off the floor.

Rethink Pantry Storage

While manufacturer boxes seem neat, they take up a lot of space in your pantry area. Instead of using the boxes, store food items in airtight pantry containers or mason jars. Your food will stay fresh, food will be organized and neat, and you’ll have more space in your pantry.

Use a Table with a Leaf

Large dining tables aren’t functional in an apartment. Instead, opt for a smaller-sized table with a leaf option. That way you can expand the table when you need the extra space and shrink it back down when you don’t.

Get Rid of the Ironing Board

Ironing boards are necessary for most, but take up a lot of space. Instead, make or buy a thin quilt. Then attach small magnets to the back. When you need to iron roll out your ironing mat over the washing machine or dryer and do your ironing. Then roll it back up when you’re done.

Organize the Spice Rack

Instead of having individual bottles of each spice, buy spice jars. Then, use magnets to stick the jars to the side of your fridge. This opens up cupboard space and gives you immediate access to your spices while you’re cooking.

No matter how small the space is, there are always ways to get more out of your square footage.

08
Jan 2014
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Rental Property Maintenance: Tips for Keeping Up

bigstock-House-In-Hands-Home-Real-Estat-2617813It’s not hard to forget what you need to do to maintain your own home, but as a property owner or manager you also need to project that same line of commitment to your rental properties. Rental property maintenance not only helps keep your tenants and attract new ones, but it also prevents civil and criminal liabilities for improperly maintaining your property. Deciding a proper course of action can be daunting, but it’s not impossible.

Take a Look at the Exterior

The exterior should be a big part of your rental property maintenance. This is the first impression everyone has about your property. Wood on the exterior should be painted and kept clean. If you don’t keep the wood painted it can lead to deterioration, which turns into an extensive repair.

Check the Foundation

The foundation is a critical part of maintenance. Check out your existing foundation, paying attention the how the land slopes around it. You want the ground to slope away from the building — taking water runoff with it. If it’s not, slope it using backfill to keep water from draining directly into the foundation.

Clean Out the Gutters Once a Year

At least once a year you should check out your gutters and clean them out. Remove debris and leaves that could block water flow and cause the gutters to back up. Backed up gutters can drain into your foundation or home.

Inspect the Roof Regularly

You should inspect your property’s rooftop regularly for missing shingles or damage. This is especially important following a wind storm, snow, etc. Missing or damaged roof shingles could allow water to penetrate the interior of your property, encourage mold growth, etc.

Maintain Heating and Cooling Systems

Heating and cooling systems are also important in rental property maintenance. You should have your systems inspected at least once a year not only for safety reasons, but for efficiency as well. Filters should be changed at least once a month &endash; which will help your system run more efficiently.

Inspect Attics and Crawl Spaces

Attics and crawl spaces are where problems often occur and go unnoticed until it’s too late. Regularly inspect your unused spaces for any signs of water intrusion, foundation cracks, holes or leaking pipes.

Respond to Tenant Issues Immediately

As a property owner it is your responsibility to maintain the property. When a tenant puts in a repair request, respond to it quickly and fix the problem. Depending on your state’s tenant laws, not fixing the problem could give the tenant the right to withhold rent or sue you in civil court. In addition, not fixing potential safety issues could result in fines or additional courtroom time.

Rental property maintenance should be at the forefront of your to-do list. If you don’t have the time to personally maintain your property, hire a maintenance firm that can help keep your property up to code, perform quarterly and annual maintenance, and inspect your property regularly for any issues.

06
Jan 2014
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