Nothing tarnishes a future resident relationship like poor preparation for a move-in.
I can’t count the number of times over the years a resident has been faced with an apartment that wasn’t cleaned, or some other shortcoming in their new home.
Whether they continue to live at the property for one year or five, it seems that every conversation will start with a reference to the disappointment at the move-in.
It doesn’t have to be this way…
By putting together a proper process you can create a nice experience for the lease signing and move-in day. This will give you an upper hand for future resident retention.
Here’s a simple 5-step plan you can follow for creating the ultimate move-in experience.
When we schedule an appointment for a lease signing, we have a responsibility to be prepared for this presentation.
Make sure the lease is ready. Proof read for errors. If you have a protocol for someone to review and approve the lease for rates and dates, make sure this is complete well in advance of the lease appointment.
Provide the future resident with their new address, so they can make arrangements for utilities and renters insurance.
Check to make sure there are an appropriate number of entry door keys for the new resident. Generally two entry door keys, mailbox key, and if there is a device such as a garage door opener.
Check every key/opener to make sure they all are functional. This also includes key cards programmed for laundry center, gated entries, extra storage located outside of the apartment and the work out area.
You want the new resident to walk out of the lease appointment with access to every feature that influenced their decision to move to your community.
Keys should be appropriately labeled and secured. Not slid into a lease folder, where they will be easily misplaced, when the lease folder is stuffed in the kitchen junk drawer.
Prior to opening the door to the resident’s new home… The leasing team needs to complete a final walk through.
Blaming the maintenance team for an apartment not being ready is misplaced responsibility. The leasing team has made a sale, and they’ve made a commitment with the new resident to provide them with a home on a specific date. The leasing team must do a final walk through to confirm the apartment is ready.
There are a few energy/cost saver steps we may have used when the apartment was vacant. We need to adjust these devices or settings to be ready for the new resident.
A walk through inspection should always be included with the lease signing. It eliminates any confusion regarding the apartment home they will be leasing.
A new home orientation welcomes the new resident to their home. Reminders about the operations of the thermostat, and any other apartment systems will minimize frustration and confusion as they become familiar with their home. This tour can be a reminder of the locations for the laundry center, and other amenities.
Resident retention begins the minute the lease is signed.
A follow up visit scheduled a day or two after the move-in establishes a continuing focus on customer service and resident satisfaction.
A simple handwritten thank you note goes along way as well.
Verbiage could be:
Thank you so much for choosing Estancia Apartments as your new home. I’m sure your 2 kids will love the pool. You mentioned they love water. Anyway, I just want to welcome you to our community. I’m here for you if there’s anything you need.
One point I’d like to make with thank you notes is this: If you can include something personal about the resident – you’ll have more of an impact with your note. For example, in my note above, I mentioned the resident’s two kids and the fact that they like water.
Yes, we’re all busy with signing lots of leases each week. Let’s not forget, for a new family moving into your community, it’s day one of a lifestyle change. Anything we can do to make the day special with time and attention is the first step in making a great, impactful resident relationship.
Regional Operations Manager at Management Resources Development. Started Multifamily experience in 1981. Thirty plus years experience in an industry best characterized as "no two days are the same."