Being a property manager of a multifamily apartment is no simple task. Aside from providing excellent customer service in property management, there are dozens of roles you must play on a daily basis. You have to be a salesman, moderator, facilitator, accountant, and supervisor; all at the same time. You are not only responsible for bringing in new tenants to fill vacancies, but also tasked with ensuring that those residents you currently have remain as such.
Now, successfully accomplishing all of these things is easier said than done. To that end, this article will discuss the property management basics and provide some advice on how to best service and retain residents. From installing residential lockers to something as simple as regular property maintenance, check out these property management tips below!
Multifamily Apartment Property Management Basics
The Role and Responsibilities of a Property Manager
On any day, a property manager is managing several leasing and administrative responsibilities. These include:
- Listing vacant units
- Showing vacant units
- Collecting rent payments
- Inspecting empty units for damage or repairs
- Responding to resident maintenance requests or complaints
- Filing taxes
- Interviewing and screening residents for potential residency
In this multivariable role, you must be flexible and communicative with residents. If you aren’t, there’s a good chance they’ll leave once their lease is up. Many property managers make the mistake of assuming that once a unit is filled, their work is done. Don’t fall into that trap! Instead, build relationships and show your current residents that they are valued. Doing so will ensure that they stick around and renew their lease when the time comes.
Tips For Retaining Residents
Although it’s not easy, there are simple actions you can take to increase resident retention. These include:
- Establish a sense of community – In a world where it seems as if more and more of our relations are moving from the physical to digital, humans still yearn for corporeal engagement. According to NAA’s Adding Value in the Age of Amenities Wars, “being part of a community is an important factor when renters choose a building to call home. In fact, a sense of community is what’s behind five of the top 10 apartment amenities that have been added or upgraded the most since 2014.”
Steps you can take to foster a sense of community include:
- Creating communal spaces such as fitness centers, co-working spaces, clubhouses, pools, cafes, patios
- Hosting social functions such as holiday parties, happy hours, or resident meetups.
- Offer amenities – These days, young people especially are renting more frequently and for longer than ever. This shift in apartment trends has caused them to look for rental units that are more akin to houses than simply rooms to store their stuff. They desire services, conveniences, and amenities, in addition to their housing, that turns their complex into an all-in-one oasis, allowing them to work, play, and relax all in one space. Thus, including amenities would increase a potential resident’s likelihood to rent out one of your units. Examples include:
- Golf simulators
In addition, they desire amenities that make their lives easier. One common convenience is that a growing number of multifamily apartment units are installing smart lockers (such as those provided by Parcel Pending). Parcel Pending offers locker solutions for large residential communities and offers Lite Lockers for smaller apartment communities. With the constant deluge of packages ordered and the rise of package theft, residents want to rest assured that their items are being delivered and stored safely. Residential lockers such as these serve as a package theft deterrent and provide the following convenience:
- Reduce your operational costs, saving you time that would otherwise be spent accepting, sorting, saving, and distributing packages.
- Increase resident satisfaction by providing a quick and convenient way for them to retrieve their packages at any time of the day.
- Maintain the Property – If you allow your rental property to fall into disrepair, you will not only bleed money in repair costs, but you will quickly lose all of your residents. A clean, well-kept property results in happy residents. On the other hand, a rundown sty will drive them and any prospective residents So, instead of waiting for issues to crop up, go out of your way to provide preventative maintenance; it’s much cheaper to fix small problems as opposed to letting them fester.
As AppFolio notes, “No property manager or owner wants to face claims of negligence in court, deal with skyrocketing insurance premiums, or experience bad press and negative reviews. To avoid serious problems, property managers have to consider maintenance one of the most important parts of their job.” So, if you wish to prevent such things from happening, consider taking the following actions:
- Create an easy system for tenants to report issues or complaints.
- Hire an on-site maintenance team that can fix an issue at a moment’s notice.
- Respond to maintenance problems immediately and provide tenants with a timeline of when the issue will be addressed.
- Offer maintenance that is convenient for your tenants, ideally after their workday is done.
The Basics of Property Management
Managing a multifamily apartment is a monumental task, but one that is made easier by taking pride in your multifamily property. When you do so, it’s infectious. You are the face of the complex and it’s your job to help form social threads and community where people want to live. By taking small steps such as installing smart lockers or hosting group events, you demonstrate to your residents that they are cherished and protected. These simple steps are sure to transform the future of property management for you.
Johnson, T. National Apartment Association. Driving Resident Retention: Communication, Connection and Camaraderie. (2018). https://www.naahq.org/news-publications/units/july-2018/article/driving-resident-retention-communication-connection
Howffower, H. Millennials are making 3 key decisions that are wiping out the starter home — and it’s changing what homeownership in America looks like. (2019). https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-wiping-out-starter-homes-real-estate-2019-4
Millar, E. Appfolio. Your Ultimate Guide to Property Maintenance Services. https://www.appfolio.com/blog/2018/12/property-maintenance-services-ultimate-guide/