September 15, 2016
Mastering the Art of the Move-In
It might be tempting to rest easy once new tenants sign on the dotted line. After all, your unit is rented for at least another year – you’re pretty much in the clear, right?
Think again. Marketing your property doesn’t end when residents move in. Remember, the goal is to attract AND retain top tenants. Keeping them around longer cuts back on the time and money you spend looking for new prospects.
There are also word-of-mouth referrals to consider. If a resident isn’t happy with the experience of living on your property, you can be sure their friends and acquaintances won’t be applying to one of your buildings.
At the end of the day, property management is about customer service. If you give your residents – your customers – reason to question you or your property from the get-go, it will be hard to win them over when it comes time to renew their lease.
So don’t risk it. Satisfy new renters and earn their trust from the moment they move in. Here’s how:
Be a Neat Freak. On move-in day, appearances definitely matter. Make you’re your team knows that everything must be clean, from floors to countertops, windows to walls, furniture to blinds. Are there any old paint cans or discarded garments buried in the closet? Don’t let your new tenant be the one to find out. Make sure the unit has a thorough inspection and cleaning BEFORE move-in day. And be certain to do away with any odours the previous resident may have left in their wake; smell is usually the first thing people notice when they open the door.
Take Proactive Steps. Every property professional worth their salt knows that the move-in condition needs to be excellent. Expectations are everything. New renters won’t be happy to be surprised by a leaky faucet or a fridge on the fritz. However, unexpected things do happen. What matters most is how you and your team respond. If you assure them you’ll take care of it promptly, it’ll make all the difference. By letting residents know about it, you’ll make it clear that their well-being and satisfaction are your priority. Get the new tenant signed up for the online tenant communication/maintenance portal that they can use to report future issues.
Walk the Talk. When your tenant arrives, make sure you or a member of your team is there to walk them through their new home. Making the effort to answer any questions in person goes a long way toward building trust. Bring a tablet with an online checklist in case they want to point out any issues or damage. You can also take photos or shoot videos and upload them to your tenant portal, so both you and your new resident have a record of the unit’s condition on move-in day.
Give a Welcome Gift. A small personal touch is a simple way to make homecoming special for new residents. Look for items that are unique to the neighbourhood, like fresh snacks from a local bakery or a certificate for a nearby café or bookstore. Gifts from the area will encourage renters to explore the community and feel more at home. You could also consider gifts they can use in their new unit, like non-toxic all-purpose cleaner or a small plant.
Use Your Words. A few days after the move-in, follow up to see how the new resident is doing and offer your help if they need anything. At hotels and restaurants, it’s standard practice to check in with guests; treat your customers with the same courtesy.
Make it Easy to Stay. Once you’ve done everything to ensure that your tenants will be happy with the move-in experience, make it easy for them to stay on indefinitely. Offer online payment tools that will make it faster and easier to use their preferred method of payment and communication portals to remind them about upcoming renewals – and be sure they’re aware that the tools are available to them.
By providing a satisfying move-in experience, your residents will be happier with their unit, have greater trust in you and your property management company, and be left with a positive feeling about life in your building. They’ll be more likely to renew and to recommend your property to others, and that translates to more time and money for your business.
If you’d like more information on how we can help you improve the move-in experience for your renters, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.