Investment properties are one of the best ways to generate income and build wealth over time. But if you want to be successful, you need to make sure you retain your residents as long as possible. When a resident leaves, it creates a vacancy – a period with no income, but ongoing expenses that can significantly damage your profitability.
One of the best ways to minimize resident departures and keep your residents happy is to increase resident engagement.
But what is resident engagement and how can you increase it?
What Is Resident Engagement?
Resident engagement refers to the feelings of connection held by your property residents. How much do they care about the building and community in which they live? How personally connected to it do they feel?
Higher levels of resident engagement will make your residents more likely to stay in your property, even if another living situation arises to compete with your offer. Engaged residents will also be more likely to pay rent on time, contribute to the community, and take good care of your property – which are side effects that can help you increase profitability and keep your other residents happy at the same time.
How to Increase Resident Engagement
What strategies can you use to increase resident engagement in your community?
- Tap into social media. One of your top strategies is to use social media to increase resident engagement. Most people enjoy spending time on social media, connecting to people around them, and learning new things. You can set up a social media-based community for all your apartment residents. Here, people can meet their neighbors, they can ask questions, they can share photos, and they can even ask questions and raise concerns. Each resident will feel like they’re a seen, heard, and appreciated force in the community, and they’ll have an outlet where they can communicate. On top of that, this network gives people a chance to connect with their neighbors and feel a more personal connection to the building.
- Screen your residents effectively.It’s also helpful to make sure you find the right people for your apartment building. With the right residents in place, you’ll have much higher rates of connection and engagement. Put a resident screening process in place to ensure you get the right people in.
- Communicate with residents. Sometimes, the simplest strategies are the most effective; take the time to communicate with your residents. When you’re onboarding them, talk to them and get to know them on a personal level. Check with them on occasion to see how they’re doing. Make small talk if you see them in person. And be sure to address any questions they have. This ongoing communication will be greatly appreciated – and your residents will almost immediately feel more connected to the property.
- Fix issues quickly.No matter how great your property is, you’re eventually going to face some issues. Your residents may complain about something small, like a noisy neighbor, or something more pressing, like a leaking ceiling. Whatever it is, make sure you address the situation and try to resolve it as quickly as possible. Respond to the question, complaint, or request immediately and mobilize yourself to correct it. You won’t be able to resolve every problem quickly, but you can demonstrate that you’re trying to solve each problem quickly.
- Make upgrades.If you can, consider making occasional upgrades to the property. Work on adding new landscaping, install new siding, or upgrade interior features like cabinetry and countertops. These upgrades will set you back financially temporarily, but they’ll show your residents how much you care about the property and increase the resale value of the property simultaneously. Plus, your residents will be more likely to take care of new upgrades than they will the older version of the property.
- Help residents make the property their own.Residents will always feel more engaged with a property if they have some way to make it their own. Consider relaxing some of your policies to help your residents feel more at home and more personally connected; for example, can you allow them to have a pet? Can you allow them to make modifications, like painting the walls?
- Give residents more transparency.Finally, increase transparency. Transparency is the key to building trust, and higher levels of trust will lead to higher resident engagement. Be open and honest about your policies, perspectives, and experiences, and be sure to answer questions honestly and fully whenever possible.
Increasing resident engagement doesn’t take much time, money, or energy, but it has the potential to significantly lower your resident turnover while increasing the profitability of your property. It’s a no-brainer for any landlord or property owner looking for better results in their property investment strategy.