The best renters, those with high credit scores and low maintenance needs, are highly sought after in the new rental market. Renters report that they don’t mind paying a premium for a home where they feel safe and comfortable, but keeping those tenants will take more than amenities. Adding bells and whistles is just as much a dead end game as lowering the rent and no property owner will survive long without a strategy to attract and hold onto the best tenants.
Great tenants are getting harder to find and the competition is heating up to find them, even if they are not in the market for a new apartment currently. Big data and aggressive marketing techniques are the hallmarks of the emerging rental market. At the recent Apartment Rental Management conference in Miami, Kelly Maguire, an executive director at SAS, clearly laid out the future of the rental market, where owners “need to be more strategically oriented, consumer focused and be more technologically advanced.”
The new renter is older and ready to settle down a bit, according to 2012 statistics from National Multi Housing Council . For those under 30, just over half, 57 percent, are renters. That percentage increases with age. From 30-44, almost two thirds are renting at 63 percent. Those numbers jump up to 78 percent for baby boomers aged 45-64 and the really surprising number is 84 percent of seniors are now in the rental market. We can expect those to stay high or increase as the population bubble ages. The new renters are older, wiser and accustomed to being treated with respect. Here are three suggestions for making the ideal tenants feel at home for the long haul.
1. Make it personal
The rental market has moved from one of price sensitivity to value sensitivity. Renters say they want reasonable rents, but they are more concerned about how they are treated. They could easily get lower rent or more amenities elsewhere, but most stay for the way they are treated by the staff.
The wise owners will retain these renters by personalizing the interactions, with things like thank you notes, flowers in the apartment when new tenants move in or an online presence that covers relevant activities in the neighborhood. Remember that the new renter cares about local, mobile and social information.
2. Be an early responder
The world outside is unpredictable enough. The new renter finds uncertainty about issues in their home extremely stressful. Respond quickly when they contact you and clearly communicate a policy about call back times.
Remember that tenants will be focused on results instead of explanations. Even if you only want to assure tenants that the circumstances that led to the problem won’t be repeated, don’t. Explanations tend to sound like excuses to the renter. All they really want to know is when it will be fixed.
3. Start now
Consider your lease renewals as new sales rather than administrative burdens. Good tenants are those who plan ahead, and they may well be planning for a new apartment six months before the end of their lease. Ask how they like living there and what would make their lives easier to begin discussions about renewal.
Remember that how you ask matters as much as what you say. Alex Jackiw, managing director of residential client services at McKinley, pointed out that 67 percent of clients in a recent survey chose email as their preferred method of contact from leasing offices.
Today’s advanced databases for rental management are able to handle a great deal of information about tenant preferences and interactions. Use the tools at your command to learn who your best tenants are and what they need to feel at home.
|Justin Alanis | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |
Justin Alanis is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rentlytics Inc. Rentlytics is based in San Francisco, CA providing deep analytics for apartment property owners and managers. View and analyze property operational and financial metrics more effectively and identify issues.