If you’re a property manager, you’ve undoubtedly noticed a higher level of competition in the marketplace. Many property managers are scrambling to provide new and flashy amenities to beat the competition. However, surveys show that they won’t meet their growth goals if they ignore the basics.
It’s Easy to Become Focused on the Latest Bells and Whistles
Every business needs to understand what their customers want in order to be successful. In the property management business, it’s too easy to focus on changing renter profiles to drive the business. For example, the new generation of renters has different tastes and expectations, and there’s a lot of talk about how to attract them. Here are some examples:
- Car charging stations – For people who own electric or hybrid automobiles, a car charging station would be a great convenience.
- Closet organizers – Renters see closet organizers on all the home shows. They are convenient and make closets look bigger and better when you show a rental unit.
- Smart thermostats – Smart homes are a definite trend in the greater real estate market. Starting with a thermostat can be a low-cost way to add a useful gadget to your units.
Do the Bells and Whistles Really Work?
For an answer to that question, you can turn to the National Apartment Association (NAA). The Association sponsored a survey in 2011 conducted by SatisFacts Research. In June 2015, they sponsored a similar survey to see what changes had occurred over the preceding four years.
There were some differences, most related to the role of the internet among renters. Interestingly enough, however, the things that made a difference when renters choose or choose to renew with a community have remained fairly consistent.
The short answer to the bells and whistles question is no. While shiny new amenities may help sway a renter’s decision, they’re not even on the top 19 list of why renters renew their leases.
Why Do Renters Renew Their Leases?
The NAA identified the top 10 factors that determine whether renters will renew their lease, rated by renters on a scale of zero to five. They include:
1. Overall value – This factor wasn’t included in 2011, so it’s not possible to compare the two surveys, but in 2015, this factor was rated 4.7 out of five. That means that a renter may not live in a community that has all the latest toys, but they do expect to get their money’s worth for the amenities they enjoy.
2. Quality of maintenance – This topic was rated 4.6 in 2011 and 4.66 in 2015.
3. Safety and security – Rated 4.6 in 2011, the 2015 rating rose slightly to 4.63.
4. Customer service from the office staff – This factor rose from 4.49 to 4.55.
5. Condition of the apartment – Condition and appearance of the apartment rose from 4.47 in 2001 to 4.53 in 2015.
6. Condition of the community – This topic was rated 4.46 in 2011 and rose only slightly to 4.48 in 2015.
In fact, five of the top 10 factors influencing renewal related to maintenance. No. 7 was a resident website, No. 8 related to feedback surveys, No. 9 was social activities, and No. 10 was social media.
The Moral of the Story
If you’re a property manager who wants to grow your business and increase profitability, focus on maintenance. An automated property management system like Property Meld will help you improve customer service and cost-effectively address the one issue that will give you a strong competitive advantage.