Resident Experience

3 Simple Ways to Take Your Resident Experience to the Next Level

Post by
Sugar Content Team
3 Simple Ways to Take Your Resident Experience to the Next Level

You’ve done just about everything to ensure your residents are well taken care of - now what? You respond quickly to maintenance needs, you’re flexible when special requests are made, and you ensure communal areas are bright, cheery, and well maintained. You’re the ideal property manager, and your residents could hardly do better. They feel safe on the premises, and if there was ever an issue worth complaining about, they can be sure their complaints would be dealt with immediately. 

That’s wonderful, and you deserve hearty congratulations, or at least a ‘great job’ and a great resident experience score. But hey, did you know you can do even better? There’s still something missing— something that has the potential to take your residential experiences up to the next level. Good news: it doesn’t cost nearly as much as maintenance, and is much easier to implement than a new pool or community garden.

Create A Sense of Belonging

If there’s one thing renters want today, it’s a sense of belonging. Being really, truly, home. Be honest: in a sense, this is what we’re all hunting for: community, a tribe we can call our own.  And while this is true for everyone, it's especially true for those without permanent stomping grounds, living in more transient rental properties. 

Lack of community leads to disengaged renters who don’t take responsibility for their rental unit, don’t do their share of upkeep, and are ready to break their contract at the first opportunity. The other side of that coin is more positive: loyal renters who are really plugged into their communities are responsible, take the initiative, and will have your back whenever the going gets tough. 

As a property manager, you can’t necessarily make your renters get along, greet each other as they meet in public areas or even act civilly at the laundry machines. But you can provide opportunities for your community to grow, and you can add that personal touch that makes your residents feel they’re noticed, valued, and a part of something bigger.

Do Little Things To Build Community

The key to building community in your multifamily property is simple:  provide opportunities for people to hang out together and have fun. Everyone’s busy, so think outside of the box. For instance, everyone needs to buy groceries; why not make it a community affair? More ideas include:

  • Provide group transportation to events that multiple residents might be interested in attending. This could be mall trips, grocery shops, or outings to fun activities like a popular concert, fair, or festival. If you have residents for which mobility is an issue, be sure to offer accessibility options. 

  • Organize a monthly dog walk for residents who have canine pets, or a nature walk for those with small children. You’ll get a chance to show off the best parts of your neighborhood while your residents get to know each other and get some much-needed vitamin D.

  • Host bi-monthly BBQs or potlucks in shared spaces. If you have fewer residents— or a limited amount of outdoor space— this can be as simple as setting up a grill and inviting everyone to come down for a free hot dog. In larger complexes where residents enjoy their own outdoor spaces, organize a time in which everyone is encouraged to set up their own BBQ outdoors and hang out together cooking dinner. 

  • Encourage residents to connect over shared interests by sponsoring regular meet-ups for special groups. For instance, you might start a book club, athletes meet up, or moms group. Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself— reach out to more charismatic members of each subgroup and offer to provide a meeting space and other amenities if they’d like to spearhead a community group. 

Make It Personal

Community events aren’t the only way you can encourage your residents to feel like they belong. Sometimes, a simple action like a hello in the elevator or remembering a resident's name is enough to make an individual begin to feel at home in what was just a place to sleep. Here are a few steps you can take to personalize your renter experience:

  • Welcome new residents as individuals on move-in day. Sure, you’re no B&B but there’s nothing like a snack basket to make a new resident feel welcomed, and if the selection is personalized— child-friendly treats for any little ones or pet snacks for dogs or cats in the rental agreement—your residents will only feel that much more embraced and appreciated.

  • Recognize your residents on their birthdays with shout-outs, notes, or $5 gift cards to the nearest coffee place. You’ll be surprised at how much it means to people that you cared enough to remember the day they were born— and modern calendars mean you don’t have to actually remember anything but rather plug-in dates when they move in. Take advantage of automatic reminders and get some brownie points for being extra thoughtful. 

  • Take notes on which holidays are celebrated by each of your residents and make it a point to give the appropriate holiday greetings on the respective days. If sleuthing isn’t your thing, use a resident survey to get this information. Happy Holidays is wonderfully inclusive, but when you get to where you can offer Happy Hanukkah to the family celebrating that holiday, Eid Mubarak to those excited about the end of Ramadan, and Merry Christmas to those for whom that is important, you’ll be making real connections. 

Building community and personalizing your resident experience may feel a bit daunting, forced and unnatural when you begin, but as you see the results unfold, you’ll gain the motivation you need to keep going. It won’t be long before sending a birthday note is as natural as jotting down a rent reminder.

Remember, the key here is to be aware of and responsive to the unmet needs and desires of your community. Knowledge is power, and once you know what’s needed you’ll be able to provide it. Don’t rely on guesswork here— take Sugar's Free Resident Experience Survey to get actual real data on how you stack up and what your residents are missing.