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.
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.
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:
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:
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.