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10 Resident Retention Tactics + How to Implement Them

Resident retention is the sweeping effort by property management companies (PMCs) to boost current residents’ satisfaction and keep them re-signing.


In the multi-family industry, it pays to retain residents. High resident retention often results in having less vacancy, sustained MoM profit, and a higher overall property value. By retaining residents, you’re also getting a  higher ROI from your localized marketing efforts.


As you know, turnover will occur. However, there are several ways you can reduce vacancy and increase resident satisfaction. This blog will illustrate 10 tactics PMCs can do to increase resident satisfaction and bolster retention.


10 Resident Retention Ideas For PMCs

Keeping residents satisfied and happy can save your properties money and reduce headaches. However, throwing sporadic events or making sudden changes isn’t the best strategy for retaining residents. 


Below are 10 resident retention tactics you can begin implementing across your local properties, along with tips on strategically implementing them. If you’re interested in seeing what the top 10 PMCs did in 2023, download our research report, Digital Visibility Unleashed: The Key to Unlocking Billions for Property Management Companies.


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1. Build a Yearly Residential Retention Budget

The first step in building your resident retention program is creating an annual resident retention budget. You want a high ROI from your retention program to make it worthwhile. By creating a budget in advance, you’ll feel less overwhelmed when an unexpected event occurs, allowing you to spend more wisely. To make the yearly budget more manageable, you can break it into quarterly or bi-annual allocations. To better understand what you should consider when building out a budget, check out our budgeting post.


2. Host Events to Create a Community

Hosting events is a great way to create connections within your residential community and improve resident retention. You can organize community events around holidays, shared interests, or on a recurring schedule. Here’s a breakdown of how each might look.


Holiday Events: Bring residents together during annual holidays. Residents who live away from families and friends will appreciate having these events. Here are a few ideas of events your local properties could host:

  • Fourth of July BBQ
  • Memorial Day cookout
  • Easter egg hunt
  • Residents-giving (Thanksgiving for residents)
  • Pumpkin carving contest for Halloween


Shared Interest Events: If residents already have a common interest, it’s easy to attract them to these events. A few shared-interest events include:

  • Sports watching parties
  • Outdoor movies
  • Puppy playdates
  • Trivia night


Scheduled Events: People also like consistency. Help residents look forward to events and mark their calendars by having recurring scheduled events. Below are a few examples:

  • Weekly walking group
  • Monthly yoga classes
  • Quarterly book club meetings

To help garner the attention of current and future residents, you can promote your events through local social media and share highlights after the event to spotlight the community. We’ll dive more into the importance of a solid local social strategy later in this blog.


3. Immediately Address Maintenance Requests

For many residents, unaddressed maintenance requests are a major pet peeve and concern. According to one study, more than 40 percent of residents aren’t satisfied with their rental maintenance efforts. Fixing the issue is crucial, but so is your response time.


When a maintenance request comes through, acknowledge that you’ve seen the request as soon as possible and estimate when your team will address the issue. If your local properties can’t respond within an hour or two, you’ll want to send an automated response. This response should notify the resident that you’ve received the request and include an estimate of when your maintenance team can repair the issue. Communication is a critical aspect of retaining residents, especially when related to maintenance requests!


4. Display Office Hours Online

Your leasing office hours should be easily accessible on your website, search engines, Apple and Google Maps, or anywhere prospective and current residents find your property online. Below, you’ll see an example of local properties that appear in the Google 3-Pack, each of which has added their leasing office hours into their local listings.


Image of Google Maps 3-pack for apartments


Sometimes properties’ hours shift due to national holidays or seasonal changes. If business hours change, make sure your Google Business Profiles (GBPs) and websites reflect these modifications. Your leasing offices should also send an email blast to current residents notifying them of these changes and put fliers around their mailrooms and leasing offices. Read our Guidelines for Hours of Operation if you’re unsure how to update your business hours.


5. Make Move-In Effortless

A new resident’s move-in experience is a major step in their resident journey. As a PMC, you can impress your new resident by making the move-in process as effortless as possible. 


Below are a few ways to make the move-in process a breeze:

  • Ensure everything in the unit works, and no significant issues or blemishes exist
  • Hand deliver the keys along with an information packet
  • Allow residents to reserve the freight elevator or a parking space for several hours
  • Provide a digital and printed move-in checklist


If the resident has an excellent move-in experience, they’ll likely remember that when it comes time to resign their lease. As you can see, part of the resident journey means keeping residents happy, and the move-in process shouldn’t be any different! 


6. Promptly Respond to Residents

Respond to residents whenever and wherever they contact you. Residents will reach out to you via many platforms, such as social media, email, review sites, phone, or an in-person visit. 


Your property teams need to respond in a timely and professional manner. Professional and quick responses will satisfy residents and likely reduce negative reviews associated with delayed response times.


It can be challenging to keep up with the numerous reviews and inquiries for each local property. If you’re having difficulty tracking and responding to residents, consider finding a solution that can help you manage these efforts at scale. For instance, a chatbot solution can automate responses to the most frequently asked questions your local properties receive. Chatbots will save your marketing team time and effort. Additionally, managing all the reviews your local property receives on a single platform is also helpful. That’s where SOCi comes in!


With SOCi SmartBot, residents can get answers to their most frequently asked questions without waiting on a human to respond. SOCi SmartBot sends a localized response the moment someone engages. SOCi SmartBot integrates on various platforms such as Facebook Messenger, GBP, or SMS text. You can better attract and retain residents with an effective chatbot strategy and take some of the load off your local property managers.


A white hand holding an iPhone with a facebook post and message. A second iPhone screen showing a conversation on SOCi's SmartBot


In addition, SOCi Reviews allows your local property managers to easily track incoming reviews and determine which ones require prompt responses. SOCi Reviews works with all major reputation and review networks, so you won’t have to worry about missing and addressing an online review. If a current resident has left a review about your local property and receives a prompt and personalized response, it will improve your chances of retaining them.


A laptop in the background showing multiple reviews on SOCi’s review platform and a tablet showing keywords in a businesses’ reviews and sentiment analysis


7. Incorporate Property Technology

Property technology and software, commonly referred to as PropTech, is a technology created explicitly for real estate companies, PMCs, and multi-family residents. The shift to digital is here to stay. Today, people depend on the convenience of digital technology, including property managers and renters alike


PropTech can help PMCs automate their bookkeeping, maintenance jobs, and visitation management. PropTech can also enhance the renter experience by allowing residents to quickly pay rent and bills, easily contact the leasing office, and smoothly upgrade or downgrade units. 


While PropTech is an excellent way to retain current residents, it can also help you win new leases! If a resident was deciding between two properties at the same price point, one that offered PropTech and one that didn’t, you can imagine which option they would likely choose. 


8. Add Smart Home Technology

Speaking of digital convenience, smart home technology is on the rise. Smart home technology is internet-connected devices within a living space, such as:

  • Bluetooth-connected doors, showers, and surveillance cameras
  • Wifi-enabled thermostats
  • Automated lighting and door locks

According to a recent survey, 82 percent of renters want at least one smart device or system within their home. Surprisingly, only 51 percent of respondents currently have smart home technology within their leased homes.


With this apparent gap in supply and demand, it’s evident that one way to win over prospective residents and increase resident retention is to have smart home technology in each unit. Before purchasing smart home technology, research or run a survey on what residents want.


9. Offer Amenities Competitors Don’t Have

Another easy way to attract and retain residents is to offer amenities that local competitors don’t have. These amenities can include but are not limited to pools, dog parks, reserved parking, and security features.


To better understand how your amenities stack up against competitors, have your local property managers visit similar properties in your area and see what amenities they offer. 


Another great way to do this is through social listening. With social listening, your PMC can listen to online conversations your target audience has about the competition. Are people raving about the fitness facility at a local competitors’ property? Is their maintenance team up to par? Once you understand how your local properties compare to the competition, you can make optimizations accordingly.


If you’re looking for a solution to help you monitor these online conversations, consider SOCi Listening. SOCi Listening centralizes competitive and industry insights at the national and local levels. It gives you a front-row seat to online discussions about your own and your competitors’ properties.


10. Be Active on Social Media

We mentioned this before, but your prospective and current residents are likely active on social media. You’re missing out on resident engagement opportunities if you’re not on social media. According to our previously mentioned Top Property Management Companies in Localized Marketing report, 62 percent of properties examined in the report were posting on Facebook at the local level, with a posting frequency of seven posts per month


Social media allows you to showcase your community lifestyle and lets residents know about upcoming events or happenings. It also allows you to share a more authentic persona of your property management and maintenance teams. If done correctly, you can leverage social media to win more leases.


PMCs can also seamlessly produce corporate and localized social media content with SOCi’s social media management solution. SOCi’s social media management solution enables multi-family marketers to manage and deploy localized content at scale while maintaining brand consistency. If your local properties are struggling to develop a streamlined local social strategy, our Localized Social Content Guide can also help.


Green, black, and white download button for SOCi’s Localized Social Content Guide Description: Green, black, and white download button for SOCi’s Localized Social Content Guide


Now, you have the ideas and tools to improve your renter experience and increase resident retention across multiple properties. Are you still unsure if your PMC’s localized marketing strategy is up to par? Download the Localized Playbook for Property Management Companies  to find out! It details what it takes to build a winning localized marketing strategy.


You can also request a demo from SOCi today to better understand how our streamlined solution helps PMCs up their localized marketing efforts and retain residents!


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Chi Whitley

Chi Whitley is a content marketer who specializes in local SEO. He’s passionate about helping multi-location businesses grow their brands and online presence in the ever-changing world of localized marketing.