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In today's ever-evolving property management landscape, the focus on resident experience has taken center stage. It's not just about the bricks and mortar anymore; it's about building meaningful experiences, fostering connections, and ensuring residents truly feel at home. 

And have you heard? We published a comprehensive report on just that: The 2023 State of Resident Experience in Single-Family Property Management. The report includes in-depth studies and impact data on the most innovative strategies in property management right now. You can download it for free – it’s on us!

Download the Report

In the meantime, we’ve curated the top 25 insights about resident experience from 20 experts in the property management industry. These pros have been there, done that, and seen it all. We’ve been fortunate enough to chat with them on podcasts, document detailed interviews, and have in-depth conversations across the country. 

Whether you're curious about the rise of resident benefits packages, seeking inspiration on innovative revenue streams, or want to learn more about automation and AI, read on to hear directly from the experts – or go directly to our in-depth, downloadable report

Why Focusing on Resident Experience is a Strategic Goal

Centering your property management strategy on resident experience isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a strategic imperative that drives success and sets industry leaders apart. Here’s how…

“Property Managers who are on the cutting edge realize that by focusing on the resident experience, they will earn better returns on investment for their investor clients.” -Gregg Cohen, Co-Founder of JWB Real Estate Companies

“Resident retention is a direct reflection of your customer experience. If people enjoy working with you, they'll stay. If they don't, they won't. We use resident retention as a key benchmark for measuring our customer service. In our market, we renew 72% of our leases annually. A standard PM benchmark historically is that about a 70% renewal rate for residents is a huge success.” -Melissa Gillispie, Director of Leasing & Property Management at JWB Real Estate

“As the operator of a business, how can I get from something transactional to something transformative – so that people are getting something from me that they aren’t getting from most other businesses.” -Jordan Muela, CEO of LeadSimple

“We’ve really started to notice that the better experience we can make with the tenants, the more they want to come to us as opposed to our competitors. It's all about the experience. Think about Starbucks. It’s essentially the same cup of coffee as McDonald's. But it's the experience that Starbucks gives you. So we’ve held onto this idea that we want to provide the experience that residents gravitate to.” -Chenoa Stark, Property Manager at American Leasing and Management

“When you're giving that great experience to your residents, you're also giving that great experience to your owners. They have less lost vacancy, they have more care and more respect given to their property, and that's going to protect their assets. That shift in the industry is already happening, and those that are able to make that pivot quickly are going to be able to level themselves up and really get ahead of the curve.” -Kelli Segretto, K Segretto Consulting

“Happy residents stay longer, take better care of the home, and provide better long-term stability and return on investment for clients. They also spread the good word locally and refer more renters to you. And happy residents are usually nicer, leading to happier staff!” -Melissa Gillispie, Director of Leasing & Property Management at JWB Real Estate

“When people come into my office and say this is the best experience I’ve ever had, I know we’ve done our job.” -Janet Sprissler, Broker/Owner, Rent 805

Changes in the Property Management Industry

The evolution of the property management sector has been remarkable. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all solutions and impersonal transactions. Today, as these insightful quotes highlight, the industry is transforming to meet the increasing demand for personalized, consumer-centric experiences that elevate convenience and satisfaction.

“[W]e’re seeing a huge culture shift in the housing space. How do we provide ease? The Uber or Grubhub mentality of We want it now: How can you do that in the real estate space as well?” -Phil Vera, CEO of Paragon Property Management

“I think ten years ago, property managers were only concerned with collecting rent and keeping tenants from doing damage to properties. It was a much more adversarial relationship than it is today. Today, the best PMs know that resident experience is vital to minimizing vacancy and creating a resident that strives to be a higher quality tenant.” -Jonathan Cook,  Community Manager at APM Help

“The younger generations we’re dealing with in property management, they want experiences and simplicity, and they’re willing to pay to have things taken care of for them.” -Eric Wetherington, VP of Strategic Initiatives, PURE Property Management

“What I'm seeing from our residents – whether they're paying $3,000 a month in rent or $1,000 a month in rent – the number one thing that they look for is ease and convenience. They don't want complicated instructions. They just want simple, they want right now. They want contact-free, they don't want to talk to people. So everything we do from showings to move-in to the experience after they move in is all revolved around design for that expectation.” -DD Lee, PURE Property Management

Why More Property Managers are Choosing a Resident Benefits Package (RBP)

Professional property managers are increasingly adopting the multifaceted advantages of the Resident Benefits Package. The quotes below highlight why this holistic approach is rapidly becoming the gold standard in property management – emphasizing the RBP’s value for both residents and property owners alike.

“A resident benefits package – you hear people call it the easy button. That’s because it is essentially all of these different services and all of these different, valuable add-ons for your residents that are done for you.” -Kelli Segretto, K Segretto Consulting

“As RBP services have evolved to include more products and services – like credit building, identity theft, etc. – they are providing value that affects everyday people. I’ve found that, beyond helping us to stand out in our industry, an RBP means we're actually doing something good for the people that we interact with. It's not just about beating our competition, it's that we're actually providing value that they can really use – services that actually help them for their long-term goals.” -Chenoa Stark, American Leasing and Management

“A resident benefits package alone can result in a 10% bump to revenue per unit, which can result in that 100% increase to profit per unit. This profitability can result in more fuel to your freedom, more fuel to your mission, and realizing all the things you went into business for in the first place.” -Daniel Craig, CEO of ProfitCoach

Implementing an RBP

Adopting a Resident Benefits Package might seem daunting, but as the insights below will reveal, it’s not as difficult as you might think. 

“The fear (that residents or owners will push back against change) is normal. No one ever wants to say, ‘Hey, you need to pay more money.’ I was the same. But I slowly introduced things like filter delivery, renter's insurance, and ancillary services. What I found was astonishing – nobody pushed back! Out of 300 residents at the time when we first started introducing this, maybe two or three asked, ‘Why why do I need this?’ And we simply explained to them, ‘This is going to make your life easier, and it's not going to cost much more than if you went to the store, spent all that time in the car, and bought it yourself. Plus, you might forget.’ It just made sense to them. Now, we sign residents up as they move in.” -DD Lee, PURE Property Management

“Be ultra-transparent and get it done in the beginning, just saying, we're not hiding anything. This is what you're being enrolled in. This is what it is. I think that helped the adoption rate a little bit. And if people did call in with questions, we were happy to answer them and talk to them about it.” -Kyle Hendricks, VP of Hendricks Property Management

Automation & AI in Property Management

Leading experts emphasize the pivotal role of automation and artificial intelligence in reshaping the property management industry. Professional property managers are embracing these technologies not just to stay competitive but to elevate the overall resident experience and streamline operations.

“People who are against automation say, ‘I don’t like automation because I lose that relationship with my clients.’ I would flip that and say: If I can automate eight of the ten tasks that need to be done, that means I have more time to build the relationships.” -Pete Neubig, CEO of VPM Solutions

“Automation is the great equalizer. It allows us to compete with nationwide companies and to provide not only the same level of service but to be able to pivot and adapt much quicker than those larger companies can. If you're a smaller company, AI and Automation Tech is that equalizer that's going to allow you to shine just as well as these larger companies.” -Wolfgang Croskey, Founder & President of How’s My Rental

“One of the things I want my clients to think about is that our tech is not just for our benefit. This is not just to make our lives easier and our jobs easier. It's to really be able to reposition our time so that we're focused on value creation.” -Rhianna Campbell, Property Management Consultant, Proper Planning LLC

Innovative Revenue Streams & Ancillary Income

By offering value-added services that residents genuinely need, property managers not only boost their profitability but also create a win-win situation where both parties benefit from added convenience and value.

“Prop tech companies are making the mechanics of property management easy – rent collection, maintenance, screening, the day-to-day mechanics of property management. Thirty years ago, that’s what a property manager did. Now, though, when it comes to things like benefits packages, pet guarantees, and rent guarantees with security deposit alternatives, we can offer much more value.” -Todd Ortscheid, CEO of Revolution Rental Management

“There are so many of these things – when you look through all of the different revenue-generating ideas – that are just good across the board for everybody. [The Triple Win] is where you should focus your efforts when you’re trying to bring in the most revenue and do the most good.” -Todd Ortscheid, CEO of Revolution Rental Management

“When considering a service like pest control, our approach is, 'How can we take this off the property manager’s plate?’ We aim to create ancillary revenue for them, take an annoying task off their list, and enhance the resident experience.” -Landon Cooley, Co-Founder & CEO at Pest Share

“Security deposits and tenant screening are two fascinating areas of real estate that tech companies are attempting to disrupt. Traditional security deposits are starting to become passé in some jurisdictions.” -Peter Lohmann, Co-founder & CEO of RL Property Management

“I think the type of initiatives that we're having success with are those things that provide an enhanced lifestyle for our tenants or residents. And that's all often driven via surveys and input from residents. So instead of us pretending that we know every potential amenity they would like, we’re actually reaching out to them and asking them what the value proposition would be from their perspective.” -Steve Pardon, CEO of JMAX Property Management

Hiring for Single-Family Rental Property Management (vs. Multifamily)

Looking to hire this year? Single-family rentals have their own unique set of challenges and nuances that set them apart from multifamily units. Here’s a great tip from Matthew Whitaker to close us out.

“When you add multiple investors and then the logistics of single-family, it becomes a much more complicated business. If you’re going to pull from the multifamily industry, you’re going to have to make sure that you’re hiring some of the best and brightest from that industry because, again, dealing with 300 homes and 50 investors is way more complicated than a 300-unit apartment community all together with one investor.” -Matthew Whitaker, Founder & CEO at Evernest

Ready to Learn More?

Wrapping things up, it's clear: nailing the resident experience is the secret sauce to elevating property management services and driving value for residents, investors, and your property management company. 

If you want even deeper insights into driving resident retention and investor value, check out our State of Resident Experience Report. The report deep-dives with studies on the value and impact of innovative property management services and explores the changing shape of the property management industry. 

Andrew Smallwood

Andrew Smallwood

Chief Customer Officer - Second Nature