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Boosting your property’s desirability and making it feel like home to your residents is the name of the game in the property management industry. It's all about the best resident retention ideas, but what is resident retention? 

Resident retention is the act of implementing strategies and efforts aimed at keeping your existing residents happy and engaged, ultimately encouraging them to renew their leases. It's a critical factor that contributes to the success and profitability of your property management business. 

Resident retention is also a key part of achieving a Triple Win in property management, whether it’s in single-family (our focus) or multifamily. A Triple Win mindset enriches the resident retention meaning by asking, “How can we create experiences so good that residents never want to leave?” 

So, what can you do to retain more residents?

Here are 20 of our top resident retention ideas:

  1. Incorporate a resident benefits package (RBP)
  2. Build transparent communication
  3. Deliver quick and quality property maintenance
  4. Give flexible payment options
  5. Prioritize security
  6. Adopt new technology
  7. Provide lease renewal incentives
  8. Schedule regular inspections
  9. Plan welcome gifts
  10. Design efficient move-in and move-out processes
  11. Allow renovation options
  12. Make regular property upgrades
  13. Promote energy efficiency
  14. Reward long-term tenants
  15. Create pet-friendly policies
  16. Give 24/7 customer support
  17. Survey residents
  18. Celebrate special occasions
  19. Provide a high-quality tenant manual
  20. Offer payment incentives

Related: State of Resident Experience Study

1. Incorporate a Resident Benefits Package

As we’ve seen, resident benefits packages are the best way to build these experiences and perks that residents want. Benefits packages are bundled services that help drive revenue for your investor and drive satisfaction for your residents. 

At Second Nature, we offer services in a custom resident benefits package (RBP) designed by you and managed by us. We developed and designed each pillar of the RBP based on pain points that property managers shared with us – turning those pain points into benefits.

These services include supports like:

  • Routine air filter delivery: This is a cornerstone of our benefits package because one of the most common causes of HVAC maintenance requests is a failure to change air filters on time. We’ve seen a total reduction of 38% in HVAC requests.
  • $1 million identity theft protection: Our benefits package includes identity fraud alerts and protection. Your residents can rest easy knowing every adult on the lease has coverage.
  • Credit building: As we’ve mentioned, we report on-time payments to the credit bureaus so your residents can automatically boost their credit scores just by paying rent on time. 
  • Rental rewards: People love rewards! We include the cost of rental rewards in our total package, so PMs don’t pay more. We include perks like gift cards to local businesses, restaurant cards, cash rewards, and more.
  • Move-in concierge: The first thing most residents do on move-in is make several calls to set up utilities. With our move-in concierge service, residents turn four phone calls into one. They don’t have to contact utility companies; we do it for them and identify the best rates. 
  • Renters Insurance Program: Our benefits package includes price-competitive insurance options to apply to all residents – at one group rate. 

A benefits package puts PMs ahead of the game, proactively building the environment residents pay and stay for.

2. Build Transparent Communication

Relationship building is an important part of resident retention, and the foundation of any good relationship is, as any dating advice will tell you, communication. 

The rise of digital apps, online portals, messaging services, and social media platforms has made it easier than ever to communicate. PMs also know that convenience is key. If residents are attempting to contact you, they likely have an issue that needs resolution. That’s why strategic PMs meet residents where they’re at—and that’s probably online. More PMCs are using solutions like texting, ticketing/inbox, offshore or outsourced staffing, and automation to remain responsive. 

3. Deliver Quick and Quality Property Maintenance

Anyone can tell you that property maintenance management is critical to a positive resident experience. Among the best ideas for resident retention? Invest in maintenance responsiveness.

But sometimes, newer property managers only know how to take a reactive approach. They might do an annual inspection or respond to complaints. But they may not be proactively developing strategies to improve the property for themselves and their residents. 

In contrast, excellent property management companies approach maintenance with a benefits-focused mindset. Instead of reacting to property problems, enterprising PMs tend to ask, “What habits and behaviors can I encourage in residents to help keep the property in tip-top shape?”

We’ve seen a trend of property managers developing proactive strategies that help residents take care of the property. It pays off in dividends. 

4. Give Flexible Payment Options

Speaking of paying off, most property management companies now offer online payments to residents. It’s true: 73% of residents say they prefer a digital method for payment. That’s the first step. But PMs have told us that many of those legacy payment systems can be difficult to use or don’t actively support residents in making timely payments. 

The next step is to ensure you’ve set residents up for success in making on-time payments. Some PMs set up rewards systems or incentives for on-time payments. These programs can help reduce the amount of time you spend following up on rent. 

For example, Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package has a built-in credit-building service that rewards residents for on-time rental payments. We’ve helped residents increase their scores by as much as 20-40+ points. You can bet that if residents have the option to boost their credit score, they’re more motivated to pay on time.

5. Prioritize Security

Creating safe spaces to live in helps protect both the residents and the properties that you manage. Making it clear that safety is a priority is also an effective way to build a reputation as a property management company that cares. 

Property managers can emphasize the safety of single-family homes through standard practices like ensuring rental properties have flood lights, working smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, and solid locks changed after each move-out or before move-in. Surveys can also help assess how safe residents feel in their homes and if your company can do anything to improve security. Regular inspections and good communication go a long way to maintaining excellent security. 

For a Triple Win, property management companies provide holistic, hassle-free insurance. This minimizes hassle for PMs, protects the investor’s assets, and gives holistic coverage to the resident. 

6. Adopt New Technology

Technology brings ease and automation to every element of property management – and every individual involved. In fact, 79% of SFR residents prefer to complete at least some rental processes online, and giving options like this can improve resident retention rates.

Technology helps you deliver competitive features without breaking the bank or slowing you down. And it gives ease and convenience to residents, too. These days, property managers have digital solutions for basically every part of their job, including:

  • Online payments
  • Maintenance request tracking
  • Online rental listings & applications
  • Text and email communication
  • Renters insurance programs
  • Tenant screening
  • Document signing, sharing, and storage

Using SMS messaging platforms, online rent payment systems, and resident portals adds more efficiency for property managers while offering convenience to residents. 

7. Provide Lease Renewal Incentives

One of the most effective strategies for retaining residents is offering incentives for lease renewals. 

A few lease renewal incentive ideas: You could offer a discounted rent for the first month of the renewed lease or a flat discount on the total lease value. Services such as professional cleaning or a free month of utilities are also attractive options. Other incentives could include upgrades to the property, like new appliances or a fresh coat of paint.

Remember, the aim of these incentives is to show your residents they are valuable to you. Tailor your offers to meet their needs and to reflect the value they bring to your property. Investing a little in lease renewal ideas now can save significantly on the cost and effort of finding new residents later.

8. Schedul Regular Inspections

Conducting regular inspections is a proactive approach to property management that can significantly improve resident retention. These inspections, performed at a frequency that is reasonable and non-intrusive, allow property managers to identify and address potential issues before they escalate into major problems. It sends a clear message to the residents that you're committed to maintaining the property's quality and comfort. 

The transparency and promptness in addressing maintenance issues that regular inspections bring can enhance the overall resident experience and satisfaction, making them more likely to renew their lease.

9. Plan Welcome Gifts

Welcome gifts are a simple yet effective way of making residents feel seen and appreciated from the get-go. The gifts don't have to be extravagant – even small tokens such as a care package with cleaning supplies, a local map, or a list of nearby amenities and hotspots can make a huge impact. 

A warm, personal welcome creates a positive first impression that can set the tone for the entire resident experience. This small investment can make residents feel valued, fostering a stronger relationship which often translates into longer residency periods.

10. Design Efficient Move-In and Move-Out Processes

Move-in and move-out are compressed times when you have the opportunity to make the most lasting impact. As a property manager, strive to make these transitions as straightforward as possible. 

This includes providing clear instructions and checklists and making yourself available for questions. For move-outs, provide ample notice and guidance on how to leave the property to ensure the return of their deposit. By making these processes simple and stress-free, residents are more likely to have positive memories associated with their tenancy, increasing the likelihood of good reviews and referrals and potential renewals.

11. Allow Renovation Options

Offering residents the option to personalize their living space can significantly improve their satisfaction and promote longer tenancy. 

Allow tenants to make reasonable changes, such as painting walls or updating fixtures, as part of their rental agreement. You could even consider offering a renovation budget for long-term residents. Not only does this make the property feel more like a home, but it also often results in property upgrades at little to no cost to you. 

Always remember to have clear guidelines about what changes are allowed to avoid any misunderstandings.

12. Make Regular Property Upgrades

In order to retain tenants, it's crucial that you keep your rental property up-to-date and attractive. Regular property upgrades, like new appliances, landscaping improvements, or energy-efficient modifications, show that you care about your property and the resident's quality of life. 

Upgrades don't have to be grandiose or excessively costly; even small improvements can make a big difference in ROI. Keep in mind that properties that are well-cared for and updated regularly are likely to have fewer vacancies, maintain higher property values, and foster a sense of pride in the residents.

13. Promote Energy Efficiency

Promoting energy efficiency is a two-fold benefit: it can lower utility costs for your residents and contribute to a more sustainable planet. 

By installing energy-efficient appliances, insulating the home better, or adding solar panels, you can make your property more appealing to prospective and current tenants. 

It's also an excellent way to demonstrate that you're not only focused on profits but also care about your residents' well-being and the environment. Incorporating energy efficiency into your property management strategy can therefore be a win-win for everyone involved.

14. Reward Long-Term Tenants

Rewarding long-term tenants is a valuable strategy to increase resident retention. 

The loyalty of tenants who've chosen to stay in your property for an extended period should be acknowledged and appreciated. This can be done in various ways, such as giving them priority for any upgrades, offering a discount on their rent upon renewal, or even just a simple thank-you note to express your gratitude. 

This not only makes your long-term tenants feel valued but also encourages them to continue staying in your property.

15. Create Pet-Friendly Policies

Integrating pet-friendly policies is a fantastic way to increase resident retention. In today's world, a significant percentage of renters have pets and consider them as part of their family. Having a pet-friendly environment can be a major deciding factor for such renters when choosing or renewing their lease. 

Providing amenities like pet doors for easy outdoor access or having a pet-friendly policy can make your property stand out and make it more attractive to a larger renter base, thereby improving your retention rates.

At Second Nature, we provide a renter’s insurance program that – unlike most options out there – covers all dog breeds. That’s a great example of a pet-friendly product. 

16. Give 24/7 Customer Support

Providing round-the-clock customer support is a proactive way of ensuring your residents' concerns are addressed promptly, contributing significantly to resident retention. 

The reality of property management is that issues don't adhere to a 9-to-5 schedule. Emergencies can happen at any time, and the ability to respond to these promptly can greatly increase resident satisfaction. 

Furthermore, having a system in place to address non-emergency concerns, such as maintenance requests or billing queries, shows your commitment to your residents' comfort and well-being, making them more likely to renew their lease.

17. Survey Residents

Another great communication channel is seeking feedback by sending surveys to current residents on a quarterly basis. Professional PMs ask what could be improved upon and use the data collected as a source for additional resident renewal ideas. 

At Second Nature, we allow residents to survey and give feedback in their rewards app and even incentivize it. When you are actively seeking feedback, you can more easily drive positive social reviews and reputation management.

18. Celebrate Special Occasions

Recognizing and celebrating special occasions can make your residents feel valued and foster a sense of community, even in single-family homes. 

While it may seem easier to celebrate special occasions in an apartment community with community events, single-family homes can also fit into this strategy. You may not have resident events like a happy hour or holiday party, but you can recognize special events in your residents’ lives. This could mean sending a small gift or card on residents' birthdays, anniversaries, or significant holidays.

These resident appreciation gestures show residents that you see them as individuals, not just sources of income. When residents feel that personal touch, they're more likely to have positive feelings towards management and consider renewing their lease. It's a small investment that can make a big difference in resident retention.

19. Provide a High-Quality Tenant Manual

A comprehensive, high-quality tenant manual can significantly enhance the resident experience. This guide should outline essential details about the property, neighborhood amenities, procedures for maintenance requests, and any rules or guidelines that residents need to follow. 

By providing clear and thorough information upfront, you can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts down the line. A well-prepared manual demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail, encouraging tenants to see their tenancy as a long-term commitment. 

Additionally, making this manual easily accessible, perhaps digitally, can also contribute to a smoother resident experience.

20. Offer Payment Incentives

Offering incentives is a creative and effective way to foster resident loyalty. 

Incentives could include anything from a discount on rent for on-time payments, resident rewards, a credit-building program, referral bonuses for recommending friends or family members who become tenants, or even simple upgrades to their living space. 

The key is to provide tangible value that resonates with your tenants' needs and wants. This not only encourages residents to stay longer but it also fosters a positive relationship between the property management and the residents, boosting overall satisfaction and happiness.

How 1,000+ professional management companies create Triple Win experiences

Resident retention is far more than a transactional arrangement. We know that a high percentage of residents leave when they aren’t getting benefits they could get elsewhere. 

Forward-thinking property managers take a proactive approach to resident retention by developing experiences that residents are looking for. By creating a fantastic resident experience through offering benefits and support, property managers drive a triple win for residents, investors, and themselves. Higher retention can drive referrals to prospective residents and clients, too.

Offering a resident benefits package that adds value to the leasing and living experience of your residents is as easy as Second Nature.