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How your multifamily living experience impacts resident retention

Multifamily communities that implement these resident experience ideas significantly boost resident retention rates.

Resident experience is an important selling point of multifamily communities and a major factor influencing resident retention. If your communities are struggling with retention, it may be time to re-examine the experience you are creating for residents.

Renters will always want a nice apartment unit at a fair price. But now, their expectations go beyond the four walls in which they live. Now, they’re also interested in the lifestyle the community offers. For example, can your community enhance their life in any way? Will it make their everyday life simpler?

Resident experience also goes beyond the feel-good aspects of a community. It includes how renters interact with you and how they conduct apartment-related tasks. Paying rent, granting access to visitors, reserving amenities, all shape the resident experience. You might not think these have much impact on resident retention. But anyone who’s ever lived in an apartment community will attest that these tasks all come with some level of friction.

Modern renters value time and convenience, and when too many annoyances pile up, retention can suffer. Now, residents increasingly expect service-oriented, tech-enabled experiences within their community.

Resident experience management impacts retention

Resident Experience Management (ResEx) is the process of improving renter touchpoints to deliver remarkable living experiences. Multifamily communities are increasingly making it a priority because it keeps resident retention rates high.

At Zego (Powered by PayLease), we’re fascinated with ResEx and recently commissioned a research study on it.

We know that companies have differing ideas on what ResEx means and also differ on how to deliver living experiences that retain residents. So we wanted to find out what the majority consensus was on this topic. Nearly 700 apartment operators participated in our survey about resident experience management strategies.

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Aside from learning how apartment operators are managing ResEx, our report also breaks down why it’s so important. Here are some ways your community’s living experience impacts resident retention.

Reputation impacts resident retention rates

When people have been treated exceptionally well by a business, they like to talk about it. And, the same goes when they’ve had a bad experience. This is a huge reason to prioritize resident experience management.

The impact starts when renters are on the hunt for an apartment. They can visit a community and see for themselves just how nice your units are. But what they can’t gauge is the living experience. So, they turn to your former and current renters for that information.

Before prospects tour your community, it’s almost certain they’ve read up on what others have to say about it. According to a study by Apartments.com, 98% of apartment shoppers rely on reviews and ratings when looking for their next home. And, they really take to heart what those reviews reveal.

Negative reviews scare away prospects – but positive ones drive occupancy rates

If your community reviews are negative, they may never come through the door. Seventy-nine percent of respondents to NMHC’s Apartment Resident Preferences Report said that during an apartment hunt, they didn’t visit a community solely because the ratings and reviews were not favorable.

The good news is that positive reviews linger in the minds of apartment hunters, too. Eighty-five percent of respondents to NMHC’s survey said that reviews influenced their decision to rent their current apartment.

How reviews impact occupancy

resident retention stats

It’s a full-circle process. Residents who are happy serve as your advocates by posting good reviews. Those stellar reviews pull in prospective renters and influence their decision to rent. Conversely, residents who have not had a pleasant experience leave reviews that scare away potential renters.

Improving resident experience can increase retention and lower turnover costs

Believing in the importance of the resident experience and delivering on it is a tough balancing act. After all, community managers have plenty of operational tasks to juggle on a daily basis. It’s easy for the operational aspects of running a community to overshadow resident retention-focused initiatives.

But that mindset brings consequences because the turnover that stems from underwhelmed residents creates a constant cycle of additional work that falls on your on-site teams. There are financial impacts, too. For example, the average turnover cost for one unit is about $4,000. Here’s how it all adds up.

Average resident turnover costs

resident turnover cost

The impact of turnover is steep. Especially if you think about the amount of time it takes to recover the costs from a unit turn. Say, for example, are able to find a new resident willing to pay $200 more per month. It’s still going to take you 19 months ($3,850/$200) to recover the cost of losing the resident.  That’s over a year and a half!

Conversely, communities that make an impact on renters see reduced turnover and have an opportunity to thrive. According to Forbes, “Seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.” In terms of multifamily companies, this translates to residents staying in their community longer. Because there’s nowhere else where great service is more appreciated than within the place you call home.

Apartment operators reveal their resident retention strategies

Want more insights on resident retention and ResEx? Download our brand new report, The State of Resident Experience Management! In it, we reveal how apartment operators feel about resident experience management. Not only that, we offer recommendations that improve the community living experience and resident retention rates.

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