Best Practices For a Successful Move-In
The Rocky Resident
We’ve all had those rocky move-ins where it seems as though one thing after another goes wrong. These rocky move-ins tend to be rocky residents. These are the residents who will call in a service request, then place a follow-up call to the office a few hours later to make sure someone will be coming to their apartment home. Or they may email the office and then immediately follow-up by phone – just to double check that the email was successfully received. Why do these residents over communicate? It’s mainly because they don’t have complete confidence in the management team’s ability to properly address their needs.
Residents start their renewal decision within the first 7 days of moving in. How is that possible? Well, as a prospect, this person probably toured 4 to 6 communities before deciding where to live. After weighing all of their options, let’s say they chose your community. Now, if the move-in goes smoothly – lease paperwork is prepared, the keys work, the apartment home looks great – you’ve essentially made good on their decision to lease at your community. You’ve left them feeling as though they made the right choice.
Conversely, if the move-in doesn’t go so smoothly, each hiccup experienced during the process chips away at the resident’s confidence and plants seeds of doubt about their decision. “Wow, maybe I should have chosen option 2.” “Hmm, did I make the wrong choice?” The last thing you want from a brand new resident is for them to be thinking about a competitor.
Prevention and Recovery
So, back to my first mention of prevention and recovery. Move-in success depends on preventing as many move-in hiccups from occurring and should something fall through the cracks, how swiftly those issues can be resolved. Organization and attention to detail are the keys to prevention. Have a plan in place to ensure the paperwork and keys are ready prior to the move-in date. Schedule a lease signing appointment, if possible, so ample attention is given to the incoming resident to explain the lease agreement as well as give them the VIP treatment.
Final apartment walks are crucial to prevention as well. Oftentimes, we walk apartments on auto-pilot. We may not be as “picky” as the new resident who will give their new home a thorough walk through. One suggestion is to use the move-in inspection form during the final walk. This will force you to check every layer of the apartment home and hopefully catch an issue before it is discovered by the resident.
And because no one is perfect, there will be an occasion where things fall through the cracks. This is where recovery comes in. Should a resident bring to your attention that their move-in has not gone as expected, recover as quickly as possible? Alert your service team and follow up with the resident promptly to ensure they are satisfied.
Time is of the essence when dealing with new residents. Making good on their decision to lease at your community can lead to a smooth 12 months of residency and a clear choice come renewal time.