The profitability of rental properties relies on the ability to find and retain quality tenants. Properties with a low occupancy rate or high tenant turnover leave money on the table. But what occupancy rate should rental properties aim for?
Most experts suggest that occupancy rates should be at or above 95%.
Significantly lower occupancy rates mean that tenants may be dissatisfied, management is not responding well to prospective tenants, or that prices need to be adjusted to account for current market conditions. If you want to keep occupancy rates high, communication speed can be a powerful differentiator.
Most potential tenants expect immediate response times from property managers and landlords. Zillow recently found that 71% of prospective tenants hope to hear back about possible listings within 24 hours. Unfortunately, that same study found that more than half of those expressing interest in a vacancy do not receive quick responses.
Prospective tenants are consumers just like anyone else—they want to find places quickly and efficiently. They use sites like Zillow, Apartments.com, and even Craigslist to shop around and book showings on lunch breaks, after work, or on weekends. If you are in a city with a lot of vacant units, these consumers have many choices, and the agent or manager who gets back to them the quickest is going to win their business.
Some best practices to follow for improving response times are:
Check and respond to email every few hours
Answer phone calls immediately - have it route to your cell phone if needed
In a world of instant messaging and text, consumers require quick responses and immediate feedback. If you contact prospects as soon as possible, you will maximize the likelihood of signing them as tenants.
A lot of property managers do not have a CRM (client relationship management) system or a process to helps them manage lead follow up, so they fail to reach out to leads more than once. Remember, sales is a numbers game! Put a system in place to either automatically make multiple attempts, or make yourself reminders.
Communicate with leads on the platform they prefer
For example, responding to a text with an email is shown to cut the value of the lead in half. Similarly, someone who emails you probably doesn’t expect a phone call. Make sure your system can keep track of all the communication channels your renters use.
The average tenant is worth tens of thousands of dollars. Missing out on a single prospect is leaving money on the table. Many property managers are unable to follow up leads well due to a lack of tools to organize them, automate communications, and balance the work against their many other responsibilities. Technology, such as cloud property management software, allows you to streamline processes and reduce workload. It also shows prospects that you are professional and organized, which builds trust in you and your complex.
Communicating with tenants is one of the ways you can reduce tenant stress, de-escalate issues that could turn into a multiple tenant issue, and retain happy renters. Tenant turnover is a huge expense for property owners, and property owners are watching the turnover rate. Particularly with the ongoing uncertainty in the rental market due to COVID, it is a tenant's market–people have options right now.
Property managers should always respond to tenant requests quickly, and keep them updated on anything that can’t be closed immediately, such as maintenance calls. Don’t leave tenants in the dark, it costs you more time in managing further emails or calls. And you'll have to deal with grumpy tenants.
Imagine conducting all rental property communications through paper mail, in-person visits, and memo postings throughout the complex. The time it would take to get things done would be ludicrous.
Managing tenants and prospects by email and phone is just as outdated.
ResiDesk offers tools that accelerate conversations, turning issues that used to take days to resolve into minute transactions. Residents and prospective renters respond more quickly and leads to faster conversions, helping you reduce vacancies.
ResiDesk integrates with your property management software and Outlook in just a few minutes to help reach tenants, prospects, and even maintenance faster. Whether it’s an announcement or a conversation, ResiDesk keeps things moving forward.
ResiDesk also offers reporting so you can track progress. See how you can increase:
Tenant response times
Percentage of unit engagements
Benchmarking to email response times
Visit our website for more information on how ResiDesk can help your property management group.