As countless students and their families file into dorm rooms and new apartments for the upcoming school year, it’s important that they feel informed and welcomed in their new home away from home. Unlike typical multifamily properties, college living poses a different set of challenges for property managers. Instead of residents moving at various times throughout the year, nearly every student-housing resident moves in and out around the same time.
Soon, these residents will walk through your doors. To help make this experience more streamlined and less anxiety-provoking for all involved, we’ve compiled some important management tips for you.
Schedule Move Times
With so many people present during college move-ins/-outs, it’s important to establish organized processes wherever possible that generate an orderly transition from home to school and vice versa. Given the opportunity, most students would line up at the crack of dawn on the first day of their lease, excitedly waiting to move into their new homes. But as you know from experience, that setup would result in chaos. Instead, consider developing a scheduled move-in procedure to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
Prior to the new lease period, reach out to incoming tenants with a selection of move-in time options. These designated times can be anywhere from 30-minute arrival intervals to different days entirely. You can then use Rent Manager’s Move-In/Out Wizards* to help organize renter information such as property, unit, tenant name, and move-in/move-out date.
Not only will your move-in process be less stressful for your staff, but on-site moving resources – like carts, dumpsters, and water stations – will be more readily available. Parking may also be less of an issue for both new and existing residents when arrival times are pre-arranged.
Prepare Informational Packets
“Where do I pick up/drop off my keys?”
“Where do I throw away unwanted trash or belongings?”
“Where should I enter the building?”
“Where should I park?”
These types of questions are quite common for new residents, so provide them with answers to these and other frequently asked questions before moving day. Create a simple informational packet that guides new residents through your property procedures and upload it to Rent Manager for easy – and automated – distribution via e-mail. It will save everyone – your renters and staff – a lot of stress and time. Here are some items to include in your packet:
Your student tenants and their families are likely new to the property and surrounding area. Providing a map with highlighted points of interest can help reduce the number of calls and texts to your office. Rent Manager users can use the Bird’s Eye View feature* to create a diagram of their property and display designated unloading/loading zones, trash/recycling drop-off areas, pet-walking spaces, visitor parking, etc.
Move-In/Move-Out Best Practices
During mass move-ins/move-outs, students and their families greatly outnumber your staff. Create easy transitions by providing instructions and best practices for optimizing moving day at your property. Include how to pick up/return keys, a checklist of how the unit should look upon move-in and move-out, and contact information with guidelines for getting in touch with your team about moving-related issues.
Rules and Procedures
Be sure to include your community rules and resources in the packet. Inform new renters about what is allowed in your buildings and what is not (smoking, pets, grills, home businesses), where to find shelter if severe weather hits your area, potential damage charges, any safety protocols and cleaning practices, and other important items tenants should be aware of on their first day of occupancy.
Create A Community Culture
A strong community culture helps your tenants see their apartment as their home. To create this type of environment, consider hosting a property-wide welcome gathering a week or so after the big move-in. This gives your residents a chance to settle in and look forward to an exciting event where they can meet their neighbors. Afterwards, continue to host smaller gatherings on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. You can use Rent Manager’s Community Calendar feature* to display scheduled gatherings for all renters to view. Creating a great community can help residents feel like friends rather than strangers, generate positive online reviews, increase retention rates, and develop surroundings in which they feel safe and happy.
See The Big Picture
These strategies can be applied to any portfolio type. As a property manager, your goal should be to make these transitions as smooth as possible. Moving can be a big source of stress for everyone, but with correct procedures in place, dispersal of information prior to the actual move, and the incorporation of Rent Manager’s move-in/move-out tools in your processes, a lot of that stress can be alleviated – for your tenants and staff!
Create a property move-in/move-out experience that is not only memorable but welcoming. Positive interactions for your residents lead to positive feedback for your property!
*To learn more about these Rent Manager features, press the question mark (?) button or F1 key in Rent Manager 12 to access the Help File.