The Top Four Drivers of Resident Retention


According to the most recent SatisFacts Index, 43% of annual survey respondents said they were “very likely” to renew. So, what about the other 57%? What’s going on with them?

Getting 57% of Residents to Renew

We know that no matter how great you are with residents, and no matter how much they enjoy living at your community, there will be a certain percentage that chooses not to renew every year. These residents are typically experiencing some sort of a life change such as buying a home, relocating for work, losing a job, etc.

We also know that the number of those going through such changes is far smaller than those who are on the fence about their renewal. On our survey, any resident who answers other than “very likely” to renew is met with a simple follow up question: “Why didn’t you answer very likely to renew?” From there, they are given the opportunity to select as many reasons from a list as applicable as to why they are not secure in their renewal decision.

As varied as their reasons are, all can be grouped into one of four drivers of resident retention: value, service, convenience, and comfort.

1. Resident Retention Driven by Value

Residents are never going to walk into your office and say, “You know what? I don’t think I pay enough for rent…here, take this extra check”, but when residents state financial reasons for not renewing, what they are actually saying is “what am I getting for the higher rate I’m expected to pay?” Apartment dwellers are conditioned to expect an annual increase; what pushes them away is lackluster service at a higher rate.

2. Resident Retention Driven by Service

These drivers are all about treating residents as the VIPs of your community. Place residents and their needs above those of prospects and even our own convenience. When a concern, issue or service need is presented, the speed to a resolution weighs greatly for these residents.

Noise complaints, service requests and getting residents the information they are seeking should be handled with the utmost professionalism and efficiency. The more streamline processes in place at your community will make life easier for your residents and the on-site team.

3. Resident Retention Driven by Convenience

Residents don’t expect perfection, but they do want to see progress. Receiving the same complaints over and over is a clear indicator that action should be taken. Is living at your community worry-free or worrisome? If your computer room or fitness center equipment is always out of order, residents may feel as if those are not really amenities. Why say you have them if no one can use them?

4. Resident Retention Driven by Comfort

In our eBook, Getting Inside the Head of the Online Renter, 77.8% of residents plan to rent for 1-5 years, and 13.8 % plan to stay more than five years. With more residents staying longer, it is important to remember those long-term renters. Offering perks through a loyalty program is a good way to go. For example, being at the community for three years gets you two carpet cleanings a year. Adding a new bonus to each year of residency can help to increase loyalty and secure more renewals.

Years of experience tells us that resident retention comes down to doing the basics really well, every day. A quick assessment of your team’s performance and the community’s offerings based on these four drivers of resident retention is a great place to start.



Vice President of Education and Consulting, SatisFacts Research

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Lia Smith career in training, property management and marketing began in the mid 1990′s. Lia began her training career at Nextel Communications, where she was responsible for training over 1,000 Customer Care Representatives. She then embarked on a new career in property management as a Leasing Associate with Lincoln Property Company, and steadily moved up the ranks. Lia was able to merge the worlds of training and property management when in 2006 she became Director of Training and Marketing at SPM Property Management, a 14,000+ unit portfolio; this included creating SPM Academy and a Learning Management System. She also developed and managed SPM’s resident feedback program, and was responsible for providing post-survey action planning support for property teams and management. Lia has proven experience in solving training and resident retention challenges for market, affordable, senior, tax credit and student communities. These experiences have helped Lia relate to both onsite and corporate associates. Lastly, Lia has presented at key industry events such as MultifamilyPro Brainstorming on topics related to developing the operational and service skills of onsite and executive level teams. Lia Joined the SatisFacts team in 2011 as VP of Education and Consulting.

One response to “The Top Four Drivers of Resident Retention”

  1. Robin says:

    I liked this article: 4 Drivers of Resident Retention.

    What are other management companies doing to reward long time residents? I like this idea, but am wondering what is being offered out there.

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