Turning Houses into Homes

Homes along White Oak Bayou in Houston
Creative Commons License photo credit: (Bill and Mavis) – B&M Photography

Unsurprisingly, many articles offer advice detailing how property managers can decrease tenant turnover. After all, tenant turnover is expensive. Even a low turnover rate of two to three percent can cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Besides having to repaint, clean the carpets, and perform general maintenance, the property manager can lose months of rent and must go through the hassle of looking for a new tenant.

Many of the articles focus only on limited aspects of keeping tenants in their houses. They talk about personalizing service, responding quickly to complaints, keeping the house in good repair, and offering incentives to renew a lease. All these things are good ideas. However, what most of these articles say, but do not really explain, is how to market a home as community and not just a house.

As anyone who has moved to an unfamiliar area can attest, adjusting can be difficult. You may not know anyone, where to eat, or what fun things might be available. Helping residents find these things can make a big difference. Find out what things interest them and help connect them with local organizations. Whether it is sailing, rock climbing, or just getting them a plot at the community garden, getting your resident invested in the community is one of the better ways to prevent tenant turnover. Asking neighbors to introduce themselves to your tenants can help, too.

One quick caution: It is possible to be too attentive and actually be irritating to a tenant with your attempts to be useful. However, that being said, it is always better to be over attentive than neglectful. The best way to prevent this mistake is simply to pay attention to your renter. Listen respectfully and, if it seems like your attentions are not welcome, take a step back and let them find their own way.