How to Engage with Residents Between Approval and Move-In
Being approved for an apartment is an exciting time for residents! It’s a moment of relief and the first time residents feel that they are a part of your community. How you follow up with future residents after they’ve been approved and before they’ve moved in makes an impact on your future relationship. But what’s the best way to stay in touch between the time of a resident’s approval and their move-in date?
Depending on your property and your residents’ move-in dates, the period between approval and move-in can range from a few months to just one week. Regardless of the duration, showing new residents you have the tools and desire to bring them into your community will set the tone for how you interact with them down the road and whether they renew their lease when the time comes.
Here are some tips for engaging with residents between approval and move-in and making sure their move from their old home to your community goes off without a hitch.
What to include in the welcome letter
After you’ve notified your resident of their approval it’s time to get them prepared to join your property with a helpful welcome letter. It’s important to keep the positive momentum from approval going strong by giving your newest residents a sneak peek into their new home and your property. The best strategy for keeping residents engaged (and not overwhelmed), is to lay out the most relevant information first before diving into the nitty-gritty.
Your property’s welcome letter sets the tone for the service residents should expect as members of your community. A well organized and easy-to-read letter is a great way to kick-start the relationship. Here’s what to include in your welcome letter so residents have a clear set of steps to follow.
Don’t neglect the welcome
When a list of tasks for new residents is looming over your site team, it’s easy to be distracted and forgo the ‘welcome section’ of your welcome letter. Your property, however, shouldn’t pass up this opportunity to build upon the good news of approval. Make your welcome letter personal and exciting by addressing your new residents by name and including their new home address. You can even add a fun GIF if you send your letter by email or a photo of their new apartment.
Highlight immediate next steps
Two of the biggest challenges new residents face after approval is completing the final steps of joining your community, such as signing the lease and then preparing themselves to move. Feature these pressing issues in the first section of your welcome letter — after a warm welcome, of course. Once your residents feel confident about signing their lease and setting up their move, they’ll be more comfortable imagining themselves living in your community.
Help residents secure their lease
Now that your resident is approved, your welcome letter should provide a clear, helpful voice about how your resident can move forward with their lease signing. Here is an example of helpful information to include.
Resident portal login - If your property requires residents to make a security deposit payment in your resident portal before they can sign their lease, help residents gain access to your resident portal by providing a direct link, highlighting their account number, and including any other information they’ll need to create an account.
Summary of move-in costs - If your residents need to pay their security deposit online, be sure to include the amount and any deadlines associated with making the payment. If making the security deposit payment is used to reserve your residents’ apartment, put all appropriate information in bold.
What residents should expect next - Upon paying their deposit, notify residents about next steps, including signing their lease and securing a move-in date. Tell residents to keep an eye out for additional emails if they have the option to sign their lease electronically. If they need to schedule a time to come back to your property, lay out the process of making an appointment. Include all deadlines in bold!
Educate residents about their moving journey
Now that your new residents have signed on the dotted line, it’s time they get prepared to pack and move. Completing their list of moving tasks will be one of the most stressful periods a resident will face between approval and move-in and it has a major impact on their satisfaction when they arrive at your property.
According to a study by Kingsley Associates, the renewal rate for residents who were satisfied at move-in is 59% higher than those who were are dissatisfied at move-in. Here’s how your property can help make your residents’ moving process simple.
Provide your resident with a moving app - The multifamily industry uses software to manage their residents’ experience upon arrival, so why not give residents an app to manage their experience pre-arrival? A moving concierge such as Updater helps residents complete moving-related tasks such as:
Finding and reserving a reputable moving company
Setting up cable and internet
Discovering preferred partnerships and property discounts
Meeting their neighborhood
Send a moving checklist - One of the most difficult parts of the moving process is knowing where to start. Offer your residents a moving checklist to help manage their moving process. This will allow them to arrive at your property prepared and stress-free.
If your residents are moving quickly, say in a month or even just a week, you can provide them with a consolidated moving checklist that will fit their condensed timeline.
Be a moving resource - Whether it’s your residents’ first time moving or not, each moving experience is unique. From finding the right moving company to packing fragile items, there are a million moving questions but significantly fewer reliable sources. This is the perfect opportunity for your leasing office and site team to become moving experts for your new residents.
Have a resident with a specific moving dilemma? Here’s a list of categories with every moving tip residents will ever need.
Outline important property information
Once the time-sensitive tasks are attended to, reserve a section of your welcome letter to outline the other important information about your property that residents need to know. You don’t need to go too in-depth in your welcome letter but provide an overview your residents can reference as needed. Here are some topics worth mentioning:
Points of contact - Introduce your team and who will be their main point of contact if they have additional questions.
Office hours - Include office hours for the property and leasing office as well as hours for community amenities.
Maintenance info - Lay out the procedure for filing maintenance requests.
Important due dates - Clearly show what dates residents should expect to pay their rent or other community fees.
Orientation schedule - If your property has an orientation event for new residents, provide them with a link to register, explain what they can expect to learn, and inform them if they need to bring anything with them such as their lease or a photo ID.
Provide residents an essentials new home kit
There’s no better feeling than showing up to a new apartment and finding a thoughtful gift on your table. Give your residents a welcome gift that has all of the essentials they’ll need during their first month as members of your community. There are a lot of items residents can’t pack on a moving truck that they might need once they arrive. Here are some essentials that make great welcome gifts.
Hand and dish soap
Laundry detergent and fabric softener
Tooth care kit - toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash
Subscription to Netflix and popcorn
Wine and wine glasses
Branded water bottle, tote bag, or umbrella
Showcase social media and upcoming events
If your property has a killer social media presence, now’s the time to show it off. Reach out in your welcome letter or send a follow-up email encouraging residents to follow you on your social media platforms. Staying front-of-mind on social media will help keep residents engaged with your property while they wait for their move-in date.
If your property has an events calendar or a community newsletter, make sure you share it with your newest residents so they can plan for events accordingly. Getting new residents out to your events will help them feel like community members and allow them to meet their neighbors. Check out our some of our favorite resident events for some new ideas and consider hosting a special resident happy hour once a quarter or year.
The period between approval and move-in is one of the most overlooked in terms of resident experience but it’s one of the most important for fostering happy, long-term residents. A little strategy for helping your new residents navigate this gap goes a long way.
Ben is the former Content Intern for Updater’s Marketing team. The only thing he finds more exciting than discovering a new trend for content is starting his own.