Property Managers: Top 5 Things to Do for Residents before Construction
Preparing for construction for your apartment building can be stressful enough and the impact on residents can hinder future lease renewals if handled incorrectly. In 2018, the National Apartment Association measured the turnover rate to be lower than in previous years at 46.8% – that’s still a large number! Adding construction into that mix can impact that number even more depending on how property management handles the process while maintaining resident relationships.
And, according to a report from NAA and the National Multifamily Housing Council, to meet current demand, the country needs 4.6 million new apartment homes by 2030. It’s about time we get the pre-construction prep right for residents.
We are here to share our learnings and ensure that you handle the pre-construction phase with your residents customer experience in mind. Our goal is to accelerate your resident satisfaction during stressful or inconvenient construction projects.
Communication is Key
Building long-term relationships and a sense of community is what managing a property is all about. Before construction occurs, increasing your communication with residents is essential to maintain current relationships and build new ones. Below are a few key items to communicate about (and how) before construction:
1. Project Timeline via Email and Flyer
You have been working for months with contractors, RFP’s and nailing down the scope of work – unknown to current residents. Your first communication should come directly from ownership or the property manager. Want to make it personal? Consider recording a short video going over the construction schedule and be sure to email at a minimum the following:
- What the construction project is – painting, new windows, new siding etc.
- Why you are working on this particular project – make it about them! (Make their space feel more luxurious, reduce utility bills with better window insulation etc.)
- When the project begins and is expected to end
- How it will affect them personally – (cars moved on certain days, can’t stay in unit for specific days etc.)
- Safety – what you as a manager are doing to ensure their personal safety and belongings
Additionally, a sequence of email reminders will keep residents informed and excited:
- Month before
- Week before
- Day before
- Morning of
- Project updates every 2 weeks through duration of project
2. Clubhouse Q&A Event
Consider hosting a clubhouse event before construction to go over all questions residents might have. Make it fun and create a space to meet other residents and for you to build more relationships. It’s much easier to hold on to current residents than add new ones. A BBQ in the summer or desert party in the winter is a nice touch for residents to get together and get excited about how the new construction project will make them feel. Be sure to provide a flyer for their fridge of important construction dates they need to be aware of.
3. Proactive Local Business Communication
Provide construction schedule to local businesses around your buildings if they are within walking distance and may be affected by dumpsters or temporary parking changes. Depending on the size of your project, partnering with local businesses for discounts helps keep them happy and business flowing. For example, residents who need to be out of their apartments for window replacements, perhaps a local bakery will offer breakfast for 25% off.
4. Community Engagement During Construction
We all know building a community at your property is what sells. You probably already hold resident events anyway but during construction you have to try harder and do something different to make residents feel that you are keeping them a priority. Below are a list of unique ideas to consider for your residents during construction:
- Monthly/Bi-weekly Food Trucks – Support local businesses and providing unique on-site lunch options is a great way to get residents excited (especially those who work from home!)
- Scavenger Hunt – make construction a game by having residents complete a picture scavenger hunt – someone wearing a yellow vest, pic with a subcontractor or catching someone painting
- Video Testimonials – consider providing a gift card for resident reviews or testimonials during this time. Get them in a positive mindset and boost your online traffic to continue to attract others shopping around
5. Coordinate with Your Contractor
At Endeavor Exteriors, your residents are just as important to us as they are to you. We help create a communications plan with you to ensure you have all you need for keeping residents informed and excited. Below are some key areas we will assist within the pre-construction phase:
- Posting flyers all around the community before construction begins with timelines and important dates
- We provide you with constant project pictures to share with the community
- Continuous project updates so you can proactively communicate with your residents
- Coordination with local businesses on project timeline and affected areas (such as parking)
- On-site Project Managers, available anytime for resident questions
Finding the right contractor with a seamless process through construction is not easy. Then adding additional involvement from a contractor on behalf of residents is even harder. When you work with Endeavor Exteriors, we are working with you AND your residents. Our goal is to provide you and your residents with the best construction and remodeling experience possible leaving everyone with a feeling of excitement.