7 Strategies for Property Managers to Make Tenants Feel at Home


If you want  apartment complex residents to renew their leases, the property must feel like home. Apartments are typically temporary housing, but there are seven strategies you can use to make the complex not only a place your tenants love to live but also a place they recommend to others.

1. Customized units let tenants take ownership

Cookie-cutter units may save on construction, but unique designs save on turnover rates. Allow your tenants the opportunity to make minor changes to the space. This can include changing the lighting fixtures, installing a new showerhead, painting the walls or having the choice between carpet and tile flooring.

If your tenant comes to you asking to plant a garden or add outside decor around their unit, consider saying yes. The customization could increase the value of the unit, and it will encourage the tenant to stay longer.

2. Paint with colors other than white (this doesn’t mean neon orange though)

Similar to customization, changing up the colors in the units helps the property feel more like home. Nothing says apartment complex like whitewashed walls. Add neutral colors in the kitchen and living areas to add color diversity. Matte white has a habit of looking cheap and boring, but earthy tones or gray tones can add personality and character. However, there is no need to make any bold statements with bright colors that may scare off potential residents.

3. Trees and grassy landscapes make perfect spaces for picnics

All businesses know the importance of curb appeal, and the same is true for apartment complexes. Your tenants may want to enjoy the fresh spring air, and a grassy knoll allows them to do that while enjoying a picnic or playing soccer with their kids. These areas also attract wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels and birds for you residents to enjoy. However, a lot of upkeep comes with landscaping, including mowing and pest removal. Without maintenance, outdoor areas can become a nuisance rather than an amenity.

4. Gathering places with tables, grills, parks and pools

These places give your tenants an opportunity to interact with their neighbors and give them an opportunity to invite others over to visit. When residents make friends on the property, they may decide to renew their lease because of the community they built in the complex.

Nearby parks on the premises allow the kids to stay in sight while having fun outside. No-leash dog parks also give your residents the opportunity to exercise their pet conveniently.

Pools come with additional maintenance requirements, but it is a great opportunity to provide residents one more enjoyable amenity, and they may be willing to pay more in rent it.  

5. Facilitate group activities (Break out the wine on Friday afternoon)

Host a Fourth of July cookout, organize a dog parade or simply serve wine on Fridays twice a month. You should take every opportunity to engage with the residents because it makes them feel like they belong on your property, and consequently, improves retention rates. The Institute of Real Estate Management provides a list of ideas to keep your event calendar full all year.

6. Keep cookies and dog treats at the front desk

Nothing says welcome home more than a treat at the front desk for your child or pet. This is a simple and fairly inexpensive way to show residents you care. When a school bus stops in the afternoon, kids will run off the bus and into the lobby to see if there are cookies, and if the kids like the property, then the parents will like it too.

7. Have an emergency number for maintenance

If a resident cannot quickly fix a problem in their apartment, then it is likely going to cause them to look elsewhere to live. Fighting pests or dealing with a leaky faucet is annoying enough, but when the property manager does not take quick action to help, it sends a message that the resident’s problems are not a priority.

Go above and beyond for maintenance. In addition to employing preventative care, you should also consider providing every resident with an emergency number if something breaks outside of office hours.

At NorthStar Properties we are dedicated to improving the long-term value of an asset. We have experience in making apartment complexes feel like home for all of the residents. Contact us if you want to learn more about our property management services.