Chicago Property Management The RedStar Blog

October 10, 2019 - by Erik Carrier

Creating a Positive Move-In, Move-Out Experience

Establishing a Better Tenant Welcome Package Template Can Pay Dividends Down the Road

If you own rental properties, you already know that being a landlord can sometimes be a thankless job. Even if you’re “in compliance” with every housing ordinance under local, state and federal law, that doesn’t mean that your tenants will automatically sing your praises. Let’s face it, being up to “up to code” is not a sexy selling point in the marketplace.

But the stereotypical image of the cold, greedy landlord seems to be thawing. One reason for the warming of the renter-rentee relationship has to do, in part, with a renewed commitment by some property owners to deliver a higher level of rental management service. The lynchpin of this new commitment – creating a positive move-in and move-out experience.

Over the last few decades, the national rental turnover rate (the number of tenants who renew their leases verses those who leave when their leases expire) has declined significantly. Lease turnover, according to the CBRE, averaged 100 percent in America’s “Sunbelt” markets in the 1980s. But since 2000, U.S. rental turnover rates have fallen to less than 50 percent. Low turnover rates are a significant indicator of industry health and market strength in the apartment rental marketplace.

Making a Good First Impression

Did you know that 25 million Americans move every year? That’s a lot of potential customers vying for your vacant rental spaces. As the old expression goes, “first impressions do matter.” Creating a good tenant welcome package template is a great way to start that new renter-rentee relationship off on the right foot. Some common-sense things can help make each vacant apartment look more attractive to potential renters include:

  • Clean the unit thoroughly
  • Provide utility information
  • Include parking rules and regulations
  • Provide rental insurance information
  • Provide rental management contact information

Helpful Hints for Moving Day

As we all know, moving is not fun. Think of all those boxes you have to pack and tape up…only to have to rip open and unpack only a short time later. Wouldn’t it be great if someone came up with an apartment moving checklist?

There are many apartment moving checklist templates out there. Some larger rental management companies have move-in and move-out suggestions on their websites. What is needed is an easy-to-understand move in and move out inspection checklist as well as a tenant move in package which contains the following items:

  • Informational Binder – This binder contains useful information regarding utilities, parking, tenant rules of conduct, keys and codes, protocol for maintenance requests, rental payment schedules, and legal forms (such as a copy of the tenant’s lease).
  • Move-in Kit – Since moving day can sometimes be a hassle, a forward-thinking landlord might provide a small, inexpensive box of goodies, such as cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, air freshener, etc. And if you also happen to have professional moving blankets, you might loan them to the new tenants (the blankets will help the walls and floors from being scratched up).
  • Welcoming Gift – It’s always nice to receive something you weren’t expecting. A Starbucks gift card, for example is a nice, inexpensive welcoming gesture, which can pay dividends down the road in improved renter-rentee relations.

How to Create an Apartment Moving Out Checklist

If a tenant does decide to leave when the lease runs out, it’s important that the “good neighbor” service that was provided on the first day be continued to the last. Acting in a professional manner helps maintain good word-of-mouth within the community and could help bring in new tenants via referrals.

One recent blog provided an excellent rental apartment check-out checklist:

  • Tenants should call the landlord a week in advance of move-out date, so the owner or manager can make a final inspection of the unit.
  • Tenants should be present on the day of inspection.
  • Entire apartment should be cleaned (to avoid being charged professional cleaning fees).
  • All personal possessions must be removed.
  • All trash must be removed.
  • All permanent appliance and fixtures must remain in place.
  • All keys must be returned.
  • All utilities (heating, plumbing, electrical, etc.) must be functional.

By setting up apartment moving in and moving out checklist templates, end-to-end inspection protocols, and bed-and-breakfast-style welcoming initiatives, you can help keep your tenants more engaged and cooperative. These simple checklists can help lower turnover rates and raise tenant loyalty.