20 Ideas for Ensuring a Smooth Student Housing Turn

I recently had the privilege of leading a group brainstorming discussion on the topic of student housing turn with managers in the Gainesville apartment market.  I’m a marketing guy, so the extent of my “turn” knowledge is to make sure that I stay far, far away from my clients while they’re going through it.  But given that these ideas came from some of the best managers in what is consistently labeled the "most competitive student housing market in the country," I wanted to share some of the things that the group came up with:

How can you prevent your vendors from flaking out?

  1. Make sure that you have a well thought out backup plan in effect.
  2. Check your references… do your homework.
  3. Be clear with your expectations.  Document details in a contract and send any updates via email.  Meet one-on-one well before turn.
  4. Test your vendors with a “mini-turn” before relying on them for your big turn.
  5. Maintain relationships with multiple vendors.

What do you do if a vendor flakes out?

  1. Keep your cool.
  2. Work with the vendor to solve the problem.
  3. Use your maintenance staff to fill in the gaps.
  4. Whatever you do, don’t give the key to a resident until the job is done.

How can you encourage tenants to move out on time?

  1. Stay on top of renter’s intentions.  Ask them for their move-out date.  Generally, they’ll tell you what their plans are.
  2. Be clear with the rules and expectations.
  3. Communicate.  Communicate.  Communicate.  Email, call, send flyers, use social media, chat with them face-to-face.
  4. Communicate with co-signers by cc’ing them on emails or by reaching out to them directly.
  5. Communication is easier if you started building a relationship with your residents from the first day that they moved into your community.

What should you do if a tenant doesn’t move out on time?

  1. Ask them what you can do to help them move.  They might not want to actually squat at your property.  Maybe you can help them find a moving van... or an extended stay.

How can you start the year off right on move-in day?

  1. Ensure your leasing staff knows how critical a successful move-in day is to future retention.
  2. Address & correct issues as quickly as possible, but make sure to communicate with residents throughout the process.
  3. Plan a move-in party.
  4. Send residents a Welcome Home card.
  5. Survey your new residents to see how move-in went and to learn if there are any nagging issues that you need to address.
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