Critical Renter Moments: Improving Tenant Retention with Screening and Leasing

tenant retention

You’ve done all the right things to attract a good prospect and bring them to a leasing decision. But somehow, they drift away before signing on the dotted line. It happens to everyone, sometimes for reasons that can’t be avoided. But on certain occasions, the lease could have been saved if things had been done a bit differently. Let’s look at some key ways to improve tenant retention:

Close the deal quickly

Chances are, your prospect looked at a number of properties before selecting yours. And until they sign your lease, they’re under no obligation to follow through with the decision they’ve communicated to you. Lots of things can happen before they do.

First, they can simply change their mind. Perhaps they didn’t want to lose your property and therefore called you in reality to “hold” it for a day or two while making a real decision. Or, a property owner called them back and showed them something new after they’d already settled on your property, or made an enticing new offer.

For these and other reasons, you must move quickly to get a signed lease. Get the applicant started with screening and leasing as soon as possible. If you offer online leasing, create a sense of urgency about getting it done. Or, use a mobile leasing app to take them through the process right there at the property.

A handshake in person is better than a phoned commitment, but a signed lease is the only sure thing.

Screen smarter

Screening exists mainly to protect you from “bad” tenants – those who might not pay their rent, might damage the property, upset neighbors or engage in criminal behavior. But it’s easy to set your standards too high and lose what might have been solid renters. Insist on a screening solution you can easily customize in detail to fit your property and the market it’s in.  Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to screening.

And not all screening solutions are created equal. For example, Propertyware tenant screening uniquely gives you access to 20 million rent payment histories – the most accurate measure of whether a prospect will pay their rent or not. Sometimes people with marginal credit show a history of having paid rent on time their whole lives, indicating that they consider paying rent a priority and giving you an incentive to rent to them where otherwise you might not.

tenant retention

Make everything fast, easy and online

The ideal situation is to get the screening done and lease signed via a mobile leasing app at the property when the leasing decision is made. But that’s not always possible, and often you learn of a tenant’s decision via a phone call. So make sure your prospect can complete the entire leasing process easily and quickly on their own online, from screening through a final electronic signature. Again, create a sense of urgency by communicating gently that you can’t hold the property if they delay. This reduces the time during which they might change their mind for one reason or another. Don’t feel you’re being pushy: remember, it’s your job to close leases, and they’ve indicated they want to rent your property. At this point, you’re only taking them at their word.

Reinforce their smart decision

You’ve probably used up most of your marketing ammunition getting the lease decision made. But there’s still an opportunity to cement the decision between the time it’s made and when the lease is actually signed, reducing those “walkaways” and improving tenant retention.

As soon as you have a verbal indication that the prospect wants to rent, make them feel confident they’ve made a good decision by throwing in something extra: perhaps a welcome package, a packet covering the wonderful amenities and activities in the neighborhood, or a modest gift. Marketers use this technique all the time to reduce returns. The more you show your enthusiasm for having them as a renter, and the more you’ve already done for them, the more sheepish they’ll feel about telling you they’ve changed their mind. The fact is, you’re selling up to the time there’s a signature. Don’t make the mistake of relaxing until you’ve got one.

In doing these things, you’re also setting the tone for a cordial, happy, respectful tenant-property manager relationship. Learn more about how our tenant screening solution will improve your tenant retention and support your business!

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