Maximizing Multifamily Growth: A Balancing Act of New Leases and Resident Satisfaction

Should multifamily marketers and property managers focus on attracting new residents or enhancing the satisfaction of existing ones? 

By Ashley Tyndall |

3 minute read

In the high-stakes game of residential property management, time is a currency you cannot afford to waste. 

As multifamily marketers and property managers grapple with myriad tasks, the question often arises: Should the focus be on attracting new renters or enhancing the satisfaction of existing ones?

Understanding where to channel your energies is more than a mere scheduling conundrum — it's a strategic decision that can impact the very fabric of your property's success.

Why Prioritize New Leases?

For properties still fresh on the scene, the answer is clear-cut: Lease-up takes precedence. But for established properties, the decision isn't as straightforward. Here are compelling reasons to tilt your scales toward acquiring new leases:

  • A higher ratio of vacant units demands an aggressive leasing approach.

  • Newly invested capital into property upgrades expects a return through new leases.

  • Adjustments in rent rates necessitate a fresh marketing push.

  • Shifting demographics or area transformations indicate a new target audience on the horizon.

Monitoring the occupancy rate remains a property's pulse check. In recent years, the ideal occupancy rate hovered around 96%. However, the vacancy rate recently saw an uptick to 8%. A vacancy rate crossing the 10% threshold signals a red alert, necessitating a full-throttle approach toward new leases.

The Case for Resident Satisfaction

Yet, numbers are only part of the narrative. Resident satisfaction is the subtext that often writes the larger story. Here's when it should take center stage:

  • Newly minted properties need to forge their reputation through positive resident experiences.

  • A discernible chasm between new leases and renewals points to dissatisfaction.

  • An imbalance in online reviews tips toward the negative.

  • Economic forecasts predict downturns, underscoring the need for resident retention.

  • High turnover rates and negative reviews are loud sirens calling for immediate action to improve resident experiences. For context, the turnover rate recently stood at 46%. A figure significantly higher necessitates a strategic shift toward resident satisfaction.

Adjusting Marketing Strategies for Current Market Dynamics

In today's market, the quest for new living spaces continues, seemingly unaffected by recent global events or economic shifts. Contemporary data reveals that the majority of renters maintain a robust intent to relocate, signaling an unwavering demand for new housing opportunities. This steadfast movement within the rental market underscores the necessity for property managers and marketers to refine their strategies, ensuring they are equally invested in attracting fresh prospects while also enhancing the living experience to retain existing residents. 

A harmonized marketing strategy that places equal weight on acquisition and satisfaction will not only foster a vibrant community but also secure a loyal customer base in an ever-evolving landscape.

Cost Considerations: The Ultimate Decider

Ultimately, the tug-of-war between new leases and resident satisfaction often boils down to cost. Statistics have long supported the fact that customer retention is more cost effective than acquisition. This holds true in the multifamily housing sector as well, where bolstering resident satisfaction can lead to increased profits.

In essence, if your property enjoys a high occupancy rate, doubling down on resident satisfaction isn't just good practice — it's good economics.

As we forge ahead, remember that the secret to multifamily marketing success lies not in choosing between new leases and resident satisfaction, but in striking a balance that keeps the property thriving and residents content. It's a delicate dance, but one that can lead to a resounding crescendo of growth and profitability.

Ashley Tyndall is Chief Relationship Officer at Criterion.B