The Top Question for Owner-Operators: What Makes Residents Stay in Their Place?


Masooma Memon

– VOL. 18

From smart home controls to keyless entry, owner-operators have spent billions in recent years installing tech-forward amenities in their rental properties with the aim to retain residents. But do video intercoms and docking stations really boost retention?

Sure, the latest tech is useful and offers residents a comfortable lifestyle. Encouraging them to stay, however, goes beyond it— to the residents’ experience or their day-to-day interactions and connectivity with the owner-operator and their community.

So let’s talk about what makes a good resident experience and three things you can do to provide the experience that ultimately makes residents stay.  

An unparalleled experience starts with day one. From there, it extends to all their daily activities and interactions — helping residents grow and create memories. Here’s how to replicate the experience yourself: 

Provide a Good Move-In Day Experience

Move-in day tends to be a blend of stress and formality, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As the world’s leading end-to-end platform that helps owner-operators modernize their resident experience to maximize NOI, Venn provides a unique on- and offline platform that enables property managers to ease residents’ jitters with experiences and services. In just a click, Venn Experts can help them get settled in, take care of the necessary paperwork, and make introductions to the community.

Move-in day

In our Brooklyn portfolio, for example, Venn Expert Madi Lamb shares that she reduces first-day stress with a 15-minute Zoom call with new residents where she not only welcomes them and introduces herself as someone they can rely on, but also shares her phone screen to walk them through using the Venn app.

The aim is simple: to explain how they can use the app to connect with the community, access utilities, explore local and national vendors’ services and subscriptions, and use the dynamic map to discover new places of interest near them.

Madi typically follows the call with a one-page move-in guide that supports residents with detailed information, like what to do on trash collection day. It’s yet another way to break the ice and as Madi describes, “it’s much more approachable than a lease.”

A few weeks after they’ve gotten comfortable, Madi invites new residents to a community gathering to help them get to know other people in the building.

Get the foundation of your resident experience right

Even if you’ve set a good move-in experience, it can be challenging to maintain the positive momentum. Owner-operators are busy juggling maintenance requests, setting and enforcing rules to ensure everyone can enjoy their living space, and communicating with multiple residents at a time. It’s often time-consuming and draining — but it doesn’t have to be. The Venn platform streamlines everything in one place, from handling maintenance requests to managing amenities — even tracking residents’ satisfaction in real time.

Besides keeping owner-operators and their teams on top of things, Venn improves the overall living experience by simplifying both physical and digital interactions. Everything from paying rent to communicating with the owner-operator and sending maintenance requests happens in only a few clicks within the Venn app. It’s seamless for all, and it lays the groundwork so owner-operators can focus on what really matters. 

Help your residents plant roots by building relationships

Creating a pickleball court to combat loneliness with a recreational, oxytocin-rich social game, hosting community gatherings such as dinner parties that explore the concept of home, and sponsoring local events are just a few ideas for facilitating connections among residents.

At Mac Properties, a Venn partner, communication among residents in the Venn app regularly leads to physical gatherings of over 50 attendees. For example, four residents connected via the app over their common interest as local entrepreneurs. Their shared interest quickly expanded beyond sharing messages on the app and grew into a meetup and marketplace for other local vendors and residents. The Small Business Wednesdays event has now become a monthly gathering that brings together over 300 attendees to support 30 local vendors.

Neighborhood Lead Arie Blau, one of the event founders, says first-time local entrepreneurs take home an average profit of $300 with a few having already landed storefront space with larger businesses for permanent sales. Local participants have described the event to Arie as “life-changing for themselves and their businesses.”

Helping local entrepreneurs connect with residents has been ‘life-changing for themselves and their businesses.’

Events like these not only show owner-operators’ support for residents but also bring together the community to connect with and support each other, which instills a sense of belonging among people who want to reciprocate and multiply the support.

Yet another benefit of organizing events such as these is that owner-operators can market their projects. This is exactly what happened at the Small Business Wednesdays fair. For the last two events, the property management team at Mac has also tabled — handing out branded t-shirts to visitors and sharing information about soon-to-lease properties. Plus, the event has highlighted Mac Properties’ reputation as a supporter of the hyper-local economy, which has further multiplied opportunities. For example, the broader community now knows that the residential coworking and community space The Arcade is open for them to host their own events. Most recently, a frequent vendor hosted a candle-making workshop there, leading to more opportunities for everyone to connect and support each other.

Finding the win-win for your portfolio

 Ultimately, supporting the resident experience is a win-win, resulting in efficiencies for both resident and owner-operator, as well as buildings populated by people who want to stay and put down roots. Ready to put these steps into action today? Let Venn help you get started. Reach out to us for insights and a personalized recommendation.