Webinar recap: data proves that move-ins drive satisfaction and renewals

Moving can be one of life’s most stressful events, but it doesn’t have to be. In a live webinar held on October 24, 2023, three industry experts shed light on the importance of seamless move-ins in the world of property management. 

Sydney Webber, Marketing Lead at Updater, Danielle Kedziora, Associate VP of Ancillary Services at Avenue5 Residential, and Stephanie Anderson, Senior Director of Communication and Social Media at Grace Hill, shared valuable insights and data-driven strategies to enhance the move-in experience.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into each key takeaway. Additionally, you can watch the full conversation below and access our free (no email required!) report that highlights the data featured in the webinar, The Move-In Effect.

Sydney kicked off the webinar by acknowledging the significant stress associated with moving, ranking it as the third most stressful life event, following only death and divorce. She emphasized that despite the many technological advances in our lives, the moving process has remained largely unchanged for decades. Sydney stressed that property managers have a unique opportunity to improve the move-in experience and set the tone for a resident’s entire lease. The webinar aimed to explore the challenges of the current move-in process, discuss ways to reshape it, and reveal the positive impacts move-ins can have when optimized.

Takeaway 1: Avenue5 Residential’s approach to improving move-ins

Danielle Kedziora discussed Avenue5’s unique approach to improving the beginning of the resident lifecycle. At one point in time, they formed a specialized team focused on all touchpoints from lead to move-in. This team worked on streamlining tasks, including:

  • Screening – They worked to ensure the resident screening process is efficient and hassle-free.
  • Fraud protection – They implemented measures to protect residents and property managers from fraudulent activities.
  • Deposit alternatives – They offered alternatives to traditional security deposits to make moving more accessible, knowing that if you move out of one place you have to move into another and deposits are expensive.
  • Renters’ insurance – They promoted the importance of renters’ insurance and made it easier for residents to obtain.
  • Utility service sign-up – They simplified the process of setting up utilities at the new residents.

Avenue5’s approach was to ensure that residents received what they needed immediately, turning the move-in process into a smooth, well-organized experience. Each member of the special task force specialized in one of the above areas to become an expert and deliver an improved level of service. 

Takeaway 2: The significance of move-ins

Sydney asked a very pointed question – Does move-in day set the tone for a resident’s journey with your company? Both panelists agreed that move-in day sets the tone for a resident’s entire lease. 

Stephanie presented hot-off-the-press data from KingsleySurveys, revealing that 79% of residents who were satisfied at move-in remained satisfied at renewal. This statistic significantly underscores the importance of creating a positive move-in experience because that move-in directly impacts resident satisfaction, ultimately influencing renewal rates.

Takeaway 3: Improving the move-in experience

Danielle stressed the importance of removing the manual work involved in move-ins for both residents and leasing teams. This includes clear communication about expectations, task automation, and ensuring integrations to simplify the process. 

Danielle also shed light on how Updater is a great tool for showing residents exactly what needs to be done. The panelists had a chuckle over how there’s nothing worse than someone ready to move in, shows up on move-in day, and doesn’t have all their paperwork filled out. Of course, this stinks and is a bad experience, but it happens more often than we’d like to believe.

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Takeaway 4: Ancillary revenue and moving

Avenue5’s approach to increasing ancillary revenue centers around identifying resident needs and offering services that meet those needs locally. Because Avenue5 operates in so many geographies, it’s important to simply ask the residents what they want and then match national or local suppliers to their needs. This includes:

  • Credit reporting – Reporting rental payments to credit bureaus to help residents build their credit history. The panelists were in full agreement that it’s about time the credit bureaus accept rental payment history and thrilled that the industry is embracing this technology. 
  • Deposit alternatives – Offering options to traditional security deposits to ease the financial burden of moving between rental units.

Avenue5 not only provides these services but also educates operators on why they select specific suppliers and offers flexibility for customization to suit the unique needs of different property portfolios. Tech integrations are a key consideration, ensuring that these ancillary services seamlessly fit into the overall move-in experience.

Takeaway 5: The future of the resident lifecycle

The panelists discussed the evolving resident lifecycle, predicting a continued shift toward more online leasing and automation, particularly catering to Gen Z renters. 

However, they also emphasized the importance of maintaining personal interactions with residents. Stephanie shared additional KingsleySurveys data, revealing that 68% of renters find it essential to have a physical person provide a walk-through on move-in day! The human touch remains crucial in building strong resident relationships. This personal interaction significantly impacts a leasing decision.

Danielle mentioned that the future of the resident lifecycle might involve less in-person leasing and more online interactions, especially as Gen Z becomes a significant portion of the renter demographic. However, she noted that the approach should be flexible, considering the property’s location and the target audience.

The future of the resident lifecycle involves a balance between technology and human touch, with both playing a vital role in creating memorable and positive move-in experiences.

Final thoughts
This webinar on transforming move-ins highlighted the critical role that move-ins play in resident satisfaction and renewals. By investing in a more streamlined and efficient move-in experience, property managers can set the stage for a successful and lasting resident relationship.