My apartment community in Atlanta recently underwent a new management change. The former management company is well known nationwide, while the new management company is not as established. I have lived in this community for nearly four years now, so I know how smoothly it operates when it is hitting on all cylinders. Therefore, I can accurately state that the community has progressively digressed in quality since the new management company has arrived. This article is written from a residents’ perspective to give a new managment company a few pointers about how to ensure a smoother transition.
1. Be informative. The only way that I knew that my community had changed management companies was when I noticed the monument sign had a temporary sign draped over it with a new community name. This is not exactly the most effective way to inform residents about a major change being made to the community. If your community is changing management companies, be over the top with how residents are informed. Notify each resident by email, phone call, or letter to let them know the change is occurring so they do not feel as if the wool has been pulled over their eyes.
2. Be transparent with the change. To piggy back on the first point, the new management company should be transparent with the change. Don’t wait to notify residents after the change has occurred. Take the initiative to send a letter to the residents to let them know that a change will be occurring and they should feel free to stop-by the leasing office anytime to see how it will effect them. It was not until two months after the switch that I received a letter about the new management company saying who my rent check needed to be made out to.
3. Make a great first impression. A new management company coming into an established community is never easy because there has been a standard that the current residents are expecting. The first few months are the most important and the incoming management company should do something to show the residents that they are going to continue providing the same level of services as the prior manager. Hold an open house to invite the residents to come meet the new staff and ask questions about the change. Open the community room for a movie night and grill out to mingle with the new staff members.
If you are an owner and know your community is going to be changing management companies, make it a priority to have a great first impression. If it’s the holiday season and the change is about to occur, blow your residents away by giving them a discount on their rent this month or give them a gift card. Change is hard for everyone. Be transparent and make sure your residents experience a great first impression!