Property investors and landlords are not just in the business of providing tenant housing. Any smart investor knows they are primarily in the customer service business. Your tenants are a critical part of your success as a property owner. When you build relationships with your property occupants, you can increase lease renewals, reduce vacancies, and mitigate many issues with problematic tenants. Showing appreciation for your “customers” will let them know that you care about their support and can help encourage long-term occupancy.
Throughout the year, there are many things that property owners can do to build good tenant relationships. Landlords need to focus on timely responses to tenant communication and maintenance requests, respect tenants’ rights and privacy, and offer incentives throughout the year. However, during the holidays, it is important to take some extra measures to let each tenant know that you appreciate their business. Given the difficult time that many of your occupants may have experienced over the past two years, some goodwill by their landlord can go a long way. While many financial experts warn against discounted rent payments, there are some other ways that you might consider wowing tenants this holiday season.
To help get everyone in the mood for the holiday season, you should consider adding festive decorations around your properties. Multifamily units have many common areas that provide opportunities for holiday decorations. You can also consider adding adornments to entry signs and around parking areas. Adding decorations around the property will show that you care about the space and have an interest in the tenants.
More than just adding a tree in the lobby and wreaths on your welcome signs, you want to add personal touches to your decorations. While these buildings are investments for you, they are home to your tenants. You might consider community decorating events and encourage occupants to bring a personal ornament to the lobby to add to the community tree. Additionally, you might also consider having custom ornaments made for each tenant with the logo or image of the building. You want to encourage a sense of community through your decorations during the holiday season.
2. Gift Baskets
Sending and giving gifts is a holiday tradition. Real estate agents, doctors, insurance agents, and others usually send tokens of appreciation to their clients during the holiday season as a way to say thank you. Resourceful landlords also use the holiday season as a way to extend appreciation to their renters. Everyone likes to be appreciated, and a simple gift from the landlord can help promote goodwill. If you want to elevate your tenant gift, you might consider a nice gift basket for each household.
If you own a few smaller properties, you might personalize gift baskets for each family. If you have large multifamily units, a fruit basket or cheese and meat tray could be a simple solution ordered in bulk and delivered to each unit. This holiday season, a small gift basket can make a big statement and let your renters know that you appreciate their continued tenancy.
3. Service Gifts
If a gift basket is a great way to show your appreciation, a service gift might be an even bigger statement. These kinds of presents are the gift that keeps on giving. You can offer your tenants a service that will help them out and benefit you in the long run. You could consider options such as a one-time cleaning service, a carpet cleaning service, or the services of an interior decorator for the day. You might also offer to paint a room, install a new ceiling fan, or buy upgraded showerheads for each master bathroom.
There are several options that you can choose from, and each comes with a wow factor that could impress any tenant. You could create a menu of options and allow renters to select the service they would like and the day they want it completed. Some of these options could be a bit pricier. However, when you balance that with the rent you receive all year, it could be a small price to pay to make your tenants happy and show your appreciation.
4. Holiday Dinner
Just about everyone enjoys holiday food and treats. If you own a few smaller properties, you might consider hosting a catered dinner for your tenant families to say thank you. If you are the property owner of larger multifamily units, you could have food items available in the lobby on a specified day. The purpose of a holiday dinner is to make your property occupants feel appreciated and special. Landlords can use a holiday dinner as a way to say thank you as well as an opportunity to promote exclusive year-end lease specials or other incentives for the upcoming year.
5. Holiday Contests
Holiday contests are a great way to build community among the people in your residential property. Introducing some holiday decorating contests or other competitions can promote fun and entertainment this season. You might promote a door decorating contest in multifamily facilities and allow tenants to turn their entry doors into fun winter scenes. If you own several residential houses, you could have a yard competition. Property owners and managers can create social media pages to promote entries and advertise big-ticket prizes. You can also invite the community to have input on the theme for the competition. Simple holiday-themed competitions can go a long way toward promoting community and holiday fun.
If you are looking for fun ways to wow your tenants this holiday season, there are several things that you might consider as a property owner. From awesome decorations and gifts to holiday dinners and friendly competitions, the holiday season presents the perfect opportunity for investors, landlords, and property managers to thank their renters for continued tenancy. Successful property owners understand that customer service is vital to their business, and the holiday season is a great time to earn points with tenants and share a bit of goodwill.
Additionally, gifts to tenants can also be a qualified business expense that is deductible on your federal income taxes. Gifts for business purposes are deductible up to $25 per person each year.
About the Author:
Annie Dickerson and her partner Julie Lam are founders of Goodegg Investments — an award-winning real estate private equity firm — and creators of the Real Estate Accelerator Mentorship Program. They are authors of the book Investing For Good and hosts of the popular Life & Money Show podcast: https://goodegginvestments.com/
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.