Creating a sense of community is key to cultivating happy residents. Even the most isolated resident cares about the sense of community on their property. Community translates to comfort and safety. Happy residents increase retention rates and create the strongest marketing tool you can get- word-of-mouth marketing. Here are some ideas that may help you create that sense of community:
- Decorate- Decorate the office, and even the property for the holidays. Don’t just decorate for Christmas. Be festive, and decorate for ALL of the holidays! Celebrate a little bit of everything.
- Bird Houses- Does your property have a lot of trees? Why not adorn them with unique bird houses from your local thrift store, and simple bird feeders. Make your property have a nice backyard feel.
- Gardens- Create a community garden. Make a little section an herb garden for any one to use, and encourage residents to plant flowers, fruits and berries throughout the year.
- Picnic Tables- Create areas that encourage residents to come out of their apartment homes and hangout!
- Rock Painting- Create an area for residents to paint rocks for the property. Add encouraging sayings. Place them in the community garden, pool area, or lining community trails.
- Our Kids Art- Who doesn’t like to be noticed for a job well done? Create a wall in the leasing office where residents can temporarily hang their children’s art. Children will be excited to see their work hanging proudly on the wall.
- Create Bulletin Boards- where residents can post their different services. It’s always nice to have a babysitter in your community. Or, a dog walker! No washer and dryer connections? Maybe someone to wash and fold your laundry. Maybe someone onsite has their own spray tan business. You never know what kind of fun things your residents have to offer to the community!
- Resident Hangout- Establish a resident hangout. Talk to local businesses, bars and restaurants. See if anyone can offer your residents a discount. When you find a business that can, do everything you can to promote that business in your community.
- Teach Classes- Hold a monthly class onsite. Choose different things depending on the month or season. Encourage residents to get together to try new things. Maybe divide your class into groups and ask people to partner with a stranger. Class ideas: cooking class, yoga class, dance class, painting class, bead or jewelry making class, planting/ gardening class. Think outside the box! What kind of establishments might benefit from giving a free class to your community? Maybe the yoga studio down the street needs more members?
- Private Cabanas? Take them down- or open them up! Encourage residents to interact, get to know each other. Not seclude themselves from their neighbors.
- Garage Sale- This one needs some idea development, but why not pick a day once a quarter to do a community garage sale? Allow your residents to set-up tables and designated areas in the main parking lot. Advertise your garage sale ahead of time on places like craigslist.com and other garage sale apps. You can also encourage buyers to consider living onsite when it’s time for their next move!
- Get Behind a Charity- Pick a charity and let your community know what you are supporting. People want to contribute to something good. Choose something like a local soup kitchen and plan a couple days a year for your community to get together and volunteer!
Those are just a few ideas. Take sometime to think it over. I’d bet you have a couple great ideas of your own! Make sure everyone on your team knows that it’s your goal as a community to make your property feel like home to all of your residents.