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2014 Resident Survey Results

surveyWe conducted our first survey for residents at the end of 2014 and we wanted to share the results publicly. We do our best to treat our residents fairly so they have an enjoyable experience renting from us.  This survey represents a part of our effort to continually improve what we do and underscores our desire to have the best people and processes in place to serve our residents.

We had over 90 residents participate in this survey!  Thanks for giving us all of your feedback, here are the results:

I.  How did you find the current property you are renting?

Results:  Approximately 49% of renters found the home they are living in due to the Internet.  40% found the home via their real estate agent and 11% due to the FOR RENT sign.

Conclusion:  Other local real estate agents have always been, and will continue to be, a key part of our strategy in filling our vacant homes by marketing via the MLS.  The MLS encourages cooperation with other agents and guarantees them that they will earn a commission if they bring a renter to our homes.  Although some management companies do not do this, we believe cooperating with other real estate agents, instead of “hoarding” the inventory, results in a cooperative effort with the local real estate community and our tenants can continue to be represented by the real estate agent of their choice when finding a rental home.  When a management company does not list their homes in the MLS, they limit your agent’s ability to be compensated and ability to represent you in a rental transaction.

II.  How does your experience with Mars Hill compare to renting from a previous property manager?

Results:  Approximately 62% of respondents had previous property management experience and 95% of them indicated an improved experience at some level.  5% felt that the experience with us has not shown any improvement (or was worse) compared to their previous property management company experience.

Conclusion:  We are so happy to hear that most residents have an improved experience with us!  For the other 5%, most of the dissatisfaction that lead to a negative experience resulted from the move-in condition of the home.  After speaking with these residents, there were some situations that were outside of our control, however, there were also some that we absolutely could have done a better job on!  These comments validated what we already knew and we have taken the following steps over the past few months to improve in this area:

1.  Improved focus – We have hired a full-time service manager, Wayne Nanney, who is responsible for the quality control on our make-readies, work orders and walkthroughs.

2.  Improved process – Wayne has created a Make-Ready checklist to make sure that our quality and scope of work stays consistent with every home

3.  Improved vendors – Wayne has also made changes to our cleaning and carpet cleaning vendors as well as actively searched for additional handymen personnel to add to our team and improve our quality of service (Please let  him know if you have any references!)

III.  How would you rate the following…

Results:  Realistically, there is no way we can tackle all of our problems and do them all well.  Therefore, we wanted to see how the different areas of our company compared to one another so we could “shore” up and focus on improving the weakest one.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best), we received a 4 or above on all of the following areas in order of strength:

4.58 rating – Approval time – I was pleased with the application processing response time

4.58 rating – Staff – The staff is professional and friendly

4.54 rating – Application Process – The application requirements were easy to understand

4.42 rating – Communication – Communication is timely and relevant

4.40 rating – Availability – I am pleased that my calls/emails are returned promptly

4.04 rating – Work Orders – I am pleased that work orders are completed in a timely manner

The area we needed to improve that received the lowest rating was:

3.83 rating – Move-in Condition – I was pleased with the cleanliness of the home at move-in

Conclusion:  We addressed the solution for improving our move-in conditions and work order completions in section II.

IV.  What were the top reasons you chose to rent this home?

Results:  54% of respondents mentioned “nice neighborhood” as the #1 reason.  Tied for #2 and #3 at 30% each were proximity to major roads/employment and the school district.  Interestingly enough, 10% mentioned the cleanliness of the home and 4% mentioned the property manager!

Conclusion:  We continue to encourage our investors to purchase properties in good locations versus multi-family properties that may have higher cash flow but less than desirable locations.  Although cleanliness is not a major reason for many when renting a home, it was still important enough that we would hear the complaints when a job was not done to standards, hence our desire to hire a service manager.  It’s also nice to know that we have residents that trust our company enough to list it as a top reason they rented with us!  Our desire is for that number to grow!

V.  How important is it to build your credit rating with your rental history?

Results:  An overwhelming 85% of respondents would benefit to some degree if their rental history affected their credit renting.

Conclusion:  We will be researching options to integrate a service that would allow a rental history to be reported to the credit bureaus every month.  This will be a future service integration since we want to focus on improving our service department before we roll this out.  Hopefully, by the end of 2015 we should have more details.

VI.  How likely would you recommend our services to a friend?

Results:  On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best), we received a 4.27.

Conclusion:  We are very pleased with a 4.27 rating out of 5.  A good portion of our business comes from word-of-mouth referrals from clients, residents, and agent referral partners.  We hope to continue to earn their trust and yours.

Closing Comments

This survey took a lot of effort to pull off as a company.  We sent over 150 gift cards to respondents as a token of our appreciation for their feedback.  Over the past 3 months, we also called and/or emailed every respondent who had an unresolved issue or suggestion and had weekly meetings to discuss our findings.  We may not get things right the first time, but you have our guarantee that we will try our hardest to be fair and honest in our solutions.  Please remember that we are here to serve you.  Here are some final takeaways:

1.  If you want to discuss any work orders that you have submitted, feel free to contact Wayne Nanney at 512-876-6070 and he would be happy to discuss those with you.

2.  We are working to provide alternative ways for you to pay rent.  Currently, the most popular is through your tenant portal.  A few of you have requested to pay via your credit card.  Although this may carry an expensive 4% transaction fee, this fee may be less than what you will pay for late fees and give you more time if you are having a particularly difficult month.  Also, if you like to rack up credit card points and need a little boost from paying rent with a credit card, the credit card bonus may justify paying the 4%.  Who knows, you may end up making credit card point earnings a career like the Points Guy!  We’ll post details on credit card payment options soon.

Thanks again for participating in the survey!

Edward Lui and the entire Mars Hill Property Management Team