School is officially out, which means another Student Housing year is coming to an end and Turnover season is swiftly approaching! “Turn” is industry jargon for the process of moving former residents out of units and immediately prepping those units for incoming residents. You’ve been working all year to lease your property up and the FIRST day of renewal season starts on MOVE-IN DAY, so the Turnover process is imperative to ensure your new incoming residents are pleased with the state of their new homes. Here are some helpful tips from our team of Property Management Consultants on how to ace your Turnover prep this summer!
Update Your Turn Board ALL THE TIME
It doesn’t matter whether you have a big, small or many properties, your Turn Board is an ever-evolving document that, when done right, can bring you success throughout the duration of the Turnover process. Over the past few years, we’ve seen Property Managers wait until the end of the work day or even the end of the week (OMG HOW) to update their Turn Boards, but we HIGHLY suggest to be in and out of the document throughout every day! There are so many moving pieces to your Turn puzzle at any given time and the potential to let something slip through the cracks is inevitable. Combat that potential with updating your spreadsheets as things happen on your property. We also highly suggest SAVING your Turn Board MULTIPLE times a day and even sending your updated spreadsheet to a colleague each time you save it, just in case! Your Turn Board is your bible for the next few months, don’t take any chances!
Pre-Turn Vacant Units in Advance
If your property has vacancies over the summer months that will more than likely not be filled before your standard move-in day, TURN ’EM EARLY! Save yourself, your vendors and your team members from the severe stress of extra beds during the craziest month of the year by knocking out as many as possible over the summer. Pre-turn provides a more relaxed opportunity to ensure your expectations are in line with your vendors performance and it’s also a great time to show your team members what YOU are looking for in a finished unit as their leader.
Perform Quality Control Walks of Vendor Work
Probably the biggest tip we can offer is to inspect all work AS IT IS COMPLETED. One of the biggest mistakes we see Property Managers make is assuming that vendors are performing to their expectations and complete a final walk of a unit that is filled with issues from a vendor who was in the unit over a week prior. When a vendor comes in with a completed list of units, have a dedicated team member approve those units before the vendor can move on to the next set of units and before the next trade vendor is welcome to begin their work. Quality Control walks should be taking place daily during the Turnover process to ensure there are no surprises that come up during final walks of units. If you are lucky enough to have a large Turn team, we highly suggest having a staff member who shares your expectations dedicated to this task throughout the entire Turnover process. It will save you a lot of time and stress in the end!
Perform Damage, QC and Final Walks with Your Team
Referring to the above tip, it’s imperative to outline your expectations to your Turn team so everyone is on the same page. Lots of students move out at the end of May every year, so take a field trip with your team to a handful of vacant apartments and show them what you would look for, document and take pictures of during a damage assessment walk. If you’re hosting a Pre-Turn, take your entire team to a unit as it is painted, cleaned, flooring completed, punch list completed, etc. to elaborate on your expectations for approving a unit. You are only one person and you’re going to have to rely on your team to have your back and be in line with your vision for the property, but they can’t read your mind!
Secure Your Move-In Weekend Dates
Make sure all hands are ON DECK during your ENTIRE Move-In weekend. Students straggle in days, sometimes even a week after their actual move-in time, so you don’t want to be caught without an adequate number of staff members to assist them nor your trade crews unavailable for touch-ups. Make sure you communicate with your vendors (ESPECIALLY CLEANING VENDORS) that they are required to stay the duration of the entire Move-In process for any potential issues that may arise. And if nothing comes up, well you just unlocked the keys to the Turn kingdom!
Complete Final Walks Throughout Turn
This goes hand-in-hand with tip #3. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete all Final Walks for your property. Some larger property’s are lucky enough to have 3–4 week Turns, but the standard amount of time is anywhere between 11–17 days. Your team will be working 12+ hour days for the majority of this time and will start to become very drained as the days go on. Final Walks are one of the most important aspects to the Turnover process, so they need to be viewed through attentive and intentional eyes. You will complete floors, buildings, sections, etc. of full units periodically throughout your Turnover process, so have a separate dedicated person or team of people ready to final walk those units as they come. Trust us when we say you’ll be happy you did when you don’t have 500 units to walk during the last 48 hours of Turn.
Plan the Right Trades at the Right Times
The industry standard for trade completion is as follows:
- Trash Out/Damage Assessment: Usually completed in groups with every team member participating on move-out day(s). Removing any items or trash that may have been left behind from former residents and noting any damages caused to the unit during the duration of their tenancy.
- Make Ready: Usually completed by a Maintenance team that confirms the functionality of a unit. Checking all aspects of the unit such as electrical, appliance, heating and cooling, plumbing, doors and windows, etc.
- Paint: Bedrooms, bathrooms and common areas; Removing outlet and light switch plate covers, proper cutting around ceiling, baseboards and hanging objects in unit, appropriate sheen and color matching, etc.
- Clean: Bedrooms, bathrooms and common areas
- Carpet Clean/Carpet Replacement: This is a tricky one, because you don’t want to risk having a painter drip paint on your newly laid carpet, so use your best judgment for what makes the most sense for your property regarding carpet replacements. Carpet cleaning, however, should be the absolute last step so a resident can see the lines on the carpet when they move in!
Lessen the Current Resident Disruption
99.9% of the time, when an apartment Turnover process is completed, there are still residents on property. These residents have decided to stick around with you for another year by renewing their lease(s) and it’s imperative to make sure they are well-informed if their unit is going to be serviced in any way. A few tips for lessening this disruption are as follows:
- “Red-Out” any units that are fully renewed on your Turn Board and place a “STOP” Sign on those front doors to let vendors and team members know that the particular unit does not need to be serviced in any way.
- Be overly communicative with current residents who live in units that need servicing. “Vendors will be in your unit from X to X to perform X” and be flexible with residents with pets or who need further accommodations or more notice.
- Place a “STOP” Sign on all bedroom doors of residents who are staying during the Turnover process, so vendors and team members do not enter their private rooms.
- Send out roommate notices with ample amount of time to BOTH the incoming resident and the current resident, so there’s no question on his/her arrival.
We hope these tips help you get through this upcoming season of life! Turn can be the BEST time of the year when it’s planned out properly and when you have a great team. We wish you luck! #TurnDownforWhat