|A sense of belonging and knowing the neighbors not only makes anapartment resident happier, but it also plays a big role in getting that signature on the renewal lease. (It also makes it easier to borrow a cup of sugar, or a glass of sherry, or a power tool. But if someone asks for all three . . . duck and cover.)
|Apartment Life prez/COO Bobby Page (left with founder/CEO Stan Dobbs and chief people officer Colette Strange) says Apartment Life created the CARES program to help with staff and tenant retention. It places CARES Teams—usually a married couple, family, or two single adults—on site to help owners build a community of friends, create a place to belong, and provide a caring touch. Stan says demand exceeds the supply of CARES teams and it's been that way since he opened in 2000. Annual turnover for residents is the 70% to 75%. Owners want to crack the code on how to make the communities more appealing.
|There are 330 CARES teams (pictured is the Franciscan at Bear Creek Apartments in Euless) on site in 14 different cities across the country and Bobby says the goal is to have 400 by year end. The company is operating across Texas and just entered the Orlando market in the last 30 days. It's in Atlanta, Phoenix, and Denver with plans to get into California and DC in the next year. The majority of clients are Class-A and B (the mid- to upper-scale apartment complexes) in metro areas. Apartment Life works with many property management companies, including Pinnacle and Riverstone, plus some of the larger owners like Post Properties, JPI, and Trammell Crow. Stan says many clients have reported an 8% decrease in annual turnover rates since implementing the program and a recent Witten Advisors study found that the program adds about $138k in annual cash flow to the average community.
|About half of the residents don't have a friend nearby (not that you could tell from this party pic), says Stan, so the CARES teams serve as facilitators to invite residents to social functions and just be neighborly. When their lease comes up, instead of moving, the CARES teams are working to get residents to stay and renew. They work a resident retention life cycle, which has four stages: welcome, connect, care, and renew. Those stages sound a lot like what the trio of leaders does off the clock: Stan (an ?85 Baylor grad) has four teenagers at home. Bobby and his wife of 26 years have lots of estrogen in their household with three daughters, and Colette (whose son plays baseball for our DFW reporter?s husband's team, which sounds like a Ferris Bueller line) likes to travel with her husband and three boys. The last trip was to St. Johns, but theCaribbean is a favorite destination, so they might head down there again before the end of the year.