In recent years there has been a definite shift away from using the term “apartment complex” for the term, “apartment community.” Why? “Complex” is a cold word that references an arbitrary set of buildings where people happen to live. The word “Community” is a much warmer term in reference to what the people who live in those buildings can be a part of. Residents living in a group of apartments share a common interest distinct from that of larger society, they live in the same community!
If a renter feels that they are part of a community rather than just renting an apartment, a lot of good things can happen. For instance:
- They will be more inclined to get to know their neighbors, even more than just their names.
- They may have second thought about moving, because they are also moving away from their friends. (Great resident retention)
- They will be more apt to take care of their apartment and the surrounding grounds because it’s now their home in a community.
- They will want to help improve their community so it is a nicer place to live.
So we pose the question to those who work in the multifamily industry, “Are you just trying to collect rent or are you really trying to create a “Community” within your apartment community?”
I've had a chance to work with apartment communities in many areas and have seen different ways to build communities. It can definitely be a challenge, one community in the south or west may sponsor pool parties throughout the year, whereas those in the northeast have snow on the ground for 6 months a year and have to sponsor ski trips. But, the great thing about creating community is doesn’t always have to be tangible, it can also be virtual.
Social Media has driven phenomenal growth in helping create both personal and virtual communities, building communities and connecting people. With websites like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube, people can now share their thoughts, their apartments, their lives and let people within their “community” respond in turn.
These are exciting times in the multifamily industry. The way most of us have done business over the years has had to change. It is making us better and more efficient at what we do. But one thing is for sure, everybody wants to be part of something. Building apartment “communities” is a great way for your residents to love where they live!