Building Community is Good for the Soul and the Bottom Line - Pete Kelly of Apartment Life

Photo by  Aro Ha

Photo by Aro Ha

The two biggest issues multifamily owners face are turnover and resident satisfaction. If a property is not at full occupancy, your bottom line takes a significant hit. How can you address both of these issues and create a community in your apartments that makes residents want to stay, even if the rents go up?

Pete Kelly is the CEO of Apartment Life, a faith-based nonprofit motivated by a commitment to building relationships and community. Apartment Life serves the multifamily industry, redefining the resident experience in order to increase retention, improve tenant satisfaction, and enhance the community’s online reputation.

Pete sits down with me to share his background in the nonprofit world, explaining the basics of Apartment Life as an organization. He discusses the research around loneliness and public health, customer engagement and brand loyalty, and the economic impact of the CARES Program. Pete offers the specifics of what the CARES and Workforce Housing teams do to engage residents and how the faith-based roots of the organization impact their mission. Listen in for Pete’s insight on building a community that is good for the human soul AND the bottom line.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Pete’s background in the nonprofit world

  • 24 years with organization serving young people

  • Two years as CEO of Apartment Life

The fundamentals of Apartment Life

  • Relationships good for soul AND bottom line

  • Friendships increase chances of staying

  • Team hosts events, creates ‘sticky community’

The research around loneliness and public health

  • 26% more likely to die if feel lonely

  • As bad as smoking, obesity

The business research around connection and engagement

  • Emotionally connected customer 52% more valuable

  • Spend more money more often, loyal to brand

How friendships affect a resident’s willingness to stay

  • Seven friends in complex = twice as likely to renew

  • Neighbors themselves are amenity

The financial benefits of the CARES Program

  • $138K annual value to owner

  • 3 renewals/month

What the Apartment Life teams do

  • Usually husband/wife team that lives on-site

  • Events to connect residents

  • Opportunities to care (e.g.: baby gift, ride to airport)

  • Visit tenants 90 days before lease renewal

  • Build positive online presence for community

The cost of the CARES Program for owners

  • Provide 2BR/2BA unit for CARES Team

  • Management fee of $650 to Apartment Life

  • Budget for events ($2/door)

  • Best for A/B Class properties, at least 250-units

The alternative Workforce Housing Program

  • Class C properties in lower income communities

  • Team lives off-site, paid hourly

  • Manages requirements for LIHTC

The faith-based element of Apartment Life

  • ‘Love thy neighbor’

  • Recruit teams from local churches

  • Follow Fair Housing Act guidelines

The mission of Apartment Life

  • Dramatic impact on residents’ lives