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Fill Vacancies Faster: How to Streamline Unit Turns

September 13, 2023

Last modified on June 16th, 2023

Between keeping track of upcoming vacancies, creating and scheduling work orders, and communicating between maintenance and leasing teams, managing unit turns efficiently can be challenging, especially if you’re tracking them with outdated or offline systems, like spreadsheets and whiteboards. To fill vacancies faster and maximize your net operating income (NOI), you have to reduce the number of days a unit is left unoccupied. Below we’ll show how you can streamline your operations to reduce unit turn time and boost efficiency.

Have a single source of truth

One of the easiest ways you can streamline the move-out and move-in process and fill vacancies faster is to adopt a comprehensive property management system that can consolidate all of your unit turn information in one place.

For instance, AppFolio Property Manager has features that are seamlessly integrated into leasing and maintenance workflows, like the Unit Turn Board, which captures all unit turn information in a single cohesive view. 

When a resident gives notice, a unit turn is automatically created in AppFolio for your team to begin the process of preparing the unit for the next occupancy, expediting the turn process. All turn board updates and associated inputs can be made remotely, from the resident giving notice to work orders being created, and status updates being made, improving visibility and eliminating the need for in-person interaction. In addition, built-in reporting provides insights to optimize unit turns, including views into turn times, costs, and specific work order drill downs. 

Since implementing AppFolio’s Unit Turn Board, Hollie Butler, Senior Portfolio Manager of Regency Management, Inc. says it has become much easier to manage unit turns,  “I like that I only have to go to one location to find a work order for each unit I have to turn, that is convenient so I don’t have to do a search by work orders. I also like that I can mark them completed from there as well.  It is a time saver to find it in one location.”

Streamline work orders

Another way you can reduce unit turn time is to transition from paper-based to digital processes to carry out work orders. Innovative software solutions with built-in online maintenance work orders can enable you to set up recurring work orders for things like move-out inspections and trigger tasks, such as carpet cleaning and painting automatically. 

With online work orders you can also tie each request to a bill and generate an invoice, so it’s easy to pass on the charges to the resident or property owner. For example, if a resident breaks a window, you can create a work order for the broken window, send it to your vendor, and charge the resident for it with just a couple of clicks.

Additionally, you can set up warnings to help with compliance. For instance, when you generate a work order for a property built before 1978,  you will automatically be altered so you can remember to hand out the appropriate lead-based paint information pamphlets. 

Brad Cleage and his team at Red Rock Realty Group have noticed a big difference since they transitioned to online work orders and have ultimately been able to simplify their the unit turn process: “Before AppFolio, tracking work orders was non-existent, all done on paper and many work orders or materials were never billed to clients, which was a huge problem. Everything is digital now and maintenance technicians get work orders directly on their phones and take pictures of their work before and after. Missed or dropped work orders are a thing of the past because they are all logged and reviewed.”

Quick turnarounds for multifamily apartment units and single-family rental homes are critical to the long-term success of your property management business. To turn units faster, you have to implement modern solutions that give you greater visibility into your operations and enable your team, maintenance techs, vendors, and owners to carry out and track processes online. By following the tips mentioned above you can reduce unit turn time and maximize NOI.

Download our free guide below to discover more ways to streamline your maintenance operations.

Maintenance operations guide

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