Student Housing Turn

Turn Tips for Managers in Student Housing

Insights and Tips from Our Seasoned Team

At Student Quarters, we take pride in our extensive experience in the property management industry, spanning over a decade. Our dedicated team of seasoned experts understands the significance of Turn season, one of the most crucial moments in student housing. From directors to property managers, we are here to offer valuable advice and insightful tips to ensure a smooth and successful turn. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the world of Student Housing Turn, we hope some of these tips and tricks help make your turn season a success!


Lift with Your Legs

Too many people lift with their lower backs when they should actually be using their legs to prevent unneeded stress. Of course if lifting with your legs is impossible due to injury or otherwise, maybe that thing isn’t worth your effort lifting it! 

Jose Avalos-Thompson (Assistant Manager)

2 Seasons


Remain Calm and Be Ready to Pivot

Things don’t always go according to plan, especially during Turn. How we respond and act during this time is crucial. It’s important to reevaluate your plan each day to ensure you’re still on course and at the first sign of a miss, remain calm and pivot your plan. Just like we say in “Steady In All Seasons”, “we stay calm during storms and react appropriately, as a SQuad, when called upon.”

Morgan Grigsby (Senior Director of Training & Operations)

11 Seasons


Fleas Patrol

If your community is pet friendly there is a great chance your team will encounter fleas in a bedroom.  Sometimes, it is hard to notice until someone is bitten. They could also travel home with pet owners and harm their pets.  I recommend wearing light colored shoes and clothing when completing initial walks so fleas are clearly visible while inspecting. The bedroom can be reported to the pest control vendor as soon as possible to allow time to successfully treat the bedroom(s) as needed before move in day. 

Brontez Steele (General Manager)

22 Seasons


Prepare for the Unexpected

It’s inevitable, something will go wrong. Prepare your staff for this to happen. The important thing is everyone stays calm and works together to solve the problem. Also, make sure your team knows if they make a mistake, it’s ok! We are all human. The worst thing is not making a mistake, it’s trying to cover up a mistake!

Kristin Fodrie (Senior Regional Director)

15 Seasons


Trust But Verify: EVERYTHING

Make sure you and other trusted team members have gone back and verified that items have been completed as vendors state. When it comes down to our resident, they do not care what the vendor was told to do or their scope of work. Discrepancies will fall back on you, your team, and your brand so make sure your team is trained, and understands what brand standards are. When hosting meetings, team chats, etc. always verify that all team members and vendors understand the direction for the day to ensure no communication errors have taken place. 

Kylee Bradshaw (Area Manager)

3 Seasons


Get In The Ick

You are going to ask your team to do some “crazy” things they have never even thought of if they have not worked turn before. Get down and dirty with them. Roll up your sleeves. Do the hard stuff. Lead by example. Nobody wants to do another trash out, their 100th caulked tub, or carrying a couch to the top of a garden style building. Show your team that you aren’t going to ask them to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself.

Misty Williams (Digital Marketing Manager)

7 Seasons


Don’t Overlook the Small Things

If there’s any downtime, make sure your team is aware of projects that can be worked on, whether they’re big or small. When I worked turn, keys were put off until 2 days prior to move in, so we were scrambling getting keys cut & packets put together. I just wish I knew how important this would be earlier on so I could have worked on it sooner! 

Rachel Vick (Leasing Manager)

1 Season


Ask for Help

Doesn’t matter if you are a turn “veteran” or it’s your first turn. At some point you will probably find yourself “sinking”. Whether that be falling behind on units, on tasks (key packets, vendor walks, etc…), or even mentally. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say you need help or even reach out to someone to just vent! We are all in this together and the SQuad has your back!

Kyle Wampler (National Operations Manager)

8 Seasons


Pre-Planning is Essential

I think that the first step in executing a successful turn is pre-planning. I always make it a rule of thumb that anything I can get done in July before turn starts will set me up for amazing success. Once you get into the thick of turn, it can be easy to forget about the small stuff, and that creates a snowball effect of mistakes that can be made. So, make a plan, communicate that plan with your team, and most importantly ask for guidance! 

Kyrstin Ashcraft (Operations Support Specialist)

7 Seasons


Walk, ReWalk, and Walk Again

It is imperative that you are walking behind your vendors throughout turn to ensure we are receiving consistent results. Always inspect your units with the intentions that you are moving in, is the unit in good condition? is the unit clean? are the appliances working? Remember, Move In Day is our first chance to WOW new residents and create rapport to later turn into a renewal. 

Trey Jaridau (Regional Director)

7 Seasons


Vendors are Family

The vendors we choose are the make or break of Turn. 1) Over communicate with your vendors. This includes the months and weeks and days leading up to Turn and DAILY during Turn. 2) Set super clear expectations of what you need the final product to look like. After the first round of unit assignments is completed, the GM needs to walk each unit with the vendor to point out any call backs. If you will do this after the first batch, you can guarantee all following work will better meet your standards. 3) Ask for their feedback about what is or is not working. This will improve communication and help you uncover hidden flaws in your processes. 4) Appreciate and thank them for their efforts! When a vendor feels recognized and appreciated for their hard work, they are more likely to continue to deliver top-quality services for you and your property! 

Tiffany Fulgham (Regional Director)

8 Seasons


Communication is Key

Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Communicate with your team to set clear expectations, your vendors so no detail is left out, your residents so those move-ins to occupied units are pristine and your incoming new residents so they feel welcome! We have the opportunity to create lifelong memories for our residents– so lets make sure they are GREAT ones!

Carly Shepherd (Vice President of Sales & Marketing)

23 Seasons



Bonus Tips from the Real Pros….


Those Who Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

If there is ever a time to micromanage Turn is that time!  

Prior to move-out take your team through the model or vacant unit and do a mock move-out inspection, practice note taking, how to take pictures, and use a site tablet. 

Meet with your team  (vendors, maintenance supervisors, maintenance techs, managers, CA’s) each morning and evening setting clear expectations for the day ahead for both the office needs and onsite property needs and recap the day’s tasks. 

Make a task list for the office with completion dates for things like move in packets; key packets; door tags, move-in merch etc. 

Prior to final/sparkle walks go to a vacant unit to sparkle as a team and set sparkle expectations: Everything wiped down *Check the window seals*, smells good and furniture is staged! 


*Have a good sparkle bucket!!!

*Plan for vendors to be done 3 days before move-in to give your schedule wiggle room

*SNACK TUB/BUCKET: Get a big plastic storage tub, go to Sam’s or Costco and fill it up! – Once the snacks are gone, the snacks are gone! 

*Have a hard stop the day before move-in to give you and your team to reset and be your best self on move-in day! Get a haircut, get your nails done, eat a good meal and sleep!

Christina Williams (National Sales Specialist)

12 Seasons


Over Communicate Expectations & Requirements 

Whether you are communicating move out responsibilities to residents, or teaching your team how to complete a move out inspection, never miss an opportunity to reiterate the expectation. Sometimes people don’t understand the first explanation, but the second one sticks, or maybe they missed the email but got your text…communicating the important items multiple times and over multiple mediums (i.e. email, text, Teams chat, written meeting agenda, phone call, posting to social media, etc.) will insure your message is delivered. If everyone gets the same message 5 times, then at least they’ll know it’s important.

Kimberlyn Vance (General Manager)

7 Seasons


Check In with Your Team

Make sure everyone is working productively, but also has appropriate time off. We’re all human, we’re all working hard, and we all need a break every now & then. Check in with your teams – make sure you are in tune to lunch break needs, day off scheduling needs, and project statuses. It’s a fine line to manage a team because you need to make sure everyone is working productively, but also not being overworked. And this includes you, too!! 

Kimberlyn Vance (General Manager)

7 Seasons


The Power of 2 Inspections

Do move-out inspections in Teams of 2 – so one can focus on completing the inspection and the other can focus on trashing out, finding other major concerns to shout out to the person completing inspections.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Always Leave Room for Vendor & Final Walks

Some team members interpret vendor walks / final walks as the same – NOPE! You have to leave room for go backs and making sure your vendor DID the go back and it’s to your standards. And be picky with your go backs if you can.  The more thorough we are with our walks, the less issues you will have on move-in day.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Some of the biggest turn mishaps I’ve experienced is putting our faith in only one vendor for a service.  Vendors run into staffing shortages, burnout and overestimate their capabilities / underestimate the time it takes to perform services like this.  So no matter how much a vendor tells you they “can handle the workload” it is your responsibility to ensure the property delivers which means you cannot put your fate into the vendor’s hands.  Multiple vendors will allow you a bail out option when one vendor falters and isn’t able to deliver and you need to reallocate the work so you still provide the move-in your new residents deserve.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Prepare Your Team

All team members should be prepared to work either in the office or in the units varying on demand so if they don’t live on site – tell them to bring an extra set of clothes/shoes for the alternative. EXAMPLE:  If you anticipate them in the office all day for leasing endeavors, they should have a spare set of clothes to go walk units if you are slow.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Check the Energy

We all know that burnout is real in turn. However, some staff members will not be as vocal. Check in with all of them regularly – from leasing to maintenance to temp help. Recognizing when someone needs a break or needs to call it an early day may prevent a walk off or a mutiny in the middle of the turn.  Remember, your people are the most valuable component to turn because you can’t do it alone.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Amp the Team Up & Stay Positive

Turn is our superbowl – everyone has to show up and work their hardest and do whatever it takes to come home with the trophy which is a successful mass move in.  Imagine yourself as the coach in that superbowl playoff. Your team needs you to believe you / they can come home with that trophy.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Roll with The Punches & Bounce Back

While we always strive to have a plan A,B,C and D in every scenario for turn, it can also be unpredictable.  When something goes awry, it’s important to not focus on the negative and only focus on the bounce back.  How do we turn this around immediately? How do we adjust the plan but still stay on track for our goal?

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Push Express Move In

The less people who have to pay or sign pending documents on move in day, the better.  Push the fact that long wait times WILL be applicable if these items are not taken care of by 7/15/23 – this way if you have stragglers, they have an extra couple weeks to get those items squared away prior to move in.  Send out WEEKLY communication to your new move ins – primary and guarantor – so that messaging is clear as possible on expectations for move-in day.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Renewal Common Areas

All renewals should be sent very specific common area compliance requirements – which includes removing as many personal belongings from the common area as possible and bagging cabinet and refrigerator items they do not want disposed of.  If they give you push back about compliance, then you should remind them that they do not rent the common area – they rent a bed space and  bathroom.  The common area is a shared space that new residents should have a say in how it is decorated / maintained so that it feels like a home to them too.  COMMON AREA COMPLIANCE DAY is the day after turn where your team will go back to the units that did not get in compliance and you do it for them – keeping boxes stocked for this purpose is key where all items can be boxed and consolidated in the common area.  Your vendors will be able to paint / clean those common areas so much easier as a result and you will have way less complaints on move in day. 

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Items Worth of Notation

This is a checklist of “Items Worthy of Notation” that are found on move-out day that each team will have copies of – it notates the concerns you need to know on day 1: pest concerns, common area non-compliance, go backs on trash outs that would take too long to do in the moment, bag and tag items that need retrieved, damaged furniture to check if you already have it notated for replacements, holdovers, etc. (I have a sheet for this if you want to share it.)  The staff will turn these into you at the end of move-out day so you can at a glance your major concerns and take action ASAP as needed.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons


Move In Day Concerns

Concerns that carry over into the move in day need to be communicated in advance to the incoming resident(s). Didn’t order enough couches? Carpet installers didn’t stay on track? Cracked tub that will need to be repaired by another vendor? Make sure those incoming residents know before move in day that you are aware of the problem and already have a resolve in place and provide them with timeline anticipated.  Don’t WAIT for them to “find” it with their parents in tow all sweaty on move in day so that you will have to deal with demanding to speak to manager on move in day. Communication is key to avoid surprises and unnecessary outrage.

Ashley Samuelson (General Manager)

17 Seasons