5 Smart Apartment Solutions for Busy Residents
Technological innovation is changing the way people approach their daily lives. The advent of wireless connectivity has allowed people all over the world to quickly and easily share and consume endless amounts of information like never before, and it is quickly becoming apparent that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Smart tech solutions are now being integrated into every facet of human life, including the home. These various, enhanced technologies are even being offered by multifamily properties, transforming the renting and living experience for any busy residents.
As the rate of technological innovation continues to increase, residents living in multifamily properties will soon come to expect more from their homes and rental experiences – if they don’t already. With work from home a part of many apartment residents’ everyday lives, adapting to meet changing resident demand is crucial for apartment managers.
Here are five key ways that smart apartment ideas and proptech solutions are transforming multifamily communities.
1. Tech-Enabled Property Viewing
While the new generation of multifamily property residents expects to leverage smart technology within the home, they also anticipate using smart solutions while searching for a small space to live. Over the course of the past few years, there has been an emergence of tech-enabled apartment viewings that allow potential residents to take a virtual tour of potential apartment living spaces prior to visiting the property in-person.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, demand for agent-led video tours has skyrocketed. According to a new report published by Redfin, agent-led video tours quadrupled in March of 20201. Now, 67% of people want more businesses to offer virtual tours, and customers aged 18 to 34 are 130% more likely to book a place if there is a virtual tour2.
Virtual tours not only provide a great deal of convenience and security to busy prospective residents but can provide multifamily property managers with valuable benefits as well, including:
- Increasing the number of potential renters that a property can be exposed to
- Adding an element of luxury and desirability to the apartment building community
- Enabling virtual reality to allow potential residents to visualize different types of furniture that could be placed in the home depending on their taste
More and more multifamily property owners are leveraging technology to enable potential residents to embark on self-guided tours of properties. This can help reduce the cost of hiring staff to host an open house or property tours, while at the same time allowing potential residents to experience the property in private.
Additionally, new technological solutions like single-use key cards or automated ID-readers can protect property owners from potential security issues, while also allowing potential residents to view the property and lobby amenities at their leisure.
Smart apartment solutions like virtual community tours are especially important now, as many property managers are learning to do more work with fewer resources in light of budgetary changes caused by COVID-19.
2. Alternative Financing and Leasing Options
One of the most complex parts of managing a multifamily property is sorting out the financing and leasing process. Up until recently, most property managers would be required to meet with new residents several times to complete the process of getting them into their new home.
However, there has been a recent emergence of third-party software companies that have simplified this process, ensuring that landlords will receive guaranteed and timely payment throughout the lease term.
- Several companies allow residents to securely review and sign required leasing forms, lifting the time and administrative burden on both property managers and future residents
- Notarizing documents has also become an online process, allowing both residents and property owners to complete this process at their convenience
- Financial tech companies are working to provide new financing options for potential residents, decreasing the initial costs associated with renting, while also providing further options in case of default
- New online tools have emerged to easily view and manage rent payments, as well as track non-payment issues with specific residents
As the property management industry continues to navigate the effects of the pandemic, software tools that enable operational efficiency for administrative tasks are worth consideration for properties that have yet to invest. These innovations can have a major effect on the ability of both the property owner and the resident to efficiently manage and navigate the leasing process, initial deposit, and rent payments throughout the leasing term.
3. Multifamily Parcel Lockers
Consumer needs and purchasing habits are being rapidly reshaped by new fears and social distance practices. At the beginning of the year, e-commerce market penetration was just over 15%. After the pandemic picked up steam in the United States, e-commerce penetration jumped to nearly 35% – ten years’ growth in just three months3. As more consumers continue to opt online for both essential and non-essential goods, couriers and multifamily properties alike are being forced to adapt to meet these new consumer needs.
This growing volume of online orders has created a corresponding increase in package deliveries to multifamily communities. Year-round holiday-like package volume has two major effects on a property’s ability to effectively manage and distribute these important resident packages.
- It requires property owners to find or invest in floor space to accept and distribute packages.
- It demands property managers consider hiring staff to deliver resident goods in a timely manner to meet the needs of busy residents.
Both of these potential solutions have a direct effect on the costs of operating a property. However, Parcel Pending can provide a seamless solution that will both decrease operational costs and improve resident retention and resident satisfaction.
Multifamily parcel lockers are becoming increasingly popular in modern communities, as they enable residents to pick up their packages on their own, without having to worry about the hassle of missing the delivery man. Now, they also serve as a premium amenity, enabling current residents to retrieve packages contact-free.
For property managers concerned about handling perishable deliveries, Parcel Pending offers refrigerated parcel lockers that enable residents to securely and safely receive food, medications, and other perishable items. As meal kit providers and grocery deliveries become more popular for busy and sometimes homebound residents, the ability to offer a refrigerated locker solution can transform the parcel receiving process for properties and increase the chances that residents will renew their leases.
As e-commerce continues to become a part of consumers’ day-to-day life, residents will continue to demand smarter solutions to meet their delivery needs in their home environment, while also preventing package theft. Automated parcel locker systems are not only a premium amenity but also a contact-free one – and one that communities should strongly consider implementing to support their package management and community safety needs.
4. The Smart Apartment Experience
The idea of a smart home is not a new concept. While most consumers are widely familiar with voice assistant smart home products like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, myriad other new technologies are hitting the market every year and having a drastic effect on the multifamily living experience.
These new smart apartment solutions do not just assist with controlling entertainment systems, ordering food, or setting an alarm in the morning; instead, they provide residents with total control of their small space. Some key innovations that have recently hit the market include:
- Smart thermostats that allow residents to remotely control heating and cooling systems by voice or through wireless smart devices
- A smart door lock and smart doorbell that includes security cameras and can open a door by voice cue or by using smart devices
- Smart lighting systems that can be remotely adjusted throughout the house by voice cue or by using a smart device
- A security system that can accomplish anything from locking the door to monitoring the home through security cameras while residents are away
Furthermore, we can expect to see more technologies in addition to the smart camera hit the market in the coming years that will continue to transform how we live. For instance, imagine a resident using the following:
- Refrigerators that identify the items inside and inform residents if they need to purchase more of a given item
- Stoves, ovens, and other cooking appliances that can be controlled remotely or by voice
- Faucets that can fill up a glass of water at a resident’s preferred temperature
The rise of these new smart apartment building solutions has increased the demand for these amenities within the market. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 43% of renters said they would only consider a multifamily property that included voice-activated technology4. And 83% of millennials surveyed by PR Newswire stated they would willingly pay more for multifamily properties that included smart solutions, with 65% of baby boomers agreeing5.
As smart home devices continue to become a norm in society, further technological innovations like the emergence of 5G will enable multifamily property owners to integrate even more smart technology into their living experiences, and significantly increase the number of satisfied residents at their apartment complex.
Smart apartment ideas and solutions are not possible without adequate wireless technology. And, as we look towards future innovations and their potential to impact the living experience at a given community, the ability to enhance that connectivity will surely increase with the emergence and widespread adoption of 5G.
Simply put, 5G will enable more devices to function wirelessly because of enhanced network speeds, making it possible for almost any smart device to be integrated with smart property management technology installed in a multifamily community. This cannot be accomplished currently as 4G has limited ability and capacity to handle such a large amount of connected devices; however, these limitations will not exist once 5G reaches a point of widespread adoption.
Not only will this technology enable the development of the many smart apartment solutions listed above, but it will also enable landlords to manage their properties seamlessly, from monitoring the use of water or electricity to providing residents with communal supplies on demand.
Some of the key benefits that busy millennial renters and other residents can expect once 5G becomes available include:
- Increased internet speeds that will be able to support a number of devices without compromising on network speed
- Fully-integrated, smart multifamily communities that can connect with virtually any device that is equipped to join the network
- Smart common areas including gyms, laundry rooms, recycling and garbage areas, and parcel lockers
While these benefits will depend on the price a resident is willing to pay to live in a smart residence, 5G will likely be the catalyst that makes all of these new apartment amenities possible. Properties with the budget for premium amenities should strongly consider adopting 5G as quickly as possible for their apartment community to support existing residents as well as attract prospective ones.
Smart Apartment Innovation
As modern consumers’ technological expectations continue to shift, multifamily properties are increasingly embracing smart solutions and coming up with resident retention ideas to enhance efficiency during the leasing process, decrease operational costs, and enhance resident satisfaction.
Virtual property viewing and tech-enabled financing and leasing options have made the process of signing a lease and getting the resident into their new home that much easier. They also enable property managers to certify that all financial prerequisites and requirements are in order and to easily track things like a rent payment or a maintenance request for any given unit moving forward.
Additionally, innovations in parcel delivery and smart home technology can drastically affect the life of a resident, enhancing the lease renewal potential. As we look toward the future of smart apartment solutions, 5G could reinvent how residents live in a multifamily community.
In any case, these technological innovations have become embedded in multifamily marketing, transforming how people find and live in their homes. Property management should strongly consider investing in these smart apartment solutions to help with resident retention in their apartment community.
- Redfin. (2020, March 23). Video Home Tour Requests Soar Nearly 500% in One Week [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://press.redfin.com/
- Digital in the Round. 13 Mind-Blowing Virtual Tour Statistics [Updated for 2020]. (2020, September 30). https://digitalintheround.com/virtual-tour-statistics/.
- McKinsey & Company. (2020). Five Fifty: The quickening [Report]. Retrieved from: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/five-fifty-the-quickening#
- Woollard, Diedre. Million Acres. 5 Trends in Real Estate Innovation. (n.d.) https://www.fool.com/millionacres/real-estate-market/real-estate-innovation/.
- Schlage. (2016, November 29). Results of Schlage’s Industry Insight Survey Reveals What Millennial Renters Want in 2017 [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/results-of-schlages-industry-insight-survey-reveals-what-millennial-renters-want-in-2017-300369197.html