Technology’s Key Role in Multifamily Property Management
Technology is playing a critical role in transforming property management in the multifamily market during this pandemic. Although many of these changes were initially viewed as a temporary fix, they are now not only viewed as necessities but provide lasting competitive advantages as well.
Whether you’re a property owner or work for a property management company, incorporating new technology into your property is absolutely essential. Let’s review the most important issues facing property owners and how technology works to alleviate these problems.
Problem: Time and Labor-Intensive Leasing Practices
Solution: Self-Guided Tours and Virtual Leasing Tools
Although there is still no single end-to-end solution for property showing, tenant screening, and lease signing, a host of specific technology tools have popped up to solve specific issues that can help both management and potential tenants.
Virtual tours are a necessity. Recent statistics demonstrate that 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 tour1. According to industry studies from the Center for Realtor Development, high-quality photography properties lease and sell 32% faster than those with poor photos or a lack of photos altogether2.
One proptech company, for instance, acts as a leasing agent responding intelligently to leads via text or email. Self-reported stats show that it reduces the number of days a property is on the market by 39%3. Other solutions can help streamline the leasing process. Meanwhile, some companies are looking to fill an essential void by identifying and verifying lease prospects. These solutions reduce renter fraud and improve property safety. Utilization of technology tools like property management software Checkpoint skyrocketed from 3% in March to 40% during the height of the pandemic4.
Some properties are even considering smart key entry. Virtually every door, elevator, and entryway can be opened contactless via property management systems like LatchOS5. Providing controlled property access to potential tenants via smart key is a great property management solution for communities who are looking to streamline the leasing process without compromising security within the rental property.
Problem: Fewer Staff and Less Interaction/Communication
Solution: Property-Created Apps and Social Media
COVID regulations and staff shortages have made residential flyers a thing of the past. Even digital communication has shifted significantly with savvy property owners switching to mobile apps vs. email notices.
Jered Lerum, director of more than 2,000 apartments with Edison47, insists that following your residents’ preferences is key6. Whether it’s text, email, or mobile app, ignoring their requests is a surefire way to lose customers.
New proptech innovations boost interaction by allowing the scheduling of maintenance appointments as well as “amenity spacing” to help residents abide by social distancing guidelines in community areas such as gyms, kitchens, and lounges. Others seek to streamline news and updates via mass updates.
In terms of social media, cost/benefit analysis remains key. “We see social media as a tool we can leverage to achieve a [marketing] cost below our target level of $250 per lease,” says Sara Dixon, social media manager at Village Green7.
Other experts advise selling the lifestyle and not the product. In short, it means emphasizing the locale, the amenities, and the community. Don’t forget that content is key and visuals are the secret sauce. In fact, people only absorb about 10% of the things they read or hear about, but when paired with a visual, they remember about 65% of the material three days later8.
These efficient communication tools not only work to attract a prospective tenant but also to inform current residents about community events and updates. This helps to deepen the property-tenant relationship and improve tenant satisfaction.
Problem: Slow Internet
Solution: 5G and Other Wi-Fi Options
With 42% of employees working from home, speedy Internet is a must for any rental property; homes are now where we work, play, school, and entertain9. Dwellers now expect that broadband will be available from the day they move in and that property managers will serve up high-speed Wi-Fi to offer a necessary respite from a frenetic day.
At the recent Broadband Communities Virtual Summit 2020, multifamily property managers discussed coax, fiber, wireless, and 5G as options for providing a consistent broadband experience10. Most surprising, however, is that these owners are negotiating bulk deals with Internet service providers to improve the resident experience…and to lower costs.
These wireless options not only support resident connectivity, but also the myriad new property management technologies working to streamline operations for property management or owners.
Problem: Parcel Deluge and Package Mismanagement
Solution: Smart, Automated Package Lockers
With US shoppers shattering all records by spending $9 billion on Black Friday and $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday (the largest online sales day in US history), efficient parcel management is paramount for multifamily management companies11,12. Experts predict these numbers could result in 486 packages delivered per week to each multifamily property!
Smart lockers provided by Parcel Pending deliver a safe, secure, and satisfying experience for the resident. In fact, lockers are the top-requested amenities and can boost lease renewals by up to 40%13.
Electronic lockers harness the power of property management technology by automatically alerting residents when a package has been delivered and providing details on how to retrieve it. With reduced staff and concerns about COVID, smart lockers lower labor hours by up to 24 hours weekly while providing contactless delivery. Plus, your tenants won’t have to worry about package theft during the holidays or at any other time of year, which has become an increasing issue over the past few years.
Specifically, the steps in the delivery process are:
- The courier service delivers packages directly to the secure electronic locker system.
- Residents are automatically notified by email, text, or mobile app alert that a package has arrived. They are given a unique access code that they manually enter or a barcode they can scan for contact-free access to their delivery.
- Residents retrieve the package at their convenience from the lockers using their unique and secure access code or barcode.
Residents are increasingly demanding reliable package delivery and storage, especially as same-day grocery, pharmacy, and restaurant deliveries continue to climb. Technavio forecasts that the same-day delivery market will climb to $9.73 billion during 2020-2024 or approximately 22%. Refrigerated lockers ensure food safety while affording residents the ability to pick up packages on their schedule.
Parcel Pending offers its smart, electronic lockers as a value-added differentiator. Complimentary assessments and custom configurations can help determine the best use of your space and budget.
Talk to a Parcel Pending representative about our multifamily smart locker solutions today!
- Digital in the Round. 13 Mind-Blowing Virtual Tour Statistics [Updated for 2020]. (2020, September 30). https://digitalintheround.com/virtual-tour-statistics/.
- RISMedia. Shocking Stats About the Importance of Photography in Real Estate. (2018, December 12). https://rismedia.com/2018/12/12/shocking-stats-importance-photography-real-estate/.
- MeetElise. How it Works. (n.d.) Retrieved from: https://www.meetelise.com/#howitworks
- Donati, Angelica Krystle. How Is The Multifamily Market Dealing With COVID-19 And What Tech Is It Turning To For Solutions?. (2020, October 25). https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelicakrystledonati/2020/10/25/how-is-how-the-multifamily-market-dealing-with-covid-19-and-what-tech-is-it-turning-to-for-solutions/?sh=74a91b0e53e9.
- Cornfield, Greg. Proptech Check: Renters, Landlords Demand Touchless Entry, Building Management. (2020, October 5). https://commercialobserver.com/2020/10/proptech-check-renters-landlords-demand-touchless-entry-building-management/.
- Lerum, Jered. Multifamily Executive. Getting Resident Communications Right. (2018, September 10). https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/property-management/resident-life/getting-resident-communications-right_o.
- Bousquin, Joe. Multifamily Executive. Beyond “Likes”: 5 Smart Social Media Strategies. (2012, August 10). https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/news/beyond-likes-5-smart-social-media-strategies_o.
- Mawhinney, Jesse. HubSpot. 50 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2020. (2020, April 29). https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy.
- Wong, May. Stanford. Stanford research provides a snapshot of a new working-from-home-economy. (2020, June 29). https://news.stanford.edu/2020/06/29/snapshot-new-working-home-economy/#:~:text=We%20see%20an%20incredible%2042,working%20on%20their%20business%20premises.
- BBC Staff. Broadband Communities Magazine. Service Providers, Vendors Create New Foundations for Multifamily Broadband, IoT. (2020, October). https://www.bbcmag.com/multifamily-broadband/service-providers-vendors-create-new-foundations-for-multifamily-broadband-iot.
- Durbin, Dee-Ann. Business Insider. US consumers spent a record $9 billion on Black Friday online shopping. (2020, November 29). https://www.businessinsider.com/black-friday-sees-record-online-as-us-shoppers-stay-home-2020-11.
- Repko, Melissa & Thomas, Lauren. CNBC. Online sales reach $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday, the biggest U.S. e-commerce day ever, Adobe says. (2020, December 1). https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/01/holiday-2020-shoppers-spend-10point8-billion-on-cyber-monday.html.
- Parcel Pending. (2018). Case Study: Cortland North Druid Hills. Retrieved from: https://info.parcelpending.com/cortland-case-study-3-0
- Technavio. (2020, July 30). COVID-19 Impacts: Same-Day Delivery Market in U.S. Will Accelerate at a CAGR of About 22% Through 2020-2024 | Growing B2C E-Commerce Market in US to Boost Growth [Press Release]. Retrieved from: https://www.technavio.com/newsroom