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More Tenants, Less Effort: 5 Ways an AI Leasing Assistant Increases Conversions

No longer a far-fetched concept reserved to sci-fi movie plots, artificial intelligence is now an indispensable tool in your prospects’ daily routines. Think about it: Chances are you’ve posed a question or two to your favorite AI assistant today, whether that’s Google, Siri, Alexa, or else. Maybe you needed directions to a meeting, store hours for the nearest pharmacy, or a rundown of your calendar appointments — and you had no time or desire to read through a website, call customer support, or click through a handful of dashboards. You wanted answers in seconds, and AI delivered it.  Likewise, the tenants you’re trying to attract have a serious digital addiction and craving for instant answers. It’s why AI leasing assistants are no-brainers in delivering measurable improvements in conversions, engagement, and revenue.     Below are five ways an AI Leasing Assistant will bring more tenants to your properties: 1. Satisfy consumers’ craving for easy self-service and instant gratification Today’s consumers expect the same ease, immediacy, and anytime/anywhere access they enjoy from online retailers and media platforms. Fail to deliver those experiences and they’ll jump ship to a more responsive website, sinking your profits. Astute multifamily property marketers understand that to remain relevant and profitable, they must compete on the battlefield of user experiences, often measured against the ease and speed of Siri or Google. AI Leasing Assistants make that possible.   Speaking of speed and ease, todays’ consumers also don’t want to talk to a sales rep until they’ve completed some basic research, narrowed thei......
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How to Identify and Utilize True Leasing Automation

As everyone knows, the property management industry is constantly shifting and evolving to accommodate new technologies helping to make the lives of property managers a lot easier. Over the last few years, leasing automation has quickly become one of the most valuable additions to the industry, specifically within the multi-family community.    For those who haven’t yet experienced true leasing automation, it gives your prospective residents what they want - real-time responses and tour scheduling at their convenience. It gives your leasing staff what they need - dramatically less time on the phone and responding to e-mails, tours efficiently scheduled based on their real availability, and high-touch automated follow-ups throughout the leasing process. Multi-family property managers wear so many hats that the more time that can be saved, the better. Leasing automation is re-envisioning how prospects and management companies interact and it’s time to get on board.   It is important to understand that not every company that offers what they consider to be “leasing automation” actually has true end-to-end leasing automation. True end-to-end leasing automation doesn’t need to be regularly touched or fed information. A fully automated platform empowers the individual prospect to self-conduct the entire leasing process within constraints and guidelines pre-set by the property manager or owner. On the management side, a fully automated platform allows for tremendous cost savings, serious growth without additional staff, a significantly better experience for prospective renters, reduced on-market times, and a happier leasing staff who is more likely to stay with the company. ......
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5 Tips for Boosting Leasing Team Performance

Our leasing teams are the backbone of this industry. They’re on the front lines of your business and are responsible for selling the dream of living in your multi-million-dollar assets.  So, it’s vital to bring on the best team and help them grow into leasing all-stars. We’ve outlined five actions you can take to help your onsite teams provide excellent customer service, improve resident retention and convert more: Build a team who can work in the new digital reality Make great hires with thoughtful interview questions Invest in employees’ growth Use data to measure performance  1. Build a Team Who Can Work in the New Digital Reality Heading into this year’s leasing season, the industry has shifted into a new (virtual) reality with more demands on an already stressed-out workforce. To build a high-performing team, managers must hire, train, and retain leasing agents willing to adapt to a more digitally focused world.  “As we consider future talent, we will need to incorporate into our job profile ‘tech savvy,’ as we will not be moving away from what we have put in place with our future residents,” said Angela Gibbons, senior vice president, human resources, at Bell Partners. 2. Make Great Hires with Thoughtful Interview Questions To that point, when hiring leasing professionals, it is important to gauge their potential fit with your team and determine their ability to adapt to unexpected problems during the day. The NAA Facebook’s Apartment Management & Maintenance Support Group put together a list of sample interview questions that push......
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Have You Considered Adding Leasing Automation to Boost Your NOI?

We’ve all seen it. Many of us have lived through it first hand. If there is one thing that goes without saying, it is that the property management industry is constantly evolving and that means so too are the ways in which teams engage with their prospective renters. With each new generation comes a new set of obstacles to overcome. None so important as the current expectation that leaves the next generation of residents hyper-focused on things like efficiency, flexibility, and immediacy.   This has led to an insurgence of proptech tools and solutions along the way, however the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly sped up the digitization process for many management companies even though they existed in an industry that was already headed this direction well before we needed to be reminded just how long to wash our hands. While the idea of self-showings and digital access technology first made headway among our cousins in single-family property management, it’s time to talk about how these same methods can help enhance the experience for both multifamily prospects and property managers alike.     There are numerous benefits to unaccompanied tours including the reduction of market time for vacancies by allowing for a more flexible leasing process, a more rigorous pre-qualification of prospects with the typical identity verification process that’s incorporated, and most importantly, the time saved for both leasing agents and prospects who don’t have to wait until they can each find time to tour the vacancy you’ve got available. With the v......
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The Power of "And"

The Power of "And"
Google the phrase “the power of ‘and,’” and you’ll see that it’s the title of a TEDx Talk, a book about responsible businesses and even the slogan of a university.    Over the years, I’ve come to believe that it is a perfect description of how to achieve real success in lead management.    By this I mean operators too often think of implementing solutions as an either/or scenario: should we offer guided tours or self-guided tours? Should we have prospects interact with chatbots or leasing agents over the phone? The answer in these situations is almost always “both.”   You should offer agent-led tours AND self-guided ones. You should have chatbots AND associates available by phone. What you really want is to offer leads a real choice in the way they interact with your communities - don’t make the choice for them. Allow prospects to trade in their currency and you will see your conversion take off.   Case in point: While self-guided and agent-led tours convert fairly similarly on their own, lease conversion increases by 38% for communities offering both options. That’s because you’re allowing prospects to shop the way they want to shop. And with self-guided tours, you make it a breeze for prospects to make return visits or take their first tours during hours when there are no leasing associates onsite. You are outperforming your competition by allowing prospects to engage by the method of their choosing.   Similarly, one NMHC Top 50 operator saw its conversion from tour to lease jump......
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4 Ideas to Improve Resident Retention in Your Multifamily Community

In today’s ultra-competitive multifamily industry, it’s impossible to keep every resident living in your apartment community forever. Some move out of the area, some decide it’s time to buy a home, and others just have their circumstances change. But, even with all of those variables, apartment resident retention is still a critical part of property management because there are still people looking for a place to call home long-term. And it’s typically the people that are most informed, most comfortable, and feel most at home that do end up renewing and staying for more than just one lease term. As many may know, but it's always good to refresh your memory --- the definition of resident retention is an effort made by the apartment property management group or company to reduce resident turnover. It involves keeping current residents happy and satisfied. How do you keep them happy and satisfied? Well, it's important to ensure they are getting what they desire and need from the property and feeling that they have been treated right by the management company and staff. When done well, a resident retention program can increase apartment resident retention by improving the overall resident satisfaction and bringing the community together in important ways. Even with the best property management groups, looking at new and better ways to increase resident retention will only pay dividends in the long run. Here are four apartment resident retention ideas that multifamily managers can use to lessen resident turnover and increase their overall retention rates in the ......
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Product Knowledge: The Unsung Hero of Apartment Leasing

Product Knowledge: The Unsung Hero of Apartment Leasing
Apartment operators have spent the last year navigating a challenging market.  But leasing hasn’t stopped. Prospective renters are still out there shopping for their next home. And while they understand some of the limitations of leasing in the COVID era, they still expect onsite associates to bring their A game and deliver a high level of customer service. One of the perhaps overlooked bedrocks of providing that great customer service is having a deep knowledge of both the apartment community itself as well as the surrounding area. High-performing associates are always gathering information about the property and the surrounding neighborhood. They know every detail of their community. And if someone were to ask what restaurants or parks are in the area or what are fun things to do, they have an answer. They know what businesses are growing and moving to the area. They know the history of the neighborhood. Below are some suggestions for how associates can develop the level of knowledge that will drive leasing results. Do an honest self-assessment. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you score your product knowledge? Is there room to grow? Even if you’ve been working at a community for years and years, there almost certainly is. Remember there is an almost limitless amount of material that you can add to your mental rolodex of knowledge. Access internal resources. Reach out to your community manager or the corporate office to see if your company already has created a workbook outlining common prospect questions and......
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Post-Pandemic Lifestyles: Which Processes Are Here to Stay?

Post-Pandemic Lifestyles: Which Processes Are Here to Stay?
The global pandemic drastically altered the way people live their lives virtually overnight. But after everyone got past the immediate shock and exasperation of staying home, society began to adjust.  While many newfound processes have been spurred entirely by necessity and will be considered a temporary adjustment due to the odd dynamic of 2020, others are infused with innovation and have undeniable staying power. Most notably, self-service appears to be here to stay. The consumer world is embracing a remote lifestyle, and that includes the multifamily industry. While the apartment world’s hastened transition to virtual and remote leasing options is well documented, the self-service component is weaving its way into the leasing process in many different ways. A new expectation  A few years ago when smart-home devices and capabilities were being introduced to the industry, they were considered a luxury. Fast-forward to 2020 and smart-home is essentially an expectation among renters. Self-service is fast following suit. Formerly considered something of an exclusive feature, self-serve options—such as self-tours—are increasingly sought after among prospective residents who want to remain socially distant as they search for their next home. While traditional tours are bound to make a post-pandemic comeback in some form, the desire for self-tours and additional self-service features is likely to remain. Morphing role for leasing associates  Leasing has always been thought of as a person-to-person activity, and that won’t change. However, the personal touch might be less about building relationships and more about providing information specific to the renter. Rather than making ......
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The Power of Self-Guided Tours and the Importance of Letting Prospects "Trade in Their Own Currency"

The Power of Self-Guided Tours and the Importance of Letting Prospects "Trade in Their Own Currency"
Self-guided tours were inching their way towards the multifamily mainstream before the coronavirus hit.  Now, with the need for social distancing still here, they're much more common across the apartment industry. And when you see the impact they have on leasing, I think you'll realize this is a solution that is here to stay.  Consider the case of an apartment operator that implemented SGTs early in Q2 of this year. During that quarter – granted, this is only three months of data – the management company experienced some pretty staggering results:  Prospects who completed a self-guided tour at any point in the leasing process had a 54% higher conversion rate compared to those who only took an agent-led tour. One out of every four prospects who used an SGT leased.  67% of prospects who leased after self-touring completed an SGT as their first tour. 33% of prospects who leased after self-touring completed an SGT as a subsequent tour.  The average prospect completed 1.5 tours.  The Big Picture Clearly, SGTs can have a tremendously beneficial impact on a community's leasing efforts. But while some prospects prefer to self-tour, some still want to go the traditional, agent-led route. Prospects need to be able to "trade in their own currency," by which I mean an operator has to enable a lead to interact with a community in the way the prospect wants to.  Think Baskin-Robbins: they have 31 flavors because different people want different stuff! Another company to consider is Zappos – anyone who’s ever do......
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Three Ways that Self-Guided Tours Create More Effective Leasing Associates

Three Ways that Self-Guided Tours Create More Effective Leasing Associates
Even before the coronavirus, self-guided tours were beginning to emerge as a major factor in apartment operations and leasing.  Now, as the industry continues to navigate the effects of the pandemic, self-guided tours are firmly in the multifamily mainstream. Much has been made about the positive impact these tours have on prospects – and for good reason. More and more of today's prospective renters want to visit a community without being led around by an associate (and, in the present moment, social-distancing mandates may not give them much of a choice in the matter). In fact, according to a recent RENTCafe survey of 3,500 renters, 83% of the respondents said they would take a self-guided tour if it was available at an apartment community.  But the benefits of self-guided tours extend well beyond allowing prospects to visit a community in their preferred manner (as critical as that obviously is). These tours also help onsite associates perform their jobs better. Below are three examples of how self-guided tours do just that. 1) They help associates take better care of current residents. Without having to spend so much of their workday touring prospective residents, team members can devote more time to the needs of those who already live at the community. Associates have more bandwidth to plan great resident events, make sure maintenance requests are completed in a satisfactory manner and handle any other resident issues that may come up. Signing new residents is important, but so is retaining current ones. Self-guided tours c......
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