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How Technology Is Reshaping The Leasing Process

How Technology Is Reshaping The Leasing Process
Piece by piece, tech innovations have transformed the art of leasing. It has gone from a highly manual, labor-intensive process to a streamlined, efficient procedure with numerous forward-thinking ways to attract and convert apartment hunters.  Traditional leasing methods were already rapidly evolving prior to 2020, but times of change have accelerated the need for intuitive solutions. Renters have been steadily morphing toward an offsite approach in which they seek to gather as much information about an apartment community as they can before visiting in person. The social distancing measures brought on by the pandemic will persist in some form for the foreseeable future, which exacerbates that trend and underscores the need to effectively reach renters from afar. Developed effectively, tech-based leasing solutions should be mutually beneficial for prospects and the apartment operator. The prospect can gain quicker visibility into a property and have their questions answered more rapidly, while operators can expend less energy in reaching prospects and avoid tedious manual tracking and follow-up measures. Here are a few of the ways that leasing-centric tech tools such as interactive maps, data visualization, virtual tours, remote leasing, automation and integration can further impact the leasing process:  Augmented Service Levels Concepts such as self-guided touring, virtual tours and map visualization should not translate to a lack of customer service. These technologies exist to complement the traditional tour experience and make for an interactive leasing experience. Onsite teams should not utilize this type of tech to distance themselves from prospects, but as a way......
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Multifamily Innovation Truly Flourishes When Industry Members Collaborate

In many ways, the multifamily industry is built on competition. In the battle to sign new residents and get current ones to renew their leases, properties strive to have the best common-area amenities, the most appealing in-unit finishes, the best customer service and the most attractive move-in offers in their competitive set. But when it comes to pushing the industry forward and developing innovations that optimize the living experience and boost an operator’s bottom line, those who work in multifamily should be ready to collaborate as much as possible. I’m reminded of the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.” When industry members work together to problem solve, share expertise and scale new solutions, they create an environment in which all residents are better served and all operators have a chance to bring in more revenue. Here are three important ways industry members can collaborate: 1) PropTech venture funds. A good example of this is Real Estate Technology Ventures’ Fund I, which raised $108 million from leading owners and operators like Aimco, Boardwalk, Cortland, Essex, GID, MidAmerica, Starwood Capital Group and UDR. The fund and others like it provide capital to supplier partners with emerging technologies, which are then tested in the investors’ portfolios. Ideally, the feedback from the owner/operators and the lessons learned by deploying the solutions in the real world enables supplier partners to produce solutions ready for widespread deployment across the industry. 2) Create technological solutions that integrate easily. Multifamily supplier partners need to place a real emphasis on creating technologies and solutions t......
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Why Multifamily Can’t Ignore Smart Home – and How to Implement It Successfully

Apartment operators can be a cautious group. They often are slow to embrace new technologies and new processes. But when it comes to smart home solutions, the time has come for multifamily owners and managers to embrace the new era. The reasons for doing so are powerful. Put simply, residents like them – and they can create valuable ancillary revenue. A recent report from the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates provides valuable insight into residents’ feelings about smart home technology. According to the study, they seem particularly interested in solutions that will lead to lower utility costs. For instance, the report says, 70.5 percent of residents say they are “interested” in smart thermostats while an additional 6.6 percent say they wouldn’t rent a home without one. Additionally, residents would expect to pay a monthly rent premium of $30 for the feature. Similarly, 66.9 percent of residents are interested in smart lighting, and another 5.3 percent indicate they wouldn’t rent an apartment that doesn’t have this technology. The monthly premium they expect to pay for smart lighting is $29. Still, even though smart home technology presents such a great opportunity for apartment operators, it’s something they should implement only after considerable due diligence and thoughtful planning. Below are five things any operator should do before installing smart home solutions in their communities. (The successful implementation of smart home features will be the subject of a session at the Multifamily Innovation Conference – Atlanta in early February.) 1) Make sure any potential smart home provider has sufficient cybers......
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Automation is the Key to Improving Employee Efficiency and Increasing Visits and Leases

If you’re a midsized property manager or apartment owner, you probably employ between 50 and 100 leasing agents. Combined, they probably communicate with more than a thousand prospects a day.     According to our internal data, 42 percent of those communications are about scheduling tours or rescheduling tours. While it may seem that this metric confirms that leasing agents are properly asking for tours, it also confirms that leasing agents are spending entirely too much time doing what most industries have already automated.   What if you could reduce the time your agents have to spend to scheduling tours? What if your leasing agents had that time back to sign leases and contact new leads? Maybe, just maybe you’d close even more leases and delight residents enough for them to renew their leases in greater numbers no matter the rent increase.   Yet, many owner/operators are hesitant to adopt automation tools like self-scheduling and self-guided tours based on three main misconceptions.   Misconception #1: Prospects want more human interaction, not less It seems logical. You’ve spent a lot of time, money and effort hiring good people with customer service skills. You know from being in business for decades that relationships garner sales. You personally like to interact with people when making large transactions.   But you’re not the customer. Today’s prospective renters, mostly millennials and members of Generation Z, generally want less human interaction. The more they can do on an app on their smartphone, the better. Of course, those prospects......
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Technology and Multifamily are No Longer Rivals

Multifamily has transformed from a paper-and-pen leasing process to an industry always looking for new technologies and ways to innovate. In the last five years, we have seen the industry adapt smart-home technology, marketing automation and test products designed to streamline communications on the myriad of platforms available to prospects, residents and leasing teams.   This transformation has been a relatively quick one, thanks to the help of ambitious onsite teams. Without their time, energy, patience and overall support, the technology evolution would not have happened. As an industry, we need their feedback in order to test, pilot and implement technology effectively. At Laramar, we believe the way technology will have the most impact is to make it a part of our culture.   As concepts like online leasing and intuitive resident portals become more commonplace, we’ve partnered with a technology fund that tests and validates new tech-related products and concepts specific to the industry. The fund measures the potential impact of each new concept, which provides the company with a more accurate roadmap of which technologies to adopt.   No matter how you go about vetting technologies, there are a few concepts to keep in mind when working to make technology a part of your overall culture.   Excite your teams about testing new platforms Let’s be honest: It can be exhausting for team members to constantly learn new platforms and carve out time in a hectic schedule to do so. It can be more exasperating if those changes come w......
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The Fundamentals of Direct Marketing Are the Same, Only the Tools Have Changed

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL The other day a property manager asked me how one can make money for their company and building, using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN or any other online network. It was a great question. I believe so many property managers, leasing agents and real estate professionals are confused about how these tools can be used. Networking sites are just that: tools. For example, just because you use Twitter, you will not make money. Twitter is a vehicle to carry a message with the potential for your message to be read by many more people without paper, postage or labor to stuff an envelope. So if you want to get the word out about a property you are leasing for instance, the goal is to touch as many people with your message as possible. How do you do that? Well if you are a leasing agent there are companies with many employees in a given market that you want to do outreach to. It is very difficult and time consuming to create email lists of those contacts and maintain current emails. Those businesses have employees who want to live as close to work as possible. By reaching those businesses, you have a very good chance that the employees at the company also follow their own company on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN. By sharing your information through their stream of influence, you are touching a wider audience. Yes, you have touched the company, but they touch many more......
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