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 ……

The Lost Revenue—And How to get it Back With New Tech


The Lost Revenue—And How to get it Back With New Tech

Mitigating revenue loss has always been a primary concern for multifamily operators. But as with everything else, the pandemic has magnified the impact of any financial shortcomings and cast an enormous spotlight on a problem that needs to be solved immediately. 
Savvy apartment operators are using technology to recover lost revenue and mitigate future losses, with some accelerating their tech rollout timelines from two years to two weeks. While most of these rollouts involve PropTech such as virtual tours and remote leasing, one often overlooked concept that can quickly drive revenue is PetTech. 
It is no secret that pet adoption has prominently risen during the pandemic, which provides operators with a unique opportunity to increase revenue by making their communities more friendly to pet owners. And while concepts such as reducing breed and weight restrictions aren’t rooted in technology, PetTech can help implement them responsibly. 
Here are some of the ways more intuitive pet processes can help operators recover some desperately needed revenue: 
Ease pet limits, weight thresholds 
With pet ownership being one of the only things trending upward in the pandemic, communities should consider letting more of them into their buildings. Reasonably increasing the number of pets allowed per home is one way. Eradicating weight restrictions, as recently done by Camden and others, is another and generally involves little risk of increased damage. A recent PetFinder study indicated that only 11% of apartment communities allow large breeds, which means plenty of that market share remains.
Reduce breed restrictions 
Reducing or e……

Why Should Owners and Tenants Pay Online?

Online paymentCustomers increasingly want control over managing themselves and their business relationships especially when it comes to their finances. Online payments offer owners and tenants self-service capabilities that are customers want at an increasing rate. Mobile payments alone have grown in popularity as younger generations get older and have more spending power – studies show that 33% of millennials use cash while only 18% of Generation Z relies on cash. The ever-evolving industry can be difficult to keep up with but stay in-sync with trends can offer benefits to customers and property managers, here’s what you need to know about online payments for your owners and tenants.

What Kind of Control Do Customers Want?
Owners and tenants want to have a clear and consistent view of where their money is going for every payment they’re making and why they’re being charged every fee they’re being asked to pay. Control not only enhances transparency, but it also offers flexibility and peace of mind of whether their money is going where it’s intended.
Where Can Property Management Companies Provide Transparency and Control?
Building self-service into your property management owner or tenant portals gives customers complete access to their personal financial records – ledgers, online payments, and even pending payments. 61% of people say they’d like to openly access their finances, transactions, and balances when paying online. The more transparency between property managers and customers the less room for disagreement or misunderstanding so the happier customers will be with your service.
For additional control, provide customers with payment flexibility, integrate payment processors that……

The Importance of Property Manager-Tenant Communications


The Importance of Property Manager-Tenant Communications

One of the most important responsibilities for any property manager is to communicate with their tenants.  In the long-term, communicating frequently with tenants will enable many benefits for the property manager.  Keeping communication at the center of the customer service strategy helps managers to better understand and cater to their tenant’s needs while tenants will have gained better insight into the unit they invest in.  In this blog post, we discuss the long-term benefits that consistent property management communication has for the company.
1) Increased value for your business
Tenant retention drives immense value for your business and increases the bottom line, which is why it’s one of the most important functions of managing apartments.  According to RentPrep, when you successfully retain one tenant itself, the company can save an average of $1,750 per unit per month from tenant turnover costs like administrative work, vacancy, and marketing. For a property of 100 units with a 95% retention rate, property management companies save close to $2 million per year.  The best way to avoid turnover and increase retention is to keep your communications with tenants ongoing.
2) A sense of community in your properties
Following up with tenants regularly helps you to build a long-term relationship with them.  In turn, they feel that they are part of the community. They will be more invested in the place they call home.  Building positive relations will also lead to more harmony and fewer conflicts that managers would otherwise need to dedicate their time to.  Her……

Many Performance Metrics Holding Steady as Summer Comes to an End


Many Performance Metrics Holding Steady as Summer Comes to an End

Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer. And what a summer it was for all of us!
On a national basis, multifamily data and metrics have been hovering around the same points since mid-summer. 
When measured year over year, traffic has not yet fully recovered since the beginning of the pandemic, when it saw a massive 75% drop.
But in the week ending on Sept. 6, we saw the biggest closing of that YoY gap since March. 
Interestingly, the leases per property metric was actually ahead of where it was when compared to one year ago. Since the middle of the summer, this metric has been basically the same or slightly ahead of where it was at the same point in 2019.
As we examine the remainder of the summer months, national occupancy and leased percentage rates were down anywhere between 0.1% and 1% YoY. However, broadly speaking, this was a better performance than was expected considering the impact the pandemic has had on every sector of the U.S. and global economies. 
Conversely, national net effective rent has been consistently down about 8% YoY, although certain individual markets have experienced steeper drops – particularly the coastal MSAs. 
With the broader context in mind, here are some of the specific takeaways from the week that ended on Sept. 6: 

Nationally, traffic was down 0.4% WoW and 8.3% YoY. Leases were down 4.8% from the preceding week but up by 6.7% when compared to the same time last year. 
The national occupancy r……

Using Open Rate to Improve Multifamily Email Performance

Introduction
The majority of industries rely on email marketing to promote their content and products and engage with their users. In multifamily, email marketing can help convert prospects to residents and retain existing residents. However, effective email marketing is reliant on multiple variables; namely:

Open Rate
Click-Through Rate
Send Frequency

Optimizing these three variables will enhance multifamily email performance and increase outreach.
What is Open Rate?
To begin, what is Open Rate (OR)? OR is one of several metrics that reflect the level of engagement prospects have with the content you send them. The higher the OR, the higher the engagement. Before proceeding, it’s important to define when an email is considered ‘open’. An email is considered ‘open’ only when images are enabled. Most emails enable images automatically. Sometimes though, users will need to enable images manually.
Number of Opens
Now that you know how an open email is defined, how are those opens counted? First, there are the number of opens. The number of opens is the number of times an individual user opens an email. For example, if a user receives an email and opens it 5 times, then the number of opens is 5.
Unique Opens
Alternatively, ‘unique opens’ is the number of unique people who have opened an email. Again, say a user receives and opens an email and then opens it four more times. The unique open is counted as one, the total number of opens is 5.
How is Open Rate Calculated?
Seeing as the OR is crucial……

Stack Your Tech Strategically and Responsibly


Stack Your Tech Strategically and Responsibly

With the multifamily industry entrenched in the world of social distancing, many operators have been quickly vetting and implementing new technologies to help support their operations. Adopting a tech provider can often be a daunting task, as there are various points of consideration, such as cost, tech support, integration and the identification of performance benchmarks. 
Social distancing and a new baseline of operations has also shifted the factors that impact the decision to implement new technology.
First and foremost, operators should be aware of these factors when vetting the provider. Seeking systems with an open API model serves as a solid starting point, because they are more easily integrated. Here are some equally important things to look for during the due diligence process: 
Check references 
Checking references of PropTech providers is an excellent way to evaluate the way they conduct business. In addition to inquiring about their support levels for onsite staff, the quality of their communication during the implementation process and the responsiveness of their team, it’s a great way to see how quickly they are able to pivot. The global pandemic introduced an abundance of variables not witnessed in the industry for quite some time, or maybe ever. The ability of a PropTech provider to pivot quickly and provide solutions to new problems will be crucial to the success of a business.
Remote assistance 
A customer-service element is more crucial than ever in a social distancing environment. Onboarding a tech provider is never an instant process, and your team a……

Which Commercial Property Sectors are Doing the Best During the Pandemic, and Which Ones Are Hurting?

Together with almost every other sector of the economy, commercial property has been disrupted by Coronavirus and social distancing. For many years, the main declining CRE sector has been retail. However, this sector is no longer suffering alone, since the pandemic is hurting most other CRE sectors: hospitality, office, multi-family, personal services, restaurant, entertainment, and construction.
A decline in retail space may result in greater demand for industrial space. For the industrial sector properties, demand for storage space from online stores may continue to increase after the coronavirus pandemic. The online shopping industry has created a strong demand for logistic space and warehouse, increasing record asset values and rental rates for industrial properties, while reducing demand for some retail properties.  
However, it’s worth noting that some areas of retail are still doing well. Shopping centers are still open because they have supermarkets that are all trading exceptionally well.  The non-discretionary retail segment will probably emerge from this crisis as one of the most resilient commercial property sectors.
The performance of commercial office buildings depends on the underlying resilience of the tenant’s business. For instance, where tenants are government departments and big multinational companies with employees working from home, the effects are likely to be minimal. However, those with tenants whose business model has been significantly disrupted by social distancing are being deeply affected.
 The aftershock is likely to affect various types of commercial property differently. Shopping malls will probably take some time to return to full capacity, as people remain worried abo……

7 Methods for Collecting Payments: What Works Best for Property Managers

Collecting Payments of Property ManagerProperty managers have a lot of responsibilities but if they can’t effectively collect fees from their customers then they can’t do much else. While it may be cliché, it’s true – cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, so property managers find effective, efficient, and convenient methods to collect payments to enable growth, enhance customer service, and optimize planning.

Cash
Cash remains a preferred payment method for many Americans which means this option keeps many customers happy, but alternatives such as electric, debit, and credit are quickly becoming more favorable to Americans. For businesses, the benefit to cash, once it’s handed over to you, is that it’s readily available to be used without no transaction fees, waiting periods, or account holds.
However, cash payments can pose challenges to property management companies, it’s more difficult to anticipate which can throw off planning. To collect cash payments, companies require staff to be available when customers come into the office which can slow productivity by interrupting other work and increase labor costs. Ultimately cash is difficult to document requiring manual steps which can disrupt staff for long periods of time and its hard to trace because it is not electronic.
Personal Checks
Personal checks offer many of the same problems as cash, they are difficult to trace and time-consuming to document. They can also bounce or be put on holds which can delay the time it takes for companies to access funds. A bounced check can cause turmoil between customers and property managers diminishing customer relat……

Gyms Deemed Safe with Sanitizing Protocol


Gyms Deemed Safe with Sanitizing Protocol

Pandemic or no pandemic, sanitization is always in style. Property managers stretching their maintenance team thin trying to keep up with the recent increase of cleaning demand can be stressful to everyone, and if the standards can’t be met, residents ultimately suffer.
 
In this post, I’ll share the latest news in sanitizing and disinfecting to prevent COVID-19, how it may affect your property, and provide tips for what to do next.
Safe & Sanitized
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and MXM, a technology company specializing in member tracking within the fitness industry, found that fitness facilities are safe and are not contributing to the spread of COVID-19. They analyzed member check-in data across 2,873 gyms, sports clubs and boutique fitness centers from May to August 2020. “The check-in data proves that health clubs – when following strict cleaning and safety protocols – are safe,” said Brent Darden, IHRSA interim president and CEO. 
 
Overall, the data they gathered proved two major points: 
1.) Properly sanitized gyms are safe for employees and members and 
2.) Gyms are not linked to spikes or spreading of COVID-19.
Our Survey Results
Gathering feedback from residents is important to understand their wants, needs, and priorities. In our most recent survey, we asked more than 1,000 residents about their interest in group fitness activities. 98% of residents at two properties surveyed said they would take a class if, and only if, protocols and CDC guidelines were in place. With the help of an online am……