How to Use Technology to Make Renters Feel at Home From Day One

How to Use Technology to Make Renters Feel at Home From Day One

For apartment owners and property managers, resident turnover is a constant challenge. Residents leave for a variety of factors, and every month a unit sits unoccupied means missed profits for owners and operators.
Sometimes, a new job takes them out of town. Other times, a change to their family dynamic means their current living situation doesn’t work. While you can’t control these factors, there are certain steps managers can take to provide safe, comfortable, and welcoming environments that will appeal to both existing and new residents. Exploring smart home accessories is a great place to start.
Smart technology not only helps landlords and asset owners manage their properties better, but it also delivers an amenity that attracts residents and — most importantly — keeps them there. Everyone wants to feel safe at home, and devices such as key-free connected locks, connected access control systems, and video doorbells can help residents keep an eye on their loved ones and feel secure in their surroundings. Other popular devices such as smart thermostats, meanwhile, can save renters up to nearly 25% on heating and cooling bills.
Industry research shows that about one-third of all households have smart-home connected devices in them today, while half of households currently lacking those devices plan to purchase them within a year. There’s also no reason to believe the trend will slow anytime soon.
With that in mind, here are three ways to use smart home tech to ensure your renters see the value of your property from the moment they turn the key:

Property Management Technology Trends for 2020

Property management technology trends are rapidly changing and 2020 promises to be full of new strategies to capture the attention of savvy renters. 
More than 80 percent of prospects start their apartment search online and then spend up to three months narrowing down the list to a few properties they will visit in person before signing a lease. You want your property to stand out from the competition and nurture those leads throughout their entire online journey. 
Technology can be a big-ticket item, so it pays to be sure you are investing in products that will boost business enough to pay for themselves and increase leases.  
Here are some top considerations: 

Does the technology attract and acquire quality leads on your website?

Do the products utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and adapt?

Is the technology product analyzing data and adjusting?

Is it converting online visitors to tours, and ultimately leases?

Does the vendor partner with your multifamily team?

Attracts and Acquires Leads
You want to look for a website interface or software that identifies each consumer who visits and engages on your website, then tracks that user across multiple digital platforms. The interface should help facilitate a prospect’s research while capturing high-quality lead information on what they are looking for in an apartment. It should also prioritize leads who are ready to rent now or soon to make follow-up easier and more effective. 
The software should also measure channel performance: how well your social media a……

There’s More to Life Than Bingo, A Lifestyle Choice for Seniors

December has the calendar designation for National Bingo Month.  B-I-N-G-O serves as an interesting outline for a discussion on “Senior Housing.”  The individuals currently identified as seniors have different housing needs and expectations than the population that occupied senior housing at the turn of the century.  The multi family housing options for senior citizens has changed to serve this energetic population.  Today’s seniors have an active lifestyle and expect their housing choice to compliment this.  This post will be the first part in a series.  It will offer some observations, discussions and insider tips for you.  Helpful, if you manage any multi-family homes that are designated for today’s Seniors.
“Better Than”
The B in Bingo represents “Better Than.”
Senior Living has had a stereotypical image of Friday night bingo and Aunt Bea’s coffee klatches.  If you provide senior living communities in the 21st century, this image couldn’t be farther from today’s reality.
Senior Citizens by definition are individuals aged 62 or older.   In some cases, the range is extended to pull in ages as low as 55.  But for baby boomers, the age of social security retirement has moved to 67 years of age.  This means the individuals who qualify for housing built for seniors are actively employed.  They work a full time schedule.  Life is busy with a career.  The income received represents more than simply a supplement to a social security income.
As the dynamic for the senior population has adjusted to a vibrant active population.  The tag line for Seniors has adjust……

After 18 Years, My Time at NAA Ends in Dec 2019

December 2019 marks my final issue as Editor-in-Chief at units magazine. I was hired to produce this magazine in 2002 and have published well over 200 editions. It has truly been a pleasure learning about and reporting on the apartment industry for all these years – from the economic cycles to the technological advances. Here are 10 Things I wrote about that personally were memorable and hopefully impacted your day-to-day operations.This column appears in the Dec issue of UNITS. If you’d like a link or copy of it or any of these 10 articles below, let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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with everyone in the multifamily network has been truly rewarding. I will miss it more than you know! 1. Airbnb: Here to Stay (Dec 2015)Earlier that year at an apartment industry conference, I asked several apartment operations and technology veterans if they thought Airbnb would be a big deal for our industry. They said, “What’s Airbnb?”2. Hurricane Katrina (Oct 2005)Our industry really is at its best during awful situations such as the flooding in New Orleans. This event unfolding on TV over Labor Day was heartbreaking. However, apartment professionals throughout the country banded together to bring relief and comfort to so many. The industry continues to deliver during the many times of emergency ever since. 3. “Do You Still Like Facebook” (March 2012)Admittedly, I was not a fan of social media back in 2012. While clearly not just a short-term fad, reporting on what many apartment marketers had to say back then was fascinating……

You are responsible for your life and work happiness

You are responsible for your life and work happiness

This is the foundational principle you must embrace if you plan for happiness and success in your life and work. For many people, everything is someone else’s fault. Every problem can be explained away with reasons why they can’t affect the situation or the outcome, especially at work where it is easy to find excuses because people are so closely intertwined.
Every failure has a scapegoat that they can use to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions—failure is never the result of the choices they made.
But without taking responsibility, you’re all the more likely to look at your career as a failure because you allowed any passing wind to blow you around, all the while blaming the wind for how things turned out. When you fail to responsibly guide your direction and outcomes, you set the stage for creating a miserable life—a life that fulfills none of your dreams and aspirations.
Making excuses instead of taking one hundred percent responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and your goals are the hallmark of people who fail to succeed both in their professional lives and personal lives.
Part of the power of taking responsibility for your actions is that you silence the negative, unhelpful voice in your head. When you spend your thinking time on success and goal accomplishment, instead of on making excuses, you free up the emotional space formerly inhabited by negativity.
This is especially true as that negative voice in your head will run end……

The IT Sweet Spot: Technologies that Support a Growing Organization

Technology resources can be difficult to come by today, especially those at a reasonable price that make a genuine impact for multifamily operators. 
Multifamily organizations often grow at a rate much faster than the pace small IT teams can implement new technologies broad enough to support their expanding organization. That means IT teams have to prioritize their activities and leverage strategic solutions effectively. 
Even if your organization is not tied to a particular platform, it is important to utilize technologies to their fullest extent. In order to be a nimble organization that provides real-time answers to investor and client requests and opportunities, it is important to utilize systems that enable collaboration, workflow and decision-making.
Fortunately, there are some practices you can follow to make sure you’re choosing the technologies that can provide the most impact with limited IT resources.   
Built-in Support. First and foremost, you should look for technologies with built-in support structures that don’t require your IT team or onsite teams to provide technical support. These technologies are becoming more common as IT resources have become more expensive.
At Laramar, for example, we have recently deployed a combined helpdesk tracking solution for both IT and software support teams. We are also deploying additional functionality with Office 365, with communication platforms such as Sharepoint and Microsoft Teams. 
Integration with Property Management Systems. Nothing is more inefficient than having your onsite teams work in disparate systems with different logins. Every software application you use should be integrated with your property management sys……

Generating Submarket Data the Right Way

Generating Submarket Data the Right Way

When apartment operators are evaluating the performance of their communities, data about the surrounding submarket is absolutely critical. But not all submarket data is created equally. Although metro market reports produced by research organizations have an undeniable value in the assessment of a market’s performance, it would be a mistake for operators to rely on the submarket information presented in these reports to compare against their own property (we will get to why in just a moment).     Ultimately, the best way to understand what’s going on in your submarkets is to understand what’s going on with your comps. And to understand what’s going on with your comps, you need to do market surveys (comp benchmarking).     Beware of Regression AnalysisMetro reports from third-party organizations can provide a great sense of the overall economic and rental trends in a metro area, such as Phoenix. This is extremely valuable information for an operator to have when evaluating the current performance of the market and when making projections about the future. This is valuable information when making strategic market-wide decisions, such as do we want to acquire/build in this market or is disposition and exit a better option. Recall how some of the public REITs years ago decided to exit all other markets and focus solely on East and West coasts. However, the most relevant data for most operators is submarket data. And, unfortunately, the submarket stats in these reports can be flawed.Here’s why: the surveys used to produce these reports are conducted at the b……

Appeasing the Anti-Pet and Pet-Free Resident

Admittedly, pet owners can sometimes look through a narrow lens. Their pets are everything to them, and they often can’t fathom how anyone could see it differently. 
But at a rental property, some residents are between pets, some choose not to own them and others simply don’t like them. Perhaps they experienced a dog bite when they were younger, have allergies to certain animals or have other reasons as to why they’d rather avoid them. 
While pet enthusiasts might not be overwhelmingly sympathetic to these individuals, they are not vastly unlike any other resident. Like anyone else, they want a comfortable home, but finding one that doesn’t allow pets is becoming more challenging. After all, 60 to 65 percent of residents own a pet and there are an average of 1.3 pets per household. 
As a property manager, ways exist to strike a balance. Although you probably allow pets at your community, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to create harmony between your pet residents and those who would rather not interact with them. 
You have to screen each pet and its owner to make sure it complies with your community regulations. Additionally, you should consistently enforce your pet policies to ensure an undisruptive living experience for all residents, pet owners or otherwise.  
Part of creating a welcoming environment for anti-pet or pet-free residents involves understanding the factors most important to them. PetScreening data has confirmed the top three apartment-related concerns from non-pet owners. Here’s a look at each and what can ……

Understanding Your Audience – Marketing to Different Generations

Understanding Your Audience - Marketing to Different Generations

There are many differences between the generations, both in their values and expectations as well as in the lifestyles that they prefer to live. This can be a challenge when you are attempting to sell a product or service to a diverse audience. You may need to cater your sales and marketing message to many different generations at the same time, or you may realize that your sales team represents a different generation than the one you are marketing to. These situations represent some of the challenges that organizations face when it comes to selling to a multigenerational customer base. However, by understanding what the different generations value, you can more effectively connect with your audience and improve sales.
Knowing your market and taking the time to understand how the different generations think and feel about your product, service or brand will give you crucial information that can be helpful to the improving the sales process.  For example, does your community have a long standing history of being best in class and is well trusted?  Traditionalists, will want to hear about this before the latest technology you are using.  Does your service solve a problem for other influential clients? Your Baby Boomers will be interested in how you are helping other large clients as well.  Each generation will respond and connect with different parts of your sales messaging and process.  By tailoring your approach you can best target your audience.
There are five distinct American customer demographics.
Generation Z (Born between 1996……