Technology Takes Off: Multifamily Industry Relies on Tech-Based Solutions to Cope with Pandemic
By Joe Greenblatt, President/CEO Sunrise Management
By Joe Greenblatt, President/CEO Sunrise Management
May 28, 2020
Even before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, emerging technologies were rapidly changing the face of the multifamily industry. But concerns related to safety and social distancing amidst the crisis have accelerated the ever-evolving high-tech boom.
Virtual tools have produced inventive new options for marketing, leasing, connectivity, security, business intelligence, resident finance, community management and more, allowing property managers to operate effectively and
efficiently while practicing social distancing. An array of tech-based solutions – from artificial intelligence to mobile leasing apps – has effectively helped the industry navigate leasing and property management operations throughout the pandemic, among them:
Before signing on a lease’s dotted line, prospective tenants can “experience” their new home and lifestyle through options such as 3D walkthroughs using virtual reality technology, self-scheduled contact free apartment tours monitored by a smart lock, live video chats, recorded apartment tour videos, and virtual furniture staging. This opens up the ability for long distance relocations – allowing potential tenants to “see” where they could be living from miles away – offering an ideal option for those trying to limit contact during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Custom Fitness Options
As people retreat to work from home, the demand for onsite amenities could increase. Fortunately, a more personalized and tech friendly approach to health and wellness is now gaining ground in the multifamily industry. From video driven spin classes to healthy meal delivery services via an app to meditation rooms, residents want a customizable and creative approach to their well-being.
Real Time Transportation Information
Many millennials are opting out of car ownership and depending more upon public transportation, ride sharing and even car rental services. To this end, residents need to be kept up to the minute on timetables and schedules. Savvy property owners can incorporate electronic transit screens into their lobby spaces where, at a glance, residents can see when and where their rides are arriving or departing.
Smart Home Technology
It’s no surprise that even the not-so-tech-savvy people are reaching for their smartphones or devices to accomplish many tasks – especially if adhering to stay to home mandates. Taking advantage of this technology is key to making residents’ experiences the best they can be. Examples of what residents want (expect!) include online payment options, high-speed internet, programmable thermostats, connected door locks, smart outlets and automated lighting.
Considered a one-stop shop for everyone living at a property, a dedicated community application available on smartphones and personal devices allows residents to reserve amenity spaces like club rooms and multi-purpose areas, get package delivery notifications, pay rent, sell items, etc. Important community-wide announcements, from updates about Covid-19 protocols to special neighborhood events to emergency responses, can be broadcast here as well.
High-speed internet connectivity should not stop at the doorway of an apartment. When a tenant goes to the pool, the gym or the onsite dog groom facility, residents want to be in range continuously to a high speed, seamless internet connection.
Moving away beyond Alexa and Siri, the range of offerings made possible by artificial intelligence (AI) grows exponentially every year, A definite boon for property managers during the pandemic, AI includes automatic maintenance updates and service calls, enhanced smart home technology, facial recognition (to help determine who is coming and going from a community) as well as chatbot technology in which residents can have simple questions answered 24/7, pay bills, renew leases and schedule maintenance all within the confines of their home. Prior to a tenant moving in, AI can be utilized to screen tenants, perform automatic credit checks and schedule appointments and viewings.
According to a recent Forbes article, “Integrating smart devices and high-tech building management systems is not only essential to attracting and retaining renters of all ages, but the cost savings can be a win-win for residents and property managers alike.”
It’s important that as technology moves forward at a blistering speed, we embrace and understand all the benefits it has for us and for our tenants – especially during these uncertain times. The emergence of innovative new technologies offers many dynamic opportunities for our industry, and will also enable us to recover more rapidly from the disruption of this most recent crisis.
Joe Greenblatt is President and CEO of San Diego-based Sunrise Management, which has specialized in the management of residential real estate since 1978.
About Sunrise Management
At Sunrise Management, we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service for multifamily apartment home communities with the highest level of care. We strive to establish a top-tier role in our industry through a people-centric culture of hospitality, trust, innovation and respect that inspires loyalty and delivers a positive living experience [PLX] to our customers. We currently serve communities throughout the southwest including Arizona, California, and Nevada.