While 2020 can still lay claim to the most chaotic year the apartment industry (and perhaps everybody else) has ever experienced, we didn’t exactly get back to business-as-usual in 2021.
Sure, some semblance of normalcy returned, but 2021 also was a year of continued adjustments, ever-changing protocols, and prolonged staff shortages—all while the industry continued to push the envelope from a technology perspective.
Here is a look at some of the major multifamily storylines from the year: continue
Artificial intelligence and automation were gradually adopted by the multifamily industry in recent years due to their assist value. While they weren’t designed to replace associates, AI and automation can handle an abundance of tedious day-to-day tasks and enable associates to concentrate on higher-level initiatives.
One of the telling side effects of the pandemic, however, has been the labor shortage—a trend that has transcended multifamily and affected virtually every industry. Now, apartment operators are leaning on AI and automation not only for their assist value, but also to help compensate for the dearth of associates.
That was one of the primary takeaways of the National Multifamily Housing Council’s OPTECH conference last month in National Harbor, Maryland. Experts at the event discussed many of the industry’s pressing issues that have arisen in an unprecedented environment for both consumers and associates.
Here is a look at some of the additional topics discussed: continue
On the business side, multifamily and single-family rentals had always been distinct entities. An operator either managed one or the other with very little crossover.
But that is changing. As the single-family market becomes increasingly popular, many of the big players in the multifamily space are beginning to develop single-family, build-to-rent divisions. A measured approach is required, however, as panelists discussed at the 2021 OPTECH session Opportunities and Risks in the Single-Family Rental Market. continue
The apartment industry has always utilized data to some degree. But the metrics used in the past were often those of a general variety that nearly anyone could access, including broad regional trends and basic submarket data.
While helpful on the surface, those data points didn’t help operators answer higher-level questions, such as whether certain amenities or upgraded finishes would help command premiums in a given submarket, or whether the psychographics of a specific area pointed to an uptick in potential renters. continue
Before the tech revolution, the user experience in multifamily was always collaborative. The user—the person searching for an apartment home—would meet with members from the property team, or at the very least connect with them over the phone.
Tech has shown us that many leasing functions, from the home search and application processes to the tour itself, can be done digitally. But in the quest to provide a wide array of expedient digital options, some property teams have drifted too far from the original roots of the renter journey. In some cases, the journey is entirely bereft of human contact.
And while an interaction-free option might appeal to some renters, the best user experience typically occurs with a mix of tech and old-fashioned human contact.
Here are some ways to strike that balance: continue
Entrata is proud to tell the world that our very own industry principal, Virginia Love, has been named a 2021 Multifamily Influencer by GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum. She is profiled in the publication’s October issue and recognized on GlobeSt.com, as well as in the website’s email newsletters. Virginia is our second team member to be named to the list. President Chase Harrington was named a Multifamily Influencer in 2019. continue
For property managers, a solid tech platform consolidates marketing, leasing, and resident management functions to cut out redundant data-entry, streamline workflows, and consolidate data for better reporting. But even in a world of single-platform solutions, a few property management workflows often remain stubbornly apart.
Utility billing is one example, with many properties relying on third-party billing services to facilitate utility billing, maximize recapture, and decrease delinquencies. Unfortunately, this often means efficiencies are lost. continue
Entrata’s Virginia Love Featured in Apartmentalize Session
The tech revolution gradually made the apartment industry more adaptable to change. It’s a good thing, too, because multifamily teams have never had to adjust more than they did last year in a suddenly contactless world.
Had the pandemic arrived, say, 15 years earlier, operators and onsite teams would have had considerable difficulty modifying their set-in-place, non-tech-savvy ways. But modernized apartment professionals have experience beta testing new tech, instituting rollout plans and modifying processes on the fly to make them more efficient.
That experience has proved invaluable through the early and current stages of the pandemic and has enabled teams to navigate through the chaos as efficiently as possible. A panel of experts, moderated by Entrata Industry Principal Virginia Love, recently discussed ways the industry has deftly altered its approach in the Apartmentalize 2021 session Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick: The Art of Pivot. continue
Fraud attempts across industries in the US are up an average of 25% this year, and according to a recent study conducted by Entrata, the property management industry is feeling the impact of this rise in fraudulent activity. The survey findings reveal rapid growth in the number of fraud attempts and increased concern about the impact these cases are having on operations. The results provide a unique view into the types of fraud plaguing the industry, the frequency of such attempts, and shed light on ways new technology may help combat these issues. continue
Entrata’s Trevor Riley Shares Wisdom at Apartmentalize 2021
Now that 2020 has firmly underscored the idea that an agent-led tour isn’t the only option, it’s safe to say that processes surrounding apartment touring will be ever evolving.
A myriad of tour options now exist, and communities across the nation are trying to determine the approach that best attracts renters at their particular locale. Trevor Riley, senior vice president of product for Entrata, discussed the various tour types and morphing renter preferences at the Apartmentalize 2021 session What’s Next in Apartment Touring? continue