A segment of renters doesn’t particularly care whether their apartment homes are tech-enabled. Then there is the other 90-plus percent.
Once considered a luxury, tech features have transformed to a necessity in the apartment world, as modern-day renters harbor expectations for a connected home. But all tech features are not created equal. Residents might be OK without voice-activated roller shades, but they certainly wouldn’t be happy without Wi-Fi.
In a further indication of evolving renter preferences, a recent Entrata study revealed that renters prefer smart-home features over swimming pools.
With that in mind, here are three tech trends that residents want to see – or perhaps expect to see – when they move into a new apartment community.
Connectivity to the max
In-home and community-wide wireless access are essentially standard at this point, but new apartment developments are making it even more convenient with well-placed wireless hubs and strategically placed smart outlets. This makes it easier for residents to utilize smart-home features, such as programmable thermostats, smart washers/dryers and keyless entry. The rising prominence of voice-activated devices, such as Alexa, is underscored by the notion that 46 percent of Americans utilize voice search on a daily basis to look for local businesses. This indicates that their desire to perform tasks at home will continue to increase, emphasizing the need for strong connectivity.
Why take the time to write a check, take the elevator down seven stories and hope a leasing associate is present to receive a rent payment? Your residents shouldn’t need to ask that question. They should have access to an online portal to pay rent, submit service requests and learn about community activities. And they shouldn’t have to scroll through several web pages to find what they’re seeking.
Yet, a recent renter study found that 43 percent of residents were unable to pay rent and other fees online, and 40 percent of prospects still are unable to easily find a way to lease online. Not only should your communities offer resident and prospect portals with various capabilities – they should be easy to find and easy to use.
As more and more Americans have the freedom to work remotely, apartment communities that cater to that practice have a distinct edge. Onsite co-working spaces are becoming increasingly common, many featuring individual work pods. This underscores the overall need for flexibility throughout the community, as many residents now want to be able to work poolside or have food delivered to the common-area spaces. Instead of being limiting, technology at your community should empower residents to live and work precisely how they want to.
It is no secret that tech is increasingly working its way into the homes of apartment communities. But the degree of impact apartment operators glean from that tech can be exponentially increased based on how strategically it is implemented.