The global pandemic has affected not only the world´s health and economy but also the view on property management.
The past year has been a challenging one for the multifamily property management industry, creating massive changes and forcing the industry to rethink its objectives and meet resident’s and prospect’s needs. The pandemic also brought new opportunities for multifamily owners, having to reassess resident retention strategies and value demonstration.
According to Debi Wherry from the Multifamily Executive (2020), there are 5 new trends to watch out for in Multifamily property management for 2021. The following is a list of what to expect for the future of the industry.
To demonstrate value and increase resident satisfaction, customer service will become a crucial component. Owing to the new ways of working and living, digital communication will be on the upfront on contacting prospects and residents, though some may continue to request face-to-face interactions. The use of smartphone apps, emails, and video chats will be the most suitable tools for such quality services, and will also increase the frequency of communications. This also means response times and maintenance requests must be agile, quick, efficient, and prioritized, especially as the volume of requests increases and residents expect almost real-time responses. Due to the amount residents now spend in their homes, what was then a minor inconvenience can rapidly change to a bigger problem and unsatisfied residents, therefore, on-site teams must quickly manage and respond to the request, as well as surpass expectations to offer a better service.
Technology-oriented resources would be critical as well to optimize the prospecting process within an environment still affected by Covid-19 and its sanitary restrictions. As potential residents are now demanding the introduction of virtual 3D home tours, both self-guided or through realtor guidance to solve any upcoming doubt. As mentioned by Real Estate specialists from Zillow, Quentin Dane, such tools are valuable business solutions as they are faster, safer, and more convenient for prospects; while also becoming more ideal for massive advertising for realtors, helping them also to accelerate showings and biddings (2020).
2. Retention of qualified talent
Although quality customer service is important, this could not be done without a highly skilled staff attending resident satisfaction and carrying out day to day operations. For this reason, hiring and maintaining a highly-skilled property management and maintenance team is very important. However, finding and keeping such talent might become a challenge in 2021 because this is a very competitive and growing industry, therefore we have plenty of experienced and trained contenders, but a shortage of qualified aspirants. This means that companies must succeed in attracting highly skilled talent by offering better salaries, and provide training, education, and support for employees. Having a qualified and professional teams means resident satisfaction and retention
3. Economy and rent delinquency
While the economic outlook pointed to a social crisis, rental delinquency for the multifamily property management industry has not escalated as expected. The National Multifamily Housing Council expresses that there has been a small increase in overall delinquency versus de prior year, as well a decrease in on-time payments. Rent collections have outperformed the expectations during the pandemic, however, it is still important to point out that many families are still struggling, and it is difficult to predict what rental delinquency will look like in the future, due to employment recovery and stimulus checks.
4. Social interactions through digital connectivity
It is understandable that residents’ eagerness to resume a “normal” way of living is pushing them towards getting involved in more social activities. Nonetheless, it is still premature to leave aside the associated risk of contagion, and property management has a vital role in not only spreading the proper contingency measures out but to facilitate more structured options for their tenant’s leisure and entertainment. Among well proven digital initiatives for social connectivity, the implementation of multi-purpose Zoom workshops, online gatherings and celebrations around dynamics like trivia, yoga, or book discussion groups, and the implementation of creativity programs are immensely appreciated among apartment holders within multi-families. Therefore, a better value proposition would consider to include some of those among their business models in 2021.
5. Shape value proposition according to the new context
Considering how the work, education, and leisure context is forecasted to develop in 2021, Multi-families must address the upcoming needs of a more sedentary lifestyle among their residents. To provide more suitable inbound spaces is going to make a huge difference in fostering resident retention while translating into a major competitive advantage to attract potential newcomers. According to Wherry, adding high-speed internet options, risk-free co-working spaces, reservation-based meeting rooms, or including /enhancing well being common areas like outdoor green spaces could represent a total game-changer within the industry(2020).
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Wherry, D. (2020, November 16). Six Trends to Watch for in Multifamily Property Management in 2021. Retrieved January 04, 2021, from https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/property-management/six-trends-to-watch-for-in-multifamily-property-management-in-2021_o