The days of simply collecting rent and making sure the grass is trimmed are long gone for today’s multifamily owners and managers. To be an efficient competitor requires more skills and knowledge than in the past, especially for small property owners. Some of today’s savvier owners are improving bottom lines by leveraging technology and other resources. They are discovering that what works for top leading competitors can also work for them.
Technology is the one factor that has most influenced property management in recent years and offers the greatest money saving potential. Options ranging from online tenant payment records to selling integrated cable and telephone services are creating cost reducing opportunities and greater profit potential. Small property owners can leverage such features and manage their businesses more efficiently. For example, a property staffed too lightly risks losing potential renters who cannot wait while one person fields phone calls and deliveries. Web based property management applications like RealPage can offer solutions to these problems. RealPage, which calls its platform OnSite, provides a service that forwards unanswered leasing office calls to an off site RealPage provider. When the properties management staff uses the OneSite system to update prices, upcoming vacancies, and rentals; the off site team can access the most recent information allowing them to answer questions about leasing, availability, and the properties features. The off site provider can also log maintenance calls and even dispatch logged maintenance calls directly to a repair technicians personal digital assistant, shortening the time between request and action, improving resident retention through the use of technology platforms.
Web based call monitoring is another useful technology tool, since many potential renters receive a first impression of an apartment property over the phone. At any time, owners and managers can monitor these calls to assess the quality of information being given. The system can help them determine if leasing consultants are promoting the community properly and creating an image that encourages prospects to visit. This valuable tool also allows managers and the leasing staff to analyze how and when calls come in, which helps determine staffing needs. Companies such as CallSource can forward these calls in email attachments to improve marketing analysis by tracking lead generation sources. Call monitoring also helps to ensure that staff responses comply with fair housing guidelines.
Multifamily properties offer a wide range of opportunities for investors of all sizes in both large and small markets. While large property owners and managers often benefit from economies of scale, small-property owners can implement similar cost-saving strategies to retain their assets’ value and remain competitive in the marketplace. By leveraging technology and other systems, commercial real estate professionals can help to improve properties’ value in this very active market.