We hosted a great webinar with Grace Hill featuring Mike Whaling, technology expert in the Multifamily industry.

Mike shared information on which technology amenities residents are looking for and covered the challenges that property managers face in providing these services with specific recommendations for ways you can up-grade your property’s amenities to suit the needs of today’s renters. Here’s the recorded webinar and the presentation slides with a few questions we didn’t have time to answer.

Video

Slides

Q: What are the brand names of the access controls you recommend? We specifically need something that has good backups for internet/power outages.
For gate control systems and exterior entrances, we’ve used systems like Doorking and Viscount for years. In the buildings, we often look to what’s happening in the hospitality market. Electronic door locks from providers like Kaba Multihousing and Salto work great, and can often cost less in the long run compared to mechanical locks.

As far as battery backups, just make sure the system is designed properly from the start. For the electronic door locks, doors with heavy traffic should be hardwired to a power supply and a supporting battery backup system, while locks at apartment doors can be battery-powered (we recommend changing the batteries whenever a unit turns over).

Q. I hear from many onsite teams that residents do not want to text or receive text messages from us due to it is “invading their privacy.” What are your thoughts on this? How do we get residents on board to receive alerts or important messages?
It’s best to ask residents how they prefer to receive communication from you. The Online Renter study from SatisFacts showed most residents prefer to receive communication via email or phone call, with a much smaller percentage preferring text messages. Make sure you have their email address and cell phone number, then send your updates in the manner preferred by the resident.

Q. How do we go about finding a partner for energy and building management?
Understand what you’re trying to achieve first. Are you going for LEED certification? Are you just trying to reduce energy costs? Establish your goals, then identify what you need in a partner. You may need a vendor to help supply energy efficient appliances, or you may need a consultant to help with a full energy audit of your property — they’re two very different things.

Q. If you had one thing you would do right now, what would be the one with the best payback?
Take care of the basics. I’d make sure I had a network backbone that can support the advanced services that residents will expect to have, so I’d say investing in a very robust network (preferably fiber-based) would be the best place to start. Next, I’d review my telecom service agreements (including Wi-Fi) and make sure they’re in line with my business model and let me deliver a high level of service to my residents. If you have a solid network and good telecom partners, you’ll put your property in a great position to offer additional technology services to residents going forward.