Last modified on January 16th, 2018
By Elizabeth Millar
Today’s renters look for homes that meet their digital needs. The National Association of Realtors recently published an article about redefining community spaces – making them more digitally friendly for apartment shoppers. While many multifamily properties don’t have the budget that a municipality does to invest in an Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure, we found some interesting ideas that you can use to make your property more appealing to prospects and current renters.
Update Your Property’s Reception Area
The trend is already starting, properties are starting to have a lobby-iPad. We aren’t suggesting you ditch the community computer, but you could be doing so much more to attract and retain tenants. The lobby iPad (or community computer) can serve not only current residents, but allow interested renters to apply on-the-spot while they are checking out the property.
Pew Research reported that there were still 13% of Americans who didn’t use the internet last year, so making it possible for these renters to comply with leasing rules is essential. By the way, 57% of these non-connected people are 50 or older, so if you service retirees, and those nearing retirement age, consider offering a mini-course for new residents on how to use the portal. For younger tenants, and those who are connected 24/7, adding a docking station, or furniture that has built-in Wi-Fi and charging capabilities will send a message your company embraces modern technology.
Take Advantage of Solar Energy
Do you have wonderful green spaces that draw prospects to your property? Think about adding a solar-powered charging station. Options currently on the market include benches, free-standing night lights and even recycling bins or trash cans. Properties on the local bus route might consider offering access and charging services in a hut that provides protection from the weather, bike racks, and a seating area.
Boost Security and Increase Renter Satisfaction with IoT
Did you know that 86% of Millennials would be willing to pay roughly 20% more in rent if they could find a rental unit equipped with remote thermostat controls, smart locks, and automated lighting? When you’re considering whether to include free Wi-Fi as part of the lease package, explore options for keyless entry, smart locks on the community pool and in-unit features that appeal to your resident demographics.
Offer Something Free (Just Because You Can)
Having Wi-Fi access in a rental residence is almost three times as important as having an in-unit washer and dryer (34% compared to 13%). Not offering free Wi-Fi may soon be the equivalent of not offering air conditioning or indoor plumbing. Adding the service may be less than $5 per unit, depending on which geographic area you’re located in and your local provider. While we are talking about convenient access, let’s talk about helping your tenants manage their time better. Converting your laundry room into a smart facility might include updating with web-connected washers and drivers that let tenants pay with a smart card or electronic wallet, and check machine availability and the status of their laundry from the mobile device. They can also send in a maintenance request if a machine isn’t working, and managers can monitor revenue per machine and maintenance requests remotely, too.
Modern tenants and property managers both appreciate the convenience that comes with modern technology. Sometimes property managers focus heavily on staying up with their competition. When it comes to being connected, taking the lead may be the best approach when you want to boost occupancy and retention rates. Henry Ford, Sr. once said, “The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” Are you following the pack or blazing new trails?
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