A New Report from NAA Sponsored by AppFolio Reveals Top Challenges Facing Property Management Industry

Last modified on October 14th, 2021
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From transitioning to remote work to the sudden urgency in adopting technology to carry out everyday operations, the general business landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. 

Similarly, the property management industry has faced challenges and has had to accelerate technology adoption to meet the demands of this new reality.

To better understand the critical challenges property managers face day in and day out, AppFolio worked with the National Apartment Association (NAA) to survey industry professionals from across the country. 

So what are some of the top takeaways? 

  • HR, Staffing, & Recruitment is by far the most urgent challenge for property managers.
  • Staffing issues exacerbate the other top challenges, which include: 
    • Operational Efficiencies: the inability to backfill positions and/or the influx of inexperienced new hires that require training means teams have to do more with less – contributing to inefficiencies within property management operations.
    • Maximizing Revenue & Profits: The need to attract/retain talent is creating an environment for increased benefit packages that is not yet being offset by increased revenue
  • Staffing challenges increase with larger organizations. 
  • Issues with Staffing, Operational Efficiencies, and Maximizing Revenue & Profits are more evenly distributed in the Small and Medium Business segment. 

“By and large, the industry is grappling with labor market challenges regardless of type or location of rental properties. And firms are embracing an array of solutions in response, from utilizing technology like virtual tours and leasing, to more traditional approaches such as cross-training or hiring more recruiters. All stakeholders can continue to learn and grow from these decisions as the industry continues to chart a path forward,” said Paula Munger, NAA Assistant Vice President, Industry Research & Analysis

HR, Staffing, and Recruitment is (still) the most urgent challenge for property management businesses

Recruitment and turnover have historically been challenges for the industry. Pre-pandemic data from NAA shows that the property management industry was suffering from a turnover rate of 32.7%, a figure significantly higher than the average turnover rate across all other industries. 

The pandemic-induced rethinking of work, workplace, and workforce has only exacerbated the problem. In the new NAA report sponsored by AppFolio, 74% of respondents selected HR, Staffing and Recruitment as one of their top three challenges, with 50% noting it as their primary challenge. 

“This research is critical to understanding the pain points of the rental housing industry and provides valuable insights into how the industry is tackling the challenges experienced on the ground,” continues Munger.  

Operational Efficiencies and Maximizing Revenue & Profits rounded out the top 3 challenges

62.8% of survey respondents ranked Operational Efficiencies as one of their top three challenges, with 10.2% selecting it as their most pressing difficulty. Finding high-quality vendors, freeing up teams from labor-intensive processes, and reducing costs were found to be the top challenges within this category. 

47.6% of respondents selected Maximizing Revenue & Profits as one of their top three challenges. 13.7% ranked it as their top challenge.

Stacy Holden, Senior Director and Industry Principal at AppFolio, added, “Work and career expectations have changed. Materials are growing more expensive, and profit margins are thinning. But leveraging the right technology can help counter this. While we’ve seen the impact technology and continued agility have on navigating uncertain times, there’s much we can do to support property management teams.” 

If interested in joining the conversation and discovering ways to overcome staffing challenges, join Stacy and others in a live workshop on November 17. Check back soon for more details.

Click here to explore the AppFolio / NAA report in its entirety. It contains invaluable, timely, and robust data to help you keep a finger on the national pulse of the property management industry, as well as solutions to help overcome the most pressing issues of today.

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