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What property managers have learned and anticipate after a year unlike any other

In a year in which so much has changed, the ways in which multifamily property is managed is no exception, and one of the most prominent shifts in the industry has taken place in leasing operations.

During the height of the national lockdown, management companies had to pivot to online workflows. This ushered in widespread adoption of virtual showings and artificial intelligence.

An unexpected surprise, however, was the positive impact that this shift had on efficiency and satisfaction — on both the resident and employee level.

Virtual showings

The essential banning of face-to-face interactions posed quite the challenge for the property management industry, especially in leasing operations. How does one show an apartment unit in such an environment?

This is where virtual showings came to the forefront, allowing operators to continue to do business, while allowing those who needed and/or wanted to view new dwellings to do so — safely.

Interestingly, it turns out that many renters actually like having the option to do virtual showings. A combined 53% of renters said that post-pandemic, they would want to view units virtually. 80% of renters who signed a new lease during the pandemic and participated in a virtual showing said they were satisfied with it.

Artificial intelligence

Confusion ensued when all offices were shuttered in the early days of the lockdown, especially for leasing agents. Who would field those valuable incoming prospect calls?

Internal AppFolio data shows that 60 percent of prospective renters will move on if their inquiry is not responded to within 30 minutes. This is where AI-powered leasing agents came into play. Not being bound to a physical location or social distancing requirements, they were able to ensure business continuity for those companies that were early adopters of the technology. Because they are on call 24/7 and can respond to inquiries instantly, having one “on staff” can increase rental applications by 75%, which leads to double the number of move-ins. And the benefits are seen beyond the rent roll: In a survey by AppFolio of over 200 property managers, the top 3 benefits they saw in using AI-infused automation tools were: 1. Speeding up processes (40.7%); 2. Standardizing processes (27.9%); 3. Freeing up time to focus on higher value work (22.7%) — all of which can have a major impact on employee satisfaction and retention, which as you are well aware is a major challenge in property management.

To learn more about how leasing has changed, we reached out to several leaders in the industry, who reflected on the impacts of these technologies and how they will continue to impact the post-pandemic future. Have a look at the full article here.