During our most recent trip to OpTech, our team walked away with a lot of insights into the prop-tech and multifamily industries (Check out our insights here). One of the final things we mentioned in that report was how rapidly the industry was changing. With smart technology evolving over the past decade and becoming more accessible, property managers are in a position where they need to change how they conduct their operations or risk falling behind in the competitive market. Even with smart technology and AI continuing to be refined, many options are sweeping the market to help managers automate their properties and make them more easily accessible to users. There is an influx of apps and programs that can make operations run smoother and improve users’ quality of life. These are all becoming deciding factors for many residents as they choose where they want to live.
Property managers must shift their focus from enticing new renters with flashy amenities and rooms to retaining them with a positive resident experience. With more multifamily properties opening and property values decreasing, the experience will be what makes renters choose to renew their lease rather than leave as soon as it expires.
What is Resident Experience?
What exactly do we mean by Resident Experience? While it might initially conjure images of pools, gyms, and other amenities meant to entice searching residents, it is so much more than that. It encompasses the entire experience of a resident at the property, from when they move in on day one to their time living in the apartment until their experience moving out. While pools and gyms are great, they only comprise a small part of the resident’s experience and time. What encompasses that experience more is what they do outside of those amenities: when they come home from work, do laundry, turn up the AC/Heater, etc. These parts of the resident experience will make or break whether they want to live on your property or move on as soon as their lease expires.
Why is This so Important?
Especially over the past year, a lot of emphasis has shifted to how properties will need to do more than have flashy amenities if they want to hold on to their residents.
According to a market report by Zego, rent growth is turning negative for the first time since 2020, with the supply of completed multifamily properties rising going into 2024. With more and more competition entering the multifamily space, customer experience will mean everything when it comes to gaining and retaining residents. Many of the once flashy amenities we’ve mentioned, such as pools, gyms, and mail rooms, have become expected for those choosing a place to live.
Resident retention is also important when it comes to saving your property money. While vacancy can be a significant issue and bleed a property of money, the turnover rate can be just as damaging, according to an article by Real Property Management Express, stating that a resident turnover can equal three months’ rent, coupled with the cost of vacancy.
With so many new properties launching with these amenities, residents will instead look for where they will get the best experiences, from smooth move-ins to everyday life. Residents who feel cared for will be more likely to leave good reviews, pass on recommendations by word of mouth, and, most importantly, stay at your property.
How Does Geokey Help Improve Resident Experience?
In that same report by Zego, 630 multifamily professionals were surveyed to gain a full perspective on renter expectations and how multifamily managers can meet their needs. Over 75% of respondents confirmed that resident expectations have risen over the past year, with 57% saying they wanted better amenities and 44% wanting updated/renovated units. It’s clear from the report that residents are looking for more from their experience: what can we do to provide that experience?
- Geokey Makes Life Easier: Unit access is one of the significant pains plaguing residents and managers alike. Juggling a ring of keys for units, buildings, and amenities is as taxing and inconvenient for the resident as it is for the manager, who has to keep track of every key and spend the money it costs to copy and create new keys. This also doesn’t account for the cost of time and manpower it takes to make new keys.Geokey presents an access control solution that gives residents and managers an easier way to provide access to units. Using the phone as the key, users can access their unit, building, and amenities with a tap on the Geokey app.
- Geokey Brings Residents Security: Another glaring issue with traditional access control is that residents can easily copy keys and even fobs themselves without the property knowing. This is an issue for both residents and managers, as residents won’t be able to feel fully secure in their home unit, and managers cannot keep account of all of their keys or even 100% know who does and doesn’t have access. Residents not feeling safe in their homes is not just a major deciding factor for whether they will stay with your property but could also be a deciding factor for those looking to rent with you.Geokey’s access control solution provides that security. Using a combination of geolocation and the unique key tied directly to the resident’s phone, users can know they have access to their unit alone. Property managers can also be assured that only their residents can access their property and amenities. Managers will also be able to see when doors around their property are accessed and by whom, allowing them to have a detailed audit if an issue arises.
- Smooth Move-In Experience: Sometimes, the first impression is the best, and the resident’s move-in experience can set the tone for the remainder of their stay. Geokey allows managers to share this smooth move-in experience by instantaneously granting access to residents on their move-in day. No need for a drawn-out check-in at the front desk: Geokey gives the resident access as soon as it’s their move-in date!
- Automation and Interconnectivity: With Smart Technology becoming more available, it’s becoming a plausible amenity that residents are looking for in an apartment. Interconnected systems, being able to manage everything property-related from a single app (We talk about residents and managers experiencing “app fatigue” in the OpTech recap) is quickly becoming essential to the resident experience.
Geokeys solution was built to work with other integrated software and hardware beyond access control. We have integrated with many incredible partners and companies that help properties automate, decreasing the costs and manpower needed to do what would have been manual paperwork before.
Geokey provides residents and managers with more than just an amenity: it gives managers the tools they need to give their residents an amazing experience. As the industry continues to change and residents start debating where they want to live for the next year, providing that experience will be what could keep them with you or drive them away. Automating your property and giving renovations that increase your NOI and save money is what multifamily managers need to strive for if they want to stay ahead of market demand.