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5 Things U.S. BTR Expert Mike Ablon Shared With Us At Dublin Future Of Beds

Pool area at a PegasusAblon multifamily property in Dallas/Fort Worth

For Mike Ablon, founding partner of Dallas/Fort Worth-based PegasusAblon, keeping track of what current  — and future — customers are looking for is the bottom line.

The keynote speaker at Bisnow’s The Future of Beds in Dublin event on 18 September has built and managed thousands of rented residential managed apartments in the competitive U.S. market.

Here are five of his top pointers for successful build-to-rent that emerged from his interview with William Fry partner Karen Sheil.

1. Technology has to be flexible. Ablon said a mistake he made in the past was providing extras like smart TVs and iPod docking stations. “Moore’s Law says technology doubles every two years,” he said. “Originally, I put in technology that aged too fast. I did a one size fits all. I had too much WiFi for a casual user, but not enough for a gamer. Now, I’d have a USB port, so no matter what Samsung or Apple are doing, it can all plug in as opposed to being product specific. When you’re working with technology you have to stay at the strategy level and be careful when you get down to the execution."

2. The world is shifting from a consumer to an experience-based economy. “There was an arms race among the baby boomers to see who could consume more,” Ablon said. “We’re morphing from a consumer-based economy to experience with the millennials. But when I’m building, I’m really not building for millennials, I’m building for my overall age set. The millennial is just the vanguard, they’re the first early adopters and everybody else is following along."

William Fry's Karen Sheil and PegasusAblon's Mike Ablon

3. Dogs matter. “Our millennials are dating longer, they’re getting married later and they’re more mobile. The last apartment complex I built had 275 units and 200 dogs. I built a dog park into one of the courtyards. Part of the experience-based economy is knowing that society morphs, and how you stay ahead of it.

4. Figure out what is relevant. “Somebody asked Henry Ford if he had interviewed 100 people to find out they’re looking for. He said, yes, 99 of them said they wanted a faster horse. If you ask people what they want, they will typically give you a list of stuff. If you give them iPhone, they’ll say, that’s what I was looking for.”

5. Humanity and technology are undergoing a paradigm shift. “We’re probably 25 years into a 50-year shift. We’re going to see radical change in the next 25 years. That’s also going to lead to more rental than ownership in Dublin.”