Proptech 2020: How Multifamily Can Cut Costs and Boost Engagement
Technology is transforming everything we do and the real estate sector is no exception. However, the number of tech solutions available is becoming overwhelming. There are apps for everything in a multifamily development: getting in the building, locating deliveries, paying rent, booking repairs, communicating with residents — the list goes on.
This array of solutions can become extremely expensive for the property manager and tiresome for the resident. Thankfully, technology has now progressed to the point that one solution can encompass it all.
“Historically, the multifamily sector operates on very tight budgets,” said Livly founder and Managing Partner Alex Samoylovich, who came up with the idea for the company’s management software to solve the pain points he experienced managing multifamily properties himself. “Saving where possible is essential and technology is no exception. In the future, managers that are not running on this type of platform will be at a significant disadvantage.”
All The Tech
Over the last few years people have slowly added more and more systems to their operations because one unified solution didn’t exist. It’s not uncommon for a property manager to operate 10 to 15 different solutions. There has also been a move toward providing deeper levels of service; many landlords are now offering residents the ability to book amenities such as dry cleaning, babysitting or dog walking.
The global coronavirus pandemic has increased everyone’s use of technology further. Without the ability to visit shops as normal and with a muted desire to fill in paper forms, more and more day-to-day activities and processes are becoming digital.
“CRE has generally been very slow to adapt to using technology, instead using archaic systems and processes,” Samoylovich said. “COVID has accelerated the need for technology to manage a property safely and efficiently in a way that meets the high level of customer expectations. For example, we have seen a spike in people opting for digital payments during COVID.”
Livly Head of Sales Brian Frisby said that property managers have been particularly interested in using technology to safely reopen amenities during the global pandemic. By opting for digital amenity management, managers can allow residents to book time slots in the gym, for example, where numbers need to be kept low.
Happy Clients Boost The Bottom Line
Using one all-encompassing solution instead of multiple solutions can cut costs by streamlining maintenance requests, digitising operations and reducing a software subscription fee, for example. More importantly, however, bringing all applications into one portal has been shown to boost resident happiness. Samoylovich said that automating processes can save a manager up to 30% of operating costs, but integrating these into one solution that residents appreciate will boost the bottom line even further.
“Providing a more unified solution to residents provides better engagement in general,” he said. “The whole demographic that lives in a multifamily property is surrounded by convenience, so being one click away from what they want is impactful. For example, you could order a dog walker directly through the app, rather than find one yourself, schedule the visit and so on.”
The global pandemic is creating much more movement among residents than normal, Somoylovich said. People are moving to different cities as the ability to work from home reduces the need to live near their workplace. A property manager looking to attract residents can use a unified solution as a differentiator.
Convenience can now also be merged with community, which is even more important during the global pandemic. It is increasingly the norm for a multifamily operator to communicate with residents via an app and offer a platform for them to communicate with each other.
“We have a community feed similar to Instagram or Facebook where staff can communicate with residents, such as when the lobby will be cleaned or to announce an event,” Frisby said. “Residents can also post messages to other residents, such as if they have a service to offer or want to sell a piece of furniture. The sense of community generated can be difficult to create today when everyone is cooped up. We have seen some impressive engagement in properties, such as people sharing ideas on the best outdoor restaurants. We see a 15% rise in resident satisfaction in properties with communities that have high engagement.”
People’s reliance on technology is not going to diminish, even when the global pandemic has passed. The new normal of digital engagement is likely here to stay. Landlords that gets their technology in order now could be seeing financial benefits for some time.
This feature was produced by the Bisnow Branded Content Studio in collaboration with Livly. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.