propToday’s renters want modern conveniences that go beyond updated appliances and new carpeting. Increasingly, renters expect property management companies to use technology that adds convenience and speeds up communication. In the face of new data supporting this shift, are your properties prepared to keep up? Keeping renters happy (and staying competitive) means building better websites, adding online self-service options, mastering digital communications and helping residents connect.
What renters want
Studies show that the amenities on renters’ wish lists are more and more digital. According to the 2019 Canadian Multi-Res Tenant Survey, 72% of renters said property management company websites matter and 45% would prefer to pay their rent online. It also notes that 44% want to communicate with their landlords via email – in stark contrast to the fact that only 22% currently do.
Additionally, 47% respondents listed high-speed internet as one of the top five essentials they would not rent without. Think this only applies to younger demographics? Think again. Cira’s 2019 update of Canada’s Internet Factbook showed that 57% of people polled over the age of 55 use mobile devices to surf the web, up from just 24% in 2015.
The takeaway: Renters of all ages are digital savvy and expect their landlords to be too.
Whether leasing up a new development or managing an established building, your property website is often your first introduction to potential renters. It’s not enough to have only a logo, address and contact information. Every property should have a feature-rich marketing website with high-quality photos, detailed amenity listings and local area information to help it get found in search.
Once people find your property marketing website, engage and convert more prospects with virtual tours that walk viewers through available floor plans. Does your website accommodate online applications so prospective renters can apply anytime, day or night? It should!
Convenient self services
Adding self-service technology benefits both your renters and your team. When you make it possible to pay rent, submit maintenance requests and reserve amenities online, you are giving residents the freedom to live their lives while managing their responsibilities from anywhere, at times that are convenient to them, without the rigid limitations of office hours. You are also giving your staff the freedom to focus on in-person interactions, instead of being tied up with data entry or payment processing.
It’s important to realize that online services can’t and shouldn’t replace human interaction. As noted in the Multi-Res Tenant Survey, 64% of tenants value having an onsite property manager to reach out to. Self-service options free up your property management staff so they’re more available to help when it’s really needed.
Digital communication channels
Residents don’t always want to talk, but when they do, they want their interactions to be quick, efficient and on their terms. The Multi-Res Tenant survey notes that most residents communicate with their landlord in person or by phone, but they would prefer to communicate via email. Some would even prefer to text their landlords.
Offering residents easy ways to get in touch outside of business hours will help them feel connected and loyal to your property. And it’s becoming expected that prospects will also be able to text, email or even chat with property management staff if they have questions. But for property managers, it can be a challenge to monitor multiple communication channels. One solution is to adopt property management software to help you manage and respond to communications. Some platforms even use machine learning technology to reply to texts, emails and chats.
Easy internet access
Staying constantly connected is the new normal, and that requires excellent Wi-Fi. If your rentals aren’t equipped to provide quick, reliable internet access, you’ll probably start getting complaints – or worse, bad reviews – from residents. Prioritize internet connectivity to make residents, staff and guests happy. Additionally, you can market it as an amenity on your property website and in online listings, appealing to those renters who wouldn’t consider moving without it.
Keep up or risk losing the best renters
Keeping your residents satisfied is easier on everyone: them, your team, you. But to do so, you have to continue to meet renter needs and adapt to changing expectations. They’re embracing new technology. Are you?
Yardi® develops and supports industry-leading investment and property management software for all types and sizes of real estate companies. Its RENTCafé® Suite delivers complete marketing, leasing, CRM and resident services on one software platform for residential owners and managers. Established in 1984, Yardi is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and serves clients worldwide. For more information on how Yardi is Energized for Tomorrow, visit yardi.com.