Friday, July 16, 2010

Are you retaining the "Technology Generation" in your building?

So retention is on your mind if you're in the rental housing industry. While the nuts and bolts of this marketplace remain constant and necessary, the landscape is changing a bit and as a property manager, you should have the best tools to navigate it.

A recent Herald Tribune article highlighted part of the reason for this climate shift. Basically, during the condo-building boom of 2004 - 2008 lots of once-downtrodden downtown, urban areas were revitalized by developing stunning, state-of-the-art luxury residential buildings.

Since the near-crash in 2008, many of these planned condos have become rentals, with fairly reasonable urban rents. The result? Lots of just-out-of-college renters living in high-rise buildings with gorgeous views and luxury amenities. So, suffice to say a renter should be pretty content.

Yet, any leasing agent or property manager will tell you it's all about the CRM-Customer Relationship Management. Service and convenience are still the major reasons residents choose rental housing, but this can also be the very reason why the choose to not renew their lease?

In the multi-family housing industry, the rules are guidelines are pretty simple: -Create a Smooth Move-in Process -Service Requests -Provide Excellent Service -Get to Know Your Residents -Resident Feedback -Resident Meetings -Value added Service -Resident Newsletter -Resident Parties -Renewal Rewards

The primary goal of property management should be to keep existing residents happy, but we also know that the circumstances and situations that happen on a day-to-day basis can challenge property managers' or staff's schedules. There are tons of ways to streamline operations, but only few that are completely cutting-edge and utilize the most innovative technology. Which one are you using?

If you are working in one of these luxury condo-conversions like the one in Miami, you'll probably want the best, most technologically-savvy product. As more and more Generation Y-ers move into these types of properties, your building should be able to meet the expectations of these young renters.

Ask yourself these questions: -Do your residents receive automatic emails when packages are received? -Are they able to put in specific requests online AND automatically be updated when you respond? -Does your maintenance system track all work done, seamlessly? Can certain repairs or work be scheduled and automatically email a specific employee? Or even an outside vendor? -Can you control the types of services your residents are privy to? -Do you have a resident portal that builds a sense of community, while safe-guarding management's liability? -Does your building have an online system for storing document and cutting out paper as part of a Green initiative? -Could you email or phone blast all resident, just 1 floor of residents, or other combinations with simple clicks of a mouse? -Have you seen the most innovative residential property management platform used worldwide?

In the 21st century, can you afford to not offer the most convenient, time-saving (and money saving) methods of communication to your staff and building?

Generation Y might one-day be housing buyers, but right now, they are huge percentage of the rental market. Don't just MARKET to them...SERVE them.

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