There is no question that smart technology is quickly becoming the blueprint of the future for multifamily communities. Driven by the growing adoption of smart devices, increased demand for energy-saving solutions, the rising importance of home monitoring systems, and the emergence of innovative property technology (PropTech), owners, operators and residents alike serve to benefit.
Smart home technologies provide tenants with safe, convenient, and secure ways to enjoy and manage their homes, while PropTech enables property owners and operators to better engage and retain tenants, increase renter and buyer satisfaction, and generate new and additional revenue streams. Everyone wins.
With analysts forecasting a rise in multifamily demand and a return to pre-COVID vacancy levels, multifamily owners and operators looking to capitalize on these market projections need to evaluate their technology investments. This article outlines key “must-have” smart technologies new tenants will be on the lookout for along with important PropTech solutions that can improve your real estate property operations, making them more efficient, streamlined, and profitable
What Smart Tech do Residents Expect?
Community-Wide Broadband Internet Services
Smart home technology is useless if it is not supported by a dependable, always-on, and secure broadband Internet service. Offering move-in-ready Wi-Fi across the community, in public spaces, and in all units is a significant competitive differentiator. Residents can log in to one network regardless of where they are on the property and be assured of fast speeds that support both work and recreational needs. Property managers, owners, and operators are able to pass along cost savings to residents while increasing net operating income through increased rent and/or technology fee add-ons. Visitors and vendors have complimentary access when onsite.
Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology encompasses any suite of devices, appliances, or systems that connect into a common network that can be independently and remotely controlled. It is rapidly becoming the de facto way for tenants and condominium owners to manage everything—lighting, sound, locks and security, climate, leak detection, CCTV security, and voice-activated security—all from the convenience of a smartphone and/or other device. Smart home technologies help maximize unit security; save on energy expenses; and add comfort, safety, and convenience for tenants. For operators, investment in smart home technology reduces a significant portion of operational and maintenance costs.
Another key amenity today’s renters seek is Internet protocol television, or IPTV. The latest innovation in modern TV, IPTV delivers video and other services to residents—a compelling aspect that sets IPTV apart when it comes to programming, entertainment, and application offerings. For example, IPTV can enable a wide range of applications: tuning into the lobby security cameras, seeing who’s ringing into your apartment, ordering a dinner from the corner delivery place, and automating rent payments via the television. Residents are provided with real on-demand TV capabilities along with high-definition programming. For multifamily operators, IPTV provides a wealth of branding and customer relationship opportunities that can deliver digital signage, community announcements, and other community-driven communications through on-site displays in lobbies, elevators, and other community areas.
Smart Tech Add-Ons
Regarding in-unit smart technology, add-ons are an excellent way for a multifamily property to stand out above the competition and are extremely attractive amenities for tech-savvy renters. From smart appliances—such as smart thermostats that assess unit usage to reduce unnecessary heating and cooling; smart lighting that residents can control remotely; and built-in Bluetooth speakers that are compatible with smart televisions and Amazon Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple Siri—to higher security options like smart locks that control not only unit access but also access to all public areas within the multifamily community, these amenities add convenience, security, and peace of mind.
Property Technology (PropTech) Multifamily Owners Should Consider
PropTech has taken the real estate market by storm, providing multifamily owners and operators with the ability to digitally transform how people research, rent, buy, sell, and manage a property. In fact, approximately 58% of real estate and property companies use at least one or two PropTech tools in their operations.
Covering a wide range of digital technologies serving various sales, operational, customer relations, and property needs, here are some critical PropTech solutions multifamily owners and operators should consider investing in.
Property Search Solutions
Property search technologies help property owners and operators communicate and connect with in-market tenants. These solutions help the management of property listings, streamline marketing and advertising to engage potential new residents, enable augmented reality for unit staging, and allow rental prospects to take virtual property and unit tours remotely online.
Property Management Solutions
This category of PropTech focuses on all aspects of property management and includes smart building solutions that make properties more secure, eco-friendly, energy efficient, and safe. It also includes portfolio management applications that handle the property portfolio details and data, contract management solutions, and a myriad of technologies (such as cameras and remote keys) that support property and tenant security and safety.
Resident On-Boarding and Management Solutions
The on-boarding and management of new and existing residents is a PropTech category all of its own. Central in supporting the on-boarding of new residents and management of existing renters, this category of PropTech includes innovative technologies that facilitate tenant rental applications (where tenant data and information are collected and stored), background checks (including fraud detection monitoring, allowing multifamily property owners and operators to protect their business from the rise in online fraud from falsified financial and personal data), and finance management to ensure all legal paperwork is correctly processed and stored securely and safely.
With a bright future in store, multifamily operators and owners have a greenfield opportunity to advance and differentiate their properties through smart technology and PropTech investments. Ultimately, this will be the key to success in a world where digital transformation is paramount. Operators and owners who remain open and are proactive to change—embracing innovative technology and tools that improve, streamline, and innovate—will be the industry leaders of tomorrow.