One of the key drivers of success in multifamily real estate is filling units (and keeping them filled) with happy tenants. Why? Because rental income is the key contributor to a property’s net operating income (NOI), which greatly influences the valuation of your asset.
There are many steps and factors that go into getting and keeping units rented, from marketing them to collecting rent. Luckily, with all of the technology available today, managing the leasing process can be more streamlined than ever before.
If you’re a multifamily operator who is looking to increase your operating efficiency, step up your lease management game and scale your efforts, here are a few technology platforms to consider adopting into your process.
Market Analysis Software
Using market analysis software allows landlords to analyze recent rental listings and determine the “going rent” in a specific area in a matter of seconds. You’ll want to leverage this when you are at the underwriting/deal analysis phase, deciding what neighborhood to invest in. Platforms like Rentometer save you time from doing manual research on what the going rent is for comparable properties. Rental comparisons (comps) ensure you are selecting a market and property that meets your investment criteria, which is unique to each investor.
Rent Optimization Software
Rental optimization software allows landlords to continuously maximize their potential rental income by ensuring you’re not under or overcharging for your units based on the competition in your area. Software such as RENTmaximizer by Yardi and OneSite Leasing by Real Page take into consideration all of the influencing factors that result in market shifts to provide an up-to-date market analysis each day. They also offer tools to dynamically change your per-unit rental prices based on this analysis. Having a rent optimization system in place can allow operators to feel confident that no money is left on the table.
CRM And Email Tools
The key to sales, in any capacity, is to remain in constant contact with potential leads. Filling rental units is no different. Renters often consider multiple units before making their final decision. Staying in direct contact with prospective tenants during their shopping period keeps your property at the forefront of their minds. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system streamlines that communication, making it easy and convenient to track potential leads, send direct emails or texts, and provide timely information to potential renters. For example, Knock CRM offers a wide variety of business intelligence features specifically for multifamily investing.
Deposit insurance is one of the lesser-known types of insurance among lessees and property managers. The good news is that it’s easy to purchase and the platforms are usually an all-around win for both parties. Some companies provide a security deposit alternative that makes housing more accessible for renters, which means more filled units for landlords. Here’s how it works: The tenant pays the insurance based on their financial ability over the course of several months. In the event that an insurance claim becomes necessary, the deposit insurance company will pay up to three months of rent for the tenant, rather than the traditional one-month deposit. In addition, deposit insurance companies offer marketing support and can serve as a lead generator, bringing in new potential tenants to your property.
Marketing And Advertising
With so much technology available to us, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the latest tools in marketing and advertising. Gone are the days of printing available units in the local newspaper. A simple Google search will land a potential renter on any number of listing or property websites. I recommend starting by listing your property on a broad-based listing site like Apartments.com. Don’t stop at just one listing site, though. Cross-posting on Facebook Marketplace, Zillow and Trulia, Craigslist and social media accounts can significantly increase your likelihood of finding potential tenants. If you’re operating a smaller property or on a lower budget, don’t underestimate the power of your network. Everybody knows somebody who is looking for housing.
It’s not enough to just have a property website. Getting seen is the name of the game. When someone decides they are ready to rent, their first step is most likely a quick Google search. Search engine optimization (SEO) tools help you ensure that all the hard work you put into creating your property website and listings don’t go to waste because no one sees them. Websites with effective SEO appear higher in the search results, resulting in more clicks and, therefore, more signed leases. You can also find an agency to help you create and implement an SEO strategy if this isn’t your strong suit.
If you’re looking for more of an “all in one” solution, you can build your property’s website on a platform such as Rent Vision, which also has built-in SEO features specifically for rental units.
3D Tours And Walk-Through Videos
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how we do just about everything, including renting apartments. Now, more than ever, it is important for property owners to get creative when it comes to showings. Prospective renters want and oftentimes demand the ability to look at apartments from the comfort and safety of their own homes. 3D tours and walk-through videos make that possible while lessening the decision time and limiting the need for in-person meetings.
3D tours are an interactive experience for the prospective tenant, allowing them to explore the unit and property interactively online at their convenience. But they can be expensive to do, especially per unit. A less costly alternative is video walk-throughs, which are simply video recordings of units and properties. Ultimately, it’s about giving the prospective renter more confidence that your property is the right one for them.
Technology makes apartment leasing more convenient and less painful to manage than ever before. Some of the technology examples above are a few of my company’s favorites (and ones we actually use), but keep in mind that there are hundreds of apps and software capabilities available for multifamily operators. Learning from others with proven results and established systems is always the best way to shortcut your own path to success.