We all use it and it’s probably safe to say we all love it: The subscription economy. Initially it was about providing easier access to expensive products—like smartphones—through monthly payments. But it has evolved into so much more than accessibility. Today’s subscription economy concept is about a modern experience that makes our lives as easy, fast, affordable and transparent.
Just like “video killed the radio star,” Netflix initially knocked down Blockbuster with its in-home delivery of newly released DVDs, but officially KO’d the company with its faster, more easily accessible streaming services. Amazon, with its transparent and fast delivery practices combined with online access to anything you could ever imagine, replaced catalog orders from companies like JC Penney and Sears. Uber took on the yellow taxi monopoly by offering users affordable and transparent pricing before they even got in the car. No more anxiously watching the meter tick higher and higher as you sit in traffic.
Can the multifamily industry translate this concept of a modern, one-click experience into our processes? Here are a few ways multifamily can truly deliver a fast, simple and transparent rental experience.
This technology offers multiple benefits. First of all, chatbots can answer prospects’ questions at any time of day or night. Many apartment shoppers look around for properties online when the leasing office is closed. Chatbots allow them to get the information they want exactly when they want it—simple, fast.
Chatbots also free up onsite associates from having to engage in time-intensive communications with prospects about things like room availability and pricing, giving them more time to manage their many other important tasks.
Forward-thinking apartment communities are giving residents access to services like dog walking, dry cleaning, wash-and-fold laundry—even dish-washing, watering plants and decluttering spaces. At many of these properties, residents can seamlessly purchase the offerings through a mobile app. When properties can help out today’s busy and overextended renters through these kinds of services, they create real resident loyalty and increase the likelihood of lease renewals. Simple and affordable.
Speaking of mobile apps, when communities provide residents with a community-specific app, they can make their residents’ living experience infinitely easier. Mobile apps allow residents to pay rent, make service requests, register their pets, receive package notifications, reserve common-area amenities and more—all with a few simple touches and clicks on their smartphones—where they live their lives. Offering this seamless access to an apartment community is the transparency residents are seeking. Simple, fast and transparent.
Lease insurance is an emerging paradigm shift that is completely eliminating the need for security deposits, surety bonds and other security deposit alternatives. It offers a way to deliver a lease experience that ticks all the boxes the modern renter wants—fast, simple, transparent and affordable.
Security deposits and alternatives like surety bonds are cost prohibitive, require separate applications, offer inadequate coverage and can be confusing for residents to understand their financial responsibilities if there is damage to their apartment home.
Instead of paying a large upfront security deposit, or applying for a surety bond, cosigner or guarantor, renters pay a simple flat fee along with their monthly rent. There is no need for additional screening or authorizations. Properties are then insured for over $5,000 toward damage and rent on every new lease. Residents don’t need to guess if they will get any reimbursement back. Simple, fast, transparent and affordable.
In the age of Amazon, renters are delivering more products to their home than ever. We need to look beyond package lockers and start considering additional ways to improve the package management process. Consider offering a centralized room for both package retrieval and for residents to prepare and ship their packages. When such a room is complemented with logistics software, apartment communities can quickly move a large number of packages in and out of a fairly small space. Simplicity, convenience and speed.
Today’s world is all about convenience and speed—we are all looking for ways to make our lives easier and more efficient and it is no different for the modern renter. It is up to multifamily operators to ensure they are delivering a leasing and living experience that not only meets the demands of today but exceeds the expectations of tomorrow.
Lynn Owen is the CEO of Compass Acquisition Partners, a fully integrated real estate investment firm that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily apartment communities located in supply-constrained markets.