Multifamily Technology Advancements: A Look at RW Zukin
- Sep 06, 2011
By Jessica Fiur, News Editor
Menlo Park, Calif.—In the past, the multifamily industry was notoriously slow to adapt new technologies. However, Robert C. Talbott and Scott F. Mancaccy, who recently acquired Bay Area real estate services firm RW Zukin, are basing their property management firm’s philosophy on utilizing resident technology to advance their portfolio. RW Zukin currently manages almost 2,000 units with a combined value in excess of $400 million.
Talbott, who will be RW Zukin’s new CEO, and Mencaccy, who will be the new president, are pushing to use technology to change the way apartments are rented and managed.
“Previously, one of the biggest obstacles to adopting technology has been the cost,” Talbot tells MHN. “Historically, putting in place a new initiative required a significant investment in computer hardware, software, and training. This was particularly the case for smaller firms. However, today much of the technology being offered to multifamily providers is now available via the Internet. Through an Application Service Provider and/or the popularly phrased ‘cloud,’ the costs of many technology services are much more affordable. They are also quite scalable which allows even a small firm to offer some of the services that previously were only offered by the large firms.”
Renters can use the Internet and their smart phones during many stages of the application process, such as finding their apartment, signing the lease and paying their rent. Additionally, with the almost universal prevalence of computers and the Internet, it is almost impossible for the multifamily industry not to utilize technology in the renting process.
“Another contributing factor is the demographic trend,” Talbott says. “Today’s renters are heavy users of technology and have come to demand the ability to transact their business by using the Internet and their smartphone. Consequently, multifamily providers are going to be forced to step up the pace of technology adoption in order to meet the demands of their customers. We expect to see continued growth in the technology that simplifies a renter’s life. Social media will also continue to play a major role in the industry by providing managers a means to communicate with their residents in a manner that is most convenient to the customer.”
Of course, it’s not just the renters who will benefit from new technology.
“As for the management side, we intend to use technology to improve our back office operations. With improved efficiency, we can grow our management business without having to significantly increase the size of our accounting staff,” Talbott says.
Prior to the acquisition of RW Zukin, Talbott served as vice president and division manager of asset management for BRE Properties and was a partner and COO with Trammell Crow Residential. Mencaccy served as president of Pinnacle Realty Management Company’s west region, and as regional vice president with Con Am Management Corporation in Sacramento.