As 2022 winds down and we set our sights on a new year ahead, it’s both important and exciting to look forward to what 2023 holds for the multifamily property management industry. In this week’s blog post, we are going to take a look at our first five trends out of 10 in this two-part series.
1. More Efficiency, Less Cost
With whispers of a recession ahead, prices continuing to climb due to inflation (a record in Canada at 4.7% in Oct. 2021) and supply chain issues still causing problems, multifamily property leaders are looking to cut costs throughout their organization.
In today's post-pandemic reality, companies are realizing that by boosting efficiencies they can also boost revenues. A solution like property management software can consolidate business processes (from marketing to leasing and beyond), across multiple departments and office locations, in one centralized place. Not only does this eliminate tedious and redundant manual work, but it also gets rid of the need for multiple, disparate systems which often drive-up costs and increase the possibility of human error.
2. Customer-Centric Focus
The foundation of customer relationship management rests on the fact that good customer service results in satisfied customers, who in turn are more likely to remain loyal and recommend the service provider to others. Applied to property management, this axiom suggests that landlords should see a return on any investment in the service they give to tenants, in the form of increased lease renewal rates and fewer vacancy periods, all achieved without compromising rent prices.
Every property pro understands that the property management business is, at its heart, a customer service business. In the year ahead, we will continue to see property firms double down on service to both tenants and owners. This means enabling self-service for both key stakeholders, by empowering tenants to be able to do things like book repairs or change rent payment methods and enabling owners to access financial and other reports on their investments.
As well, leading property companies will put an added emphasis on high-touch communication, connecting with residents not only at lease renewal time, but proactively sending updates regarding repairs and inspections and other relevant news.
More overly, property management companies will be casting a critical eye at the complete customer journey, from ad to lease to renewal, to make sure it is seamless and delivers the best possible brand experience.
3. Back to the Office? Not Just Yet
While some companies are calling their employees back to the office, there’s been palpable pushback from employees. For the vast majority of workers, and their organizations, remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Not only does this have an impact on the commercial real estate industry, as many businesses are downsizing their leased office space, but it also impacts multifamily properties as well. For property managers overseeing condo buildings and larger multifamily buildings, we are seeing buyers and renters alike looking for larger spaces to accommodate designated home offices, often looking for another bedroom or den. More and more vacant units will be staged to show how a home office can fit into a spare bedroom or kitchen nook.
For residents who are not upgrading the bedroom count, they are actively seeking out buildings that feature communal work and meeting spaces. Over the last two years, there have been numerous apartment developers and management companies who have rejigged outdated business centres to transform them into comfortable communal work spaces, complete with super-fast WiFi, on-the-house coffee and a meeting room. This trend is expected to continue into 2023 and beyond.
As climate change puts the environment on the top of everyone’s agenda, we will see prospective tenants looking for a home that is environmentally friendly and more sustainable. And, as an industry, we must face the fact that the carbon footprint rental properties leave behind needs to be reduced and we need to be having serious conversations about how we can accomplish this.
When it comes to small upgrades that make a big difference, replacing outdated appliances with modern, energy-efficient ones help lower energy bills and are appreciated by tenants. On top of the energy and water savings, these types of upgrades also lower maintenance costs.
Tenants are looking for buildings that exemplify their values, especially when it helps save the planet. For example, by installing a low-flow toilet alone in a household with two people, it can save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year and $25 in utilities. New options on the market are affordable, look modern and stylish and don’t sacrifice water pressure for water savings.
For renters, things like technologies and products that help control heating and lighting have risen in importance over the last few years. Programmable thermostats for the building and within tenant units can really help bring down energy costs and conserve energy as well. In the winter, energy is lost through the windows, with about 30% of a home’s heating energy being lost. In the summertime, about three quarters of the sunshine that falls on the window becomes heat, driving up cooling costs. Energy efficient blinds or other window treatments can lower heating and cooling bills in addition to improving home comfort.
Internally, property management companies will actively try to reduce paper waste and cut their overall carbon footstep by going digital.
5. Embracing Automation Technology
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a noticeable uptake of workflow automation in vendor and supply chain management, as well as tools like chatbots that automatically answer common customer service inquiries., There has been a steady adoption of various technological tools and operational dashboards that give managers better awareness of their business and revenue, allowing them to be more agile and make decisions faster. Automation and systems that act like a golden thread to tie all functions together and offer up more data and insights will be on the rise in 2023. (Be sure to check out our piece on marketing automation here.)
This trend toward embracing technology will only continue as property companies take a hard look at their leasing and operational processes to see where they can take people out of the equation when they aren't adding any true value. The goal for any property management technology is to remove redundant work so that your people are spending more time on the work that makes a difference to revenue and customer satisfaction.
Coming up next week: Part 2 of our Top 10 Trends for Property Management that covers investments, security, staffing and much more.
How Property Vista Prepares You for 2023
Property Vista’s solution has been created by a team of experienced property management professionals. So, it’s specifically designed for property management organizations and landlords that oversee portfolios of properties – whether they are across a city, a region, or scattered throughout one or more provinces. Our property software can be leveraged to streamline operations and drive down costs in marketing, leasing, maintenance, rent collection and more. To see how we can help your company improve revenue and lower costs, see pricing and book a demo here.