It’s that time of year again.
Time to make New Year’s resolutions.
Love them or hate them, they can be a catalyst for positive growth, development and improvement.
This year, alongside your annual resolutions to start a new hobby, improve relationships or cultivate better habits, why not resolve to explore new ways to make life better for your residents and your team members?
To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 10 resolutions tailored to the unique challenges facing property management leaders - along with practical insights and valuable resources to help you achieve them.
10 New Year’s Resolutions for Multifamily Property Management Leaders
- Build community.
One of the cornerstones of successful property management is cultivating a sense of community among residents. Resolve to create shared spaces and host meaningful events that bring people together, fostering a sense of belonging. This not only improves resident satisfaction but also contributes to a positive living environment.
Need inspiration? Check out the playback of “Home Is Where Your Apartment Is: Building Community to Enhance Resident Retention,” an enlightening webinar featuring a panel of multifamily experts who offer expert strategies and tactics for building community, from setting the stage at move-in to hosting meaningful events.
- Elevate the resident experience.
Strive to go beyond providing your residents with basic services. Resolve to enhance their living experience by offering amenities, services and events that cater to their needs and desires in a memorable way.
The right tech-powered amenities can make achieving this resolution effortless. Take a community printer. Printing is a service residents want and need (confirmed by The Wall Street Journal), but having to email documents to staff members or deal with an unpredictable DIY solution is more headache than helpful. A solution like PrintWithMe is hands-off for staff and empowers residents to print from their own devices, on their own time.
Beyond distinctive amenities and memorable events, remember that creating an elevated experience starts with you. Go above and beyond when the opportunity presents itself - and it won’t go unnoticed. Reserve a spot for the moving truck. Carry up groceries. Hold the door. Engage in small talk. Sometimes, the smallest gestures make the biggest impact.
Investing time and money into creating an elevated experience doesn’t just benefit your residents - it also benefits your bottom line. Happy residents are more likely to renew their leases, minimizing vacancy periods and associated turnover expenses.
- Make life simpler for your on-site team.
A motivated, satisfied and properly equipped on-site team is essential for effective and efficient property management. When your team is content, they are more likely to be engaged and dedicated to achieving property management goals. Resolve to prioritize the well-being of your team members by providing the right tools and training opportunities, recognizing achievements, and fostering a positive work environment.
An oft-missed piece of creating a positive environment is ensuring that team members derive a sense of value and pride from the work they’re doing. Inefficient processes and an overabundance of menial tasks can quickly lead to discontent and burnout. Software platforms and tech-enabled amenities that automate tasks and create operational efficiencies can be powerful tools in creating a great experience for on-site teams. When they have time to focus on what they were hired to do, they are more likely to feel accomplishment, pride and a sense of purpose.
- Decrease expenses and improve NOI.
There’s no denying that interest rates and insurance premiums are uncontrollable right now, but there are plenty of ways to control costs across services and amenities. Resolve to implement cost-reduction and cost-control measures without compromising on service quality. This not only contributes to increased NOI but also ensures financial stability for the property.
Start by identifying areas where your costs have significantly increased and/or vary wildly from month-to-month. Seek out vendors and suppliers that offer all-inclusive, flat-rate packages to help keep your costs fixed and predictable in an environment where instability is the norm.
Coffee is a great example. When you have no way to limit consumption, variances and skyrocketing costs are the norm. However, there are helpful solutions specifically designed to help multifamily properties control (and often reduce) their coffee costs. SipWithMe, for example, offers innovative software that gives property managers full control over how many cups residents are drinking, as well as a full range of all-inclusive packages that make budgeting a breeze. The solution helped a portfolio of class A properties in Chicago reduce their OpEx by an average of 50%.
If you’re trying to DIY services or amenities, there can be significant cost savings in working with outside vendors and suppliers who have economies of scale and volume discounts on their side.
- Increase operational efficiency.
Streamlining operations is crucial for success in property management. Invest in technology and processes that enhance efficiency, from streamlined communication systems to advanced property management software.
Don’t discount the power of tech-enabled amenities in further streamlining processes and creating efficiencies. Outsourcing support and maintenance creates significant time savings, giving you and your team time to focus on more important tasks.
- Stand out from the comps.
In a competitive market, differentiation is key. Resolve to keep close tabs on what your competition is doing and set your property apart with distinctive amenities, exceptional service and innovative programs that attract and retain valuable residents.
For maximum ROI, seek out amenities and services that don’t just pack a punch at first glance - but continue to bring value to residents after move-in.
- Go green.
Sustainability is a growing concern, and property managers can play a role in minimizing their property’s environmental impact. Resolve to adopt eco-friendly practices, from energy-efficient lighting to waste reduction initiatives. Not only is this socially responsible, but it can also result in cost savings over time.
Make a conscious effort to partner with third-party vendors and suppliers that offer eco-conscious products and encourage the adoption of environmentally sound policies.
- Support the local community.
As a property management leader, you are an integral member of the local community. Resolve to strengthen ties by supporting local businesses and participating in community events. Not only will this help you build visibility and rapport, it will also help your residents develop a sense of connectedness with the area. And when residents feel connected, they’re more inclined to want to stay where they are. Who doesn’t love retention and renewals?
You can also support the local community by embracing services and amenity solutions with local connections. And that doesn’t mean they have to be locally based. Some national suppliers partner with local companies for quality assurance and to help support local economies.
- Embrace innovation and technology.
Technology is continually advancing, and if you resolve to remain flexible and open to innovation, it can give you a major competitive advantage in the long run. Strategically investing in new trends and technologies has the potential to help you improve your efficiency, increase resident retention and satisfaction, and stand out from your comps.
What’s trending and emerging in 2024?
- 5G Technology – 5G is next-generation wireless technology that promises faster data transfer speeds and improved coverage, creating seamless connectivity throughout a property and better meeting the needs of residents (especially remote workers!).
- Photogrammetry - Drone video provides prospective residents with a more accurate depiction of a property, and studies have shown that listings featuring drone footage receive significantly more inquiries than those without.
- AI - Artificial intelligence can be used to automate and eliminate many manual tasks, reducing human errors and producing real-time data. Automation gives leaders more time to focus on strategy and making data-driven decisions. Multifamily is already leveraging AI across a multitude of functional areas, including marketing, revenue management, maintenance and underwriting.
- IoT Devices - Internet of Things (IoT) is the collective network of connected technology that enables communication between devices (“things”) and the cloud and/or among the actual devices. Simplified, it’s the technology that creates smart homes and buildings. In the wake of maintenance personnel shortages, IoT has proven particularly useful. Leak detectors can warn of flooding before significant damage occurs. Trash cans can be equipped with sensors to indicate when waste needs to be collected. Pool filters can indicate when special cleaning is required.
- Robotics - Though certainly not a replacement for human interaction, robots have the ability to perform a multitude of routine tasks that don’t necessarily need a personal touch, including making deliveries, cleaning, completing inspections and preventive maintenance tasks, answering routine questions from prospects and offering concierge services. By effectively outsourcing these tasks, on-site teams have the opportunity to focus on more high-value tasks.
- Smart Contracts – Per Investopedia, “A smart contract is a self-executing program that automates the actions required in an agreement or contract. Once completed, the transactions are trackable and irreversible. Smart contracts permit trusted transactions and agreements to be carried out among disparate, anonymous parties without the need for a central authority, legal system or external enforcement mechanism.” Essentially, they automate agreements, and they have the potential to streamline the rental process and increase efficiency.
- Virtual/Augmented Reality - AR and VR are emerging as powerful tools in multifamily marketing. The technology gives properties the power to create immersive and engaging virtual tours, allowing prospective residents the opportunity to fully experience the property without ever stepping foot inside.
- Protect resident privacy.
With an onslaught of data privacy legislation on the horizon, resolving to safeguard resident, staff and company data is almost non-negotiable.
The fundamental way to keep this resolution? Stay abreast of changing laws and regulations to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues. If you need to get up to speed, a great starting point is this cyber risk management webinar, where two of today’s top data privacy attorneys delve into the current legislative landscape and address the challenges inherent in multifamily operations.
If you don’t have a thorough understanding of how personal information is processed at your property, consider investing in data mapping, which clearly identifies all third parties processing data and pinpoints compliance gaps that need to be filled.
By embracing these resolutions, you can navigate the challenges of the coming year with confidence and effectiveness. Building a sense of community, prioritizing resident and team experiences, and staying ahead of industry trends are crucial steps toward achieving success in the dynamic field of property management.