by Brent Steiner
Accurate property performance data is among the most sought-after commodities in the apartment industry. Few metrics drive solid decision-making than those pertaining to genuine activity at a rental community.
But the data itself often leaves something to be desired. It can create further questions and convolution if delivered in spreadsheet fashion with no further context. The data becomes truly powerful when it can be visualized within the context of a property, when an accompanying interactive map of the property augments the perspective of the raw numbers.
At first glance, adding map-based visualizations to a property’s performance data seems like a nice-to-have feature. But this additional dynamic can do more than add texture to the data. It can serve as a revenue driver by providing unique insights property teams would have otherwise missed.
Here are a few of the ways:
Properties generally operate on logic when pricing different types of homes within a particular community. While the logic method is typically effective, leasing activity sometimes proceeds in a counterintuitive manner. For instance, conventional wisdom would suggest that creek-side homes with tremendous nature views would command a higher premium than units on the other side that overlook the fitness center. But over time, more residents are opting for the latter homes because the creek-side homes experience more background noise and are more echo-prone. While the view is spectacular, it doesn’t overthrow a quiet living experience.
Teams observing leasing activity within the context of a map will quickly notice the spike of leasing activity on the quieter, seemingly less attractive side and can price accordingly. It eliminates the need to operate on a potentially incorrect hunch. Counterintuitive scenarios such as this one are surprisingly common, and those who utilize data visualization are able to diagnose them much quicker.
One of the primary ways communities can thrive is through ancillary revenue. While this commonly includes basics such as pet fees and parking fees, it also includes rentable items such as extra storage, bike storage and repair, charges for premium amenities, package lockers and a surcharge for an additional covered parking spot. Effectively pricing and managing the inventory of these items have always been something of a challenge, but those pursuits can be aided with insight to the community layout. Data visualization will help identify previously overlooked conveniences, such as proximity to parking space or a storage unit. It will also help track real-time availability of these items. These visualization insights will help price and manage rentable items to best maximize revenue.
Strategic concessions due to unit locations
On the flipside to homes that command a premium are those that might require a minor jolt of assistance. In the pursuit to maximize revenue, making certain that concessions don’t outweigh your premium-driving efforts remains key. Data visualization can provide insight as to what homes are leasing more slowly than others—and their precise location. Sure, homes on a less-attractive side of the property are generally easy to diagnose. But extraneous factors such as external construction noise, proximity to public transit, sun/luminosity issues and other property-specific nuances sometimes have an effect on leasing. Armed with the knowledge of exactly where the slow-leasing homes are located, onsite teams are more equipped to diagnose the deterministic factors. That will enable them to strategically offer mild concessions for those homes.
One constant always to remain prevalent through any tech revolution is that data is power. When you can couple data with visualization, revenue generation becomes a very attainable goal. Regardless of the quality of the data, those observing it without the context of visualization are limiting its potential value.