HOT & RELEVANT TOPICS
Getting Self-Guided Tours Right
The pandemic has reshaped apartment leasing, and operators across the country are turning to self-guided tours. But a management company should make sure its SGT solution integrates with its property management system and other technologies. Otherwise, prospects might not be able to do the things that make a self-guided tour impactful, such as self-schedule their tours, visit amenity spaces and apply for a lease immediately after a tour ends. Bottom line: a lack of integration is bound to cause unsatisfactory experiences for both prospective residents and apartment operators.
The Future of Apartment Design
Bigger floor plans to incorporate home offices. Onsite co-working spaces that promote social distancing. More antimicrobial finishes and an increased presence of rooftop decks, courtyards and walking trails. These are some of the ways in which the design of apartment communities is likely to change in light of the pandemic. Moving forward, residents will be drawn to properties that make them feel safe, accommodate their work-from-home lifestyle and feature ample outdoor space to provide relief from being at home so much.
Don’t Be So Defensive
When a resident leaves a blistering online review that’s full of misstatements and even personal attacks, an apartment operator’s first inclination is to respond with a defensive statement that says something along the lines of, “You’re wrong. That’s not true.” But management companies need to resist this understandable temptation. For starters, an aggressive reply will turn off prospects who come across it while researching their next home. Operators are much better served when they take a deep breath and craft responses that, among other things, acknowledge the reviewer’s concerns and encourage offline discussion of the problem.
IN THE NEWS
Concerns about Residents’ Financial Well-Being Grow
With the enhanced federal unemployment benefits expiring at the end of July, apartment operators are growing increasingly worried about their residents’ ability to make their rent payments. Of the 73 million U.S. households that live in rental housing of any type, including units that are not professionally managed, nearly 20% did not pay their rent last month, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Census. In addition, 13% said they have “no confidence” they will be able to pay their rent this month, while another 19% indicated they have “slight confidence” they will be able to.
Apartment Sales Nosedive in the Second Quarter
It surely won’t come as much of a surprise, but with the pandemic raging and the economy sputtering, sales of apartment communities came to a screeching halt in Q2. According to Real Capital Analytics, apartment investment sales totaled $13.9 billion during the quarter. That represents the lowest three-month volume in more than a decade. Portfolio- and entity-level deals dropped by 81% year-over-year (YOY), while sales of single assets dipped by 67%. Mid- and high-rise volume declined by 70% YOY, and deal volume for garden-style properties fell by 71%.
Reaching Gen Z Through Social Media
If you want to connect with Gen Z prospects, your community and/or management company needs to have a strong presence on social media, especially outlets like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok. But if you merely post generic, cookie-cutter copy and staged photos on these outlets, you won’t impress members of this generation. Gen Z’ers want to see multifamily brands that respond authentically to questions and comments, share content posted by current residents and have a unique voice. Considering the importance of channels like Instagram to this audience, operators would be wise to invest in a strong social media manager.