HOT & RELEVANT TOPICS
Seemingly Small Resident Services With the Biggest Impact
Residents are generally accepting of temporary closures to the pool, gym or parking lot for renovations. But disruptions to small conveniences such as complimentary coffee or community printers aren’t as well received. Constant connectivity can be added to that list, as well, as recent data from the World Economic Forum indicates that 98% of respondents would like to at least have the option to work remotely for the remainder of their careers as a result of the pandemic. With big-ticket amenities offering only constricted availability—sometimes by reservation only—property teams can make an impact on resident satisfaction with an increased focus on smaller service offerings.
True Integration Versus Data Transfer
The ability to transfer data between systems doesn’t necessarily constitute integration, but it’s a good start. The multifamily industry is learning that true integration can result in streamlined operations and increased accessibility, whereas merely tapping resident records and lists has limited applications. Mild integrations can actually create additional or repetitive work for the user, and toggling back and forth between platforms is inefficient. True integrations extend the capabilities of an organization and create solutions. Careful vetting of a new technology partner is vital to identifying whether new platforms truly facilitate new functionality. The industry is trending toward information sharing, and open interfaces are becoming an increasingly hot commodity.
Session Recap: A Leasing, Management & Operations Update
Operators that had prioritized innovation prior to the pandemic were better prepared to navigate 2020’s multitude of operational challenges, according to a panel at the recent InterFace Multifamily Southeast Conference. They are also in better position to further adapt as the calendar flips to 2021. “Because we have a pioneering and innovative mentality, we were ready for the things that needed to happen as a result of COVID,” said Laurie Lyons, vice president of client services at Pegasus Residential. “We already had virtual leasing in place at some of our communities, so we were immediately able to turn that on everywhere when the COVID shutdowns did happen.” Likewise, the industry’s supplier partners were forced to adjust and often discovered more efficient processes.
IN THE NEWS
Radco VP Pushing for More Women in CRE Finance
Radco Cos. VP of Acquisitions Lisa Hurd is pushing to get more women into the male-dominated commercial real estate finance sector. She cofounded the Real Estate Network Empowering Women (RENEW), which now has 300 members who raise money to create scholarships and opportunities for women wanting to embark on CRE finance careers. RENEW was cofounded by NorthMarq Capital Senior VP Sharon Plattner and features board members such as Greystone Managing Director Alicia Cotton-Doney. The organization strives not only to inspire and empower women and minorities to enter the field, but to correct longstanding biases and disparities, and permanently change the face of CRE finance.
Some 2020 Trends Might Just Last
Renters are back in the driver’s seat, according to industry experts. Multifamily developers were forced to be flexible in 2020, and in the New Year many are still adjusting to meet the ever-changing demands of residents. Existing properties are being retrofitted to create spaces that are more usable in the current climate, and operators are exploring negotiable lease terms, as well as increasing efforts to leverage outdoor and green spaces. With flexibility in mind, developers are now breaking ground without making final decisions on amenity offerings. Waiting until the last minute to define amenity spaces allows new construction to better coincide with current demands.
Cybersecurity on the Front Lines of Multifamily
Although the apartment industry has become more aware of cybersecurity threats over the past several years, significant gaps remain. Entrata data indicates 80% of such attacks used vulnerabilities registered in 2017 and 20% exploited vulnerabilities that were at least 7 years old. With the pandemic introducing a new wave of threats, multifamily organizations simply must do a better job of protecting their data. Training for onsite teams—beyond phishing tests—is a must, as is properly classifying and categorizing data based upon sensitivity. Proper controls such as multifactor authentication, privileged access management and end point protection are also key in limiting cybersecurity threats.