Seeing the “NMHC 50 Largest Apartment Managers” list published last month had me thinking about the commonalities between these top companies and how others might be able to follow suit. As someone who works with the top five companies on the list, it’s evident these companies are embracing and exploring new technologies, especially as real estate tech-enabled solutions become more popular and mainstream.
In fact, the real estate technology startup landscape has grown 300% over the last decade. With the increase in technology to solve real estate challenges, it’s important to be asking those who will use the technology every day questions that can help set them up for success. Another commonality I hypothesize within the NMHC’s largest companies is how frequently corporate teams are asking the right questions of their leasing teams.
For the multifamily industry, here are three questions I recommend you ask leasing teams to ensure your properties have a smooth busy season ahead and to help transform your leasing appropriately with ever-changing renter demands.
What technology tools would you like to explore?
Let’s address the obvious: Your teams are likely short-staffed or your leasing teams are bogged down with too many various tasks on a daily basis. By asking what technology tools they would like to explore, you’re inviting your team into a conversation or brainstorming session that will empower them with a voice. This will most directly identify what might help your team streamline and optimize everyday tasks, and you can do it by simply adopting and partnering with the right technology partners.
There’s a real strain on leasing teams to meet demands this busy season, yet, it’ll be difficult for them to accomplish those with a lack of team members and tools. It’s important for your teams and bottom line to enable them with the right tools.
One of the more prevailing themes that can be drawn from the leaders in the NMHC top 50 list is that they are very actively seeking input and advice from those working on-site at their properties. While leaders often are the ones tasked with thinking ahead and mapping out the plans and the future, doing so in a silo is not the best recipe for success. Understanding the needs of and pressures on your teams today will help the best address known issues and develop plans for long-term growth and success as a company.
What tools are currently helping you close leases?
In 2020, multifamily adopted tech-enabled tools quickly. Now, over two years later, you should have insight into what tools are actually helping your teams market, lease and engage renters throughout the entire life cycle. And, if not, it could be a sign that you need to partner with someone who can provide data that enables insight into the ROI of your property technology tools. By asking this question to your leasing teams, you can compare and contrast what’s working and what’s not working.
The key to this question is asking it consistently. One thing about multifamily leasing is that it is quite seasonal. So while your teams might not be heavy users of one technology in a particular season, it may be what they live on in another season. So ask consistently and lean on data to get a clear picture of need, use and ROI.
In order for more insight on your current proptech tools, check out my other article for guidance on evaluating those tools.
What can I do to help you within your role?
The best leaders will guide leasing and property management teams on ways they can perform better. And they will do this while simultaneously making sure their teams feel appreciated for a job well done. It’s no secret that recognition helps employees see that they’re making an impact and that their contributions are valued. But, did you know that in one survey of 1,511 working adults, they found that 63% of employees who feel recognized are unlikely to look for a new job? This is one simple question to ask to help minimize employee turnover while also getting insight into what your individual employees need to succeed.
The thing about questions one and two are that different employees might have different answers to those questions. Leaning into the insight of individual employees, particularly your top performers, will help them to open up about what is specifically working for them. And these insights can often lead to ideas and new processes that can be valuable across your entire company.
Are you ready to win more leases this upcoming busy season?
The final commonality between NMHC’s top five largest companies, and honestly every company on the list, is the people. Your people are the creatives, the sellers, the strategists and the visionaries. Prioritizing your people, their opinions and their personal career growth is what will ultimately get you more leases this upcoming season.
No matter how prominent technology gets, there is always going to be a personal element that instills that certain something about a home being a home for someone. Lean into that with your teams this peak leasing season while simply asking the right questions. You might be surprised by what you learn, but your team will also likely be grateful for having a voice and seat at the table.