Are You Overlooking What Your Multifamily Residents Really Want?

Posted by Joseph Curd on March 16, 2022

One of the best ways to maximize profitability for multifamily residential properties is high resident retention. When units turn over, you pay for turning the unit over, additional marketing, labor / leasing commissions, and vacancy loss…this can easily add up to $4,000-6,000 per unit, depending on your market.

"Adding Up the Financial Benefit of Reducing Moveouts" gives an example of the expenses associated with turnover. Just reducing the turnover rate by 5% can result in saving more than $20,000 dollars per year.

Additionally, reducing the costs associated with turnover will increase your net operating income (NOI); that $20,000 quickly turns into half a million dollars in property valuation (or more!) in today’s hot markets. Let’s talk about a few amenities that are helping multi-family operators retain residents through the rapid changes experienced since 2020.

How to Provide Residents with More Choice and Flexibility

What's the biggest change you need to know about that will help you retain residents? They want more choice, security, and flexibility. Here are four things that may help.

1. Seamless Access Control

You want residents to come and go as they please while keeping out anyone that has no business of being in the building. Seamless access control allows you to always keep the doors locked. With an access control system, you can grant temporary access to visitors, vendors, and service workers.

The biggest benefit is that you can get rid of keys if you haven't already. You won't have to worry about changing the locks every time a resident leaves. An access control system lets you instantly remove access as soon as someone moves out or causes problems.

Not only does an access control system manage who can enter the building but also who has access to a specific unit, gym, laundry room, offices, and other limited-access rooms. An employee who lives in the building could have access to all of these. A resident who isn't an employee could gain access to all the common spaces but not to the offices and other limited-access rooms. Every person's access is customizable.

Using an access control system will give your residents the choice and flexibility they want. If a resident isn't home and they want to let their housekeeper or dog walker in their unit, they can do that with an access control system.

Self-guided tours have soared in the last couple of years. You can demonstrate the power of flexibility by providing temporary access to prospective residents. They would be able to enter a unit that contains smart locks, contactless access, or mobile credentials.

An access control system is a powerful security tool, but it can be more effective when you pair it with another technology that residents want. Piggybacking and tailgating can still occur with an access control system. Residents are human and they may prop the door open for a stranger thinking they're a resident. They don't realize the simple act of letting someone in could put their security at risk.

An integrated security system can help close this gap. When you pair access control with remote video surveillance, it helps reduce the chances of piggybacking and tailgating happening.

2. Remote Video Surveillance

An access control system cannot see what's happening on a property. It can only tell you who accessed which space at a specific time. And yet, when you pair an access control with remote video surveillance, you gain eyes all over the multifamily residential property. Video surveillance with advanced technology and human intelligence can help prevent potential problems from escalating.

For instance, if someone tries to piggyback into the apartment building, the video analytics will notice and alert the trained monitoring operator. Now, it can be awkward for an employee to tell a piggybacker to leave. This is an advantage of using remote video surveillance.

The person watching your apartment or multifamily residential building is not on the property. They're trained to deal with these situations. The operator can issue an audio warning asking the person who is piggybacking to leave the building.

Remote video surveillance can also help secure your property during self-guided tours. Many communities are doing more of these agent-less tours. What started as a necessity due to the pandemic has turned into a popular way to showcase your property to potential residents.

These tours, however, are not without their risk. Model units often have furnishing, electronics and even refreshments that can be stolen. Trained security personnel can watch live cameras to monitor these model units and quickly take action if needed.

Remote video surveillance systems can do more than deter crime. The technology and monitoring operators can help identify and report safety hazards. Many multifamily residential properties overlook the baby boomers as potential residents.

An analysis on housing trends from the Urban Institute reveals the number of baby boomers renting will surge from 5.8 million in 2010 to 12.2 million in 2030. That's because more seniors are selling their homes and moving into multifamily residential buildings to remove the burden of maintaining a home.

The security cameras record everyone entering and exiting the building. The recordings can give you the proof you need for incidents, liability claims, and crimes. Someone may claim they broke their foot tripping on the torn carpet at the entrance. Analysts can search the video recordings to find the incident in question and confirm whether or not the person injured themselves on the property.

You gain many benefits with an integrated security system. Access control shows the time stamp when something happens. That will give the analysts a place to start in searching the video. Unlike many traditional security systems, remote video surveillance is a proactive security solution that helps enhance security, save on costs, and mitigate risks.

Another advantage of video surveillance for security is that multiple generations want apartment security and video surveillance. According to "Marketing Strategy Toolbox: Addressing Renter Demographics" from National Apartment Association, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers want security. Security supplies them with peace of mind to feel safe at a place where they live and work. More than half will pay extra for security according to an Assurant survey referenced in a Multifamily Executive article.

Video surveillance systems can do more than stop crime. They can help spot and report safety hazards. More seniors are trading homes for apartments to drop the responsibility of maintaining a home. Video cameras are useful to ensure older residents using a walker, canes, or wheelchairs remain safe.

3. Wi-Fi and Internet Connections

As more companies switch to remote working or a hybrid setup, more residents will be working from their units. So, it's critical they have a high-speed internet connection and community Wi-Fi.

Xfinity Communities' Networking with Residents: Technology Drives the Multifamily Industry reports that 87% of residents state technology is an extremely or very important factor in remaining satisfied. Additionally, 86% of multifamily residents agree that community Wi-Fi needs to be available.

4. Smart Apartment Technologies

Residents want smart apartment technologies, which are smart home technologies made for multifamily residential buildings. Many of these require reliable Wi-Fi to work.

A NMHC and Kingsley Associates Renter Preferences Report has found that one-third of those residents already own voice-activated technology like Amazon's Alexa or Google Home. A good 43% of them claim they won't rent from a building that doesn't offer a voice-activated virtual assistant.

All of these technologies will improve NOI. They will attract new residents and compel current residents to stay longer. Many older multifamily residential buildings have been updated successfully to add these technologies.

Improve Multifamily Resident Retention

Multifamily residential property management must take steps to hold on to their residents. With remote working becoming more widespread, a multifamily residential building needs to give residents choices and flexibility. These technologies make it possible. You'll help increase both loyalty and your bottom line.

Residents want apartment amenities that make their lives easier. As more people stay home for school and work, a fast, reliable connection is no longer a luxury. As soon as new and better networking options become available, learn more about them because residents want the best network service possible.

Don't add technology for the cool factor or to just to grow your list of amenities. Not all technology has value, and the values presented often change from one property to the next. The technology you add needs to add value to the lives of the residents or help the employees be more efficient. Fortunately, some of the technologies will help both.

Being intentional about the right technology means understanding your customers and their preferences. The best way to do this is to talk to your residents.

Want to learn more about multifamily residential security? Pick up your copy of the Complete Guide to Securing Your Apartment Building. This guide highlights your options for securing your apartment building to protect your residents, employees, visitors, and vendors. You'll learn about four lines of defense that bolster apartment security. And finally, it'll show you how to select the right security system that fits your budget.

The requirements for your multifamily residential property's security are not the same at a business in another industry. The best place to start in your search for the right security technologies is companies like Stealth that have multifamily residential experience. When you work with Stealth, our security experts design a custom security plan for your property. They will deliver what you need, nothing more and nothing less. To learn more, contact us.

Posted in: Crime Prevention, Video Security Systems, Video Monitoring