Undoubtedly, the pandemic has upended the world in a dramatic fashion. Residential property management has been affected as much as any other industry. All the planning and budgeting for 2020 went out of the window when COVID-19 showed up in North America. Everyone is ready to close the books on 2020 and look ahead to 2021.
While the pandemic is one of the most unforeseen circumstances the industry has ever encountered, here is hoping any surprises in 2021 will pale in comparison. The good news is that the vaccines are here. It will take time to get all the medicine distributed and everyone to receive the needed doses as the approved vaccines require two separate shots.
All that said, here are the five residential property management trends for 2021.
The rise in remote working could compel people to move closer to family, places with a lower cost of living, or their dream locations. Workers may want to live in a place with breathtaking scenery, a small-town lifestyle, or someplace with a preferred climate.
Since the onset of the pandemic, rent has dropped in 40 percent of the top 100 markets in the U.S. Moreover, GlobeSt. states the steepest declines come from cities with the most expensive apartment rental rates.
Despite this, Hire a Helper reports San Francisco and New York City are seeing a mass exodus of residents. Apparently, 80 percent more moved out of rather than moved into these locations. It's not surprising because these cities have one of the highest costs of living in the U.S.
The states benefiting from the pandemic with high move-in rates include Florida, Arizona, and Idaho. These places are known for their climates, lower cost of living, or smaller populations. GlobeSt. confirms this by pointing out affordable mid-sized markets like Las Vegas and Chesapeake, Virginia, are in the top five cities experiencing the most rent growth.
COVID-19 has resulted in many furloughs and layoffs. Those who lost their jobs are scrambling for new sources of income. Hence, some residents have no choice but to move. They may have lost their income and cannot afford to pay rent. To survive, they go live with someone or find a place with lower rent.
Hire a Helper's poll has found the No. 1 reason respondents moved is they couldn't afford their housing due to loss of their income or job. Coming in a close second in reason for moving is to shelter-in-place with family and friends.
How will migration look in 2021 and post-pandemic? No one can say for sure but those who are most likely to move will be the ones who will continue to work from home indefinitely. They have not moved yet because they don't know whether remote working is temporary or here to stay.
As such, no one will be shocked to see a rise in month-to-month renewals. Those opting for month-to-month are waiting to see what happens before signing a year-long lease.
One of the biggest factors affecting the multifamily housing industry is the switch to remote working. Many apartment dwellers who moved from commuting to an office have converted their apartments into a home office. That required apartment property management needing to put a higher priority on providing high-quality internet service.
This is one factor that will most likely continue into 2021. Companies are discovering the benefits of remote working. They save on building costs and their employees don't have tiring commutes draining their energy before the workday begins.
Some plan to make remote working a permanent part of the company culture or at least some hybrid version of it. Therefore, it's critical that residential property management continues to put a high priority on its internet service and Wi-Fi.
It's going to be more vital than ever for residential property management to offer apartment amenities. If your residents' employees allow them to work from home for good, they could have the motivation they need to move to a cheaper city or closer to their family. This will help you retain tenants and attract new ones.
Fewer people wanted to tour prospective apartments because they didn't want to risk exposing themselves to COVID-19 in a high-density place. Residential property managers pivoted by adding virtual and self-guided tours.
Even after the pandemic comes to an end, these will remain a mainstay in the apartment hunting process. Often, prospects don't tour a building because it takes too much time away from work. The apartment property management office may be closed by the time they can come.
Virtual tours are a great starting point, especially for people who live far away. It will never completely replace actual tours. In an Entrata study, only one-quarter of those polled said they signed a lease sight unseen.
As an example, a family made a reservation at an apartment-type property for vacation. Obviously, they couldn't visit the place in person until they arrived in town. Their place turned out to be nothing like the photos.
Besides, many apartment hunters prefer self-guided tours because it frees them of the pressure that comes with having a salesperson or employee with them. Self-guided tours are getting upgraded with contactless technology.
For example, the apartment property issues temporary access to a prospective tenant at a set time. The prospects can then use their mobile phones to gain access to the building and apartment. Best of all, your staff won't waste time waiting for no-shows.
Shopping online got its biggest boost in 2020 because of the pandemic. With stay-at-home orders, people shopped online more than they have before. The U.S. Department of Commerce sales report shows ecommerce sales in 2020 increased by 37 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019. That means more packages are being delivered to your apartment property.
What is your multifamily residential property's process for package deliveries? Residents want a safe and secure way to receive their packages. Some communities are experimenting with text message notifications and other apps that provide delivery updates to residents. The technology is worth the investment because it can free up your staff's time.
Do your employees monitor the entrance and handle deliveries? Perhaps, you have a security guard stationed at the entrance. Any of these could put the employees, security guard, delivery person, and residents at risk.
It's possible to enhance security while reducing contact risk with an integrated security system that contains an access control system and video cameras at the entry. An access control system can manage who can enter the building, offices, gym, laundry room, and other limited-access rooms. It can manage who has access to a specific apartment.
The other part of an integrated security system is video cameras. Artificial and human intelligence work together to monitor the comings and goings. If someone delivers a package, he or she can safely talk to the person on camera through a two-way speaker. The person can leave the package in an assigned place and someone can pick it up after the delivery person has left.
This same video surveillance system can protect the entire building and property. And it's contactless.
The way remote video surveillance works is a security consultant installs high-definition video security cameras around the property and parking lot. It's important to ask about high-definition cameras. That's because they can capture identifying information such as faces, license plates, and other information.
Video surveillance with artificial intelligence and trained operators watch the entire property. The AI monitors for programmed scenarios. As soon as something questionable happens, it notifies the operator who can assess the situation. If someone is behaving suspiciously, the operator can alert the suspect on an on-site audio speaker system. This adds a layer of security and often sends trespassers running away.
The presence of video cameras adds another layer of security. They can deter criminals. If an intruder doesn't see the cameras or wears a mask, the trained operators can act to limit or help prevent damage and lead to the apprehension of the suspect.
Video surveillance records and saves everything. You'll have the evidence you need for any crimes, incidents, and liability claims. A visitor may claim getting injured on the property. Analysts can search the camera footage to find the incident in question and confirm whether or not the person got injured on the property.
Video surveillance makes it possible to hire fewer employees and skip security guards. Video systems helps save on costs and increase productivity because employees spend more time on their important tasks.
Moreover, you won't have to worry about rekeying the entry or office locks when someone leaves the company or is fired. If a departing employee accidentally forgets to turn in the badge, it won't be a problem. You can remove access with a few clicks of the keyboard.
You most likely need temporary access for the maintenance crew, third-party vendors, and housekeeping. Granting them access works the same way as giving a temporary PIN to a prospect who wants to tour the premises.
Residential property management needs to do what it can to hold on to its tenants. With remote working becoming more and more popular, an apartment must have the amenities to protect its residents with security and contactless technology. Being prepared for these five trends in 2021 will ensure yours comes out on top.
To help your residential property stand out from other properties, you want to make sure you offer the right apartment technology and security options. With video surveillance, you'll maximize security to make your tenants happy while getting a fast ROI. To find out more about the possibilities for apartment security, please download your free Complete Guide to Securing Your Apartment Building or contact us.