Today is a great time to be an investor in single-family rental properties. According to studies, single-family rentals, or SFR, are expected to grow faster than office, retail, multifamily, and hospitality growth in 2022. While single-family rentals are projected to grow faster than multifamily rental properties, each market can learn from the other.
For example, SFRs can promote the feeling of community that multifamily properties offer their residents. On the other hand, multifamily properties should also try to deliver a more personalized touch to their residents.
Here are four lessons to keep in mind:
1) Keep resident priorities in mind
A recent Zillow survey showed that millennials are 43% of SFRs and 41% of multifamily housing residents. This means they are more open to using technology in their everyday lives. They are more open to using a mobile app for maintenance requests, lease renewal, and communicating with property management. Other examples include using an app for community events, paying rent, and controlling utilities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, renters are more accustomed to using technology and getting things done remotely. Rental property owners and managers need to consider technology adoption to keep their tenants content with their services.
2) Adapting technology to streamline aspects of the rental process
Compared to multifamily housing, SFRs are often located in different areas. This makes responding to tenant issues and inquiries more challenging. Adapting technology to handle particular needs of the tenant, like maintenance requests, rental payments, and inquiries, will benefit both parties. Automation can help cut the processing time from question to solution, and SFRs will have a positive experience when dealing with owners and managers.
3) Not all tech applications are equal
For owners and managers of SFRs and multifamily housing, it's best to look at all available technologies and apps before deciding which to use. There are many full-stack tech options available on the market. Still, owners and managers need to find what works best for their residents' needs. Apps and tech solutions are often built for large multifamily housing properties, which will not work for smaller property owners.
4) Opportunities in predicting maintenance and utilities
Predictive maintenance is an area where SFRs and multifamily housing managers often overlook. For example, collecting data from HVAC systems can help owners and managers determine other issues in the property. Monitoring these systems can help issues be treated before they become more extensive and expensive problems. Data collection can also help in conservation and utility usage, which is often an issue for SFRs. This is also another area where technology can help owners and operators manage their properties better.
It is clear that technology needs to be part of property management for SFRs and multifamily housing. Whether to accept rental payments or receive maintenance requests, various tech solutions and apps should be part of a tenant's rental experience. This is especially true in the age of COVID-19, which brought about remote working and boosted online shopping.
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Source: National Apartment Association