Top Technologies Where Apartment Owners Should Invest

Article originally posted on Globe St. on June 12, 2019

While there is a lot of talk about the benefits of integrating technology into the commercial real estate industry, the biggest benefit is increased productivity and better building operations. For apartment owners—one of the most management intensive asset classes—technology can be a game changer. Investing in technology and IT can drive better productivity and make operations staff happier. Until now, most apartment owners have focused on integrating technology for residents, but technologies for staff can be equally beneficial.

“We have integrated technology extensively into our personal lives. We are used to it; we expect it,” Brenda Gammie, SVP at Avanti Residential, tells GlobeSt.com. “How can we enable this same scenario in our work lives? One example is iPad leasing apps, like Power Pro, which enables leasing associates to tour prospects with an iPad. The iPad allows them to get all the information they need on the community and on the available apartment homes while on the tour rather than having to go back to their desks for information on their computers. It’s the mobile experience we’ve become accustomed to as a society translated to the work experience. This kind of technology tends to attract and retain top talent, leading to increased productivity and helping shape the culture of the company.”

Gammie recommends that apartment owners adopt a solid integrated ERP system that encompasses all aspects of the company, from HR to finances to operations, and better communication devices. “[The ERP system] enables all functions to communicate easier with each other versus each function having its own system and spreadsheets,” she says. “Tech investments can help create better interactions with our customers and our team members. Mobile leasing apps, for example, create engagement with prospects during the tour, allowing them to share and record personal preferences, like pet friendliness, number of bedrooms, views and much more immediately and in an experience they’ve become accustomed to. Nobody wants to share these details with a leasing associate from the opposite side of desk where they don’t know what the associate is typing into the system.”

As of now, owners are still focusing capital investment on resident technologies, but Gammie is starting to see owners acknowledging the need for more back-end tech. “The focus is still primarily on resident-facing technology; however, we are starting to see a shift in how to embrace and empower the backhouse teams,” she says. “Mobile leasing apps, customer relationship management systems, mobile service request management apps and more are becoming more popular. This significantly increases employee satisfaction.”

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