More than half of the people that help comprise the American rental market are millennials. While millennials’ obsession with the digital world can sometimes generate a laugh or two, ignoring the importance of technology for this market and others will come at your peril, especially when you consider that renters have ousted homeowners to become the majority population among 22 major American cities. Today’s renters not only want technology to be a part of their renting experience—they expect it.
The implications of this are clear: to minimize churn, residents need to be happy. To make today’s residents happy, you need to provide them with a digital experience. The rise of new technologies has influenced the market such that it has started to shift virtually all aspects of the rental process, such as leasing applications and payment, to the digital realm.
Here are three easy ways to minimize churn by offering your residents digital options.
According to the 2017 Renter Preferences Study from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), 90% of renters surveyed said they want to be able to pay their rent through an online portal, while only 1% said they would prefer to pay by mailed-in check.
Interestingly, digital payment not only appeals to renters but would benefit communities as well. Digital payments can be less costly and more convenient than traditional modes of payment. Because of the time and resources checks require, such as shipping and processing, The Wall Street Journal estimates that check payments cost up to five times more than those done online.
Depending on the digital platform you use, digital payments can be automated, and some systems can also send renters reminders and notifications, making paying and receiving rent easier and more efficient than traditional paper checks.
According to a 2017 Satisfacts survey, 88% of renters prefer that community staff contact them by email, and 50% prefer text messages. It’s important to expand your messaging strategy beyond notes slipped under doors. Reach your renters on their mobile devices while they’re on the go about package deliveries and other important notices – and give them the opportunity to respond in kind.
Make it easy for on-site staff to send digital messages by engaging a platform that provides mobile-optimized email templates and that manages two-way text conversations in a single inbox.
Once only available to homeowners, more and more communities are incorporating smart home technology into their units to improve renter satisfaction while enticing future residents. From lighting to security devices to thermostats, ever-growing numbers of residents want smart home technology.
Much like software and online rent payment, smart home technology benefits communities because it can help save both money and energy. Given the fact that 86 percent of millennial renters report being willing to spend more on rentals equipped with smart home technology, it makes sense to invest in this sort of technology.
With careful and thoughtful implementation of digital solutions at your community, you can improve processes for your renters, work toward reducing churn, and deliver tools that help your on-site team work more efficiently.