The pandemic this year has presented the multifamily industry with unprecedented challenges. The effects of these challenges have forced the industry to pivot to meet resident and prospect needs quickly. Despite the challenges the pandemic has brought to property managers, it has also created possibilities for them to rethink their resident retention strategies and communicate creatively. 

What primary trends in 2021 will have the most effect on property management? 

Property management marketing, software technology, and enhanced customer service are just a few.  

Here are 9 trends we expect for the future of the multifamily industry. 

1. Government Restrictions: In 2021, rent control demand will increase given how high rental prices have become in cities such as Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Oakland. As renters struggle with unemployment, government restrictions such as rent payment and eviction moratoriums will continue.  

2. Software Technology: Improvements in accounting, time management, tenant screening, online payments, and property management analytics are now being provided by new software technology. Some offer complete solutions, and while they may place additional costs on your business, they could significantly improve efficiency. 

G2 has provided an overview of the top property management solutions and apps. Is your company currently using any listed? 

3. Enhanced Customer Service: The most critical component next year to demonstrate value and increase resident satisfaction across multifamily communities will be improved customer service. With more residents working from home, the expectations for efficiency and timely communication from their property managers are rising.  

We foresee most prospects and residents leaning into digital communication via smartphone apps, emails, and text messages. Less face-to-face interaction means expanding your digital presence and increasing the frequency of contact in 2021. 

4. Retaining Qualified Staff: To succeed in resident satisfaction and efficient day-to-day operations, it is of prime importance to hire highly qualified property management and maintenance staff. Attracting and keeping top talent will remain a challenge in 2021, however. The multifamily industry is a highly competitive and rising sector. The demand for skilled, educated staff is excessive, but there is a labor shortage of eligible applicants entering the market. 

The need for more highly trained and passionate team members will begin to be more evident in 2021. Companies that excel in recruiting top talent do so by offering attractive pay packages, providing training, education, support, and continuously searching for new ways to keep their employees happy. Employee appreciation days, flexible working hours, and time off on holidays are just a few examples of enticing employee benefits. 

5. Property Management Marketing: Given the complexities property managers face today, property management companies know they must market their services better now more than ever. To build a presence in the complete absence of in-person promotion, property managers can utilize social media, PPC ad campaigns, and website content. Publishing consistently on social media will help build their brand and grow an audience. 

6. Economic Uncertainty within the Industry: Although this year brought economic uncertainty with changes in income and employment status, the delinquency rate hasn’t been as significant as anticipated. As shown in the National Multifamily Housing Council rent payment tracker, there is currently a 1.6% decrease from rent paid this time last year. Rent collection has outperformed expectations during the early part of the pandemic, however many are still struggling financially, which might impact future collections. 

7. Focus on Resident Connection: Finding the perfect balance between interacting with residents and following safety measures will continue to be a challenge for multifamily teams in 2021.  As residents begin to get more stir-crazy over the following months, many will want to resume normal social integration and activities, but the ongoing pandemic will challenge property management teams to rethink how they plan social events and connectivity.  

In addition to virtual happy hours and zoom classes, some other ideas for connecting residents virtually include virtual discussion boards, weekly newsletters, virtual workouts, and indoor scavenger hunts. 

8. Resident Needs Adapting to Work from Home: We know that residents are using their living spaces differently due to a large number of them working from home full-time. Homes used to be our designated place to relax, but they have now become a place for both work and relaxation, and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon. Some major companies such as GoogleMicrosoft, and Morgan Stanley are delaying returning to a traditional office environment until Summer 2021. Other companies like Twitter are giving their employees the option to work from home permanently. 

In 2021, property management companies will need to continue adjusting their offerings to meet resident needs in the short and long term.  Adapting to these changes and listening to feedback from their residents will help strengthen resident relationships and retention rates.  

9. Staying Connected by Going Digital: Property managers will continue to have little to no physical contact with residents due to the pandemic, creating a higher demand for information to be available online. Digital communication tools such as apps, emails, and texts are the industry standard and the key to successful communication in 2021. A web portal that lets residents pay their rent online, submit maintenance requests, and view discussion boards is another must-have convenience. 

On the prospect side, options like self-guided and virtual tours will prove to be safer. Overall, success in 2021 depends on convenience, efficiency, and consistent digital communication to help reach residents in this climate. 

These are just a few trends in property management to be on the lookout for in 2021.   

Are you looking to improve your delinquency management process next year? Contact us today