The current health crisis continues to transform how we live, work and interact with each other. For the multifamily industry specifically, different trends have emerged that are likely to stick well after the pandemic subsides.
From virtual tours and better accommodation for remote workers to updating common area layouts to be more distant, below are five trends you should be aware of in your housing communities.
More virtual tours
Virtual tours are just as effective as in-person appointments, as long as you follow some basic best practices for building a relationship and understanding what your prospects want.
If you’re going to schedule a virtual tour, it should be just like an in-person appointment you’re hosting. If you plan to walk around and show four, five, six apartments, that’s going to inhibit their urgency to sign a lease.
Instead, the power of going virtual comes from the information you’re getting on the front end. These details will help you narrow down and customize the presentation to precisely what your prospective residents want to see.
In your initial interactions, dig into what’s important to them so that when it comes time for their virtual tour, you’ll have a handful of spaces that fit their wants and needs. During the tour, remember to take your time. It’s a different experience when your prospect is behind a phone and trying to picture themselves there.
Get creative with descriptors and go slow, ensuring you’re showing off every angle of the premise. While you’re in the space, remember to ask questions with the goal of them envisioning living there, like how big their furniture is or if they like to entertain.
Accommodating the growth of telecommuters
Now that companies see it’s possible to have their employees work from home, we’re going to see the trend continue. With that, you’ll want to make sure you’re providing stations for people to work remotely and comfortably.
Look at your amenities and floor plans through the lens of an environment conducive to working from home. If you need an update, consider providing options like better printing capabilities and individual workstations.
Modifications to common area layouts
In the same vein of workspaces, now’s the time to take a fresh look at how you’re using communal areas, considering how your residents live and their preferences.
Making changes to your common spaces doesn’t always lead to full out construction, but it does mean putting more thought into it going forward. For example, lobbies may become larger or rearranged, or chairs at the pool may be more spread out.
Repurposing spaces to fit today’s needs and making small, nuanced changes will go a long way in improving your community and making people feel comfortable.
Refreshed community events
Residential events are an invaluable aspect of multifamily residences. And never have they been more important than now. Our residents loved to gather in the clubhouse or pool for special events, and we wanted a way to still bring the community together while staying safe.
Virtual events have been super successful over the last few months, and it’s a trend I don’t see going away. From trivia and movie nights to celebrating recent graduates and holidays, virtual events allow you to over-deliver in customer service and show your values as a company as you continue to build up your community.
Enhanced internal communication
The health crisis has shown us that connecting virtually with colleagues can help make communications more efficient at a site level and take down any existing walls on a geography basis.
What started as a necessity, has led to better collaboration and exposure to different experiences that you can incorporate as best practices in your region. Internally we’ve been using more communication tools now, and, as a result, we’ve become stronger and more efficient as a team.
Preparing for a different future
As we all continue to grapple with the health crisis, the aftereffects on our industry are likely here to stay. Taking the time to incorporate these changes into your business, sales process and residential areas will better reflect your community’s needs and help ensure you not only sustain, but remain competitive in the future.
About the author
Ryan Kirby is the Senior Vice President – Midwest at Village Green.