AI Leasing Agents: The Truth According to Apartment Owners and Managers

Hear from five multifamily professionals who reveal their AI leasing agent experience.
October 18, 2021
Tech

What is an AI Leasing Agent?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning have created new opportunities for the multifamily industry. Its greatest impact has been on automating the experience in the rental customer’s journey to find their next apartment home.

The technology roots itself in many names: Apartment Chatbot, AI Leasing Agent, Virtual Leasing Assistant, Digital Leasing Agent, AI Leasing Assistant… But, in summary have one purpose: to make apartment owners more profitable by filling vacancies faster.

Now that the technology has conquered its early adopter stage, what do apartment owners and managers have to say about their experience thus far? Are AI leasing agents truly coming through on their promise to change the way we lease? We asked five multifamily professionals to tell us about their experience so far.

Multifamily Professionals Tell All — Their AI Leasing Agent Experience

UDR, Inc.

The apartment business is a customer-driven industry. Scott Wesson, Chief Digital Officer for UDR, said that today, too many times, consumers trying to contact a company just want quick answers to their often straight-forward questions, and most businesses are making it overly difficult to get those answers.

To alleviate this, UDR evaluated four chatbots and chose LeaseHawk’s virtual leasing assistant, ACE, because it “proved best at being able to answer the greatest number of questions quickly,” Wesson said. “If it cannot answer efficiently, prospects could leave your website, frustrated, and not come back. ACE functions so that it prompts its users to ask more questions, which improves interaction and the prospect’s experience.”

“The technology we use, including LeaseHawk’s chatbot, has made us more cost-efficient and optimized our workforce,” Wesson says. “This improves our operating margin, but it also provides UDR associates with better compensation and career advancement opportunities and allows them to focus more thoroughly on customer service.”

Shelton Residential

Prospect traffic has always been hot for Shelton Residential. For their properties, it’s a normal day for the phones to be ringing off the hook. They knew they needed something to give their on-site leasing teams a helping hand to answer the overflow of calls during busy office hours, after-hours, and holidays.

But sending these valuable prospects to a call center, or even worse, voicemail, was not going to be an acceptable process for Shelton Residential. They wanted a modern alternative that would allow their prospects to get the best customer experience possible. That’s why they decided to hire a virtual leasing assistant as part of their team.

After implementing ACE, their properties noticed an immediate boost of appointments set and traffic being sent to the office. They also realized that ACE’s chat functionality was able to reach prospects that might be too timid to call or come into the office.

Jordan Ruditys, Marketing Director for Shelton Residential, explains, “As early adopters of ACE, we’ve witnessed how its technology continuously gets smarter after each update and iteration.” Shelton Residential has proven their dedication to being on the front lines of testing new features to bring the most cutting-edge experiences to their customers. “The willingness to adapt is crucial in our current leasing environment. We’re excited to have ACE on our team, as well as the knowledgeable and dedicated staff at LeaseHawk.”

Property Management Associates (PMA)

With apartment listings posted on all the major Internet Listing Services (ILS), PMA was generating hundreds of leads to its communities’ websites.

Once there, prospective residents sought specialized and unique information about the details at each property. Looking for an optimal and cost-effective way to deliver the particulars for a given property, they turned to a robust technology solution—an AI-powered virtual leasing assistant.

“When we first chose to go with ACE, our goal was simply to show that the investment would help our management team and our bottom line,” Brittney Kim, Residential Portfolio Manager, Property Management Associates, says. “That goal has been met and exceeded.”

Kim said there were a few small hesitancies about adding a bot as a team member – “but our team soon came to realize that ACE is helping them to do their jobs better as a day-to-day assist tool that enables them to focus on our residents and not have to spend as much time answering pre-qualifying questions from prospects – ones that ACE can handle for them.”

Adara Communities

As the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic grew, Adara knew they needed a creative and leading-edge solution to ensure they never missed a leasing opportunity. As long-term partners with LeaseHawk, it was a natural progression to choose ACE to assist their properties.

Adara has experienced their on-site productivity rise with ACE’s assistance of scheduling appointments on behalf of team members, especially when they are assisting a resident or on property. ACE ensures the on-site team never misses a leasing opportunity and has proven itself as an essential tool in their leasing process.

Brent Bunger, Executive Vice President for Adara Communities, says, “ACE is fundamentally changing the leasing culture at Adara by connecting with prospects any time of the day, after hours and on the go. Thanks to our own virtual assistant, meaningful and timely responses have enhanced experiences and elevated expectations.”

Carbon Thompson Multifamily Management

Autumn Medina, Regional Manager for Carbon Thompson Multifamily Management, says, “The apartment market in Texas is really strong right now. So many people are moving into our state. We’ve been inundated with traffic, so much so that we just don’t have time to answer all the phone calls. We turned the phones off.”

Medina started to use ACE about six months ago at lease-up properties. In one month, it generated 1,485 conversations in which ACE was able to answer questions, meaning they were ones that our leasing agents don’t have to have. We’re using it at two lease-ups now, and two existing communities, all in Texas markets.

“We looked at some chatbots where questions were asked based on drop-down menus,” Medina said. “That wasn’t ideal. ACE allows resident prospects to type in their questions and get answers, which we prefer.”

Medina, who has 22 years’ experience in the multifamily industry, says early reports based on applications and conversions from using ACE have been excellent. “It has already paid for itself,” she said.

The Truth is in the Data

According to our clients and data, it’s true: AI leasing agents are changing the way we lease.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution to ensure every prospect call, chat, and text is answered, then it’s time to look at a virtual leasing assistant. It can handle prospect calls when the human leasing team isn’t available, such as during lunch breaks, when helping residents, or after-hours. Plus, it will conversationally book tours and collect guest card information in real-time to deliver qualified leads to your leasing team, 24/7.

To learn more about LeaseHawk’s virtual leasing assistant, ACE, visit leasehawk.com/ace.

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