'Life Hacks' for the Upcoming Multifamily Budget Season

Facing unprecedented challenges and circumstances, there are technology solutions apartment owners and managers can use to better control the process.

This 2024 budgeting season will be like no other.

Inflation is in full force. Energy costs are spiking and so are materials – everything from appliances to operational basics. Insurance rates have never been higher and most consumers – your renters – are holding their breath to find out what could come next.

So much is simply out of our control— but some things can be controlled.

Hiring and training challenges continue to plague onsite teams. But one crucial thing that apartment companies can manage is labor costs.

When planning your 2024 budget, use these three life hacks to make planning your budget easier and focused on growing your bottom line.

Budgeting Life Hack #1: Define the Use Case

A key initial step in budgeting prep is when companies first ask themselves in what areas they need to improve. Leasing professionals and property managers will tell you that capturing qualified website leads and avoiding missed prospect calls or emails can spoil leasing revenue goals.

By first identifying where you need to improve in this process, you’ll be able to better identify which technology solutions you need to include in your budget.

The rise of chatbots and virtual leasing assistants were introduced during the pandemic and have skyrocketed since. Machine learning and natural language-based intelligence continues to advance.

Call center costs might seem valid, but are they helping to provide truly qualified leads and conversions?

Filling staffing gaps is a problem that never goes away. And burnout – too many days, too many hours – is the ultimate office morale crusher.

Employees are looking to work elsewhere, driving up wages. However, technology more than ever can help solve for staffing, improve your team’s performance and keep apartment communities “open” 24-7.

This comes from artificial intelligence-driven virtual leasing assistants such as ACE™ from LeaseHawk.

ACE™ Virtual Leasing Assistant

ACE is more than a chatbot. It is an omni-channel virtual leasing assistant that answers prospects, 24/7. ACE makes human-like connections with your prospects via leasing phone calls, text messages, and chats. It is trained with years of multifamily data, property phone calls, and real leasing agent conversations, and sits on an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform powered by Google. ACE knows how to conversationally guide a prospect through learning about your properties. Most anything prospects will asks – ACE knows the answer.

With knowledge of well over 100 leasing and resident related questions, ACE helps prospects get the answers they need. It connects with your Property Management System (PMS) and CRM to provide up-to-date pricing, availability, and scheduling data. Best of all, ACE is continuously learning and perfecting the way it communicates with your prospects using AI.

Budgeting Life Hack #2: Align Your Team

Introducing technology can challenge some employees’ comfort zones. Ensure that all facets of the organization have buy-in to what you choose; you don’t want to roll out a solution that your onsite team won’t be excited about.

Select a provider with white-glove setup and implementation and stellar customer service. Artificial intelligence is the new employee everyone will love to meet.

The change-management challenges that come with implementing AI onsite are not found at the executive level.

Stephanie Gonzalez, VP of Innovation for Venterra Realty, knows this first-hand. During her panel, “Build a Better Leasing Experience with Centralization and Technology” at the NAA Apartmentalize Conference, she mentions “It’s more at the onsite level. It takes time for them to come over to that way of thinking, but if you have conversations with them and explain it, it will go much easier.”

Budgeting Life Hack #3: Crunch the Numbers

Request proposals from multiple vendors to get an early projection of your budget. The AI solution that you choose should help your properties to reduce call center and operational costs, in addition to reducing friction in your prospects’ rental experience.

UDR’s Chief Digital Officer Scott Wesson, an advocate of AI and self-guided tours, says, “All of this automation has led to a 40 percent reduction in our staff size. It has given us a chance to rewrite our job descriptions so that our associates can specialize in certain roles and functions we need onsite.”

Even better, Stephanie Gonzalez also mentioned how AI “has enabled us to close our offices on Sunday because our bots handle the traffic that would come during that time.” This gives onsite teams a better work-life balance as they do not have to work every weekend.

Your 2024 Budget

Happy teams work better and stay longer, reducing staff turnover and increasing occupancy and resident satisfaction. Talk to the multifamily experts at LeaseHawk about adding AI into your 2024 budget. We’re happy to help, get in touch with us here.

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