Multifamily in the U.S. is a $3.3 trillion-dollar industry. Despite that, to date much of the management, measurement and optimization of marketing, leasing, and operations of properties and portfolios have been handled through copious emails, labor prone spreadsheets, and time consuming and expensive meetings and phone calls.
Having spent over a decade in multifamily, for years myself, as well as many of my peers, have sat there secretly thinking to ourselves, “There has got to be a better way.”
And there is.
But change doesn’t come easily. And in order to change, we have to do hard things. We all know this at a personal level from any 5K we’ve trained for, a new language we’ve tried to learn, or a recipe we’ve tried to master. And in order to change, we have to push through that resistance, both our own and others, and so the requirement or the need for change has to be significant enough to create that catalyst.
Fortunately, we aren’t the first industry to experience this need for systemic change. Think of what Amazon has done to retail, what digital photography did to Kodak, what Uber has done to the cab business. In the COVID-19 era, think of how self-guided and virtual tours overnight became a critical lifeline to buildings being able to continue to acquire residents.
“The requirement or the need for change has to be significant enough to create that catalyst.”
In order to experience change, we must shift our paradigms. We must be willing to imagine that retail could exist without brick and mortar. Photography could be produced without film. A car could be hailed at the touch of a screen. Institutional property management could be done without spreadsheets.
Multifamily has no shortage of paradigms we need to shift; I think about them as myths.
So, what are the myths that multifamily must be willing to debunk?
1. More Data = More Power.
For years our industry has been giving us more and more data, but without great ways to process it and turn it into insights. More data as a standalone actually creates more problems. So what does need to happen to convert more data into more power?
2. Property Management Companies (PMCs) and Owners are 100% Aligned
PMCs and Owners are critical partners in the multifamily ecosystem, but incentives are not always well aligned which can create complex challenges. How could this relationship look different?
3. It’s All About the Building.
For years we focused on concepting, designing and building the very best building possible, and trusted the residents would come. Today, the power is shifting from a focus on the building to a focus on the resident. How will this shift fundamentally change our industry?
4. You Don’t Own Your Data.
PMCs and Owner/Operators have to navigate an incredibly complex landscape of systems of data, ranging from PMS to CRMS, Google Analytics, ILS, Pay per Click, and more. For years, many of these systems held data hostage stating that they owned the data. They owned your data. Not anymore. What’s possible once you own and manage your data?
5. 50% Resident Retention is OK.
As more and more product has delivered over the last decade the market has gotten increasingly complex, and it has been normative that half your building is going to move out every year. But what if it didn’t have to be like that?