Since the iPhone changed the game in the use of mobile devices in 2007, people have been increasingly migrating to using their phones for just about everything on and off the Internet. And for prospective tenants in our communities, this is no exception.

With 91% of tenants reading text messages within 3 minutes of receipt and 88% preferring to communicate via email, landlords and property managers can’t ignore the shift in communication preferences. For many of us, communicating via a messaging app to our family and friends is the primary way we reach people – second to making a voice call. Because of this trend, we as property managers should use this immediate and convenient channel to keep in touch with new and existing tenants. I would go so far as to say that this is even a competitive advantage.

There are a handful of reasons why we need to leverage tech to keep in close contact with our tenant base, but I will cover the four reason why property managers need to use email, messaging, and text for prospective and existing tenants:

1) The Growing Millennial & Gen-Z Demographic are Driving Up the Rental Market

According to Pew Research, Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force and have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. Millennials are driving up the rental market month over month as they are much more mobile than previous generations.

To meet this demand, property managers need to provide flexible ways to communicate with this demographic – from text messaging to Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp. Additionally, you should use systems and technology that allow the resolution of issues and rent payment via a mobile device. Even more than the Millenials, the Gen-Z demographic grew up with this technology and it will become increasingly important as these two generations age. It could even make the difference if they will sign up or renew their lease.

2) A Faster Response to Prospective Tenants will Give You a Competitive Advantage

Today we live in a world where we get groceries delivered to our homes in one hour and Amazon is flying drones to people houses to drop off toothpaste. All things being equal, tenants expect the same quick response from their property manager. The faster you are able to respond to a tenant prospect, the more likely you will be able to build rapport and trust with them.

As I mentioned before, these days, Millenials and Gen-Zs respond to text messaging apps over taking a phone call and usually read them within minutes of receipt. Emails are usually responded to within a 4-hour period. So text and messaging platforms should be your preferred methods of reaching prospects.

3) You Can Do More in Less Time

The great thing about using this technology is that you can manage tenants and prospects anywhere on the globe. Using text messaging technology, you are able to provide these people with easy ways to sign or renew leases, enter trouble tickets with pictures, or send reminders of upcoming events in the community. All this efficiency means higher productivity and increased margins. If an emergency crops up, the property manager can handle it even if someone is not in the office. Many ways of communicating and high flexibility is key. If you are spending less time taping notices to peoples doors, you could be saving an entire workday depending on the size of the property.

It’s worth noting that there is no actual cost for using Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, and there are text messaging services available so you are not tying up your phone number. Additionally, there are platforms available that allow your team to easily handle and track these various methods of communication if you have a large portfolio of properties.

4) You Can Track All Your Communications

Using email and texting in the prospecting process allows property managers to process more leads and close more leases. If you go so far as integrating your messaging apps into your CRM, you are able to set appointments to show units, keep notes on the prospect and answer their questions – all in one place with a trail of what was discussed. It allows the property manager to track all the inbound leads and nothing gets lost. What’s more, if the prospect wants to know how many units are available or the cost for the rent, you can quickly look it up and respond. Using all this tech to immediately get back to a tenant is a competitive advantage that will set you apart from other community’s communication style right from the start.

Anyway, technology has changed the multifamily space and given apartment communities a new way to stay connected to tenants. With so many choices for a prospect to live, it’s important for your property to stand out. Today’s tenant wants to feel valued, and maintaining easy communication is a priority for anybody looking for a new place to call home. Email, messaging and texting needs to be a part of your marketing and tenant retention plan. Without it, you are falling behind.

Are you using this tech today to communicate to new tenants? Please let me know and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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