Believe it or not, 2023 is underway, and the new year could prove to be a challenging one for apartment operators in certain ways.
In 2021 and into the beginning of 2022, demand for apartment rentals approached record levels, which shrunk vacancy rates and increased monthly rents. The rest of the year remained stagnant while other regions saw some decline, but inflation and other economic factors have many apartment communities confronted with labor shortages, and other challenges which can certainly make leasing and operating properties difficult.
Against that backdrop, here are some of the technologies and solutions operators should consider for optimizing their success and efficiencies in 2023 and beyond.
- Tools that allow prospective residents to have a fully digital and contactless leasing experience — During the pandemic, many operators rushed to implement virtual tours, onsite self-guided tours and other solutions that allowed prospects to apply for and finalize their leases remotely. Prospective renters have undoubtedly grown fond of navigating the leasing process from their homes and taking self-guided tours when onsite, and the demand for digital solutions will surely continue even after COVID distancing is no longer a factor.
Therefore, apartment owners and operators should think of these capabilities as long-term investments and always seek ways to optimize the digital leasing experience they provide. Along those lines, forward-thinking operators are employing solutions that allow them to embed credit functionality into their websites and mobile apps using modern, RESTful APIs like the Experian ConnectSM API. Not only does it enhance the information included in a lease application with credit report data, but it also allows prospective renters to easily apply for more than one property at once, enhancing their experience at the same time.
- Automated lease application form fill — By using information entered by a lease applicant (such as first name, last name, postal code and the last four digits of a Social Security number), this technology uses information from credit files to automatically fill other data fields in a lease application. This tool reduces the effort required by prospective renters to complete the application process, resulting in a better user experience, faster completions, greater accuracy and reduced application abandonment.
- Automated verification of income, assets, and employment — These solutions eliminate the need for associates to manually verify these components of a lease application. Manual verification is both time-consuming and prone to human error. In addition, automated tools eliminate the opportunity for applicants to supply falsified supporting documentation. The best part about verification is the variety of options available; leasing managers can pick and choose verification options that meet their needs.
- Renter Risk Score™ and custom-built scores and models applying RentBureau data — These options offer a score designed expressly to predict the likelihood that an applicant will pay rent. Renter risk score can be purchased with preset score logic, or for high-volume decisions, a model can be built calibrated for your specific leasing decisioning needs.
- A rental payment history report — The RentBureau Consumer Profile tool can provide detailed insight into a lease applicant’s history of meeting their lease obligations, which is invaluable information during the lease application process.
Having a tool to report rental payment histories to credit bureaus can be a powerful financial amenity. By reporting these payments, operators can help residents build credit histories and improve financial well-being. Such an amenity can attract and retain residents and provide them with a powerful incentive to pay rent on time and in full.
In the end, tools that seek to manage risk and create improved experiences for prospective renters have a multitude of benefits. They create meaningful efficiencies for onsite staff by greatly reducing the time, resources and paperwork required to process applications and verify applicant information. This gives overextended associates more time to handle their many other responsibilities. Beyond just efficiency savings, these technologies and solutions also can help operators avoid the complications and loss of income that result from evictions. In fact, the National Association of Realtors estimates that average eviction costs $7,685.
Managing risk and providing the best possible customer experience should always be top of mind for rental housing operators. And with the solutions outlined above, they can effectively accomplish those goals in 2023 and beyond.