What’s in the box?!
Lighting, the thing that allows you to see at night. Lighting, something that is usually a main focus of a value add property opportunity. Lighting, generally taken from the run of the mill incandescent to LED when it’s “upgraded”. Nothing too complex so you should still be with me. It’s pretty self explanatory. “Yes Robert, I understand that residents need lights in their units, the leasing staff needs lights in the office and common areas, and the hallways need lights to keep people walking straight. What’s your point?”
In our previous blog I discussed with you the immense changes that have occurred with HVAC systems, and prior to that access control. What has changed about lighting? The bulb. That’s it. It would be a rare occurrence that those of you who make decisions would opt for a lighting fixture you had to turn on at the device itself. Walk up to an overhead fan+light and pull the chain? Not in years. Since the advent of the wall switch, we’re stalled in our REAL advancement in lighting. Not anymore.
What if I said you could increase resident satisfaction and rents, save the residents and asset owners money, and it would be an inexpensive, sustainable solution? Yes, I’m still talking about lighting. And no, we’re not talking Edison-bulbs. We’re talking about smart lighting—the kind that’s connected and controlled by your phone, work device or voice assistant (e.g., Google Home, Alexa, Siri). Let’s get into this.
Make a Lasting Impression
Personalization is the name of the game. Each resident in each community at every level of asset wants to be taken care of personally—they want to feel special. Their needs and wants are of the utmost priority in their minds, and therefore should be your #1 priority as well. It’s the concept of proportionality. Every person wants the 10/10, the 100/100, but we all know that’s unrealistic. It’s our job to give them the best bang for their buck, and please as many as possible. With that being said, we look to a host of smart devices residents can connect with in exciting new ways.
Smart blinds can be programmed to raise and lower as the position of the sun affects the glare on their living room TV. Out-of-this-world and expensive? Negative to both counts. In-wall control panels that pop out and serve as the epicenter of the resident experience? A little pricier, sure, but usually justifiable. Smart speakers, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, and the list of smart appliances goes on and on. Need a move in gift to sweeten the pot? How about a smart TV that is already mounted and accompanied by a smart assistant that greets your new resident upon entrance. Refrigerators that stock themselves, stoves that can be turned on from the office to make sure the roast is done at dinner time? No sweat. Use your imagination, and the residents will rave over the unique care that you’ve provided just for them. But what about the owner’s interests? Yep, have you covered there too.
Ownership Wins When Residents Grin
Average leak remediation costs are $10-12k. Loss of a resident’s trust all but guaranteed. This is completely avoidable with a smart leak detector next to the water heater or washing machine. Bad word of mouth as a result of uninvited guests that’ve made their way in via a propped door can be easily avoided by automated notifications from contact sensors. HVAC units faulting because of those frozen lines we talked about a few blogs back? Temperature sensors placed inside air ducts can be automated to create work orders when a discrepancy occurs. That means no frustrated residents because their AC is frozen for the 3rd time this year.
All of the above equates to happy residents telling their circles of influence about all the forethought that’s gone into their home. So, now we’ve got lasting residents and happy ownership groups. All this is not only doable, but it’s the next wave of amenity that your residents will undoubtedly hear about, ask about, and demand in order to “justify” their renewal increases.
Smart Add-ons Really Add Up
Easy math. Recurring occupancy in the upper 90’s was always a goal of mine, and these little add-ons would help anyone stay there. Positive Apartment Ratings scores were a point of pride for me, and now the resident’s will gush about the care and consideration they’ve been shown. The smart tools you’ll have at your disposal will shape the future of the asset, and make it the diamond in the portfolio...that is until you implement it on a portfolio-wide scale! Still not sure if your residents will bite? In the next blog article we’ll dig deeper into the delightful details of a new and improved resident experience.
VP, Business Development