Budget season can be a stressful time of year for multifamily properties. When tackling your multifamily property budget, the tools you invest in for your multifamily digital marketing efforts need to be evaluated. We’ve got some tips on how to leave the multifamily budget season with confidence in what you’ve invested in.
For starters, invest in tools that will help you meet consumer demand. Consumer buying habits have changed a lot in the last few years and this change is hitting the multifamily industry too. With the new generation of renters being Gen Z, your property website needs to meet their digital expectations in order to stand out or be taken seriously as a brand.
Budgeting for multifamily needs to be a cross departmental discussion. The budget effects everyone, including the onsite and marketing teams. The tools you choose to invest in or divest from affect their day to day work responsibilities. Including all types of employees in the budget conversations helps give you a broader view of your multifamily operations and multifamily expenses.
Assigning roles and responsibilities of different parts of the budget before you begin your discussions will leave you more prepared and make your meetings go much smoother. Gather market data beforehand so you can analyze how your property has been doing in comparison with the rest of your region. Don’t just look at the last year or two years, look at the last five or more years together.
When evaluating previous budgets, looking at more years gives you a more complete picture of how you got to your current situation. You can see how over the years you have grown within your own market or how you’ve struggled. Doing this work beforehand will give you more time in your budget talks to discuss how to combat the problems that are being shown through the data that has already been analyzed.
Along with market data, you need to evaluate your tech stack. Are your multifamily expenses worth keeping around? Did these vendors deliver on the promises they made? Let’s dive into how to measure value in the tools you’ve invested in and how to know when it’s time to say good bye.
EVALUATING YOUR TECH STACK
Before we get into what tools to invest in, we need to take a look at what tools you already have. Analyze your property’s current tools by looking at KPI’s and other metrics to see if they are performing well. It also is a good opportunity to look at vendor contracts with those tools and see if it’s worth continuing those contracts into the next year. Having the hard data on how their tools performed for your property can help when renegotiating or deciding whether or not to terminate and look elsewhere.
It’s helpful to collaborate across departments during this phase of budget meetings. People from marketing to the onsite team have different experiences using these tools and talking to these vendors. Their input is valuable and gives insight into how these investments are working from a day to day basis. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure the best ROI on any and all tools you invest in this budget season.
Marcella Eppsteiner, VP of Marketing at Mission Rock Residential, says that she likes to look at multiple years’ budgets at once instead of just looking at last year’s and comparing it to this year’s. It gives her and her team a broader view of what their budgeting has looked like in the past and makes it easier to spot what needs to be cut and what needs more money. She can see how money in certain areas has affected departments over the years instead of just looking at the past year. It also allows her to see how out of the norm 2020 was and to make budgeting decisions that take that into account.
TOOLS TO INVEST IN
Virtual leasing is not a trend born out of necessity; it is the way many properties continue to lease post-pandemic. Investing in tools that allow you to give virtual tour options or record property videos to have on your website needs to be included in your budget. Not having a virtual leasing option at all is outdated and will drive prospects away from your property and to competitors that do offer virtual leasing. Not only will it make your property more accessible and help give on the fence prospects a little push, by not offering virtual leasing at all will make your property feel outdated to Gen Z buyers. They aren’t going to want to rent from a property where the first impression they get from your property website or social media is “old and outdated”.
Other tools that need to be discussed during your budget meetings are tools that use leasing AI. AI is a big topic in multifamily right now and for good reason. Along with virtual leasing, there has been an increase in online visitor traffic and the casual online shopper. Onsite teams are being overwhelmed with so many leads coming through. Not all of those leads are ready to talk and not all of them are really leads to begin with.
Investing in an AI Leasing Assistant will not only save your team hours of work, but it will help manage the influx of leads that many multifamily properties are seeing. With PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant you can answer prospect questions 24/7 with a natural language chatbot, collect better and cleaner data, and it only hands off leads that are ready to talk, tour or lease to the leasing specialists. The AI Assistant handles the rest.
It follows-up with prospects based on where they are in their move-in timeline using your brand’s voice for a better customer experience. It saves all that details about the prospects wants and needs so when they are ready to talk, your team can be equipped with all the knowledge to make that first initial conversation and tour more effective.