Kelly Calderone, Metonic’s VP of Residential Asset Management, recently sat on a panel entitled “The Continuing Evolution of Multi-Family: Leading Trends that Enhance the Living Experience and Maximize Shareholder Value” for this year’s CRE Summit. The discussion included other real estate professionals from the area and focused on the importance of strategy, foresight and proactivity in the ever-changing multifamily landscape.
One of the most important goals at Metonic is maximizing shareholder value and the resident experience. In her responses to the questions posed by the panel’s moderator, Kelly discussed the importance of staying ahead of the market through multiple channels. Check out some of her key points from an important and informative panel.
Q: Developers in many markets are spending a lot of money adding new and unique amenities to their properties. Are these developers getting a decent bang for their buck? What amenities are actually being used by tenants vs. just being offered by developers so as not to be at a disadvantage to other properties?
- Something we have found becoming really important to residents is overall efficiency. Any time you can save a resident something they value, whether that’s time or money, you’re going to be ahead of the pack. Some examples of amenities that increase efficiency for our residents include environmentally-friendly charging stations, package lockers, rideshare programs, Uber parking spots and smart technology throughout the community (to name a few). You have to think about your particular resident demographic’s lifestyle and start there.
- We also believe that resident gathering spots are equally as important and utilized. This could include studios and workshop areas (as DIY culture is booming), on-site conference and meeting rooms for home workers and entrepreneurs, coffee bars, entertainment kitchens, community movie and TV rooms, etc. It’s also important to take advantage of outdoor views by offering rooftop decks with events. Ultimately, the goal is creating an experience for the renters to make meaningful memories.
- The final set of amenities that are a guaranteed return on investment when properly organized are pet related. Dog parks, pet washing stations, pet walking services, etc. all help transform the stigma that multifamily communities aren’t a pet friendly option. In this current climate, it’s important to be not only pet friendly but pet encouraged.
Q: RUBS (Ratio Utility Billing System) changed the way that apartment owners and managers handled utilities on properties that were not separately metered at construction. Are there other trends, like RUBS, that we should be on the lookout for?
- When developing a strategy for any community, an important step is to identify new other income sources. This could come in the form of amenity fees, bulk Internet and/or Cable fees (saves the resident costs if they were to get the services on their own, and the owner can make a small income from it) and forced placement liability fees (in lieu of renter’s insurance, renters pay a small flat fee each month to provide the required $100K liability coverage on the building should they damage it. Owners can make also make a small income from this.)
- We are also seeing a trend towards the opposite direction in some higher end properties that are providing all-inclusive pricing. This allows for an easier and more transparent rental shopping experience, especially for many former homeowners returning to the rental market for the first time in years. The pricing structure in the market has to allow for a broader range in order for this to be successful. We are realizing the success of the inclusive pricing model within a current new development with leasing results ahead of projections.
Q:If you had a crystal ball into the next 1-2 years, what do you expect would be the most surprising or important development or innovation in the multifamily space between now and then?
- This is where we go back to the importance of efficiency. People value their time, and value other people who value their time. Options like self-guided tours, online applications, and virtual assistants are saving potential renters both time, money and hassle. This can also change how management companies staff properties with this new efficient model for prospects.