Note: This article is written to accompany the How to Tackle Multifamily Labor Shortages event. It is available to watch for free with the rest of our on-demand multifamily events on our Events page. This article reveals the data we collected as part of our research leading up to the event.
In March alone, 3% of the workforce quit. That’s 4.5 million people walking away from their jobs.
Finding high quality employees has always been a struggle, and it’s gotten even harder in the last two years. Employees that have stayed for years are leaving. It’s often referred to as “The Great Resignation.”
Most employers weren’t ready for this. The work environment changed with COVID moving workers to their homes. Now these companies aren’t fully prepared to handle their workers quitting.
Our research revealed that only 50% of multifamily properties expect to be able to handle all their incoming calls, and 65% think they would benefit from having another leasing agent.
There are not enough leasing agents on staff for many properties. What’s going to happen when no leasing agents are available and a prospect comes looking?
They will go to another property.
Most large properties are spending tens of thousands of dollars on marketing. Every prospective resident turned away is marketing dollars being wasted.
Yet even hiring more leasing agents (if they can find them) might not be enough. A majority expect that prospects prefer to interact with the property after office hours. We found that 32% use a call center to allow for more after-hours interactions, but it can’t cover the rest of the leasing journey.
The multifamily leasing environment is changing. Everyone wants instant access and convenience. If a future resident can’t get it from one property, they’ll get it from the next.
In the past several years, we’ve seen a shift towards technology-enabled leasing. Tech can fill holes effectively where hiring wouldn’t be able to.
Websites with basic information aren’t enough anymore. The future of leasing is technology, and properties need to take advantage of the opportunities it provides.
Those opportunities are already here. Properties need to adopt them. Ease of access is critical in today’s world, and more staff won’t always achieve it.
Properties need to enable touring in convenient ways. Online 3D tours that can be experienced in virtual reality (VR), letting leasing agents Facetime or Zoom with prospects to show them the apartment, or self-guided tours after hours with smart locks.
Although in-person tours are still an option, there are now more ways to tour. Properties need to take advantage of that.
But touring is only half of the equation. What is the process of getting a future resident to the point of touring?
We found that right now, 93.3% of multifamily executives expect technology to change the way we lease apartments. Over half picked artificial intelligence (AI), guided conversation, or voice assistants to make a change to how we lease apartments.
It makes sense. Staffing is a massive issue for all industries right now, not just multifamily. Artificial intelligence can do the same work that properties would need to hire more workers to complete.
A prospective resident can get the same information from an AI as it could from a leasing agent. Instead of them coming to see a leasing agent, the leasing agent comes to them.
Our data found that only 72% of apartments have a way for prospects to find availability, ask questions, schedule a tour, or lease, without talking to a person. Well over half think an apartment can be leased without a leasing agent.
Automation is growing, but it’s not finished. The entire leasing process has been automated in pieces, and properties need to make the jump, or they will continue to lose leads through the cracks.
There’s an obvious solution to staffing problems, and it’s not hiring more people.
Our client, LeaseHawk, helps multifamily properties lease faster by using an AI leasing assistant that handles phone calls, text messages, and online chats, at the same time. Prospects can ask questions and get information just like a normal conversation. This supplements employees and allows them to focus on more important tasks.
Don’t let staffing problems hurt your business. Let AI pick up the work.