– Technology is essential for landlords and property managers in college towns to thrive in today’s market.
– College students expect tech-enabled amenities such as online rent payments, virtual property tours, and smart home features.
– Landlords should adopt software that includes online leasing and electronic rent payment systems.
– Mobile-friendly maintenance coordination and automated accounting services are important features to look for in property management software.
– Smart home technologies, such as remote control thermostats and lighting, can attract environmentally conscious college students.
– Safety features, such as surveillance cameras and access control systems, are important for both students and their parents.
– Technology can reduce vacancy rates and increase profits for landlords, while also improving the rental experience for students and parents.
RentRedi CEO Ryan Barone writes that from smart home enhancements to mobile-friendly tech service that streamlines the rental process, technology is the key to helping college-town landlords thrive in today’s market.
As students across the country head home for the holidays and plan ahead for next semester, it’s a busy time for landlords and property managers of college student housing. There are a lot of things in flux — from move-outs to move-ins to roommate changes and more.
It’s all too much to keep track of manually, not to mention the fact that you’re dealing with a generation raised on technology. If property managers ask these young adults to gather paper documentation and pay rent with paper checks, they’ll likely lose out to other landlords who use property management technologies to do everything electronically.
Students are looking for more tech-enabled amenities from their landlords, such as online rent payments and maintenance requests, as well as virtual property tours and smart home features. Additionally, students are increasingly using social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok to document their housing experiences, so landlords who use these platforms to showcase their properties have a distinct advantage.
To attract college students, landlords should utilize technology to create a convenient and seamless rental and living experience. One option is to adopt software that includes online leasing and electronic rent payment systems.
Property and transaction management solutions
Technologies that offer mobile-friendly maintenance coordination to ensure that repair requests are handled expeditiously are a big plus. Some technologies can even help students build credit by reporting their on-time payments to major reporting agencies.
There are many property management software options available, but not all of them provide a wide array of services on the same platform. Having separate technology providers for each service is costly and hard to manage.
Look for affordable software providers that offer all-in-one solutions. These technologies should include the ability to list vacancies, find and screen tenants, prequalify and sign leases, collect rent, set up auto-pay, build credit, and manage maintenance requests all in one place.
Other important features to look for include:
- The option for tenants to purchase a renters insurance policy directly through the platform or upload private policies to comply with leasing agreements.
- Custom template builders that enable landlords and property managers to build their own pre-qualification and application processes that best serve their individual needs and help them attract and identify more qualified tenants.
- Automated accounting services designed specifically for real estate investors and rental property owners, such as automatically syncing all properties, revenue, and expenses, handling Schedule E and tax forms and pulling financial reports (cash flow statements, P&L, etc).
It’s also important to ensure that the technologies work well on both desktops and mobile apps. (Remember, college students will likely prefer to do everything on their phones.)
Smart home and security enhancements
With many college students being environmentally conscious, another thing to consider is installing smart home technologies that offer the ability to remotely control thermostats, lighting and appliances.
These devices offer unrivaled control, allowing students to ensure that energy is not wasted when they are away from their rooms. They can enjoy the energy-efficient benefits while reducing their utility bills as well.
In addition to catering to student preferences, it’s equally important to consider the parent perspective. Parents are typically co-signers on student leases, and their number one priority for their children is safety.
Keeping up with the most state-of-the-art surveillance cameras, access control systems and alarm systems is a huge selling point, along with installing motion-sensor exterior lights that provide proper lighting in parking lots, walkways, and entrances.
Beyond convenience and safety, tech-enhanced rentals can also offer unique experiences. Virtual tours provide a curated look into the property from anywhere in the world. Additionally, virtual reality content can be an exciting way for students (and their parents) to interact with their potential rental before moving in.
The use of technology can not only make the lives of students and their parents easier, but it can also benefit landlords by reducing their vacancy rates and increasing their profits. With tech-enabled features, landlords can gain a competitive edge in the student housing market, attract more tenants, and retain current tenants by offering a better overall experience.
Ryan Barone is the co-founder and CEO of RentRedi, an award-winning rental management software that transforms the way landlords and tenants manage their renting experience. After losing out on an NYC apartment as a college student, Ryan began building the prototype of the RentRedi app to ease the rental process.
Property Chomp's Take:
In today's competitive rental market, technology is the key to thriving as a college-town landlord. With the rise of smart home enhancements and mobile-friendly tech services, landlords can attract and retain tenants by offering a convenient and seamless rental experience.
Gone are the days of manual paperwork and paper checks. The younger generation, raised on technology, expects landlords to provide tech-enabled amenities such as online rent payments, maintenance requests, and virtual property tours. Landlords who utilize social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to showcase their properties have a distinct advantage in attracting college students.
To meet the demands of tech-savvy tenants, landlords should adopt property management software that includes online leasing and electronic rent payment systems. Look for affordable software providers that offer all-in-one solutions, allowing landlords to list vacancies, find and screen tenants, collect rent, build credit, and manage maintenance requests all in one place.
Other important features to consider include the option for tenants to purchase renters insurance directly through the platform, custom template builders for pre-qualification and application processes, and automated accounting services designed specifically for real estate investors and rental property owners.
It's crucial that these technologies work well on both desktops and mobile apps, as college students prefer to do everything on their phones. Additionally, landlords should consider installing smart home technologies that allow students to remotely control thermostats, lighting, and appliances, promoting energy efficiency and reducing utility bills.
While catering to student preferences, landlords should also consider the safety concerns of parents, who are typically co-signers on student leases. State-of-the-art surveillance cameras, access control systems, alarm systems, and motion-sensor exterior lights provide peace of mind for parents and a selling point for landlords.
Tech-enhanced rentals also offer unique experiences for students and their parents. Virtual tours and virtual reality content allow potential tenants to interact with their potential rental before moving in, even from anywhere in the world.
By embracing technology, landlords can reduce vacancy rates and increase profits. Tech-enabled features give landlords a competitive edge in the student housing market, attracting more tenants and providing a better overall experience. With the help of technology, college-town landlords can thrive in today's market and ensure a successful future.