Future-proof your property: How to leverage tech to attract and retain modern residents

Ah, resident retention. It’s hard to go a day without thinking about it. And, like most property managers, you’re likely on the hunt for ways to boost it. It’s easy to see why; residents don’t always stick around. In August 2022, renters with an expiring lease had an average retention rate of 54.8% (down from 58% in August 2021). Some top-performing companies even hit 65%. While these figures are something to brag about (after all eCommerce’s retention rate sits at 31%), there’s still a lot of rental income up for grabs. Especially from Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z renters.

If you want to scale, there’s one key step to attracting and retaining modern residents. You’ve got to step up your technology. 🖥️ So, where do you start? Join us as we uncover what solutions the new school of renters expects, why, and what this means for your business. Next, we’ll get your creative juices flowing. We’ll zoom in on some companies that have harnessed the power of technology in property management to get into residents’ good graces and grow.

Table of contents

Tech-xpectations: What modern residents actually want

Yes, we made up a word.😉 But the demand for tech-driven experiences in the house-hunting phase is very real. Let’s cover some of the growing expectations from renters and popular technology in property management:

Flexible, digital payments

Most modern residents have never waited in line at the Post Office to pay rent or used checks and postal orders to clear bills. We now live in a fast-paced, tech-driven world. Digital and flexible payment options are the norm. We’re talking Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), one-click purchases, and contactless payments. So much so, Global BNPL transactions are expected to increase by nearly $450 billion between 2021 and 2026.

Expectations for online and flexible payments have now reached the renter’s market. So, mimicking the payment options residents encounter daily as consumers is essential to keep them around. This trend also means fuss-free payment experiences are critical. No more figuring out bank transfer details or having to speak with a clerk to pay over the phone each month.

It’s what makes solutions like Flex so appealing; it’s like BNPL for rent payments, but without carrying over revolving debt. Using the Flex app, users get credit to front their rent and can split rent into two affordable payments. Flex guarantees full rent to property managers on the 1st of each month, then collects payment from renters via the app.📱

Property management tools

Modern residents are time-strapped. So, whether you’ve got one resident or a thousand, empowering them is vital for their financial health, enjoyment, and safety. So, make it easy for residents to run errands and complete admin tasks associated with their lease. For example, jobs like estimating bills, booking maintenance, and reporting a disturbance. You can also create a forum to help residents stay connected and chat with one another. As your portfolio grows, you can transform it into a community hub. Execute these changes through an all-in-one property management app. Just make sure it’s got DIY tools and property management features for residents

Modern support channels

Ask the typical modern-day resident how it feels to leave the house without their phone or when their favorite social media app is down. They’ll likely tell you it’s odd and like a piece of them is missing. It’s unsurprising; 40% of Gen Z spend 4 hours or more on social media daily, and more than half of their waking hours glued to a screen. Millennials spend 2 hours and 38 minutes on average on social media. Most of these actions take place on mobile devices. So, where do modern residents turn to when they need a hand? You guessed it: social media and search engines. 🤳

Since it’s natural and efficient for modern residents to conduct affairs online, offering tech-savvy solutions to manage their place digitally is a must. This adjustment will do wonders for your retention rates. Here are some areas to explore:

  • Maintenance: Whether reporting a leaky faucet or scheduling a fire alarm check, provide residents with quick and easy digital options to book call-outs. You can offer an app, an online portal, or a text service. Just make sure it’s a self-service solution residents can access around the clock.
  • Customer support: Residents should have multiple ways to contact you for assistance. For best results, combine old-school channels with new communications channels. Think customer service on social media platforms and live chat, plus email, text, and phone options.

In-home technology: Forgot to turn off the light. Not 100% sure if the hob is off. Want to return to a snuggly home in the winter and a cool spot in the summer. Expecting a visitor but need to pop out.🤔These are all common challenges residents face. Addressing these issues with smart technology that allows residents to manage their homes remotely is the way to go. Look for solutions to control things like water, heating, lighting, electricity, security, and building access. Think keyless entry doors, video doorbells, storage lockers, and tech-enabled units.

Why do modern residents want digital experiences?

Curious why modern residents are so obsessed with digital tools and why operators should be catering to this? It’s simple. New school residents have too many responsibilities, too little time, and, in some cases, funds. Get this:

Digital solutions offer modern residents space to breathe. They also take the fuss out of managing mundane tasks like paying rent, making life easier. For instance, solutions like Flex help residents get ahead financially by allowing them to sync rent payments with their finances. So, if you’re looking for a way to increase resident retention, invest in your tech stack. Flex makes managing rent easier for residents across 5.5M US units. Learn how your business can be next.

2 Proptech success stories to inspire your digital transformation

When it comes to winning the hearts and pockets of modern residents, the technology you use determines your success level. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out these encouraging results two property management companies got from digital transformation:

Sage Ventures

Solution adopted: Rent payment app from Flex

Sage’s residents increasingly requested flexible payments, and rogue payments had also risen. In response, Sage trialed Flex’s rent payments app. This solution allows residents to split payments into two manageable portions, making it easier to afford.

Residents weren’t the only ones that benefitted from Flex. After a successful trial, Sage adopted Flex across its portfolio. Following this move, Sage’s delinquent payments dropped. The property management team now also saves 5 hours each month on admin per assistant manager, which they now use on strategic tasks. Plus, Sage has processed $2.2 million in rent payments since July 2023 using Flex.🔥(Read more about Sage’s journey to flexible payments with Flex here).

Presidio Property Management

Solution adopted: Property management software from Buildium, A RealPage company.

Presidio is a 200+ door company consisting of single-family and multi-family units. An ambitious entrepreneur, Leuri Zibetti, spearheads Presidio. After experiencing Buildium’s capabilities in her former role at another property management company, Leuri Zebetti decided to use Buildium in her business.

Presidio now uses Buildium’s tools to streamline many tasks. These jobs include monitoring and documenting maintenance, automating renewals tracking, lease renewal, offer generation, and leasing. For example, Tenants can now submit complaints via Buildium’s Resident Center. Presidio’s team can also add notes to tickets and respond with updates that the tenants can view along with the expected resolution date.

Buildium has even helped Presidio simplify processing application fees to comply with Utah’s laws. As a result, Presidio saves 20 hours per week of staff time previously spent on admin. The team now has full visibility into resident communication, facilitating quicker responses to maintenance requests and happier tenants.

The secret to attracting modern residents and keeping them

Property management is like a revolving door; residents come and go. However, as the leasing landscape evolves, there are some things you can do to bring in residents and keep them around for longer. Using technology in property management is one of them. But there’s a knack to it. You’ve got to pick the right tools for faultless services and processes that stand out to new school tenants.

A great place to start is your payment journey. Removing the barriers to rent payments will help you stay competitive and appealing to the new generation of residents. So, start putting the feelers out there for solutions to upgrade resident-facing and internal processes. You’ll be well on your way to attracting modern residents and improving retention and satisfaction. 

Are your old-school payment options scaring off new-school prospects? Discover how Flex can help you improve resident satisfaction and retention. Book a demo.