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Latest Trends in Multifamily and Single-Family Property Management

July 07, 2017 | Nat Kunes

AppFolio is an IREM President Level Industry Partner. This article is published on the IREM Blog as part of that partnership.

Property management can be an enjoyable line of work, but it also requires you pay close attention to changing real estate needs. Management companies that fail to stay in touch with trends may find themselves struggling to keep up with the competition or make room for their own success. Here are the latest trends in multifamily and single family property management so that managers, owners, and renters can know what to expect in the short-term future.

Multifamily Trends

  1. More People Want Multifamily Living
    Today more than ever, people are choosing apartments over houses. This is largely due to the millennial generation choosing to forgo the traditional route of living in single family homes in favor apartment buildings and complexes. This translates to more buildings filling up with renters and more of a need for property management companies to step in and efficiently handle payments, maintenance, and other challenges that arise when you manage a large multifamily apartment complex.

  2. People Demand More of Their Homes
    People expect more from their multifamily dwellings than just standard housing. This can mean anything from amenities—a pool and gym—to perks like discounts and convenient ways to address maintenance issues after hours. Allowing people to pay their rent and request maintenance online, for example, is a simple option that more people expect of management companies. The more offers property managers can extend to their prospective tenants, the more likely it is that prospects will choose to rent in that particular multifamily space.

  3. Software Can Help, when Used Correctly
    Many of the things property managers try to give owners and renters, such as online communication, streamlined maintenance requests, and easy lease signing, are available with select software. With that in mind, the wrong software can also make things difficult and cause more problems than it is worth. Any property management company using software for multifamily management may want to evaluate how well it is working, and companies that are thinking about buying software will want to be careful as to what they ultimately purchase.

Single Family Trends

  1. Fewer Houses Are Rented Out
    The current trend is not for rental houses but for multifamily dwellings like apartment complexes. However, that does not mean a rental house won’t attract any potential renters. Property managers of single family properties might have to take less rent than they had hoped for or have more vacancies than they would otherwise expect. This trend may change in the future but not everyone is looking for a bigger space or a yard to take care of. A lot of people are shying away from that, which is why there is a shift from single family homes to multifamily dwellings in the minds of renters and also in the minds of property managers.

  2. Single Family Homes Can Command Higher Management Rates
    In some cases, owners of single family homes should expect to pay slightly higher rates than the property management company is charging for multifamily dwellings. That is often because of the extra work involved in managing just one rental house for one owner, as opposed to an entire complex or group of complexes for another owner. While the higher rate is for the perceived inconvenience of this type of management, not all property management companies charge extra for a single family home. However, if trends toward multifamily development continue, it is entirely possible that more companies will begin to charge extra when they need to manage a single house, as opposed to their management rates and fees for a multifamily dwelling.

Moving Forward with the Multifamily Market

With more people moving toward multifamily living and fewer single family homes being used as rentals, along with renters wanting more for their monthly payments, property managers must focus their efforts on issues like proper amenities, good upkeep, and software that lets renters and owners connect with their management team. Additionally, people who want to rent their single family homes may find that they have increased costs, and may choose to manage them on their own or sell them, instead. In the meantime, property managers will need to focus on giving the maximum level of benefits to tenants and owners to keep everyone happy.

About the Author
Nat Kunes is the Vice President of Product Management for AppFolio. He works on a daily basis with property management professionals to identify industry trends and product features that are included in AppFolio's property management software.

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