October 14 2022

Centralization’s technological requirements — Renter Management Software — what it is, and why it’s essential for Centralization

Every now and then a new idea shakes up an entire industry. Centralization is the future operating model for multifamily. 

With any brand new idea, a really disruptive idea, comes the need for clear information around what centralization demands from its technology to cut through the buzzy chaos. 

First, what is centralization? 

For property management companies, a centralized operating model boils down to three critical elements: 

  1. Organizational change: The structure of your people and your properties (how teams are organized, regional versus single HQ offices).
  2. Operational change: The responsibilities and workflows necessary to conduct day-to-day operations. 
  3. Technological change: Software and devices necessary to support your organizational and operational strategy

Changing any one of these elements is a months-long journey, requiring thoughtful planning, strategy, executive alignment, and a clearly defined change management strategy.

Changing one element of centralization will never lead to optimized productivity or true business transformation. 

Renter Management Software, a new solution to centralize

Here at last: no more choosing between either antiquated mile-wide-inch-deep property management software that were built for the old model or stringing together single solution challengers to try and make the new one work. 

Modernizing your technology stack to include things like Renter Management Software (RMS), AI-based workforce management software, and smart-devices (e.g. smart locks, thermostats, appliances, HVAC, etc.) to accelerate centralization. RMS is more than “a better mousetrap” or another incrementally improved single solution challenger CRM, or a built-for-back-end-accounting-software-CRM. 

RMS contains four vital components to qualify: a sole focus on renter-facing solutions, a single guest card platform architecture, the ability to centralize workstreams or tasks, and a core operating ethos that is centered around the renter. 

To better understand why these tech-intricacies matter, let’s go into detail on each of the four criteria of Renter Management Software. 

#1. Only renter-facing tech solutions here, please. 

If a tech solution’s focus is too narrow, innovation is at best incremental and inconsequential when rolled out across a property management company’s portfolio. 

If your focus is too broad, and you provide many back-end or property management solutions, then the tech solution is an inch deep and a mile wide and doesn’t deliver on innovation, either. 

Tech solution scope is a key ingredient of what makes RMS impactful. RMS is the multifamily Goldilocks platform: it’s broader than a few niche solutions and narrower than do-it-all legacy tech. RMS only focuses on the renter lifecycle from initial inquiry through renewal. Because RMS focuses solely on the renter journey we had the freedom to develop a robust platform tailored to onsite leasing professionals and today’s renters. 

#2. Single guest card architecture

This single guest card is vitally important. It empowers businesses to centralize various specialized renter-facing workstreams and results in business efficiencies because of the platform’s core architecture.

This is a critical point. Structurally, the platform is architected around the individual renter through a single centralized guest card. What is a single guest card? Simple: for each renter in your CRM there should only be one guest card for Rachel Renter. Not one guest card at each property, not daisy-chained together guest cards, not linked guest cards, one guest card. Full stop. The only way to accomplish this is to build the software architecture one way. 

Building Renter Management Software from the ground up is an undertaking. So, as with any innovation, there will be imitators who create shortcuts, instead of innovation. An example of this is linking multiple guest cards, instead of having a single renter-centric guest card. If you’re having to open multiple tabs to see where a prospect is stage-wise at different properties, or keep two windows open, or multiple monitors, it’s not a single guest card. Workarounds like that are symptoms of status-quo vendors building tech bandaids rather than revolutionizing the industry to heal what’s fundamentally broken. 

If a tech vendor promises a quick easy fix, they likely deliver incremental improvements, but they won’t deliver true business transformation that drives centralization. It seems straightforward to say, but if you want solutions that deliver exceptional results, then large-scale change is required. 

#3. Tech built to centralize 

Tech built to centralize streamlines follow-up because of the communication transparency it provides. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a centralized team, or at an individual property, you can all see the same information for every individual renter. Meaning, centralized teams can take the onus of follow-up, leasing and other detailed workstreams off your onsite team members. This is important because as you know, staffing is a huge challenge for property management companies and they’re constantly asking their leasing teams to do more with less. Funnel’s architecture, AI and automation work together to help take the burden of mundane administrative tasks from leasing professionals so that they can focus on providing exceptional customer service to renters. 

Within one view of the RMS platform a leasing professional, can see what communities Rachel Renter is interested in, what questions she asked, and send tailored follow-ups to Rachel. From day one with the Funnel platform, communication is strategic and streamlined. Gone are the days when prospective renters are “nurtured” by twelve different leasing professionals all working for the same overarching property management company. 

Additionally, because specific leasing actions are geared around the renter’s lifecycle in their lead to leasing journey, Funnel can automate some tasks and allow PMCs to reconfigure roles and teams to craft specialized workflows that meet the needs of their business. 

#4. Renter-centric ethos

Finally, a renter-first ethos demands more than a “better” or an “improved” renter experience, but business transformation and flawless service from every interaction with a prospect or resident from initial inquiry through renewals. We know, that’s a high bar, but if you’re not playing to win, what’s the point? 

Finally, not only is this renter-centricity built into our products, and the trusted consultative partnerships we have with clients, we take it a step further. 

We believe we can change the world by changing the renter experience. From our values to our business practices, Funnel is investing in community. We started the multifamily industry’s first 501(c)(3) Housing Opportunities Made Equal (H.O.M.E.), to provide more equitable opportunities for renters of all backgrounds to find their next home. Our commitment to a people-first culture is in the DNA of our company — from our P.I.N.K. values to the renter-centric architecture of our product line — it’s an effort that comes from within. 

Bottom line: RMS is a business transformation tool that allows leading property management companies to craft portfolio-tailored operating models to increase efficiency and insulate their business from changes in the market. And actually centralize their operations, resulting in greater productivity and revenue.

Start centralizing now, don’t get left behind

At Funnel, we firmly believe centralization or centralized leasing models will be the benchmark for how all leasing at reputable and leading PMC’s is done within five years. Many forward-thinking companies including Cortland, Camden, and Essex have already made the move. 

Getting ahead of the trend will position your company to realize the cost savings and market share gains ahead of your peers.

Funnel can help. Want to access your free, portfolio-tailored centralization playbook? 

Request it today.