How Multifamily Owners, Managers Can Exceed Resident Expectations

by Taylor Williams

In a fast-paced, post-pandemic world, the amenities and services that renters expect in multifamily communities are constantly changing. Owners and managers must anticipate what residents will ask for next in order to stay competitive.

Predicting What Residents Want

There is no crystal ball that allows multifamily owners to foresee what amenities and services future residents will seek when searching for a new home, but there are a few ways in which developers and managers can make sure they’re keeping up with the trends.

Dan Flamini, Morgan Properties

Although focused on a different customer, sectors such as office and hotel are often ahead of the curve when it comes to meeting the shifting demands of their clientele. Multifamily owners and operators should keep a close eye on what industry leaders in these sectors are doing, such as installing pickleball courts and providing open workspaces and find ways to duplicate those experiences at their own communities.

These specific examples have helped Morgan Properties to provide residents with the balance they seek — an active lifestyle that supports the new normal of work from home life. For example, in response to resident demand, we recently began installing outdoor fitness equipment that focuses on body weight and gravity resistance. This unique approach to a standard amenity gives residents the option to enjoy a healthy workout outdoors with nature versus a traditional indoor fitness center. It represents a solution that supports the need for both physical and mental health enhancements.

Once we identify an amenity or service of interest, we typically beta test it at a group of properties with a few important questions in mind:

  • Does it provide a true benefit to the resident?
  • Does it solve a problem that residents could not resolve easily on their own?
  • Can we manage it efficiently?

The key to providing top-notch amenities and services is to test them with smaller groups, listen to resident feedback and adapt to meet evolving residents’ needs. With so many new apartments coming to market, multifamily owners and managers with older vintage communities must continue to incorporate modern offerings to maintain current and future residents’ interest.

Looking Ahead

One of the hottest amenities right now is smart access technology, which allows residents to complete tasks like unlocking their doors or adjusting their thermostats directly from their phones no matter where they are. As a result of more advanced in-unit and mobile technology, residents have a reduced need for dated community spaces like business centers.

Instead, they are seeking inviting coworking areas with high-performing, high-speed internet connectivity. Across Morgan Properties’ portfolio, we have found that residents do not always want to work in their apartments and are interested in opportunities to interact socially with their neighbors during the workday. As a result, residents commonly work in our clubhouses, where they can sit in a private nook or share a table with friends. We are designing these unique spaces specifically with these needs in mind.

To meet demand for more communal amenities and flexible spaces, developers are also retrofitting underutilized spaces like old laundry rooms to provide new offerings such as expanded fitness centers, yoga rooms and storage areas. Even though these areas are sometimes smaller than traditional amenity spaces, they add value for residents who want the convenience.

Other strategies involve adding or updating additional outdoor fitness amenities, including bike-share stations, spacious dog parks, pickleball and tennis courts, bocce ball courts, putting greens and pools. To encourage outdoor events and gatherings, developers and managers can provide residents with fire pits and grilling stations. Coming out of the pandemic, we know that residents want to be outside more, and these amenities prove to be popular with many residents during the warmer months.

New Areas of Opportunity

Everything in 2023 is about convenience, and there is still a lot of opportunity with smart technology. Residents want the ability to control surveillance systems, appliances and HVAC systems at their fingertips. Apartment owners and managers should seek ways to incorporate emerging technologies that provide residents a sense of control no matter where they are into their communities.

Residents are also interested in re-engaging in social events post-pandemic. Residents who moved in shortly before or during the pandemic had few opportunities to meet their neighbors. Now, residents are looking for a renewed sense of community. Morgan Properties brings residents together by bringing in mobile food trucks, hosting game nights and teaching outdoor fitness classes with certified instructors.

While not a new service, apartment cleaning services are also gaining popularity. Following the pandemic, residents are traveling more frequently and are interested in cleaning services that can maintain their units while they’re away.

Resident desires are constantly evolving. But apartment owners and managers who prioritize listening to their residents as they explore new amenities and services will have greater success with both resident retention and meeting the expectations of future residents.

— Morgan Properties is a multifamily development and management firm based in metro Philadelphia.

You may also like