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Mobile Property Management Is No Longer a Trend — It's the Gold Standard

Among millennials and Gen Xers, smartphone use is practically ubiquitous. Some 98 percent of adults aged 18-24 own a smartphone, and 97 percent of adults aged 25-34 have a smartphone. Among younger Gen Xers, aged 35-44, smartphone ownership is 96 percent.

Among millennials and Gen Xers, smartphone use is practically ubiquitous. Some 98 percent of adults aged 18-24 own a smartphone, and 97 percent of adults aged 25-34 have a smartphone. Among younger Gen Xers, aged 35-44, smartphone ownership is 96 percent.

Nationwide, some 45 million residents rent rather than own their homes. Given that so many residents are renters, and nearly all renters in the millennial and Gen X generations are smartphone users, it stands to reason that the future of mobile property management is no longer a trend, it's the new gold standard.

Inside Today's Rental Market

There is an unprecedented number of renters in the U.S. While the majority of those renting are young, single, and toward the lower end of the income spectrum, some 8 million renters are senior citizens, and some 5 million renters earn six figures, according to 2015 Census data.

Renting is also increasing among adults with college degrees. Fewer Americans are buying homes, which means the rental market is steadily growing across the U.S. and across demographic barriers. The data shows renting is up across all demographics and in all parts of the country.

To accommodate the explosion in renters across the entire spectrum, the property management industry has expanded—but its technology often lags behind. This means that property managers are playing catch-up in their adjustments to the expectations of modern renters by making rental applications and other features accessible via mobile devices. While some property managers have switched to using mobile devices to manage their properties, others need to get on board or lose out on the most attractive renters.

Mobile is Mandatory

Most people use their smartphones for both personal and business purposes with, some studies suggest, up to five hours per day of use. It makes sense that property management should be possible from mobile devices. Renters expect to do everything from their devices, and this includes paying rent, requesting maintenance, and applying for open apartments.

When you make it easy for renters to interact with you from their devices, you may find that renters are more responsible. If you've ever had to follow up with tenants over late rent only to find they forgot to mail the check, you'll enjoy the convenience of having the rent show up on time, every time, because it's been automated using mobile payment technology. Or if you've ever had someone stop you in the halls to make a maintenance request, which you forgot about by the time you returned to your office, then you'll appreciate the ease of online notifications for such issues.

There are other perks to becoming mobile-friendly. A survey from Schlage and Wakefield Research found that 86 percent of millennial renters were willing to pay up to 20 percent more for apartments with smart home technologies, such as smart access control, which connects home devices to mobile phones.

It’s time to stop thinking about mobile technology as a trend, but instead the new norm. To stay competitive and relevant to renters and owners, now is the time to put a mobile strategy in place and implement it into your processes. At this point, renters and owners are only increasing in tech savviness, so it will be well worth it to your business to keep up.

About the Author
Nat Kunes is the vice president of product 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. AppFolio is an IREM President Level Industry Partner. This article is published as part of that partnership.


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