Today the LMRE Living team tuned in to watch the UKAA Webinar: Faster lease up for a post-coronavirus world hosted by flatfair. Chaired by Victoria Hardy from flatfair with panelists Simon Scott from flatfair, Clint Bartman from Strawberry Star, Pierre Melhado from CA Management Services, Sam Smith from Hamptons and Peter Murphy from RightNow Residential.
An initial discussion on the status of the current housing market since it opened up post-Covid in May concluded that business was on a positive trend. The consensus was that the market is now back in line with summer targets with the added pent up demand from the lockdown months. Sam from Hamptons noted that their tenant applications are up 25% from this point in 2019 and stock levels are high due to decline in Airbnb use. The market however, is currently a tenant driven.
When asked how operators can stand out post-Covid when usual processes such as in person viewings cannot proceed, Pierre from CA Management Services commented on the importance of tech. In order to optimise the leasing process there must be an effective network in place. A network offering the likes of 24/7 AI chat available for prospective clients and self guided virtual tours. The latter providing insight into the prospects preferences, allowing for a tailored tenancy process going forward. The main intentions in a post-Covid market is to make the leasing process as virtual as possible.
The panel discussed the major focus on social media, the importance of advertising incentives (yet holding some back for negotiations) and taking advantage of the current captive audience. Equally important, the prioritising of health and wellness, having identified ESG goals that will resonate with the prospective tenant.
Clint from Strawberry Star noted from an investors perspective that to encourage faster leasing, there has to be a flexibility on the terms and details of leases. Peter from RightNow Residential mentioned anchoring prices low in order to capture a high amount of clients.
Proptech, its importance in the leasing process and its ability to increase resident engagement was a major point of discussion. Many noting the challenge is finding an app that incorporates all aspects of the tenant journey. Debating the importance of using multiple apps that are more streamlined as opposed to a single app that is ineffective and clunky.
The Build to Rent sector has the upper hand in adapting new technologies and are ahead of the game in their user journey when comparing to traditional estate agencies. Panelists commented on the importance of effective recruitment to ensure there is an established team, prepared and trained to handle the leasing of sites, including being fully equipped to use the technologies aiding the process.
Another insightful UKAA webinar highlighting the ever-increasing importance of technologies to improve and increase the leasing process.
By Olivia Dobson