Centralization: The Tech That Matters No Matter Your Definition
August 7, 2023 | Updated August 7, 2023
There is no shortage of buzzwords being tossed around the multifamily housing industry, and one of the newest, “centralization,” has rapidly gained traction.
However, while the concept is extremely popular, the definition of the word varies by organization. Some combine all of their leasing activities into a single regional office or administer leasing through the corporate office, yet others have established a centralized leasing team and an onsite associate dedicated to leasing at a specific group of communities.
According to panelists during the 2023 Apartmentalize session, “Centralization: The Tech That Matters No Matter Your Definition,” implementing the right technology is key to making centralization models work and positively impacting the modern renter experience.
“Renters want an ‘ecommerce experience’ in all of their transactions,” says Tyler Christiansen, Chief Executive Officer of Funnel Leasing. “They want to get immediate answers without having to interact with someone. But when they do walk into a leasing office, they want that high-quality service. Centralization makes it possible for operators to deliver that.”
There are a variety of reasons why centralization has become an industry focal point, such as the ability to do more with less, deliver better customer service and increase team morale and resident satisfaction.
“If you look at the market today, there’s been a slowdown in transactions over the past 18 months,” says Scott Moore, Chief Technology Officer for Cortland. “When that happens, it forces you to look inwards and seek opportunities to do better. We decided we had to place more of an emphasis on ways to improve business and run more effectively and efficiently, and centralization is vital to that.”
Michael Hogentogler, Chief Operating Officer for LCOR, found out firsthand that antiquated models of operation, like paper guest cards, no longer work.
“My team and I went to three of our buildings located on the same city block, and at each one we had to fill out a guest card,” Hogentogler says. “It was a realization that this model doesn’t work anymore. Renter expectations have changed, technology has changed, but we as an industry have not. If we don’t evolve with the times, we will be the ones left behind.”
It starts at the top of the funnel. When prospects come in, operators want to work them across multiple properties with only one record. If not, they risk losing them to another community outside of their ecosystem. Since introducing centralization, LCOR has seen a 62% year-over-year increase in tours. Moreover, 14% of prospects signed a lease at a community other than the one they originally inquired about. For Cortland, 69% of tours were booked after hours using automation. None of which would be possible without centralization capabilities.
“It’s not a one size fits all, but centralization has helped us improve customer service and close more leads,” Moore says.
While the degree of centralization may vary based on property size and needs, it consistently delivers cost savings and improved efficiency.
"The industry is increasingly focused on driving greater efficiencies at the property level and saving money," said John Helm, Partner at RET Ventures. "We seek investments that assist owner-operators in improving operations and boosting the bottom line. Our limited partners who have adopted centralization solutions are seeing average cost savings of 20% to 40%."
Embracing technology and implementing centralization concepts will undoubtedly help operators streamline operations and future-proof their investments for years to come.
Andrew Ruhland is an Account Executive and Content Writer for LinnellTaylor Marketing.
Learn more about "Centralization: The Tech That Matters No Matter Your Definition" and the other "Best of Apartmentalize 2023" recorded sessions, and save the date for Apartmentalize 2024, June 19-21 in Philadelphia.