10 Things Greystar Says About Smart-Home Technology

10 Things Greystar Says About Smart-Home Technology

Greystar has both recognized the necessity of offering competent smart-home technology and has discovered an interesting option in a growing field of emerging providers, said Andrew Livingstone, its Executive Managing Director.

“The pandemic created a large shift in how we operate, and it moved us forward a decade,” Livingstone said. “It changed how we think about operating apartments. It forced us, out of necessity, to think more futuristically, given the circumstances.

“It firmly created opportunities in apartment access technology, making how we enter our apartment homes a fundamental cornerstone. We’re seeing unprecedented changes with access given recent transactions involving companies that offer this and their valuations.”

Here are 10 things that Livingstone shared about this new amenity:

An efficient, ‘smart’ way. Smart-home technology is generating greater efficiencies for apartment residents and our communities’ onsite teams. Innovation in this space has created a surplus of providers with a variety of solutions and price points.

Tech’s leaps and bounds. The pandemic created a large shift in how we operate, and it moved us forward a decade. It changed how we think about operating apartments. It forced us, out of necessity, to think more futuristically.

No longer a ‘nice to have.’ Smart-home technology is now an absolute must have – not a nice-to-have amenity. It won’t just be in some apartment buildings; it has to be in all the buildings.

It’s Time to invest. We do not have as much smart-home technology in our portfolio as we would like. Our onsite teams realize we need to evolve to serve the needs of our residents, clients “and the ever-changing times we live in.”

Insist on integration. Look for smart-home technology platforms that integrate best with various components—such as thermostats, lights, utilities, access.

Don’t downplay this. Reliable, after-hours service and data security must be considered and should not be discounted, downplayed or taken for granted.

Dedicated Wi-Fi NOT required. Using the in-unit thermostat as the hub, which iApartments delivers, saves a great deal on installation costs. Dedicated Wi-Fi networks to support your smart-home technology is not required. These networks can cost from $600 to $1,000 per door – that’s a significant expense.

Right, out of the box. Our provider’s product works well right out of the box and can be installed during retrofits and new development.

AaaS boosts NOI. AaaS stands for Amenity as a Service. Having software and equipment as a service that can be implemented at any time, regardless of the budget cycle, as we are doing with our smart-home system, allows us to begin generating ancillary income the moment this amenity is launched. We’re charging very modest fees for the added convenience the system offers our residents.

Owners want best-in-breed. It’s an exciting time as smart-home tech brands continue to innovate their services to establish themselves as leaders in this space. While some of our clients have adopted this technology earlier than others, every property owner wants to work with the best products. So do residents.


Read More on Everything Smart Home, IOT, and Connectivity

Let’s talk in Chicago. Apartmentalize 2021

Let’s talk in Chicago. Apartmentalize 2021

iApartments is headed to Chicago to debut our tradeshow booth at NAA Apartmentalize 2021! The iApartments all-star team is excited to be meeting with customers in-person again at booth #2359. The event is Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at McCormick Place. This is the first stop...

Let’s talk in Chicago. Apartmentalize 2021

Let’s talk in Chicago. Apartmentalize 2021

iApartments is headed to Chicago to debut our tradeshow booth at NAA Apartmentalize 2021! The iApartments all-star team is excited to be meeting with customers in-person again at booth #2359. The event is Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at McCormick Place. This is the first stop...

Smart Property Integrations: It all just works

Smart Property Integrations: It all just works

Nothing crushes an apartment communities’ reputation like poor online reviews. Residents are ready to bash any product that fails, and are quick to point out unkept promises. Throw in some frustration that comes from this and you’re a goner.

Smart home technology is new enough to the scene that residents are both curious and excited about the prospects. But after investing thousands in their lease at the next great up-and-coming property, they don’t want to be disappointed after showing their friends all the conveniences of their great new place to live.

Before considering anything else when choosing new technology, apartment owners must make sure the integration is flawless. Nothing spoils success like breakdowns before the new product even has a chance to perform.

Find a system where this critical issue has been taken care of ahead of time.

Many smart home providers and their customers understand that operating software is the key to everything onsite – from leasing, collections and financial reporting to maintenance requests and property communication. It’s the same for your smart home technology, which must work both for the residents and the site staff.

For peace of mind and to make this even easier, the system’s software should interface with some of the most widely used property management software, including RealPage, Yardi and ResMan.

Why It Matters for Your Owners

Ideally, the system would offer full-time connectivity through its 4-in-1 Smart Hub. This full-time connectivity eliminates the need for community wide Wi-Fi or DAS infrastructure, which can cost from $100 to $1,000 per unit. The system is integrated through the Cloud, which eliminates a significant potential cost. This makes your owners happy.

Greystar’s Executive Managing Director Andrew Livingstone said of smart-home products, “We need to find platforms that integrate best with the various components (thermostats, lights, window blinds, etc. What kind of battery do life these systems have; what kind of after-hours service we can provide; and most importantly, how this technology can facilitate greater convenience for prospects wanting self-guided tours?”

iApartments checked all of those boxes for Greystar, which operates its 2Bayshore apartment community in Tampa., Fla., with this technology.

Why It Matters for Your Operations Team

The operations team at 2bayshore has said that anyone – no matter their experience – can easily understand how to use the portal and app. In fact, it was designed to be intuitive and simple, to benefit the team and encourage their involvement in the efficient operations of their property. In other words, it was designed to save time.

Smart home technology packages must be integrated with a community’s property management software so that it is activated when residents move in and is deactivated when they move out. This automation removes one more task for the onsite team during resident turns.

Why It Matters for Your Onsite Team

Change can be challenging when adjusting to a new system and new technology is a perfect example. How would a smart home portal integrate with the current system in place for managing the 2bayshore community? It was important to have a seamless transition, a portal that was easy to use, with no long hours of training.

Why It Matters for Your Residents

Insist on integration because it must work the first time the resident walks through the door. Look for smart-home technology platforms that integrate best with various components—such as thermostats, lights, utilities, access.

For the resident who prefers voice control, find systems that integrate with Alexa and Google Home, so they can command their in-unit IoT devices that way, just to their liking.

How Smart Tech can Increase NOI and Property Value on Day 1

How Smart Tech can Increase NOI and Property Value on Day 1

New sources of revenue for apartment owners sometimes can be found in areas where you never even thought of.

While smart home technology continues to take the multifamily industry by storm – providing perks to your residents that they now come to expect – this amenity comes with sometimes burdensome expenses with return on investment something that must be calculated years out.

Now, for the first time, owners can generate Net Operating Income (NOI) from Day 1 through their smart home systems.

iApartments’ turnkey smart home program generates NOI from the moment residents move into their apartment. It increases property value and makes way for more efficient operations, actually reducing overall expenses.

Smart home technology in existing properties can be realized without having to rip out the walls. And for new construction, apartment owners won’t have to invest in a dedicated Wi-Fi network to drive smart features.

At the same time, the breakthrough smart home technology of today comes with asset protection as a bonus. Equipping smart devices that help detect water leaks or excess humidity help owners avoid costly damages and also give residents peace of mind when it comes to utility bills and their personal belongings. Even better, these devices are inexpensive and easy to install.

Smart home tech is not just another amenity. It is a way to make your operations more effective so your team can focus on what’s really important – your residents.

The amenity-as-a-service model

Experience “Amenity as a Service” (AaaS) value where resident fees set by the community are collected monthly, generating ancillary income. We’ve structured our contracts and pricing in such a way you can see NOI and ROI from the moment it is installed.

Whether added in retrofits or new development, it’s what makes your community more competitive in your market. The increased resident retention rates and the NOI drives up the value in your assets in the eyes of owners and investors.

Company founder Dave Magrisso has more than 20 years’ experience in multifamily onsite products, he played the lead role in one of our industry’s first amenities as a service (AaaS) – Valet Waste (now Valet Living) – and understands how additive features and services represent value to residents and property owners. It’s an economic model he used during due diligence on smart-home technology installation benefits.

He shows that a 350-to 400-unit garden-style community could potentially bring $118,000 in additional annual NOI based on a $35 per month smart-home rent premium. This would increase the overall asset’s net value by roughly $2.3 million based on a 5 percent cap rate.

Furthermore, using $2,200 per month as the average rent, this will could create an estimated $150,000 total net operating income (NOI) increase based on modest numbers of new leases signed because of the amenity and improved retention rates.

It’s expected

Smart technology is something that residents now expect. And if your competition doesn’t offer it, you stand to gain an even greater competitive advantage. Investing in it now, means you won’t have to play catch-up in your most competitive markets.

Meanwhile, installing smart home technology can save you money because it prevents you from spending money on expensive bulk-services internet networks. iApartments works without one.

Improve property performance

Implementing smart home technology doesn’t need to be complicated. Today new construction or existing communities can be retrofitted with intelligent apartment technology that creates an ecosystem of automation for residents and property site teams.

Dave Magrisso and his team has “cracked the code” when it comes to offering an enterprise-level smart apartment technology solution. “We have a variety of flexible terms; some don’t even require a budgeted capital expenditure or costly community Wi-Fi infrastructure.”

This system isn’t just for convenience and control, it is built to protect your assets and save you money. Leak and humidity sensors provide alerts that prevent a maintenance issue from turning into a disaster. Float switches can alert maintenance staff to a clog before it causes a problem. These proactive features save time for staff and save money on repairs. They can even save you money by preventing unnecessary wear and tear on resident equipment.

Free up your staff  to lease more units

Having access to a property management dashboard, you’ll experience a more streamlined way of working. You can manage units remotely and as-needed. You can grant temporary access for staff, vendors and maintenance. And your service team and residents receive alerts from smart sensors if something is amiss.

Everything is designed to give you 
much less hassle much more intuitive control over the daily operations of the property so you can focus on your making your residents happy and growing your community. Oh, and no more metal keys! That brings a savings of thousands of dollars per year and 456 staff hours per year.

Retrieving Keys: Management, leasing, and maintenance save precious time from going back and forth to retrieve keys to access units. This occurs roughly 7X a day, or 150 times per month.

The average time saved per use is 15 minutes, or 38 team hours saved per month and 456 team hours saved per year.

Cutting Keys: The maintenance time saved cutting keys and re-keying locks on new leases at 15 new unit leases per month for an average time of 30 minutes per lease equals 8 team hours saved per month and 96 team hours saved per year.

Early estimates show that iApartments’ program brings in six new or renewed Leases per year. At $2,200 is the average rent per month, that’s approximately $158,400 total.

This NOI increase equates to an estimated 1.63% occupancy impact, and combined with asset protection, apartment owners can feel “smart” about their investments. <end>

What multifamily operators need to know when choosing a smart technology platform.

What multifamily operators need to know when choosing a smart technology platform.

Intelligent Apartment technology has become one of the most desirable upgrades for apartment operators because it improves resident satisfaction and your bottom line. A dramatic shift in multifamily amenities is taking place. No longer are properties focused mostly on workout rooms, hot tubs, and pools. Forward-thinking property owners are looking more to intelligent apartment technology to stay competitive and create additional revenue streams.

Today’s apartment renters want automation that make their life easier, more secure, and more convenient. It’s what they are used to. More and more are wearing various automated technology on their wrist – something that now easily translates to their rental home experience.

Multifamily owners leverage smart technology to improve these five aspects of property health:

  1. Resident satisfaction
  2. Asset protection
  3. Improved energy management
  4. Controlled access of apartment units and buildings
  5. Increase occupancies and renter retention

Apartment property owners should consider the following when choosing a smart technology platform:


Software and Hardware Integrations

What Property Management Software (PMS) is your company currently using? A cloud-based PMS solution will benefit your property today and in the future. Cloud PMS providers such as ResMan, RealPage, and Yardi allow you to manage all aspects of your property from one platform.

Smart technology integration can now deliver a bonus on top of that: Automated service request alerts to address HVAC water leaks discovered through smart technology monitoring. This early detection can easily save tens of thousands of dollars.

Property managers also notice improved operational efficiencies with smart access technology used to automate the resident move-in/move-out process. Openpath, for example, is a smart access solution that makes entry to buildings, common areas and amenities a breeze. All you need is your smartphone and a simple touch of the mounted reader that detects your credentials and gives you access.

Multifamily Industry Experience

During the past five years, the number of smart technology provider options has increased dramatically. Most stem from technology companies that offer single-family smart home solutions and are now looking to enter the multifamily space. To find a supplier who truly understands multifamily rental housing, it is important to make sure you deal with a smart technology company that has extensive knowledge in the this sector.

Consider looking to veteran multifamily providers that offers a holistic approach – and one that does not require expensive dedicated IoT infrastructure. An all-in-one intelligent apartment program should include software-as-a-service (SaaS), hardware, retrofit or new construction installation capabilitiy, and white glove support and training.

It is important that the turnkey solution works right out of the box and can provide net operationing income on day one.

CAT M1 Connectivity

Connectivity should be near the top of your “smart property must-have list.” The strength of its connection to IoT devices such as resident smart door locks is paramount. That’s where CAT M1 connectivity comes in.

CAT M1 is a low-power wide area (LPWAN) cellular technology that was built specifically for IoT projects. It greatly reduces the need to regularly swap the batteries on the hundreds of IoT-connected sensors that spread across a property. No one needs that tedious task. Leading-edge smart apartment platform by iApartments uses CAT M1 technology in its Hub Thermostat.

Operational Benefits of Smart Lock Access

With smart locks, residents are able to open door remotely or with an access code by simply using their smartphone via the property management portal system.

Smart Locks also allow property site-teams to save precious time by not having to go back and forth to retrieve keys to access units. This convenience can also be extended to painters, carpet installation vendors and other contractors, who can be given temporary access while running turn work in the apartment. This frees up office and maintenance managers so they can focus on their residents and increasing occupancy.

2Bayshore Apartment Community, in Tampa FL, saved 618 site team hours per year by implementing a keyless apartment system. A significant amount of time was also saved during site fire inspections. By assigning temporary access codes to the fire department, inspections for 367 apartment homes were completed in half the time.