The COVID-19 crisis is challenging companies in the multifamily real estate industry to adapt quickly and nimbly to maintain operations and support their residents. RealPage, Inc. (NASDAQ:RP) has been actively collaborating with its customers to adapt their flexible solutions to support their current needs.
“Our customers were trying to assess the impact on their communities and adapt rapidly. RealPage worked hand in hand with them to respond accordingly,” says Ashley Glover, President of RealPage. “Their first priorities were to engage with residents during the shift to shelter in place, enable online rent payments and ensure that they could support virtual leasing and operations capabilities. Obviously, maximizing rent collection was the major objective for our customers coming into the first of April,” continued Ms. Glover. “So, we partnered with strategic customers, exploring solution options.”
RealPage teamed up with customers to leverage the existing capabilities of RealPage’s OneSite Leasing & Rents property management software to address their concerns, without requiring updates to their software. RealPage quickly developed a user guide to highlight the features and capabilities most needed at this time. Customers have used the guide to maximize remote work by enabling virtual tours, optimizing rent collection with payment plans, tracking multi-month payment plans and communicating with residents via OneSite text messaging to initiate lease renewals.
“Everything was there with OneSite Leasing and Rents, really all the functionality and flexibility property managers needed,” explains Gina Carter, VP of Operations at Blue Ridge Companies. “We were focused on resident rent relief. Any OneSite customer can use the guide to track COVID-19 related resident rent relief requests using custom fields and set up and manage payment plans. And it all ties back to accounting correctly.”
The text messaging feature boosted yield for RealPage’s customers, as Kortney Balas, VP, Process and Technology at JVM Realty can attest. “We activated OneSite texting just recently and the feedback has been that our teams have been able to reach residents that they haven’t been able to reach in weeks,” says Ms. Balas. “We’re collecting more money. We’re getting more response to renewals, all through OneSite texting. I have to say that was surprising. I really didn’t think it would add so much value, and it actually added a huge amount of value. The community managers are raving about it.”
Greater engagement with residents was also required, to encourage timely rent payment, as well as help them live in the new normal, like protecting the community, themselves and their families by practicing social distancing. RealPage ActiveBuilding helps to solve these issues. ActiveBuilding is a resident portal with a unique messaging hub, social community, and payments platform that lets residents connect with staff and other residents, pay rent, submit service requests, manage packages and more.
Customers utilized the ActiveBuilding communications capacities to boost slowing rent payments by offering rent relief solutions to residents in difficult situations. Judy Olive, Co-founder of Landmark Property Services Inc., shines a light here. “Right now, unemployed residents are asking themselves, ‘How can I continue to pay for groceries, live and pay my rent?’” says Ms. Olive. “Fortunately, helping residents with payment issues has been a priority for us for some time. We have explored and are exploring flex payment plans that are real problem solvers. And ActiveBuilding is how we get the word out. Our residents in need have told us they really appreciate the help. So, ActiveBuilding was also a big help in maintaining and improving resident relations.”
These are just a few examples of what it takes to maintain a business—and succeed— in a sudden, changing situation like COVID-19. Rapid planning and deployment. Partnering with customers. Flexible solutions rooted in best practices. This won’t be the last crisis, but RealPage and its customers have pioneered a route to handle it.
RealPage provides a technology platform that enables real estate owners and managers to change how people experience and use rental space. Clients use the platform to gain transparency in asset performance, leverage data insights and monetize space to create incremental yields. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Richardson, Texas, RealPage currently serves over 18 million units worldwide from offices in North America, Europe and Asia. For more information about RealPage, please visit https://www.RealPage.com.