Commercial and Residential Property Management Trends of 2021

By Lexi Wood • Updated on May 3rd, 2021
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Property management is an incredibly high growth industry. Yet there are a lot of potential pitfalls facing real estate managers. From collecting rent to securing new tenants, there’s always work to do in property management. Additionally, both commercial and residential markets have experienced a lot of changes over the last few years, particularly in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New trends have emerged in 2021 based on tenant demands, evolving technology, and general industry changes from the last year. Savvy real estate management companies, investment firms, and landlords need to stay ahead of the latest trends in order to beat the competition.

Here are just a few of the latest trends dominating the property management industry:

There are different trends depending on whether you manage residential or commercial properties. Property owners who focus on selling single-family or multi-family homes and renting out apartments and congregate living spaces can all benefit from knowing the latest trends.

Demographic Changes

One major change for residential real estate management companies is adjusting to new tenants who have different expectations for their housing. More and more renters are falling into the Millenial and Gen Z demographics. These younger tenants have specific expectations of their apartment rental experience, including:

  • Wi-Fi compatibility
  • Online services for applying and paying
  • Flexible long- and short-term leases
  • Enhanced security options
  • Outdoor amenities

Tenants in younger age brackets will often want high tech solutions to rental services, such as requesting maintenance work through an app rather than having to call into a rental office. Further, they want safe and environmentally-conscious living spaces, with more access to social services like community nights or fitness centers. Adapting to these new demographic trends allows your company to appeal to younger renters.

Online Services

One silver lining of a global pandemic was an increase in online processes across every industry. As mentioned above, new and experienced tenants alike want to have the accessibility offered by Internet-based services. For starters, online rental applications make it easy for potential renters and landlords alike to fill vacancies. Prospective tenants can fill out forms at any time while property managers can review them as they arrive, expediting the entire process.

Almost everyone is connected to the web. Property management apps allow tenants to do everything they could from a company website, such as applying for a lease, paying rent or security deposits, and communicating with housing offices. Offering all of these online services can increase tenant retention rates at your facility by increasing customer satisfaction.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Tours

Many industries are utilizing virtual and augmented reality experiences, and real estate management is no exception. Both VR and AR offer ways for prospective renters and buyers to explore 360-degree visualizations of their future residences.

The technology consists of special cameras capable of recording a room from every dimension. Additionally, software allows architects and designers to build highly realistic models on new construction. These virtual tours give prospects an exact view of the property before they ever see it in person. By seeing all the features in advance, this can reduce the amount of tour requests from those who are not interested in the property while increasing applications from those who like what they see.

Even better, property managers who want to embrace this trend don’t even need to buy any special technology to utilize these features on their listings. This new technology is so ubiquitous that social media sites like Facebook now allow for 3D and 360 degree photos to be taken with any mobile device and uploaded to your website via app.

There are many evolving trends in the industry involving the latest technology and online solutions. In the realm of commercial real estate (CRE) management, here are the latest trends:

Minimizing Office Space

With more companies offering work from home (WFH) and hybrid commute models, it’s no surprise many companies are starting to minimize their physical office space. This has led to a lot of changes in commercial property management, as landlords and real estate agents try to break up existing units into smaller ones. to accommodate their downsizing tenants.

However, this change has led to opportunities to introduce co-working spaces at existing commercial properties. Even before COVID-19 led to an increase in work-from-home, more and more companies were utilizing rented co-working space to allow employees the ability to work remotely. One company downsizing can give you the ability to adjust the rest of your floorplan to allow for individual workspaces which can be rented on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Increased Demands for Accessibility and Communication

Across the board, all commercial tenants want more open communication with property managers and landlords. Just like the trends in residential services caused by Gen Z and Millennials, CRE companies are also trending towards providing more online accessibility for clients.

Being able to contact a property or facility manager through an app is much more convenient than waiting to place a phone call during traditional business hours. Office managers who need maintenance work or services prefer being able to submit a request in writing, either through a website or on an app, as it creates a papertrail they can then show their superiors.

Growth in Medical Services

The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing in the United States. In particular, there is growing demand for easily accessible locations more than ever before. Patients and medical staff alike want healthcare facilities which are closer to home. Adapting existing commercial properties into medical offices, clinics, or private practices, is one way real estate management firms can increase the value of their investments.

Another way to use this trend to your advantage is through the establishment of commercial living facilities. Nursing homes, retirement communities, and assisted living centers are all going to be in high demand in the next few decades thanks to aging Baby Boomers. Planning ahead now can result in well-established communities in the future.

Adapting to Property Management Trends with Software

Modifying your business practices can be daunting. Fortunately, there are several property management software products available for both commercial, residential, and mixed portfolios. These solutions streamline your workflow so you can focus on adapting to the latest trends:

Best
Overall
Appfolio Screenshot
Appfolio
Strong CAM features
Customized commercial reporting
Online payments
Best for
Small Business
Hemlane Screenshot
Hemlane
Online rent collection
Real-time financial and maintenance info
No setup fees and $0 ACH transaction fees
Best for
Rental Properties
Buildium Screenshot
Buildium
Scalable (for 1 unit or 5,000 units)
Core package includes all features
Annual pricing discounts available
Best for
Commercial Properties
MRI Commercial Suite Screenshot
MRI Commercial Suite
Strong leasing capabilities
Real estate investment accounting
Continuously updated
Best for
Associations
Condo Control Screenshot
Condo Control
Discussion forum and survey for residents
Security and concierge features
Online proxy voting and budget mailouts
Best
Online
Propertyware Screenshot
Propertyware
Heavy customization options
New utility billing features
Tenant portal available via mobile app
Best
Free
TenantCloud Screenshot
TenantCloud
Includes basic accounting
Online payments
Maintenance requests
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