At the recent NAA APTvirtual conference, Jasmine Greene provided great insight into how the right comp data can benefit apartment operators in all market conditions.
To begin with, an apartment community has to make sure it’s comparing itself to the right properties, she noted.
“You can’t just include properties that are in your same zip code or within a two- or three-mile radius because some of those properties might be not be physically comparable with yours,” said Greene, Vice President at Maverick Residential, which recently merged with Roscoe Property Management.
“Maybe you have a really amazing gym or fitness center because that’s the demographic that you’re trying to target. You don’t want to compare yourself with a property that doesn’t have that in their package because you’re not going after the same resident or prospect,” she added. “If your goal is young professionals, then you need to make sure you are competing with where the young professionals are living. It’s about actually competing with the right properties and not just competing by default.”
Greene’s comments came during the Pandemic Performance: Know Your Comps, Streamline Operations, Make Proactive Decisions session at APTvirtual with Blerim Zeqiri, Founder and CEO of Radix.
Together, Zeqiri and Greene discussed the benefits of automating comp surveys and how Maverick’s communities have used the data they get from Radix to thrive during the pandemic.
After the session, we caught up with Greene to get some more of her in-depth insights.
At APTvirtual, you outlined how the automated SurveySwap helps your onsite leasing associates do their jobs better. What are some of the benefits you’ve seen from the solution?
Greene: Doing manual market surveys is very time consuming, and associates are prone to making errors when doing them. I’ve seen all sorts of misspellings and inaccurate data in them.
Automating your market surveys ensures you’re getting true apples-to-apples comparison data, and it frees up your associates to spend more time taking care of prospects and residents.
Also, when market survey information is automatically gathered, your associates can have really productive phone conversations with their counterparts at other communities. They don’t have to spend any time exchanging information – they can talk about the accurate, real-time data they already have in hand. That leads to a high-quality conversation that helps inform good decision-making.
You also spoke quite a lot during the session about how your portfolio has performed well even during the pandemic because of your use of data. Tell us more about that.
Greene: Concessions is a huge leading indicator for me. Through Radix, we’re able to keep super-close tabs on the concessions in our comp sets and in our submarkets, and doing this has helped us make sound strategic decisions during this time.
We’ve seen a decrease in concessions and an increase in rents in many of our submarkets in Phoenix, and I would imagine that’s the complete opposite of what many people were expecting. At Maverick, from March to the end of August, our average rent growth was 8%. That includes both new leases and renewals, and it’s because of this data.
When we can really see that there are good things happening across our competitors in terms of rent, occupancy and forth, we know we come up with creative solutions to help currents residents and sign new ones while still pushing on rent and minimizing concessions.
As you know, Maverick recently merged with Roscoe Property Management, and I think our performance and resilience during the pandemic was definitely something that caught their eye. Radix also helped us during the due diligence phase of the merger, because we were able to provide that real-time data about our properties and our comps. It created an atmosphere of real transparency. Everyone knew where everyone stood.
What are some examples of how you’ve been creative during the pandemic to sign new residents and help existing ones?
Greene: We’ve offered deposit alternatives for residents and payment plans for our current residents who have been impacted by the pandemic. I’ve been very impressed with the creative ideas that have come about from our team.
If anything, I would say all this has brought our teams and our residents closer together, which has been something really beautiful to see. It’s been a ride.