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How Automation is Changing the Game for Vacant Unit Management

As the multifamily industry continues to grow, property management teams are facing new challenges related to resident turnover and leasing. One of the biggest challenges is managing vacant units efficiently and effectively. 

To address this issue, property management teams are turning to vacant unit automation. 

In this post, we'll explore…

What is Vacant Unit Automation?

Vacant unit automation is a system that uses technology to automate various processes and tasks related to vacant units in multifamily communities. This can include features such as self-guided tours, remote lock control, and smart home automation, which allows property managers to control and monitor devices in the unit such as motion sensors, thermostats, and locks. 

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The goal of vacant unit automation is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the leasing process, reduce costs, and enhance the overall resident experience.

Why is Vacant Unit Automation Important?

  • Efficiency: Automating the process of turning over vacant units saves time and reduces the need for manual labor, which can improve the efficiency of property management operations.

Here's an example: 

Instead of manually coordinating with service providers to perform tasks like cleaning and painting, property managers can send a one-time QR code or access code – with smart solutions like LittleBird –  to the staff to enter the property and unit without them being present. After the task is completed, the property staff can immediately revoke access. 

  • Cost savings: By automating tasks such as HVAC control, lighting, and access control, property managers can reduce energy waste and save on utility costs.
  • Increased security: Automated access control systems provide added security and peace of mind for property managers. With real-time monitoring and alerts, property managers can quickly identify any unexpected activity in a unit, such as unauthorized entry or potential maintenance issues, and take action to address them.
  • Improved resident satisfaction: Vacant unit automation can provide a more seamless and convenient move-in experience for new residents, improving their overall satisfaction with the property.
  • Reduced vacancy time: Automated self-guided tours can help streamline the leasing process. Potential residents can quickly and easily view and apply for available units, even when a property manager is not available. 
  • Valuable insights: Smart home automation systems can provide property managers with valuable insights into how often vacant units are accessed, as well as other important data such as energy consumption and equipment performance.

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How to Facilitate Vacant Unit Automation with LittleBird

LittleBird's smart home automation system provides numerous benefits to property managers and residents in multifamily communities. It provides property management teams with a range of tools to help automate the leasing process and manage vacant units more effectively. 

Here are a few of the ways that LittleBird can facilitate vacant unit automation:

1. Managing Maintenance & Staff 

One of the standout features of LittleBird is its ability to control smart devices remotely from a management portal or mobile device. This feature can be especially helpful when it comes to coordinating maintenance and cleaning tasks after a tenant moves out.

When a tenant moves out, property managers are often tasked with coordinating various maintenance and cleaning tasks before the next tenant moves in. This can include tasks such as painting, deep cleaning, and repairs. 

With LittleBird's smart home automation system, property managers can easily grant access to painters, cleaners, and other service providers without needing to be physically present.

Let’s look at an example…

If a painter needs access to the unit to paint the walls, the property manager can unlock the smart lock on the unit's front door using the LittleBird management portal or mobile app. This allows the painter to enter the unit and complete the job, without needing a property manager to be on site. 

2. Energy and Operational Savings 

A recent survey found that garden-style properties spend nearly $300 annually per unattended vacant unit. 

LittleBird's smart home automation system can automatically adjust the thermostat and turn off lights when the unit is unoccupied, reducing energy usage and saving money on utility bills. 

Additionally, by streamlining the move-in and move-out process with self-guided tours and automated access for service providers, property managers can save time and reduce labor costs associated with managing vacant units. These savings can add up significantly over time, making vacant unit automation a valuable investment for multifamily communities.

🐥 Need help calculating your property's ROI? Check out our step-by-step NOI guide + learn a couple of tips on how to maximize your net operating income. 

3. Self-Guided Tours

One of the biggest challenges for property management teams is scheduling and conducting tours of vacant units. Traditionally, this has required a member of the property management team to be present to show the unit to potential residents. This can be time-consuming and can limit the number of tours that can be conducted each day.

With LittleBird's self-guided tour feature, potential residents can schedule and conduct tours of vacant units on their own. This can help property management teams reduce the time and resources required to manage tours, while also improving the resident experience by providing a more convenient and flexible way to view available units.

4. Safety & Security

In addition to granting access to service providers, LittleBird's smart home automation system can also provide property managers with valuable insights into when and how often the unit is being accessed. 

For example, if the motion sensors detect activity in the unit during a time when no service providers have been scheduled, this could indicate that someone is accessing the unit without permission. 

Property managers can receive real-time alerts about unexpected activity in the unit, allowing them to take action to address any potential issues.

LittleBird's smart access control system can also be customized to provide different levels of access to different individuals. For example, property management staff may have full access to a unit, while service providers may only be granted access for a limited period of time.

In Summary…

  • Property management teams are turning to vacant unit automation to manage vacant units more efficiently and effectively in multifamily communities.
  • Vacant unit automation is important because it can improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance security and resident satisfaction, and provide valuable insights.
  • LittleBird's smart home automation system offers numerous benefits to property managers and residents, including managing maintenance and staff, energy and operational savings, self-guided tours, and increased safety and security for property staff.
  • LittleBird's features can facilitate vacant unit automation by allowing property managers to control smart devices remotely, save time, and reduce labor costs, and provide a more convenient and flexible way for potential residents to view available units.