Technology has changed the workplace culture at a rapid pace across all businesses nationwide. The business that deserves recognition for the massive strides towards an easier, quicker, more effective workflow is the multifamily workplace.
There have been several positive changes in the multifamily world. The most common, which also applies to almost all other businesses, is the replacement of actual office space with cloud computing. Often while traveling, from home, or the properties themselves, work is done remotely. There is no longer a need to be plugged in at the office to get things done.
Circling back to the office itself, it’s common to see that they have noticeably downsized. One, the need for on-location server space has gone out the window. Two, there is no need for large filing cabinets to hold paper documents because they are stored in the cloud. Three, the preference for open floor plans over closed offices means less office space is required. For these reasons and more, the square-foot-per-worker ratio has dramatically declined.
While the office spaces have been shrinking, the multifamily workplace has been drastically increasing the use of computers, software, and gadgets. They are getting tech-ie with it by using completely automated systems in due diligence, design, and building facilities management. Including, a variety of artificially intelligent (AI) technology tools.
Drones are the most commonly known AI tool used in the industry and for several different purposes. From acquisition to maintenance and construction needs, drones have changed the game. For example, in the construction industry, by “…using precisely captured, geo-referenced images of your site from all angles, 3D mapping software can stitch these images (usually 400–800) together to create one 3D model of your site on the fly. You can even export these models to AutoCAD for comparison against original designs. When done regularly, you’ll be able to spot contractor error faster, help reduce rework, and keep on schedule while reducing human risk” Highform.com.
On that note, seeing 3D graphics through “systems like Protofit…allows users to visualize and edit floor plans in 2D and 3D (including accurate external window views from each floor) and to create customized space layouts in real-time” CBRE.com.
I think it is the coolest and most useful AI tech is virtual reality software. Some are different than others. For example, one software allows “investors looking to purchase…invariably “walk the property” to get a beyond-the-numbers look at its condition, the neighborhood, etc…from one’s desk. This saves, time, cost, and hassle of traveling to look at deals.” Lisa Brown, Real Estate Forum.
Another type of software used to walk the future property is “Luma, which enables a high-quality, interactive, next-generation customized 3D “walk-through” experience for new, unbuilt and repositioned spaces. This technology has been used to visualize space from project concept and design through leasing and marketing efforts and is now being re-branded as Floored Build” CBRE.com.
There are also much simpler upgrades that have made significant changes for the better. Such as software to make mobile payments. This is helpful across the board in the multifamily field. The property management teams get rent paid on time and the funds immediately credited to the owners.
While it’s easier for tenants to pay their rent, it’s also easier for the investors to get accurate property value by using data extraction, analytics, and valuation tools. These data to dollar tools are “used by real estate investors and brokers to analyze data to gauge the health of multifamily properties before acquisitions. Via RedIQ, information is captured in Excel or PDF financial statements then converted into user’s chart of accounts, and on a dashboard, the platform includes valuation functionality, enabling users to generate institutional quality cash flow projection models using rent rolls and operating statements. It also features data visualization (think google analytics) that help make the information more digestible…there is no industry standard for how property data is compiled and formatted. An analyst evaluating four properties might be looking at rent roll PDF’s compiled in three or four distinct formats. IQ brings efficiency to multifamily underwritings and helps investors make more informed investment decisions.” Lisa Brown, Real Estate Forum.
When all is in place, the multifamily businesses are using encrypted electronic signing as the standard for secure contracts. Platforms such as smartcontracts.com “…enables contracts to securely connect with external data sources and off-chain payment methods…it’s Become a token sales mechanism such as chain-link, a new approach to securely connecting smart contracts with real-world data, application programming interface (API) and traditional bank payments. Lisa Brown, Real Estate Forum.
After the contracts are signed, multifamily construction companies are using a software called Procore to aid in running the projects. It has changed the way that construction is done. “Procore helps firms drastically increase project efficiency and accountability by streamlining and mobilizing project communications and documentation. This real-time data and accessibility minimize costly risks and delays—ultimately boosting profits.” Procore. Each team, member has it as an app on their phone, tablet, and or computer. The app is used directly from the job site to provide up to the minute project updates that the clients can log into at any time.
In summary, out with the old, in with the new. The multifamily world is up with the times by getting tech-ie with it and advancing like never before.