The shift to the “new normal” presented both challenges and opportunities for apartment renters and managers. Staying indoors 24 hours a day and seven days a week meant severe space, movement and activities restrictions. The pandemic influenced a shift in the kinds of apartment amenities renters looked for, and the new trends in renter preferences that resulted will most likely continue post-pandemic.
Outdoor spaces, a bit of greenery, reliable internet connection, larger living spaces that can accommodate work-from-home setups and extra storage, and sound insulation have become the top must-haves for many renters. And even as people are starting to go back to in-person work and spending more time outdoors, these new standards for living in multifamily communities will redefine what “standard apartment amenities” mean in the future.
How the Multifamily Community Has Changed Since the Pandemic
Health and safety are the major considerations when adapting to the realities of the new normal. However, in multifamily communities where the density of people is often high and space is limited, ensuring that all minimum health standards are followed has been difficult. Moreover, the restrictions imposed by the pandemic also brought to light certain inadequacies in apartment living which previously were tolerated or even accepted back when residents didn’t have to spend all their time indoors, day in and day out, for weeks or months at a time.
The most common concerns that renters had when it came to apartment amenities included:
- The lack of a balcony or a common outdoor space where people can enjoy some time outside.
- Lack of adequate space for exercise and work while sheltering in place.
- Lack of storage space, particularly for large-quantity purchases.
- Poor sound insulation.
- Unreliable internet services.
- Inadequate or nonexistent solutions that deliver hands-free alternatives to property entry and egress, accepting deliveries and other similar tasks.
- Ineffective management of common areas that have heavy foot traffic or where residents may gather.
Apartment Amenities That Made Life Easier During the Pandemic
Renters who were looking for better apartment amenities showed a preference for apartments that offered the following.
Faster Internet Service
Being stuck at home almost 24/7 and working remotely meant a higher demand for fast and consistent internet service. With all the family members streaming different videos or playing games simultaneously and all their connected gadgets eating up the internet bandwidth, multiplied by all the families in an apartment building, better than decent internet connectivity was often a big selling point for renters.
Reliable Cell Phone Service
This was already a major concern for young adult renters even before the pandemic. Now that many of the restrictions of the pandemic are extended indefinitely, these concerns have become a critical deciding factor when choosing an apartment to rent. Good cell phone service means having the ability to stay connected to family and friends. Cell phones have also become an indispensable tool for work.
Renters who own smart home systems and appliances or prefer an apartment with this tech installed would also require a reliable cell phone service. Especially in brick and concrete buildings where a wireless internet signal is often tricky to broadcast throughout the building, accessing and controlling smart devices can be done via a single wireless router in an apartment that connects to a cellular phone’s internet signal. Again, a good cell phone service is key to making everything work.
Renters, particularly young adults, have a higher preference for apartments that are already set up with smart technologies or are enabled for integration.
Touchless technologies, such as electronic and keyless locks, have become even more important during the pandemic to minimize contact with commonly used surfaces. In addition, the greater convenience offered by smart devices, such as smart thermostats/HVAC systems and smart lighting, immensely improves day-to-day life, especially when many people are restricted to their homes.
Studies have shown that a significant percentage of prospective renters have an increased interest in apartments that come with smart home tech.
Smart property automation has played an important role in making pandemic life easier, and it will continue to drive trends in renters’ attitudes and preferences. However, when it comes to enhancing residents’ quality of life and improving property management efficiency through innovative and smart technologies, PointCentral’s comprehensive, reliable, secure and proven solutions always deliver beyond what is expected.
Apartment Amenities Post-Pandemic
Potential renters are already evaluating their options based on an apartment’s connectivity. Soon, even industry experts will be rating apartment metrics based on the speed and consistency of their internet service throughout the property. Other metrics that will also be considered include internet resilience in times of natural disasters or other problems, availability of service from multiple carriers and adaptability to future innovations.
The versatility and adaptability of apartment units are and will continue to be the prevailing trend in multifamily property development. Spatial flexibility will offer residents a practical and comfortable solution for separating work and personal tasks and give them access to the outdoor environment for much-needed natural light, fresh air and mental relief. Spatial flexibility will also allow for fitness activities and hobbies, as well as provide additional storage.
Bigger Amenities Spaces and More Efficient Monitoring
Common amenities such as main entryways, laundry rooms, package collection areas, stairwells and elevators will have to be made bigger or at least be monitored more efficiently. Remote monitoring using a standard CCTV connected to a monitoring app that keeps track of and measures foot traffic, densities and other resident activities in common areas can effectively address cramped spaces and lack of social distancing.
Even when the pandemic finally comes to an end, increasing amenities spaces can only also increase property value and appeal.
Providing additional amenities such as designated work lounges, a common living-room space, flexible seating, an open lobby, fitness rooms made larger by using open-floor plans, common outdoor spaces for exercise and fresh air, operable doors that allow air circulation into the indoor space — these are solutions that will also further enhance residents’ satisfaction and quality of life.
Smart homes are no longer a luxury; apartment properties that are enabled for smart home systems will increasingly become the norm and not the exception. As with all kinds of technologies, smart home innovations are continuously evolving. The best smart home solutions for multifamily properties, and even private residences, can be easily adapted to or integrated with the latest innovations in the industry.
PointCentral has been developing, installing and monitoring enterprise property automation systems that remove the hassle, delight guests and improve the bottom line for a decade now. Their wide range of smart solutions includes:
- Keyless locks.
- Access control.
- Garage control.
- Smart thermostats.
- Monitored products.
- Water management.
- Smart lighting.
- Seamless integration with PM systems.
They deliver data security and reliability and their services are specifically focused on residential property management. For the apartment of the future, PointCentral is the partner of choice in the multifamily rental industry.