Rethinking Multifamily websites: Prepare for the coming revolution in unit-level search

September 12, 2022

Build a Better Leasing Experience with Centralization and Technology

Centralized leasing has become quite the multifamily buzzword, but operators have different perspectives of what it actually means. What exactly is being centralized?

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Traditionally, centralized staffing has referred to having a central physical office, but today it includes a combination of staffing, physical spaces and technology systems. Most operators agree it means moving tasks and processes from onsite to other people, regardless of location, that are specialized in specific processes or customer touchpoints. This allows operators to free up resources to better focus on tasks that require an onsite presence and provide better one-on-one customer service.

According to panelists at the Apartmentalize 2022 session, “Build a Better Leasing Experience with Centralization and Technology,” defining centralized leasing is an important clarification that must be made within an organization.

“Venterra Realty’s Vice President of Asset Management and I were misaligned on the concept of centralized leasing for eight months and did not realize it,” says Stephanie Gonzalez, Vice President of Property and Customer innovation at Venterra Realty. “I’m talking about removing tasks that don’t need to be done onsite and having them done elsewhere. He was thinking about a physical central location. We were talking about two different things, but it does mean both.”

“Our centralized leasing is under one roof,” says Wendy Rae Walker, Vice President and COO of TAM Residential. “We have one person for five communities and one manager over all of them. They handle incoming phone calls for leasing, ILS leads, email leads, some virtual video tours, setting appointments for in-person or self-guided tours and some prospect follow-ups.”

With different centralized landscapes, technologies, challenges and key takeaways, there isn’t just one definition of centralized leasing. It is a people and a process thing much more than a technology thing, and it ultimately helps renters get through the leasing process much faster – which is exactly what modern renters want. And it helps better assist customers when onsite teams are significantly downsized.

"There are also market forces at play, and the labor market is super tight. You can’t hire people fast enough. Large REITs are also centralizing, which moves the needle on expectation. It’s no longer taboo to talk about.”

Brent Steiner

Founder and CEO, Engrain

Read the full story on NAA to learn more about how Engrain's take on centralized leasing.