proptech

Tips for Holding on to Good Tenants

Blog post written by    Jetty

Blog post written by Jetty

Apartment turnover is a real problem for rental property managers. According to the National Apartment Association, there was a 46.8% turnover rate for apartments in 2017. While that may seem high, it’s actually a record low.

When a tenant leaves, there is more to worry about than just the loss of rent income. Rental turnover brings a range of different expenses for the property owner. You have to spend time and money preparing the apartment for the next tenant and you also have the costs associated with finding new tenants. You also have operating expenses that won’t go on hold while you wait for a new renter.

If you want to avoid these costs and keep reliable renters in your apartments, you have to work on strategies for tenant retention. Accepting things like international renters coverage can a good place to start if renters are coming from abroad. This, and other strategies, might require a little time and money, but when compared to the costs associated with high turnover rates, it is a good investment. Here are a few additional tips for keeping good tenants living in your rental units.

Be a Good Landlord

If you want to keep good tenants, you have to be a good landlord. Renters are not going to be happy if it seems like you’re not keeping your end of the deal or meeting your obligations. When they feel unsatisfied with your performance as a landlord, tenants will find a way to leave as soon as possible.

Start by being courteous and respectful. People do not want to have to deal with a landlord that has a bad attitude. You also want to be responsive when a tenant has issues and make sure they know they can come to you whenever a problem with the unit arises.

"The successful landlord must make it easy for tenants to pay their rent, sign leases and send maintenance requests from their phones," said Zach Aarons, Co-Founder of MetaProp. "People don’t want to write checks anymore."

Furthermore, if you tell a renter you are going to do something, keep your word.

Keep Up With the Maintenance

No one wants to live in home that’s in a state of disrepair. If a tenant has unaddressed maintenance issues or they have a hard time getting you to respond to maintenance requests, there is a good chance they are going to be looking to move when the lease is up.

Instead of waiting for your renters to contact you with maintenance issues, schedule regular inspections and take care of issues before they become an inconvenience to the tenant. This will not only help to keep your renters happy, but will also act as a measure to prevent expensive repairs in the future.

Learn About What Tenants Want

If you want to keep people in the apartments, you need to know what renters want. Some minor renovations can go a long way toward keeping renters happy.

"In attempting to attract and retain the modern tenant, landlords must provide the renter with amenities within and beyond the four walls of the building," said Zach Aarons, Co-Founder of MetaProp. "The elusive millennial tenant wants convenience above all else."

It’s a good idea to investigate what your renters want and find out what renters on the current market look for when they go apartment hunting. Beyond just being a good measure for keeping your current tenants, having the features people look for can help you find new tenants faster when the apartments do turnover.

Sign Longer Leases

One way to keep your good tenants is to try to sign them to longer leases. If the current term of the lease is one year, offer a discount to sign a multi-year lease. This might come with a slight reduction of the rental income on that apartment, but it keeps the renter in place and it helps you avoid the turnover costs. As long as you make enough rental income, it is worth offering discounts to keep a reliable paying tenant in place.

Talk About Renewals Early

If you have some tenants that might be thinking about leaving, you could get ahead of the issue by talking about a renewal early. Contact the occupant when the lease has three months left to find out whether they are planning to renew. If their answer is no, you can ask them if there is anything you can do to keep them in the apartment. If it is a small issue, you might be able to work things out and avoid the hassle and the costs that come with apartment turnover.

You might even want consider offering incentives to tenants that choose to renew the lease. If they have been living there for a while, for example, you could offer to have the carpets cleaned or repaint the apartment. If they have a problem with a rent increase, you could possibly negotiate a deal to keep the rent at the current level. This is why you want to have a good relationship with your apartment’s occupants. These conversations are only possible when your tenants feel like they can trust and talk to you.

About Jetty

Jetty offers a new kind of renters insurance, designed to help people get the protection they actually need at a price they can afford. Our mission is to protect our Members from setbacks of all kinds, from fire and theft to wasted time and money.

Launched and Accelerated

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On September 13th, we welcomed six new startups to the MetaProp accelerator family. The past month has been energizing, challenging and productive for them and us as we ramp-up the startups’ growth curve.

MetaProp integrates its venture fund and advisory businesses with its accelerator companies. Over the summer we launched our Fund II and recently added a new Consortium of sponsors, making the MetaProp community more integrated and stronger than ever. At the beginning of the accelerator program our number one goal is to connect each startup in the cohort to our broader community. As our network of investors and sponsors has grown, so too have the opportunities for our companies.

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John Kang, CEO of Reasi, flies across the country every other Thursday to join us. He explained that so far, our community has been the greatest value he has gained from the program: “MetaProp opened up the East Coast PropTech ecosystem for us.  We've lined up back-to-back meetings with partners we would have struggled getting in front of. Furthermore, the program has helped with branding and navigating broker and title relationships,” John explained.

At the same time, the glue that truly holds the class together is the cohort itself. Ultimately, the program is hard work, requires frequent travel and a great deal of dedication. Each year, we find that CEOs push through for their cohort mates. John explains: “Meeting the other cohort founders has been inspirational. We're all so motivated and committed that it's contagious, and learning about their experiences has been an unexpected bonus as Reasi tackles similar challenges.”

We are looking forward to watching this class grow and mature. In particular, we are looking forward to finding ways for all of you (our community) to engage with them. Take a look at the list of companies and some highlights from orientation, below.

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The 2018-19 MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University cohort includes a diverse mix of founders who are looking to solve big problems in interesting and challenging areas of PropTech, including smart cities, residential brokerage, tenant advocacy and sustainability. The companies are using cutting-edge technology, including computational geometry, blockchain and machine learning to solve some of the industry’s biggest problems. Take a look at the group of startups below:

Aegis AI  (Chicago) Aegis AI uses computer vision to identify weapons in surveillance camera footage, dramatically reducing law enforcement notification time and saving lives in an active shooter situation.

Aegis AI (Chicago)
Aegis AI uses computer vision to identify weapons in surveillance camera footage, dramatically reducing law enforcement notification time and saving lives in an active shooter situation.

Avvir  (NYC) Avvir compares laser scans of constructions sites to BIMs in order to identify construction errors, monitor progress, and ultimately enable a dynamic living digital twin of a building that can be used as a platform for the management of smart buildings.

Avvir (NYC)
Avvir compares laser scans of constructions sites to BIMs in order to identify construction errors, monitor progress, and ultimately enable a dynamic living digital twin of a building that can be used as a platform for the management of smart buildings.

Furnishr  (Toronto)  Furnishr is a turn-key home furnishing platform that designs, sources, delivers and setups your home all in one day.

Furnishr (Toronto)
Furnishr is a turn-key home furnishing platform that designs, sources, delivers and setups your home all in one day.

Jabbrrbox  (NYC) Jabbrrbox is a new workplace solutions company bringing privacy to commercial and public spaces. The Jabbrrbox solution fills a critical void in the public and private marketplace and is engineered for today's modern mobile workforce.

Jabbrrbox (NYC) Jabbrrbox is a new workplace solutions company bringing privacy to commercial and public spaces. The Jabbrrbox solution fills a critical void in the public and private marketplace and is engineered for today's modern mobile workforce.

LiveBy  (Nebraska) LiveBy is a hyperlocal data company focused on empowering brokers, teams and agents with the tools to showcase their local expertise. With plug-and-play local content for websites and new, sharable Neighborhood Guides and Market Reports, LiveBy helps real estate professionals prove why they know their markets best.

LiveBy (Nebraska)
LiveBy is a hyperlocal data company focused on empowering brokers, teams and agents with the tools to showcase their local expertise. With plug-and-play local content for websites and new, sharable Neighborhood Guides and Market Reports, LiveBy helps real estate professionals prove why they know their markets best.

Reasi  (LA) Reasi is an online real estate escrow service that provides a secure and seamless home-closing experience. We eliminate escrow costs using our blockchain platform, support the transaction from offer to close, and bring simplicity & security to a $10 billion escrow market plagued by frustration and wire scams.

Reasi (LA)
Reasi is an online real estate escrow service that provides a secure and seamless home-closing experience. We eliminate escrow costs using our blockchain platform, support the transaction from offer to close, and bring simplicity & security to a $10 billion escrow market plagued by frustration and wire scams.

 
Orientation week featured the brand new MetaProp Accelerator Consortium with  Comcast machineQ ,  Cushman & Wakefield ,  First Republic Bank ,  Fox Rothschild  and  Inmobiliaria Colonial .

Orientation week featured the brand new MetaProp Accelerator Consortium with Comcast machineQ, Cushman & Wakefield, First Republic Bank, Fox Rothschild and Inmobiliaria Colonial.

We celebrated with a Welcome Toast at the Columbia Startup Lab:

We celebrated with a Welcome Toast at the Columbia Startup Lab:

Kent Tarrach gave his annual talk on asset management

Kent Tarrach gave his annual talk on asset management

Scott Rechler welcomed the companies to RXR’s headquarters

Scott Rechler welcomed the companies to RXR’s headquarters

Fox Rothschild invited the companies for a lunch and learn:

Fox Rothschild invited the companies for a lunch and learn:

Fuel on the fire - Mega rounds accelerating the pace of PropTech growth

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Anyone scanning the PropTech headlines in recent weeks could be forgiven for doing a triple take as three mega funding rounds totaling over $1.7 billion--all led by Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund--were announced within a five-day span. For those keeping score at home, the rounds included $1 billion to Indian hotel booking platform Oyo Hotels, $450 million to residential brokerage company Compass and $400 million to ibuying leader Opendoor. It’s a jaw dropping amount of capital by any measure. The numbers are even more remarkable when you consider that in 2013, PropTech startups raised less than $500 million in total venture capital funding during the entire year.

One of the notable aspects of these and other recent PropTech mega-rounds, aside from their sheer size, is how many of them are going to startups with so called “full-stack” models. Full-stack startups, a term popularized a few years ago to refer to Uber, AirBnB, WeWork, et. al., are tech-enabled companies that offer complete end-to-end services that generally compete with, rather than sell to, incumbents. Take Compass for example, which is striving to build a modern residential real estate brokerage enabled by technology, rather than sell tech tools to existing residential brokerages (though it has recently announced plans to get into that game too).

The rise of full-stack PropTech startups is a feature, not a bug, of the current PropTech wave. Fueled by the near-record levels of dry powder in today’s venture capital ecosystem, these full-stack businesses--which tend to be as capital intensive as they are ambitious--are acting as a catalyst for innovation and behavior change in the real estate market more broadly.

Some of the most highly valued companies in PropTech, and indeed in the broader tech economy, employ full-stack models. Companies like WeWork, Compass, Redfin, Katerra, OpenDoor, et. al. are not primarily selling software to the traditional giants of the real estate industry. Instead, they are taking them on directly.

This direct challenge is a powerful force behind the real estate industry’s recent and rapid awakening to and embrace of technology. When a company like WeWork can grow from zero to become the largest occupier (and in turn, subletter) in Manhattan in less than 10 years, it makes traditional office landlords large and small sit up and take notice. Similarly, when Compass and Katerra use their massive venture-financed war chests to expand their reach by gobbling up major legacy players, it puts other incumbents in those industries on notice.  It also makes traditional firms across real estate realize that in order to remain competitive in this shifting market, they too will need to embrace and adopt technology.

So as full-stack challengers continue to gain scale, the appetite for tech that can be used by traditional real estate firms to make their businesses more competitive grows stronger. This is one of the factors helping to fuel the current explosion of PropTech startups seeking to sell into traditional real estate firms of all stripes. And it’s also one of the reasons that these startups are finding an increasingly warmer reception from their target customers in real estate -- a customer base which has traditionally been very difficult for tech companies to sell into. This growing customer demand is in turn why we are not just seeing an explosion in PropTech startup formation, but we are seeing many of these companies find real commercial footing and begin to scale at a clip that this industry has never before witnessed.

As we look forward, we think that this push and pull between full-stack challengers and startups that aim to help traditional players modernize, is a powerful force for the continued growth and health of the PropTech sector. We expect to see venture dollars continue to consolidate around full-stack models that are able to achieve threshold levels of traction. And at the same time we anticipate that traditional software and tech-enabled businesses that sell into the commercial real estate community will continue to multiply and grow. It makes it an exciting time to be an investor in this space. It also signals that the pace of change in the real estate industry is only likely to accelerate.


MetaProp’s Next Chapter: MetaProp Ventures II

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Since inception, MetaProp has been dedicated to one thing: connecting talented PropTech founders with the knowledge, network and resources that they need to grow their businesses and meaningfully impact the real estate industry.

Four years ago, my partners, Aaron, Zach and Clelia---themselves investors, entrepreneurs and practitioners at the intersection of real estate and technology--saw the need for a firm dedicated to bridging the gap between emerging PropTech startups, their real estate customer base, and the broader venture capital community. Since then, MetaProp has continued to drive the PropTech market forward, evolving and iterating around that central mission in what has become a rapidly changing market.

Last week, we had the pleasure of sharing the next milestone in MetaProp’s evolution with the announcement of our second venture capital fund, MetaProp Ventures II.

There is perhaps no better representation of just how far the real estate industry’s interest in innovation has come in a short time than the truly fabulous group of blue chip firms from across the real estate industry who are joining us for this journey. Fund II’s LP base represent the largest consortium of early adopter and enthusiast investors in the real estate industry, including asset managers, top tier private equity firms, all of the largest global brokerages, international and U.S. owner/developers, world class construction and engineering firms, maintenance services firms, and more. Among the much longer list of notable Fund II LPs are RXR, PGIM Real Estate, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE, JLL Spark, Mitsui Fudosan’s 31VENTURES, and Altus Group. More than marking an affirmation of MetaProp's mission to identify and support the next generation of elite PropTech startups, their partnership will be an industry best asset in helping us fulfill it.

True to MetaProp’s DNA, Fund II is purpose built for the needs of today’s early-stage PropTech market. Below is a brief overview of what you can expect from our investment approach as we continue to deploy Fund II.

  • Early-stage focus: With our second fund, MetaProp continues and expands on our firm’s successful history by focusing exclusively on early stage (generally pre-seed through Series A) PropTech startups. Our unique position in the market enables us to identify emerging PropTech opportunities and invest with conviction early in a company's maturity.

  • Full PropTech investment scope: We invest in next generation innovations using software, hardware and technology enabled services to improve and/or rethink every aspect of the global real estate market. This includes companies that impact every asset type within real estate and every function or task that a real estate professional performs during the lifecycle of a real estate asset--from dirt to disposition.

  • Access to customers: All told, Fund II’s LP base offers PropTech startups a pilot- and test-ready “sandbox” that spans more than 15-billion-square-feet across every asset type and global market. Combined with our additional reach through the RE200 Mentor Network, and MetaProp’s advisory, events and media platform, MetaProp provides unparalleled industry access and exposure for our early stage PropTech portfolio companies.

  • Access to capital: Our team has closed more than 90 PropTech investments with a broad coalition of strategic and venture investors from around the world. Our peers in the investment community know us as a partner who can help with market de-risking pre-investment, and early distribution, product refinement, and top real estate talent post-investment. It’s a value prop that has resonated strongly with founders and investors to date and one that we are proud to carry forward into Fund II.

While we are sharing the Fund II announcement today, we have already made the first 10 Fund II portfolio investments. Early Fund II portfolio names include: Workframe, WhyHotel, Irene, Locate.ai, Jones, Travtus, Doorport, Hoozip and OnSiteIQ. Reflective of our investment scope, these investments represent a broad cross-section of the PropTech market--from frontier areas like AI-powered property management or retail site selection, to the improvement of friction-filled real estate processes like office construction management, to new models to better utilize and monetize space. We expect to add roughly 25 additional names to the Fund II portfolio and are inspired but the diversity, sophistication and ambition that we see amongst the next generation of PropTech startups.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Fund II’s investors who have placed their trust in us, along with you and the entire MetaProp community for your continued support. Since the outset, MetaProp has been dedicated to bringing together the strongest community possible to help the next generation of PropTech startups grow. We are excited to carry that mission forward with Fund II.

EMEA PropTech Startups Accelerate North American Expansion

We are proud to announce the first cohort of the MetaProp Bridge at Columbia University. Our first ever cross-border program, the MetaProp Bridge, connects leading early-stage PropTech companies in EMEA to customers and capital in North America.

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This was one of our most competitive application processes ever with over 100 applications and fewer than five spots. Our first open application process exclusively for EMEA companies, we learned a great deal about the EMEA market. As we expected, there are many great companies with very well developed technologies. At the same time, funding EMEA companies has different challenges from funding in North America because EMEA companies typically have much stronger boards and less autonomous executives. Furthermore, there is much less funding at the institutional seed stage.

Ultimately, we selected four EMEA PropTech companies.

The 2018 MetaProp Bridge at Columbia University cohort:
 

AIRLITE

Paint that transforms an ordinary wall into a
natural air purifier.

UK, Switzerland and Italy

 

FRONTDOOR

Business intelligence for real estate agents

France

 

720.io

Cloud based analytics service that turns high quality environmental data into healthier facilities with happier tenants.

Finland

 

YOURWELCOME

Technology hub for short stay rental owners

UK

 

The companies were selected based on our analysis of their viability in the North American market. We looked at several factors including existing traction in EMEA: the founding team; the technology and tech team behind the product; the size of the problem, and the competition in the North American market.

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Alain Kapatashungu,


CEO of Frontdoor

Alain Kapatashungu, CEO of Frontdoor, explained that he joined the Bridge program because “we cannot approach the American market as we approached the European market.” The MetaProp Bridge is designed to support EMEA companies as they navigate the different real estate and venture capital landscape in the US.

 
Henry YourWelcome.png

Henry Bennett,


CEO of YourWelcome

Henry Bennett, CEO of YourWelcome explained that he joined the Bridge because, “YourWelcome is currently headquartered in the UK, but has more than 600 US companies as customers and 70 percent of growth is also in the US. YourWelcome will be opening a US sales office in Q3 and the program offers great access to a network of potential clients and investors.”

We are already halfway through the London portion of the program. So far, we have matched the companies with mentors, invited several speakers to the program and are planning the North American go-to-market strategy. At the beginning of June, we will travel to NYC for intensive customer meetings and pitch preparation. The program culminates in July with an intensive five-city roadshow across North America.

Since landing in London, we have been lucky to have the support of the London tech and property community. Concrete VC, DLA Piper, KPMG, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, Amro Real Estate Partners and many more have been invaluable friends as we set up shop in London. MetaProp is based out of one of our sponsor’s beautiful coworking spaces, Fora, in Clerkenwell.

 

Based in EMEA and want to get involved? 

Name *
Name
 
Leila Collins Senior Associate

Leila Collins
Senior Associate

4 Perspectives on Office Tech

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How do architects, PropTech energy and amenity startups and workplace brokerage experts view the interface of office space and technology? Last week I moderated the Reinventing the Modern Office panel at ConnectNY, held at Brookfield Place in Manhattan, and I got some perspective into that question.

Unsurprisingly, each panelist from these real estate disciplines had unique experiences in creating office space for clients, but all shared some commonalities, as well. Chief among those common themes is working with landlords and tenants who have vastly varying degrees of PropTech knowledge.

In broad strokes, up until about a year ago, all of us on the panel had found the residential sector running ahead of commercial in the tech learning curve. However, commercial has clearly narrowed the PropTech adoption gap, and in more and more cases, is equalling or surpassing residential use. Interestingly, size doesn’t matter in successful PropTech adoption, as the largest real estate companies may be throwing significant amounts of money toward startups, but don’t necessarily have more success than small, more nimble, competitors.

From left to right: Phil Russo, Partner at MetaProp, Francesca Loftus, CEO & Co-Founder at hOM, Rachel Robinson, LEED AP, Senior Associate, Design Director at Ted Moudis Associates, Lee Hoffman, Co-Founder at Heat Watch and Tamar Moy, Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank.

From left to right: Phil Russo, Partner at MetaProp, Francesca Loftus, CEO & Co-Founder at hOM, Rachel Robinson, LEED AP, Senior Associate, Design Director at Ted Moudis Associates, Lee Hoffman, Co-Founder at Heat Watch and Tamar Moy, Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank.

Here are the panelists’ takeaways:

Francesca Loftus, CEO & Co-Founder, hOM
“Our panel connected four relatively disparate corners of the modern office industry -- consultancy, energy, design and tenant experience -- yet found so much overlap in client relations and vision of technology. We're clearly all very focused on the power of data at the moment.”

 

Rachel Robinson, LEED AP, Senior Associate, Design Director, Ted Moudis Associates
“Technology has enhanced the designer’s vision to see design in a 3-dimensional manner, which allows for a more creative design and to physically build spaces in a more organic direction.“

 

Lee Hoffman, Co-Founder, Heat Watch
"Many of our biggest and smartest customers -- like Related, Lefrak, Lemle & Wolff --  are realizing that saving money, reducing emissions, and providing more comfortable spaces for their tenants is an increasingly critical competitive advantage. Using technology to run boilers and heating systems efficiently (and reduce fuel usage by 25 percent) is starting to become a baseline requirement for any smart owner/manager in the city."

 

Tamar Moy, Senior Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank
“Digital technology is crafting new expectations for how we experience our surroundings, and the built workplace must address evolving expectations to influence experience. Traditional workplace strategies that only consider the space are ineffective. We must consider the workplace ecosystem with all of its experiential factors.”

 

As AI, AR, VR and other tech tools for conception, design and execution of new and revived office space continues to develop, the already hard to keep up with future of the modern office will accelerate even faster. Similarly, as landlords and tenants struggle to find the right mix of virtual officing, hoteling, flex-space, quiet rooms, common areas and the other options desired to varying degrees by the young and talented employees they seek to recruit and retain, their decision-making will become increasingly complex, demanding the best tech-infused insights of all parties involved in creating the workspaces that work best.

How the various real estate disciplines represented by our panel will deal with integrating the technology currently available, and that which bubbles up on a continual basis, into their work, along with how those groups interact with each other on tech platforms, will be fascinating to watch going forward.

Philip Russo  Founding Partner, MetaProp Advisors

Philip Russo
Founding Partner, MetaProp Advisors