Developers Mull Opportunity Zones

When Aptitude Development began working on The Marshall near the University of Louisville in Kentucky about two years ago, the $50 million, 591-bed student housing project was simply considered a sound development along a corridor undergoing urban renewal. But last spring, when one of the 8,700 newly designated “qualified opportunity zones” in the country happened to encompass The Marshall’s location, the project also became eligible for capital gains tax deferral for long-term property investors. 

Cottages: Aging Gracefully

When cottage-style student housing developments began cropping up over a decade ago, they were all the rage. Students loved the privacy of their own colorful, stylish house with an inviting front porch and lots of green space for outdoor activities. They loved the security and community. The space to spread out and disconnect from the buzz of campus. The elaborate amenity package. Swimming pools as vast as lakes in many cases.

Rami Kalla: VR/AR — Giving Residents the Ultimate Tour Experience

Virtual reality (VR) is a trend that is here to stay, especially in the student housing industry. Why? The two biggest student housing consumer groups — millennials and Generation Z — are also the most tech-savvy generations, pushing companies to become more technologically advanced. Approximately 73 percent of millennials and 79 percent of Generation Z are interested in virtual reality. With virtual reality use and the amount of interest in this technology by key consumer groups on the rise, now is the perfect time for the student housing industry to employ new methods of attracting potential residents to their properties.

Roy Griffith: Prefabrication for High-Quality Student Housing Delivered Faster and on Budget

As universities expand to accommodate growing student populations, traditional design and construction processes make it challenging to complete projects on time, safely and within budget. Industry benchmarks show that 61 percent of typical projects are behind schedule and 49 percent are over budget, according to a report by the Lean Construction Institute[1]. The pain of labor shortages, cost and budget overruns, and construction waste has driven many colleges and universities to look for alternative ways to more efficiently renovate or expand. 

Triad Real Estate Partners' Student Housing Market Conference Showdown: Big Ten Edition

In a recurring Triad Real Estate Partners analysis series, we’re looking at university off campus student housing markets by athletic conference. Back in March we took a deep dive into the SEC, declaring the University of Florida the winner with the Georgia Bulldogs nipping at their heels. LSU brought up the rear with a market occupancy of just 78 percent and declining rents.

John Hinckley: A Systematic Approach to Resident Engagement

The adoption of recent emerging technologies coupled with a growing focus on delivering a great resident experience presents new opportunities for driving resident retention, connectivity and community engagement.  And it is now more essential than ever. More and more apartment communities are investing time and effort in identifying programs to enhance community engagement such as community events, communication, feedback and incentives programs. Factoring the high turnover both by residents and onsite staff requires you to implement an engagement strategy that scales. Let’s discuss how. 

Dominic Anzalone: Research To Renewal — How Students Decide Where To Live

Regardless of where they attend school, students across the country face the same challenges when deciding where to live during college. Students want to live near campus, pay a reasonable price, find good information about potential rentals and feel like their landlord respects them. Meet those criteria and you’re sure to find e happy renters renewing for multiple years.

Rent College Pads surveyed students across the country and received roughly 500 responses about the annual search for housing about topics that ranged from finding a new place to live to renewing at a current one. Here’s what we found out:

When looking for a rental, how many companies do you typically contact?

A quick response is essential for any landlords looking to engage with student renters in today’s competitive renting market. The rental cycle differs at every school, but typically students are looking for next year’s housing around the same time. So they know they need to act quick.

Student renters typically zero in on a few places they like and act quickly in securing them during pre-leasing periods. Students most commonly responded with 1-3 properties to this question.

When deciding where to live, what do you value most in a rental?

This was the largest majority on our survey. Every time we’ve polled students to find out what matters to them, we’ve always seen the same thing. Price matters the most. Students put their understandably bare wallets first when looking for a place to live. 60% of students responded with price to this question, with location mattering second most and amenities third most.

What’s the most common problem you face with rentals?

Occasional Wi-Fi problems are something we all struggle with from time to time, but there may be no group more reliant on speedy, reliable internet access than college students. Whether they’re working on homework or their social life, students want to be connected 24/7.

Most landlords renting out houses or small apartments are handcuffed a bit when it comes to supplying internet, but mega complexes that include Wi-Fi in the cost better make sure that their internet provider holds up their end of the bargain.

What does your current landlord do that bothers you most?

Late maintenance was the biggest pet peeve student renters had. When a window won’t close or the front door gets stuck open, tenants get unhappy. Without a clear expectation of when something will be fixed and sticking to that promise, it’s likely a student-landlord relationship will suffer.

Even if no one is going to get up to a unit for a couple of days to help fix a problem, communication can at least set expectations and make a renter feel like you care about their problem. Over communicating on maintenance is better than under communicating.

How long does it typically take for maintenance to be completed at your house or apartment?

We saw the widest range of student responses on this survey question. While some said they often had their needs met in less than 24 hours, others said they were frequently left waiting a week each time something went wrong. 48 hours was the most common response though, with 30% of students responding.

Given that the majority of students said the most annoying thing their landlord could do was dawdle on maintenance, this is a huge opportunity for securing a strong relationship with a student tenant and ensuring they renew their lease.

How long do you typically stay in one house or apartment unit?

The average student will move two or three times after they get out of the dorms. 63% of students said they stay in the same house or apartment for just a year. Why are they on the move so much? Sometimes it’s because of roommate changes, but other times landlord relationships plays a role too. Landlords who are willing to go the extra mile to keep renters happy do see them stick with the same company, even if they are looking to move to a new house or apartment.

What contributes the most to you renewing your lease at your current location?

A whopping 78% said relationship with landlord. If a student has roommates they like, the biggest factor that plays into them staying or going is how they feel like they’ve been treated in the past year. Improve your renewal rate by maintaining positive relationship with your renters.

The insights we found weren’t necessarily revolutionary – students have largely wanted to pay as little as possible while getting the best treatment as long as they’ve been renting. But it’s always good to hear that whether students are living in a luxury location near the University of Florida or toughing out the winter in a house blocks from the University of Minnesota, they’re facing the same challenges and looking for the same thing.

— Dominic Anzalone is the founder and CEO of Rent College Pads, a nationwide resource that helps students find housing near campus.

Doug Martin: Finding the Right Transportation Management Organization for Your Properties

Successful marketing strategies for any housing management organization focus on both the direct and indirect amenities offered by a specific property, especially when targeting millennials. The exceptional student experience that housing management organizations strive to achieve also creates a bridge between the facility, the campus, and the surrounding area that must be safe, reliable, and convenient. Developing and managing a structured transportation service plan that focuses on how to maximize service, minimize cost, and control external concerns like liability management can help make this value-added service much less of a burden on property managers.

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