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Build Tech Rent: how innovative PropTech can propel the build to rent (BTR) market

Build to Rent (BTR) has the wind in its sails. According to Savills Q3 2020 report, there are currently 172,000 Build to Rent homes either completed, under construction or planned in the UK and this armada of BTR stock faces promising conditions. From more positive attitudes towards renting to Covid-accelerated changes in how people live and work, BTR operators can take advantage of the favourable winds and plot a profitable course towards the horizon; a course that is further enhanced by innovative PropTech. 

Improved resident experience

From viewing to moving, BTR residential-focused technology bolsters every touch point of the resident journey ensuring that the renter has an unrivalled experience. 

  • Viewing - Virtual tours of apartment blocks, interactive 3D floor plans, videos highlighting anything from spa amenities to internet speed in the apartment. At a time when many people can’t visit sites in-person, tech enables potential residents to view both built and planned stock from the comfort of their sofa.

  • Applying - Want to see more photos? Have a question about leases? Tech software like the Quote Portal enables operators to respond to enquiries with personalised quotes and images in under 60 seconds, while a direct communication hub allows for quick, tailored information-sharing.

  • Signing - Residents and BTR operators can use an application to draft, share, edit and sign contracting documents that are all stored in one place for ease of access. What’s more, bespoke PropTech also allows residents to pay deposits or upfront payments securely and easily.

  • Living - Whether it’s security details at your fingertips or controlling your housekeeping rota, paying your rent or logging a maintenance issue, receiving notifications when parcels arrive at the concierge or booking the cinema room on-site, tech applications like the Guest Portal transform a resident’s living experience. 
  • Moving - Changes in remote working and living attitudes will see residents, especially millennials, moving more regularly as they try one city centre apartment for one year and then move location. Therefore, embedding flexible leases with longer stay rent discounts into your model will be vital. 

Streamlined operations

Yet, it’s not just the residents who’ll have a whale of a time, but the crew too. Tech features like the Operations App allows BTR operators to run a tight ship without the anchor of admin weighing them down. For instance, management can monitor housekeeping rotas, log maintenance issues and create task to-do lists across multiple sites with the touch of a button. Real-time reporting and remote oversight allows for any issues to be resolved within hours rather than days, while the vast amount of data-gathering provides operators with crucial information for performance tracking. 

What’s more, apps with communications hubs allow BTR managers to inform residents of updated access codes to the gym, new Covid cleaning protocols or even the weekly film showings in the cinema room. 

Meanwhile, PropTech can also transform unused building spaces into money-making services. By harnessing the power of Space-as-a-Service (SPaaS), PropTech allows operators to both monetise non-residential space and offer exclusive services that improves resident experience. For example, the roof could host a pop-up restaurant or exercise classes when the weather permits. The ground floor could have coffee shops and games rooms. For BTR captains looking to increase their bounty, SPaaS unlocks the hoards of treasure hidden in BTR buildings. 

Tech-fuelled progress

Given the wide-ranging efficiency advantages and cost-saving measures that PropTech brings, it’s no surprise that Richard Smith, the Managing Director of Moda Life Management, told a recent res:harmonics-sponsored webinar that “tech is one of the most critical aspects of BTR” and that everything Moda Life is doing is on an app. 

That’s because PropTech is like adding a turbine to a sailing ship, fuelling BTR’s growth into profitable waters. As the leading software for short and long stay residential, our tech features are fully customisable and we’d love to let you get you on board. 

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