Low retention rates in leasing offices have been plaguing the multifamily industry for decades, though nobody knows exactly why.
But with tons of metrics available, Raleigh, N.C.-based Leaselytics is hoping to solve that puzzle, by offering a more transparent view of leasing consultant performance.
The new software aims to give managers a better handle on which leasing agent would succeed in a certain environment, on who the right leasing agent is for a given time and place.
“Because of that difficulty in gauging leasing agent performance, when [managers] place them at communities in their portfolio, they’re playing a game of battleship,” says Rob Whitley, Leaselytics’ founder and CEO. “It’s a completely random process, when they should be playing chess. “
Whitley formerly served as a leasing agent and immediately viewed inefficiencies in the property management tools he used, in that it didn’t track the performance of the individual agent. The Leaselytics software would instead use algorithms to present a scorecard of the leasing agent, based on the value they add to the property daily.
Data Instead of Just a Gut Feeling
Cindy Clare, president at McClean, Va.-based Kettler Management, readily admits that property managers frequently place leasing agents throughout their portfolio based on their own knowledge and where they think they’ll be the best fit. At most, they’ll analyze their consultant’s performance from a closing ratio aspect.
Kettler is testing the software and believes it may help the company make staffing decisions in a more impartial way.
“I think there is some opportunity,” Clare says. “I don’t think you can just take statistics and say this is where someone would do well. Sometimes you have to take a risk on people, but this creates a smarter way for us to do it.”
Whitley compares this mode of placement optimization to the price optimization that occurs at a property level, daily. With the right market data, the software will become more predictive and suggestive about where leasing agents should be placed.
A large part of that, Whitley says, it determining what leasing agents should be placed at a new property during lease up. The right agents picked by the software can decrease the amount of time for a property to become stabilized, he says, possibly reducing that timeline by three months.
By understanding historical levels of agents and how they perform during lease ups, managers can use micro-analytics to determine who’s best for their new location.Some of the factors measured include the number of renewals and follow-ups are performed, as well as lease closing ratios.
The company is still in its beginning stages, but a near goal includes privatizing data so that at some point in the future, managers can see how their leasing agents are performing at a particular level in relation to nearby properties outside of their portfolio.
As far as retention, Whitley cites that a big turnover issue is rooted at poor communication that occurs between management and leasing agents. Without any accountability and a central place to track leasing agent’s performance, it’s harder to set goals for employees. But with a clear and concise model to track performance, the program can help managers retain the best talent.
“It’s more of a training and a placement tool,” Clare adds. “And it’s an indirect tool of retention because if you place people at the right property properly, they’ll likely stay there.”
-Linsey Isaacs is an assistant editor with Multifamily Executive magazine. Follow her on twitter @LinseyI to continue this conversation.