Putting Our Values to the Test

October 30, 2020

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Innovation: Pursuit of new ideas to solve problems and affect change.

As one of the four core Milhaus values, innovation is a key ingredient to the success of our teams. When it comes to actively living out these values, nothing has put our team to the test quite like COVID-19.

Simply put, the pandemic has changed the way we all navigate the world. People across the U.S. are being encouraged to stay home and be as socially distant as possible. This "new norm", as they've called it, tends to complicate completing necessary tasks including, the typical apartment hunt. Housing is a longer commitment and important decision therefore (and understandably so), renters typically want to see the place they could call home in person. So, what's the solution? A method our onsite teams have down pat: Virtual Tours.

Realync, the multifamily industry's only video leasing and engagement solution enabling live video tours, live virtual open houses and DIY pre-recorded videos of properties, has been a longtime partner of Milhaus properties across all of our markets. In normal circumstances, the software is fantastic for sending prospects that one last floor plan option if they're feeling indecisive or even an occupied unit they weren't able to tour. Today, it's becoming the preferred touring method and more and more companies are going virtual to fill rental vacancies and keep both tenants and employees safe.  

Milhaus' onsite teams like Artistry Indy and Versol in Bonita Springs have displayed incredible innovation in the ways they use Realync. Utilizing the platform's digital dashboard, users can communicate in real-time via live video, capture photos, take notes, view interactive maps and more. Jacob Stallard, Resident Services Manager at Artistry Indy, speaks on its helpfulness:

"Like most businesses during the pandemic, we had to temporarily close our doors for touring and limit the amount of on-site staff each day. Being able to record and send virtual tours of apartments and the Artistry community allowed us to still connect with prospective tenants while they searched for their next home.

"Artistry has been able to return to in-person tours again as restrictions and regulations have changed, but we still utilize virtual tours to send to prospects when they schedule an in-person tour or for prospects who live out of town and can't make it to Indianapolis for tours," said Jacob.

Although an in-person tour is usually still preferred, virtual tours help fill in certain gaps. For prospects who are just starting their home search, virtual tours help by narrowing down their community choices before spending time visiting multiple properties for tours of homes, they may ultimately not be interested in. They can also be used as a great follow up for a potential resident or someone who wants a refresher on the floor plan without coming in one more time.

Liana Ashley, Resident Services Manager at Versol, has seen a great response as well.

"We usually receive a positive response to the virtual tours specifically, because pictures of the apartments and floor plans don't always look exactly as they would in person. The option for the virtual tour is not expected, but the response is excitement after offering."

Jacob has also seen a positive response and a large amount of success through virtual tours.

"I believe virtual tours can be as successful as in-person tours. An Artistry Indy tour is a complete sensory experience that can be hard to translate to a video, but that does not change the benefits or importance of virtual tours. For prospects who are unable to see Artistry Indy in person, a virtual tour allows them to see the great amenities and community we have, as well as the floorplans and apartments."

And this success has been proven – after Jacob used virtual touring to close a lease in just 22 minutes (sight unseen!), Realync created an entire case study on his experience. 

Looking to the future, both Liana and Jacob see virtual tours like Realync possessing the staying power to survive and thrive in the event of another shutdown, or even after the pandemic subsides.

"In the event that there was to be another shutdown, we feel as though the virtual tours would definitely suffice and help with leasing during that time," said Liana.

"I don't see virtual tours declining," said Jacob. "They are a valuable asset to any property and their teams."

When faced with a problem, #TeamMilhaus members like Jacob and Ashley pursued new ideas and most certainly affected change. Is innovation your strong suit? Come join our team!