Apartment hunting can be challenging for electric vehicle owners since they see charging stations as a necessity, not an amenity, in the community. Electric vehicle charging stations, and other next-gen amenities, can be effective tools for marketing a property, but only if used effectively.
By Diane Batayeh
CEO, Village Green
The landscape of property management and ownership is expected to undergo many significant changes in the next few years.
Technology is progressing faster than ever and soon, prospective residents will be looking for more in an apartment than a great location and functional layout.
What once were ‘next-gen’ amenities are now becoming standard with a new wave of luxury options that have entered the multifamily industry in recent years such as co-working spaces, demonstration kitchens and pet spas. Apartment managers and owners will need to proactively address the wants and needs of current and future residents if they want to stay ahead of their competitors.
Next-gen amenities tend to embrace technology, encourage community and neighborhood engagement, and add intrinsic value for residents. While not every apartment community offers next-gen amenities, the times are changing, and soon enough, residents will expect certain amenities to be standard in any apartment they consider residing in.
A good example of a trending next-gen amenity is the inclusion and installation of electric vehicle charging stations. As EVs become more affordable and accessible nationwide, there are certain considerations to be made, particularly around charging stations.
One of the largest complaints from EV owners is that it can be inconvenient to own an electric vehicle while living in an apartment, or anything other than a single-family home, due to placement of charging stations.
Apartment hunting can be challenging for EV owners since they see charging stations as a necessity, not an amenity. Property managers and owners should take note of what their customers are looking for in their living experience and seriously consider the benefits of installing electric vehicle charging stations. Those include:
- Appealing to a new audience of prospective residents
- Increasing the quality of life for current residents
- Becoming an ‘early adopter’ in EV charging technology
Charging stations installation require an organized and efficient plan of action. It’s imperative to commit to the entire process while gauging the individualized needs of your property and residents.
Do your research
Before committing to the process, first consider the property layout, electricity capacity and business potential. Depending on the location, a substantial amount of structural reconfiguration may be necessary. Additionally, consider that EV charging stations will not be needed in every market at the same time.
A property owner in southern California may have more incentive to install charging stations than an owner in rural Kansas due to the sheer number of electric vehicles on the road and the likely adoption by other apartment owners in that market.
However, a good strategy for the Kansas property owner is to become an ‘early adopter’ and provide a service to a small, but potentially underserved group of prospective renters. This could help the Kansas property owner differentiate themselves and believe it’s worth the investment.
Property managers and owners should also investigate what, if any, rebate programs are available for EV charging station installation. Many utility companies around the country offer certain programs to residential customers looking to install chargers and can help facilitate the installation process.
Additionally, grass roots research efforts can provide valuable information when considering EV charger installation. Asking current residents if they own an electric vehicle or if they plan to purchase one soon can provide excellent insight into current and future resident needs.
Trust the process
After assessing the logistics and needs of the residents, property owners may make the decision to install a charging station. If they decide to forge ahead, it will likely be up to the property manager to advise and guide them through the process. Doing due diligence is vital for a property manager to provide insights including how many chargers to install, which types of chargers will be best suited for the property, and how to effectively communicate with residents about the installation and use process.
Arguably one of the most central aspects to installation is policy and resource cultivation.
To maintain organizational intelligence and awareness, develop procedures and rules surrounding charger usage before the launch. This includes things like ensuring credit card or other payment options are available, selecting an appropriate location and establishing a strategy to organize usage schedules and communicate with residents who are utilizing the technology. Additionally, there should be a well thought out plan for the possibility of adding more chargers as electric vehicles become the norm and the need is justified.
Plan in action
Electric vehicle charging stations, and other next-gen amenities, can be effective tools for marketing a property, but only if used effectively.
Develop a marketing plan that considers everything from physical signage, a resident letter, a strategy for social media, a FAQ document for residents and anything else that ensures the entire community is aware of the new amenity and how to access it.
Next-gen amenities like EV charging stations and smart and sustainable technologies are slowly but surely transitioning from luxury to necessity for many prospective residents.
While not every property may be a good fit to implement next-gen amenities early on, recognizing early consumer demand signals, and having the ability to effectively assess the potential benefits to your property and residents by virtue of a thoughtful return on investment assessment is an important first step.
About the author
Diane Batayeh is CEO at Southfield, Mich.-based Village Green Holding, a more than 100-year old multifamily company that manages a portfolio valued in excess of $10 billion and 40,000+ units nationwide.