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At lunch one day in April, a retired friend of mine asked a question. Can you imagine trying to do business in the middle of a pandemic without using technology? Without the internet or, for that matter, the most basic things like computers?

I had to admit, it was hard to imagine. How would my real estate investment company, MZ Capital Partners, which specializes in multi-family housing assets, operate during COVID-19 without the most basic technology? I can’t even imagine how difficult it was and how we got over it without it.

Or maybe you can do it to some extent. I’ve been a real estate broker license since 1979, so I can remember the days before email when long phone calls and slow email delivery were everything. Indeed, we can understand not only that technology has survived this crisis, but also how technology revolutionized real estate long before the pandemic.

I say this, acknowledging the fact that the industry is not known for accepting change quickly. Karen Hollinger, Senior Vice President of Virginia-based Avalon Bay Community’s Corporate Initiative, said at the January 2020 National Multifamily Housing Council Annual Meeting: Now you can’t do it without technology.

It’s a matter of evolution. It’s a matter of survival. It’s a matter of understanding what the future holds. For example, much has been done about resident-friendly technology. About virtual tours and nifty company websites and portals that allow tenants to sign leases, pay rents, and arrange service calls. For keyless entry and high speed internet connectivity, thermostats, lights, blinds and other smart devices.

All of these are in fashion to meet the expectations of the population. After all, 92% of them use the internet. Completely half of them use mobile websites or apps to find a place to live. As a result, all of us in the housing sector are obliged to learn and grow.

But let’s focus a bit on the impact that technology has had on the company. It turns out that it is classified as either a get or operation of two buckets.

For example, if you were doing due diligence for real estate, you can log in to Google Maps and take a virtual tour of the surrounding area. Not surprisingly, we still need to fly there to get a real feel for the neighborhood and the property itself, but at least we can get some idea of ​​what’s in it.

In addition, you can access various public databases to get ideas on selling prices, tax rates, valuations and more. You can use websites such as Apartments.com to see the current rent for a property in a particular market or nearby. I was considering close to one.

The use of video conferencing platforms, especially zoom, which is unique to pandemics, is increasing. I admit that I am among those who are suffering from zoom fatigue, but when it comes to the various meetings and hearings that someone in my position must attend when developing a new property, the platform Must be said to be attractive.

Certain projects have at least preliminary meetings, meetings with planning committees, and meetings with city councils. With Zoom, each is a 20-minute process from the comfort of my office or home office, as opposed to going in and out of one place for most of the two days. You can watch it continue after the pandemic.

Operationally, it’s not long ago that we visit one of our facilities on a regular basis to meet with our onsite management team to see the progress of issues such as leasing, transportation and rent. It wasn’t.

These meetings are still valuable, but our property management system gives us real-time access to all the information we need for every property. That is, exactly how many people have toured the place.

Again, looking at the pandemic, most of the support and bookkeeping staff at our headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois have been working remotely since the outbreak began, and so on for several days a week. Let’s do it. Anyway, most of the information is in the cloud and can be easily accessed and shared.

In short, technology has made it cost-effective and time-efficient, like many other companies. It’s now easier to maintain a wide footprint to manage our assets in places like Tennessee and Texas.

Sure, there are other technological developments ahead, but in general, it can be said that innovation has enabled people in apartments to do their jobs better, and that was long before the pandemic. It was the case of.

Michael H. Zaransky is the founder and managing principal of MZ Capital Partners. Founded in 2005, MZ Capital Partners is based in Northbrook, Illinois and operates apartments.

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