The single-family rental space is a relatively young industry. As an institutional asset class, it originated in 2012, in the aftermath of The Great Recession. But its value proposition—to professionalize and scale the leasing of single-family homes—has been transformative within the real estate sector, and made uniquely possible by emerging technologies that streamlined the acquisition and underwriting processes.
Inspired by the promise and potential of this industry to change the way America lives, I left The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to assume the role of Chief Technology Officer at one of the leading single-family rental companies and top homebuilders in the country. My initial focus was to establish a reliable and secure IT platform that could pillar our rapid national expansion, propelled by growing investor interest and capital.
This work included establishing an industry-leading cybersecurity program; accelerating the development and adoption of proprietary systems; implementing a microservices architecture; reducing operational risks, points of failure, and bottlenecks; and building a skilled team that could take all of this foundational work to the next level.
"Technologically, we’ve improved this resident experience by making the entire leasing process easier, quicker, and more accessible, from touring and applying to moving in and submitting maintenance requests"
Today, our IT department supports the management of over 57,000 properties, maintenance services for approximately 200,000 residents, and operations of a prolific homebuilding arm through which we’ve delivered over 100 new rental communities across the country. Looking ahead, we’re betting on technology again to innovate the future of housing in America.
Simplifying the resident experience
The single-family rental space has historically been a mom-and-pop industry, plagued by unreliable landlords, a lack of transparency, drastic variance in quality, and financial instability. Technologically, we’ve improved this resident experience by making the entire leasing process easier, quicker, and more accessible, from touring and applying to moving in and submitting maintenance requests.
In 2013, well before our competitors and the COVID-19 distancing mandate, we implemented a custom Let Yourself In® technology, which allowed residents to schedule house tours online, enter the property, and view it at their own convenience without needing an agent present.
Since then, we’ve launched a mobile-first website that serves as entry point into all of our systems, platforms, services, and products, and centralizes the resident experience via a single portal. Through their online account, the user can access and manage all of their leasing documentation, payments, and service requests.
The website sits on a flexible and extensible systemcalled the 4Platform, centered around microservices and event-driven architectures.This gives us the capability to integrate third parties, more custom applications, and other API-based tools quickly and easily, allowing us to seamlessly accelerate and enhance the resident experience.
Now, we’re continuing to eliminate friction at another key touchpoint by stripping the application process down to the basics.