Student-led tech startup from the University of Michigan rapidly responds to needs of property management customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LeaseMagnets is an Ann Arbor tech startup dedicated to helping property management companies deliver a more engaging leasing experience that seamlessly flows between online and in-person interactions. When the pandemic brought foot-traffic to a standstill, the LeaseMagnets team immediately acted to help customers replace the in-person site tour by recreating the experience virtually.
This new solution would not only help maintain the inflow of leases, but also go beyond the relatively “new” streaming tours, which still required a live agent on the other end. Together with The George, a local Ann Arbor apartment complex, the team developed a completely virtual, “choose your own video” tour that integrated effortlessly into the existing LeaseMagnets property management platform. For future tenants, the experience is tailored to their individual “checklist” of apartment necessities and wants. Following a short survey, each prospect is presented with a tailored tour that shows them exactly what they are looking for—from floorplans to amenities, like an attached master bath, gym, or onsite service that satisfies each unique need.
“The LeaseMagnets team is a brilliant example of the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti tech ecosystems at work,” stated Bill Mayer, vice president of entrepreneurial services at Ann Arbor SPARK. “These U-M students have coupled their own experiences with support from SPARK to draw upon and address the needs of our community in an incredibly innovative manner, promptly responding to the changing—and tough—climate we’re facing today. They’ve succeeded in creating something novel that will provide added value well into the future.”
LeaseMagnets’ new virtual tour yields advantages that extend far beyond the current pandemic. It enables a 24-hour, seven days a week availability that was not possible with a traditional guided tour, increasing the number of tours possible at any given time. In addition, the feature is especially appealing to students who comprise a large percentage of the tenant pool in college towns and prefer to do their housing search outside of traditional working hours.
“The virtual tour tool has been invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Jim Adams, property manager of The George in Ann Arbor. “Our students can’t do a FaceTime tour when they’re researching at 2 a.m. The tool is the most eye-catching experience when you first see our website, and it’s there 24/7.”
“We’re so excited to have been able to create a dynamic solution that allows property management companies to effectively progress in a scene that has undergone such dramatic changes in so little time,” commented Amulya Parmar and Varun Madan, co-founders of LeaseMagnets. “Our platform offers an experience that is tailored and engaging to a much higher degree than before, and we’re happy to help students and families all over the community find the right place to call their new home.”
LeaseMagnets is Shopify-like conversion optimization widgets for real estate. With the belief that shopping for an apartment is the largest e-commerce purchase a person will make each year, LeaseMagnets transforms the passive and unoptimized leasing process with a suite of conversion optimization tools that communicate with one another. The result is an elevated digital customer experience that doubles the average tours generated from each apartment client’s website, increasing conversions from four percent upwards of fifteen percent.