What is Unit Make-Ready Software and How Does It Work?


With more competition coming to market and cap rates compressing there’s an immense amount of pressure on apartment operators to grow NOI. Tech-savvy rental property owners and multifamily managers are boosting their bottom lines by turning to digital solutions like unit make-ready software and turnover apps to improve their existing unit make-ready process.

In this article we’ll discuss what unit turnover software is, how it works, and the key features and benefits users receive from online unit make-ready software solutions.

What is unit make-ready software?

Unit make-ready software is a workflow system used to streamline and improve the process of turning over apartment rental units. The best make-ready software systems can act either as a standalone product or be integrated into a larger technology suite of property management software.

Property turnover software provides both an in-office interface as well as a mobile field turnover application that lets staff track unit turn progress using a real-time checklist. This transforms the unit turnover process into a systematic workflow by:

  • Ensuring all tasks are completed on time
  • Automatically generating the next milestones
  • Reporting exceptions to the system
  • Escalating overdue items to management

How do unit turnover apps and software work?

The first step in setting up a unit-make ready software system is to enter the profile of each apartment unit into the system to create a list of all of the units under management. The depth, specificity, and customizability of these apartment turnover checklists vary greatly between the different apartment make ready software systems on the market. They will usually include:

  • Individual unit profiles with the property address and apartment number, key and alarm information
  • Room lists by type and quantity such as bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and garage
  • Categories for each room on the list are automatically created for items such as walls, ceilings, doors, floors, and windows along with individual fields for notes, pictures and videos
  • Default condition report tabs such as good, satisfactory, or poor for each category within every room in the unit

After the unit make-ready software system is set up, field staff installs the unit turnover app on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. They’ll automatically receive alerts and follow the unit checklists that have been previously created to conduct inspections. This guided process ensures that the proper apartment turnover procedures are adhered to. When finished, field staff can upload walk-through reports and file work orders using the unit make-ready app.

The best unit make-ready software systems always include a user-friendly interface that integrates data between the field staff and the office. This functionality lets office staff review notices, images and videos, walk-through reports, work order requests, check lists and emails from the field without having to be on site.

This two-way activity synchronization between field and office shortens the turn-time between units and creates a well-documented history of activity reports for each unit turn. Field workers are able to use the apartment make ready app to see their schedules and check off completed tasks using the turnover app on their mobile device. Office staff can make task changes as needed and notify field staff directly through the apartment turnover app.

Learn more about the benefits of unit make-ready software

What are the benefits of using property turnover software?

Optimizing the unit make-ready turnover process is critical to increasing net operating income.

The longer units sit vacant waiting to be turned and re-let, the more potential revenue is lost. Digitizing, streamlining, and automating the unit make-ready process significantly increases NOIs by reducing the average unit make ready cost.

In fact, a good unit make-ready software system will reduce turnover times by up to 60%. Some of the top benefits of using property turnover software include:

  • Automation speeds up the turnover process by synchronizing the workflow between field and office staff
  • Inspection report accuracy is improved with real-time in-field notes, photos, and videos to ensure regulatory compliance and reduce potential liability
  • Work order mistakes are caught early on through the data interface between field and office
  • Costs are reduced by efficiently managing unit turns and decreasing make-ready times
  • Decision-making bottlenecks are avoided by escalating overdue tasks and items to the next level
  • Automatic big data integration improves operational analysis by providing the insight and analysis needed to reduce loss from vacant units

Find out if you're truly optimizing your make-readies, inspections, and  maintenance tasks in 5 minutes or less!

What are the top features I should look for with apartment make-ready apps and software?

The best apartment make ready apps and software should offer users these top features:

  • Real-time unit make-ready property operations dashboard and reports
  • Cloud-based mobile platform for online access 24/7
  • App for in-field make-ready inspections and work order requests
  • Guided move-in and move-out tenant inspections
  • Photograph and document unit conditions and any damages
  • Customizable punch lists
  • Property management integration to automate service request scheduling
  • Built-in customizable catalogue to standardize procurement
  • Improve budget forecasting with accurate cost analysis
  • Effective tenant chargeback cost recovery system
  • Vacancy loss tracking

But these important features aren’t the only thing that creates great unit make-ready software. Before investing in apartment make ready software users should consider:

  • User-friendly design of the software and mobile apps
  • Ease of integration with existing property management tools and systems
  • Cost-effectiveness of the pricing model – such as cost-per-seat or license – from the unit make-ready software company
  • Customer support and tech help levels included in the property turnover service contract

How much do apartment make-ready apps and software cost?

Pricing structures for apartment make ready apps and software can vary dramatically from one vendor to the next.

Some companies offer users a pricing model for unit make-ready software based on the “per-unit-per-month” model with the total monthly cost varying based on the size of the rental portfolio. Other property turnover software companies charge a monthly fee based on the number of office and field users accessing the system.

There are some free unit make-ready apps on the market, but they frequently have bugs that keep the software from working as promised, with non-existent tech support. Free turnover software also doesn’t provide multiple levels of functionality – they usually start and stop with just a mobile checklist. There are no tools for communication between field and office staff, there are no work order review systems, and there is no big data integration to produce the analytics to derive true value and create cost-efficiencies from the turnover process.

Learn more about SuiteSpot’s make-ready app

How do I implement a unit turnover app or platform?

The process for selecting a unit turnover app or software platform is similar to deciding what kind of car to buy:

  • Take the time to research the different unit make-ready software technology vendors on the market.
  • Narrow down the various options to three or four good choices.
  • Take each property turnover app for a ‘test drive’ by demoing the software for no longer than one week – any longer and the features and benefits of the different unit turnover software programs will blend together and look the same. During the demo stage, it’s important to get feedback from the office and field staff who will actually be using the product.
  • Select the unit make-ready software tech company you prefer to work with.

After the contract is signed there should be support from the turnover software vendor for setting up the system and building-out and testing any optional product integrations. A dedicated account manager should make sure that your service is properly set up and your catalogue of units is created, your staff is fully trained, and that you’re realizing all of the benefits the software has to offer.

The best unit make-ready software vendors will also provide an online self-service customer portal along with email and phone support. These important after-the-sale customer support features ensure that the experience with the make-ready software platform and company team is second-to-none.

Learn more about the benefits of unit make-ready software

Unit Turnover Management

Additional Reading

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