Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing editor with REALTOR® Magazine. Connect with her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four-Legged Residents Welcome
Learn how a major apartment developer and property management company is staying competitive by offering pet-friendly and lifestyle-based amenities.
May 1, 2017
For many people, pets are family members. That’s why 81 percent of consumers say they’ll take animal-related considerations into account when deciding on their next living situation, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 report “Animal House: Remodeling Impact.” To meet the growing demand for pet-friendly apartments, Kristen Gucwa, vice president of national lease-up operations at Richman Signature Properties, says her company is “reinventing rental living and what that looks like.”
The Richman Signature Properties’ websites clearly spells out its policy: “We are a pet-friendly community; cats and dogs are allowed.” The message appears next to professional photos of the communities and residential units and is highlighted among other amenities, such as pools and charging stations for electric cars. It’s included in their marketing and mentioned during onsite tours.
The pet-friendly emphasis is part of an overall lifestyle marketing initiative, highlighting a live-work-play atmosphere. The company has adapted their fitness centers to include on-demand video trainers. Property management teams will coordinate social groups, get-togethers, and outings. The activity calendar, which includes wine clubs, running clubs, book clubs, fishing clubs, and even beer clubs, also appears on each community’s website. Each property is developing its own personality, Gucwa says.
Looking ahead to the opening of properties in Denver and Los Angeles, Gucwa sees two trends continuing to grow in the multifamily home sector: pet accommodations and local business partnerships. Richman Signature Properties is starting to team up with local shops and boutiques in the area to offer amenities and services to residents. They’ve also recently partnered with Barkbox, a pet toy and treat service, to provide residents who own pets with a three-month subscription as a move-in gift.
“We want to make sure it’s more than just a temporary living space,” Gucwa says. “Pet-friendly developments encourage a sense of community amongst residents.”