Jessica Dinin Career Background
What is your biggest career achievement?
- My biggest achievement thus far in my career has to be the monumental lease-up for our student housing community in Boca Raton, FL. While working in this market, I marketed a portfolio of 891 beds, between three different communities. University Park, our true lease-up, opened in April 2015 and was the first purpose-built student housing project developed in Boca Raton. The main challenge was being placed in a market where off-campus student housing was the “enemy” of the local university. Though well-received by many parties involved, including the community, the university still had influence over our lease-up. Yet we persevered! The rents we achieved surpassed budget assumptions and were unprecedented in this market. We were able to fully lease this community in just a few months through not only well-executed social campaigns and unique events but also a targeted boots-on-the-ground guerrilla marketing campaign. The 280,000 square-foot, community featured eight, four-story buildings with 598 beds in 159 units. At $70 million, the sale of University Park marks the highest price paid per unit ($440K) for a multifamily rental project in the state of Florida, as well as the highest price paid per bedroom ($110K) for student housing in the state of Florida. University Park was just one portion of the sale which also included University View and University Square, and the entire portfolio sold for $105.25 million.
What is your ultimate career goal within the rental housing industry?
- My career goal within the industry is to eventually own and operate my own industry-specific marketing company. I first hope to continue to grow with my company and continue expanding my knowledge in my role and this industry. After continuing to grow with my company, moving up the ranks internally, and working to understand all avenues of the industry, I want to give back to this industry at a greater scale. My passion for marketing and advertising partnered with my background in psychology would give me the opportunity to provide services that our communities need, and our prospects and residents desire. Our on-site team’s day-to-day operations are busy and highly interrupted, so I hope to offer a seamless, simple solution in the future as a one-stop-shop for all digital and print needs. I enjoy graphic design, branding, and the creative aspect of our communities and would love to breathe life into the brands and hearts of our communities!
What's one rental housing trend you have your eye on?
- In a world where we rely so heavily on the internet for everything in life – from grocery shopping to doctor’s visits, it’s no surprise that searching for an apartment home is also done primarily online. But how do we shift from the typical apartment search done through an Internet Listing Site to something a bit more personalized?
It’s likely that you’ve heard of virtual reality (VR); our industry uses those types of technologies in touring. For example, so many communities rely on Matterport tours so that their prospective residents can “walk” through their communities. Did you know that you can pop on a headset and take the tour as if you were IN the space just by pressing the headset icon? With virtual reality, our communities can showcase their community amenities, model apartments, and vacant spaces all within a tour, powered by 360-degree technology. These offerings enable viewers to feel like they’re actually in your community, offering the most realistic, immersive way to experience a property online. But what about augmented reality (AR)? It’s a term that you may be familiar with, but not directly within our industry. When shopping on Amazon, view in your room lets you view products in your home before you buy them. Are you curious if your new chair or plant will look okay in that corner? All it takes is pulling out your phone to find out.
I see that we have these great tools, but I know they can be pushed further. I believe they can be turned into something that not only helps us lease apartments quicker and more efficiently, but also utilized as something that makes our prospects feel more at home before they even call our community “home”.
Imagine this: You are an out-of-town resident and you’re struggling to visualize the model apartment on your virtual tour as your own. You won’t be able to make it to visit in-person before your move. Maybe you feel apprehensive about signing a sight-unseen lease because you can’t tell if this home would really fit your furniture or your lifestyle? What if you could take the technology above, and fully personalize your experience? Using both VR and AR, this mixed reality would allow you to view your furniture in your apartment as if it was already move-in day. Well, what about if you don’t have furniture yet? Or if you really don’t like carpet and you have the option to upgrade the flooring? Multifamily VR and AR technologies could partner with businesses like Amazon, IKEA, or even industry-specific rentals like CORT to help sell apartments and furnishings. This mixed reality could be used to show and foresee how upgrades will look – for prospects, for staff, and for owners, such as viewing flooring, or even upgrading cabinet styles and colors (by partnering with MOHAWK, HD Supply, Sherwin Williams, etc.).
With these new and ever-changing technologies especially in unprecedented times, we could personalize the experience for both the renter and for our investors and take the guesswork out of move-in day. The opportunities are endless with mixed reality – and I look forward to the continued advances in technology that make these ideas a reality.