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“AI has taken over so much of what we do ... It was a natural migration that it would find its way to multifamily.” — Brock McLean
AI has seeped into most industries, and multifamily real estate is no exception. Our guest today has been in the real estate industry for 25 years and has evolved alongside real estate technology. Brock MacLean is the EVP & CRO of LeaseHawk and former SVP of Business Development at RealPage and today, he talks us through the role of AI in leasing over at LeaseHawk. We learn about the conversational experiences AI is now able to provide, as well as how COVID has accelerated its adoption in the real estate tech space. Brock breaks down the issues AI has solved for leasing agents and beyond, and explains why it’s critical to understand your market and have a flexible digital marketing strategy. We also discuss the trends of increasing tech adoption as well as tech fatigue, and how AI increases efficiency without requiring management, training or workflow changes. Tune in to find out how AI is being employed in the real estate tech space, and the future of multifamily in the metaverse!
Key points from this episode:
“BM: How can we engage prospects where, when, and how they want to communicate, and extend the reach of the leasing strategy that digital marketing presents to all facets of where and how long or when prospects will engage?”
[00:00:43] NS: Welcome back to Sync or Swim. I’m your host Nicolina Savelli. On this podcast, I chat with multifamily and PropTech experts to learn how you can reach more renters, sign more leases, and maximize the value of your assets. Today, I have, Brock McLean, the EVP & CRO of LeaseHawk and former SVP of Business Development at RealPage, on the show today. Thank you so much for joining me, Brooke. It's great to have you here.
[00:01:09] BM: Nicolina, thanks for having me. Great to join you.
[00:01:11] NS: You've worked in the PropTech space for a number of years, and I can't wait to discuss what LeaseHawk is doing to optimize marketing and leasing activities. But first, let's talk about your career a little bit. Looking at your experience, I see you've been in rental housing and real estate technology for over 20 years. How did you get started in this space and what led you to LeaseHawk?
[00:01:33] BM: Yeah. I mean, it's amazing when you actually talk about it in a number of years that definitely dates me, I'm sure. It's been really a tremendous career. I think like many, multifamily is something that I didn't know a lot about when I first got into it back in the mid-nineties
[00:01:49] NS: Right.
[00:01:49] BM: It was really probably a well-kept secret in many ways. But also, like many of us, once you get into multifamily, you find yourself making a career out of it. So I've been very fortunate to be in the industry now, for I guess for 25 plus years, I guess, at this point.
[00:02:04] NS: Wow. Yeah.
[00:02:05] BM: With some really great brands, I mean, I started young, talk about dating myself. I started was For Rent Magazine. I mean, literally the magazine, that you would –
[00:02:15] NS: A print magazine. Unbelievable.
[00:02:18] BM: We – to the grocery store and find your next home and hope the map was right so that if you drove to actually arrive at the property. I saw that through the evolution from print that ultimately became more digital, of course, web-based and then ultimately mobile. Long career before rent and did a couple turns there, and similarly, at RealPage. I spent some time in RealPage in the early nineties, I guess mid-nineties as well, where there was a very small company. Then all the way through its acquisition here about a year and a half ago to where it became a very substantial international company.
Tech has always been at the forefront of everything that's happened, I think, in the growth of our space, and especially as it relates to prospecting games and marketing. The tools that have evolved over the last 25 years have been incredibly fascinating and always been interesting for me. To be part of these really big brands and their evolution and then to find myself at LeaseHawk which has always been a company that's been very tech-savvy and forward-thinking, and it has invested all the energy into AI and virtual experiences.
As we came through this shared experience of COVID, and as consumers became more immersed in self-discovery and ways that they can engage in their search for the next department home using tech, a lot of the things that are happening on the AI front are really exciting evolutions in that process and something that certainly drew me in. When I think of my experience in the space for all the years and then to be able to be at the forefront of next-gen tech advancement has certainly been attractive and it’s something we're pretty excited about.
[00:03:54] NS: I mean, when you talk AI, I feel like, that's an overwhelming word for a lot of people probably in this industry specifically, I would say. How are you educating your prospects about AI and its use cases and why it's so important and why this technology is worth investing in? Is there anything that you're doing within your own sales or cycle or marketing to get that message across?
[00:04:20] BM: Probably multipronged in a lot of ways. If you think about our experience just in general as consumers, right? AI has taken over so much of what we do, right? And effectively it speaks to the idea of tech creating and managing the experience and often the buying experience and almost everything in our life today. It was a natural migration that it would find its way to multifamily. I think especially going through a period of time where we couldn’t maybe go visit a community or have someone to give us a tour. We became heavily reliant on virtual experiences and virtual experiences have been around for a long time.
Now I think AI is giving the ability for conversational experiences, so as people are looking for leasing questions or tour information or floor plan ideas or pricing availability, all those things are available now in a very seamless experience across voice, text and chat. So the education has happened twofold. One, it's been our own experiences, almost every facet of life. So we become more comfortable with these forms of tech. There's been that. Then I think, really savvy marketers in our space, recognizing that today's consumer wants to engage with tech that helps them arrive at a decision and they may not be as reliant or even as interested in dealing with people, so much anymore. Early some segment it is.
Helping our clients understand that they've got the really the breadth of services available where they can continue to have that white-glove experience for those consumers and prospects who want that. Also, widen your net by having features and functionality that many in today's prospect pool identify with they're very comfortable using.
[00:05:58] NS: Exactly, yeah, that makes sense.
[00:06:00] BM: Adding job and strategy to marketing as well as depth and flexibility to a leasing strategy that's really helped the education process.
[00:06:09] NS: Yeah. No, I mean, this is a redundant question, but did you see COVID as a catalyst for a lot of those clients and prospects? Are you maybe were having a struggle to sell through to and now suddenly they're like, “We need you.”
[00:06:23] BM: Yeah. I think a couple things happened, right? I mean, certainly the idea of AI and Tech was at the forefront of multifamily even at the beginning of COVID. I think COVID accelerated the adoption from being, “Hey, this is interesting tech that we should consider” to something more akin to “We probably need to have this in place.”
[00:06:43] NS: Yeah. Turn into a must have, rather than a nice to have. Right.
[00:06:46] BM: Yeah. They think, that I think evolved, though, it is still a challenge in our space is staffing. We evolved into a marketplace where staffing became challenging, recruiting became challenging. How do we handle all the requirements of our leasing staff today with potentially being constrained on the number of resources we have at our disposal. AI has also helped in that area, right? Extended the reach of your leasing staff not only 24/7 to capture those opportunities, but where you may be short-staffed or give you flexibility. We even have clients today that are closing leasing offices or I should say closing, not staffing leasing offices, say on a Sunday, using AI to capture prospects, book appointments, tours, self-guided tours and so it.
[00:07:28] NS: Yeah.
[00:07:29] BM: That's giving them tremendous flexibility and staffing, an attractive feature of recruiting, right? A culture change that's really adding some real depth and flexibility to your overall leasing strategy.
[00:07:42] NS: Yeah. So would you say that staffing is the biggest challenge for the industry, leasing industry today? Is that what you're seeing?
[00:07:50] BM: It continues to be a challenge. I think for a couple of reasons. One is, just the way the employment pool has evolved, again, post-COVID, the number of hats worn by increasingly busy leasing staff that's certainly been a factor. Yeah, I think where do you find qualified talent to take on the role of the leasing agent? So any time you can apply tech, that's going to help either support that challenge or give you flexibility in that challenge, I think it'd be that much more effective. So we see staffing being a challenge not only for our property management customers at the state level but even around other services that are certainly connected to that like call centres, for example. Those things that often challenges exist there, right?
[00:08:33] NS: Of course.
[00:08:34] BM: However, despite that, the volume of inquiries leads in general prospect engagement is as high as it's ever been.
[00:08:41] NS: Exactly. It's also the demand for it is so much higher as well that you can't even staff accordingly to even meet the demand.
[00:08:50] BM: Yeah.
[00:08:51] NS: In that same vein, what would you say for a leasing agent is probably the most difficult part of the job and maybe why the industry is having a hard time even getting leasing agents or having full-time leasing agents?
[00:09:06] BM: I think at the leasing agent level there's a lot of hats being worn, right? Certainly, my experience has been on the prospective engagement side. I think that the volume of leads, the efficiency of the leasing process, in other words, we've got this bulk of leads, which ones do we cater to first? Right? So whenever you can add efficiency in the leasing process through AI by providing a tremendous amount of information about the prospect already, what are the rate risks? Questions did they ask. When are they moving? What is their price point? All those things. You can add that depth of knowledge into a CRM and a leasing agent comes in and says, “Oh, I see these leads here that have booked deployments and I have already got a transcript of the conversation or a recording that I know a lot about them.”
The efficiency in that process is going to be elevated because you're going to know where to go to. By the same token, we have historically now for the past period of time, very high occupancy rates. So the expectation of today's resident has grown as well and so has been the amount of workload for our leasing staff there. So I think that's happened. We're in the middle of development right now in a resonant workflow using AI as well to try to manage some of those key things like report or submission or anything that might be normally required to have a phone call that a leasing agent would be to be engaged with. We think, there's some real opportunities for AI on the residence side, as well. From a broad observation, we've come into a market where not everyone wants to work on weekends. I mean, it seems like a simple concept, but it's a challenge, right?
[00:10:34] NS: Yeah.
[00:10:35] BM: Our management company clients can offer flexibility and staffing. It's going to help in the recruiting. It's going to make them more efficient in the leasing process. It's also going to find yield, really, if you're trying to create value in an asset in addition to continued rent growth and high occupancy. If you can alleviate the need to staff on a Sunday, there's some yield to be found there, while still handling it very effectively using AI. The flexibility of leasing strategy makes sense for our – clients, as well as giving them flexibility in the recruiting side, they are going to be attractive to people considering a leasing agent career path.
[00:11:10] NS: Right. Now, I don't know if it's just my experience or the Canadian experience, but would you say that leasing is a stepping stone to real estate, being in real estate, and a real estate agent, is that something that you've seen? It feels like in the last two years everyone's become a real estate agent.
[00:11:30] BM: It's a good question, and I don't have a lot of exposure to that. It could probably [inaudible 00:11:35] some of my anecdotal thoughts, right. I think the role of leasing agent prepares you for a lot of things, right? One, you have to be a multitasker, for sure. You have to be a great communicator. Multitasker and communicator are great skill sets for any career path you decide to pursue. I think there's a lot of paths that can be created from there, right? There's everything from looking at the supplier side of the industry and the opportunities that are there, especially in some of the sales roles, the growth path from a management perspective, leasing agent to manager to regional to something like that.
[00:12:08] NS: Right.
[00:12:09] BM: Real estate is certainly a path as well. I do think the skill set learned by a leasing agent prepares you well for whatever career path you might want to pursue.
[00:12:20] NS: Absolutely. I've just noticed I've seen a lot of people say, “Oh, well, went from leasing agent to real estate and that's where they're at, but it looks like the trajectory of things are in leasing. There might be a need for more in the very near future and there are already is obviously a need. So I think that maybe there just needs to be a little bit more appeal and maybe some PR around that career so that people are more inclined to go for it and see that there is actually a future here. There's a lot of opportunities, moving forward. I mean I would to obviously pivot a little bit and talk more about LeaseHawk and what you guys are doing and the hurdles you've experienced there. How you as an organization have overcome them? Obviously, you've gone through, I'm sure, a number of different evolutions in the multifamily space. If you don't mind sharing where you've been and where you've come today in terms of your technology and what you're offering is.
[00:13:17] BM: Yeah. I think, initially, the idea within LeaseHawk, specifically our brand for AIs is named Ace, it's completely customizable for all of our clients, but the idea was and continues to be is how can we engage prospects where, when and how they want to communicate and extend the reach of the leasing strategy that digital marketing presents to all facets of where and how long, when prospects want to engage and provide the flexibility for those prospects to engage in those media channels in the way that makes the most sense for them at the time that it makes a little sense for them? Right?
That was always the idea. I think AI has rapidly improved over time. In our particular case, our AI is built on the Google framework as natural language processing, and hence our ability to handle the phone calls, which still today probably, I’m not sure what the statistics show at RentSync, but I think probably still half the leads that are generated happen over the phone today.
[00:14:18] NS: Over the phone, yeah.
[00:14:19] BM: As you might imagine, and probably not shockingly, most people, if they get a voicemail, probably aren’t going to leave one. They're going to go on to their next opportunity.
[00:14:26] NS: Of course.
[00:14:27] BM: Because our attention spans are increasingly more limited and then probably a poster boy for that, to say the least. So the idea was to capture prospects when they're ready, when they have intent to transact in the way that they want to, and the flexibility to have that available across voice, which is still a large scale, a way that people communicate, chat which is certainly that evolved in in all facets of our consumer experience today, and text, which is a really emerging trend where text is a really interesting one, because somebody spending the time to have a text conversation with an AI virtual leasing assistant. Their intent to transact is probably very high, because they're –
[00:15:05] NS: Exactly. Yes.
[00:15:06] BM: We see conversion across all channels very high. Text is one that's really elevating. Generationally to, I think you've got a new renter prospect is very comfortable engaging in text, right? It's not a funnel-avert process for guys like me. It's a very, very comfortable way of communicating. It's emerging very quickly.
[00:15:41] NS: Yeah, no. I will say, I think I put an inquiry in – I think it was either a pre-construction or something, a lease-up. I immediately got a text message and I was like, “Oh, I just wanted some updates. I didn't want to actually talk to an actual agent.” But if I had, if I was ready to actually engage in a text conversation, I would have been a very high-quality lead there. If I'm willing to speak to someone through text, that's a very personal, personal place for someone in my generation. Millennials, elder millennials, as we're known on TikTok, but yeah, that's a space that, you know you're going to get high-quality leads from at this time. You may not get the highest quality leads from maybe if you're looking at a different target market who's I just want to be polite and respond to this message.
[00:16:32] BM: Right.
[00:16:33] NS: Yeah. You have to, I guess, know who your audience is and then realize what channels they're more prone to engaging with, right? Before you launch a piece of technology like that. Are you seeing certain properties experiment with which channels they're engaging with most and what properties that are taking on that text or maybe chat more than phone?
[00:16:59] BM: I think so. Well, you see a couple of things. One, you mentioned understanding your market and who's engaging with your product, I think is super critical in every digital marketing strategy with all the tech that you deploy. Having the flexibility in your digital marketing strategy for prospects to communicate across the breadth of options can't hurt, right? Because –
[00:17:18] NS: Of course, being wherever they possibly are is, yeah.
[00:17:23] BM: One of the things that we do in addition to the flexibility of our AI is to provide it in a way that's completely customizable. If you looked across the range of clients that we have and their digital marketing presence, some may have things like chat and are very prominently displayed, with some bouncing icon and customizable look, feel, colour, voice or brand and so on. Others might be more stylistic and they may be up in the header such that a prospect or finds them, so to speak. I think the ability to, now deploy AI, but have the flexibility to design it in a way that fits within the aesthetic of your brand and the voice of your brand– I think is really important.
I think that also builds connection, right. If you've got next-gen tech, but it's within the fabric of your digital marketing strategy, whether it's tangible or intangible, I think helps build that connection with a prospect who's like, “Oh, there's a forward-thinking brand. My experience in the community may also echo that.” Right? Therefore, from a lifestyle standpoint, this might fit with me. I think it only adds to that story that you're trying to tell.
[00:18:26] NS: Yeah. That makes sense. Now, in terms of this technology and where you foresee it going and evolving, where do you think LeaseHawk is going in the next two to three years and maybe not even the technology, but expansion-wise in terms of your organization?
[00:18:44] BM: It's a great question. I think we're really in the avenue sports analogies, but we're probably at that the second quarter or the first half, if you will, of where we are with AI. The reason I say that is adoption is happening very quickly. Prospects are engaging. Conversion is happening. Opponents are getting set. But there is lots of opportunities for continued evolution, because I think self-discovery is where prospects are really continuing to migrate to. Everything from growth on the AI, side for follow up and –
[00:19:16] NS: Right. Like through the whole funnel, the marketing funnel, like a full-funnel experience. Yeah.
[00:19:21] BM: Then I think combined with that, the whole build-out of a similar workflow for residents, just because we've moved into a community, we still may be inclined to want to engage in our own way, right. So we see it more almost as an ecosystem rather that it'd be AI virtual leasing assistant. We see it more as prospect and resident experiences that label it very seamlessly to the great things that a lot of our very savvy marketers on our space have built today. So it fits very seamlessly, just adds another layer of functionality for today's prospect and resident.
[00:19:55] NS: Yeah. Like a complete renter's journey from first touch point to resident and then retention and all of those. Would you even say that in management and those interactions as well, like property management and if there's a, I don't know, a leak, would that be integrated into that resident experience in their unit and then they can easily call and those things are documented obviously for them to know that this is happening in that unit?
[00:20:23] BM: Exactly. Yeah. The same way a prospect would call, text or chat and get pricing availability for plan, and deployments and so on. Similarly, a resident can call rather than either needing to get a leasing agent or if it's after hours to leave a message, usually. Engaged with AI, I’ve got a leaky faucet, process a work order or how do I pay my rent? Links to those portals. All those things very interactive and all handled by AI. That's a resident experience that's attractive. In turn, it's creating tremendous efficiency for the leasing staff, because they're not handling every last phone call –
[00:20:57] NS: Of course.
[00:20:59] BM: Right. All very seamlessly integrated as well into the property management tech stack, that's in place. We're an agnostic platform, so we integrate with just about every tech stack that's out there in 45-plus integrations today, so very seamless regardless of the tech stock to deploy. The other thing I think is interesting and around the efficiency thing, almost every technology and having been at this for a long time, it does require often change management or training or workflow changes. This is the first tech that I've been a part of that doesn't actually require any of that. It works very much in the background as an extension of your leasing staff to create efficiency and prospect engagement deployments but does not require your whole leasing team to rethink the way they do things.
[00:21:44] NS: Right, right. Yeah. I was going to I was going to ask that. It made me think of something as well in terms of who is the most appropriate person to — if it's not really a tool that they have to learn then anyone can adapt to it. It's not like, oh, we have to hire really young leasing agents and staff to understand what this is doing for them. It's across the board at any stage or milestone in your career, this is going to help assist you in getting things done faster and more, more quickly and easily.
I also, I had watched a movie, ironically, the other night, and the woman came in, she was a property manager and she was just walking around the house and she got multiple different phone calls throughout this experience, a scene. She hung up the phone and she was just like, “I hate my job.” I was just like with something like this she wouldn't be getting those multiple phone calls. She could say, “Okay, I'm going to look at that after I have this interaction with this tenant.” I can walk away. Then deal with what I need to deal with, because I'm not going to miss the message. I'm not going to miss the interaction. I'll get to it when I get to it. No one's going to, you know, the world isn't going to end, because I took a couple of minutes to talk to someone. That really wraps into that experience. I mean, it wasn't an old movie. It was a current 2022 movie.
You know, that those things are still happening. Now, in this instance, the person was obviously managing properties for maybe smaller multifamily or single-family homes. Is this something that is only for multifamily or are you seeing people using this for, I know that there have been quite a large property management firms or investment firms that are buying into single-family now. Do you see this being utilized for more than just multifamily?
[00:23:33] BM: I think that there's an opportunity for that. I mean, right now, if you think about it, it's designed for multifamily, because there's –
[00:23:39] NS: A need.
[00:23:39] BM: Generally, speaking always some occupancy that, I mean some vacancy that needs to get filled. You're marketing's persistent, right? You're marketing over a long period of time because you're cost and filling units that are coming in –
[00:23:52] NS: Of course.
[00:23:54] BM: Then the AI is built to engage with what's available. What are the prices? What are these terms? It's an ecosystem, if you will, of that engagement. That's a little harder in single-family because something could come for rent tomorrow and be rented the next day and by the time, you’ve [inaudible 00:24:08] AI, you wouldn't need it. However, I do think as more and more integrations are built, as the seamless flow of information is available, that could very well be something on the horizon. The other area that I think that fits very closely to that is also the for-sale category, right? I mean, you've got homes coming for sale all the time, much like a single-family home would come for rent. Yet, somebody needs information. It's 9:00 at night –
[00:24:35] NS: Right.
[00:24:36] BM: I think you're going to see some advancements there. The other area of advancement that we're seeing, and back home in Canada, I said back home, still way back even though I’ve been gone for so many years, but this has become a trend. Yeah, but one of the topics that we hear a lot about these days is centralized leasing, right? The idea that, if you've got, say, a handful of properties within a given geographical area, you’ll manage leasing out of one central location, and again the efficiency, right? But handle multiple communities at the same time.
[00:25:06] NS: Right.
[00:25:07] BM: We see some trends there. As I said, going back to my second quarter of the game for AI, because as far as it's come in and as really intriguing as it is from an engagement standpoint. There's always like, “Well, what, can we do this?” Or, “How about this and how do we get here?” It's that's always very interesting for me to continue to say, “What else can we do? Where can we go?” –
[00:25:27] NS: For sure. Now, besides AI and given your experience with marketing and leasing and rental housing, are there any solutions you wish more organizations were taking advantage of today?
[00:25:42] BM: It's really been great to see the evolution and escalation of tech adoption in our space. I mean, many who have been around for a long time would say that the industry was slow to adopt for a period of time. Probably, before what we now know as the cloud, that was likely the case. I think the cloud has created fewer barriers to entry for tech advancement. There's an incredible number of startup companies in our space doing some really interesting point solution things. So the interest is growing there. In turn, I think the leadership in multifamily has recognized that the more efficient we can do evolving our tech stocks likely the better we're going to be. I do think at times it can be some tech fatigue, however, because there are so many options in how do you keep them all straight? Which ones are the right choices?
It can cause a little bit of delay in terms of adoption, more so, because companies are spending the time, making sure they make the right decision. I think that's probably the way to the way to go. But I would say continued growth in tech that's allowing today's prospect and today's resident to manage their experience on their own. Make that the go-to versus the overflow option, right?
[00:26:55] NS: Right.
[00:26:55] BM: I think, the more we have that and it's also incumbent upon us tech providers to be sure our products are at that level. That they’re there, that the experience is going to be great for the prospect and for the resident. But I think as those two things coming together, the efficiency created in the leasing effort, the experience for prospects and residents, how that manifests itself in cost savings or driving yield or minimizing risk for [inaudible 00:27:21] company clients and orders, all those things gather.
It's really exciting to see tech and in-tech take over like what we have at LeaseHawk. Having something for everybody, invariably tech has always been good for this component of the business or this component, but this is the first time where I've seen something that is great for the prospect, because it's timely and I can engage on what to, when I want to, and that's wonderful. The efficiency for the leasing staff to get appointments with people who intent to transact and handle the burden of all this volume of deed that I’m getting and or resident engagement that I'm getting.
For our management companies and owners, the efficiency drives, value drives yield drives a better experience. Therefore, I've got happy residents. I think across-the-board tech that surround and striding towards self-discovery and fulfilment of the prospect and resident lifecycle are going to be the areas of opportunity going forward.
[00:28:17] NS: Yeah, that makes sense. Now, I just wanted to discuss a little bit about just multi-family in next few years and where you see things going, chatbots, virtual touring or is there anything completely out of the box that you foresee coming in the forefront? I know the metaverse has been something that we've talked about a few times on this podcast and it seems to be something that people are having their eye on. Is there anything that you feel is headed for multifamily in the next few years when it comes to those different pieces and what might be something people or marketers need to keep their eye on?
[00:28:52] BM: I've been around long enough to know that anything's possible.
[00:28:54] NS: Sure.
[00:28:56] BM: Quick story back in probably, I don't know, was the early 2000s, I was on the road show where we were talking to management company clients about the fact that we would no longer need hard drives under your desk and floppy drives to update. That in fact, we were going to this thing called the Internet and we were going to offer via this, what we know is the cloud, right now. I remember people looking at me like, “You got to be kidding?” You're going to store our data and it's going to be secure and get updated via the Internet. I mean, and I remember at the time myself thinking, “Yeah, I know it sounds a little –
[00:29:28] NS: It sounds crazy.
[00:29:29] BM: Yeah. When I think about that and 20 years later we’re handling prospect engagement using AI and all the seamless data routing and the efficiency. So had you told me this 10 years ago. I’d have said, “Well, I think that sounds that little space-age, right?” I've come to learn that anything is possible. I do think that virtual experiences are certainly here to stay, and I think we’ll become very comfortable with that. I think we talk a lot about self-discovery, but virtual experiences, engagement, how you want to. You're right, I think that the stage of being able to literally walk around, maybe through something like –
[00:30:10] NS: VR.
[00:30:11] BM: VR, yeah. I mean, I see that is entirely possible. I mean, there are even examples of that that are out there today. I think the challenge is trying to do a cost-effectively, efficiently –
[00:30:20] NS: Of course.
[00:30:21] BM: Then, of course, having today's prospect, the vast, vast majority maybe don't have that equipment available to them today.
[00:30:29] NS: Yes. Yeah.
[00:30:30] BM: I mean, is it reasonable to think that within a couple or three years, we'll all be doing that from home? Probably.
[00:30:37] NS: That's what I was going to say, too. I feel a lot of technology solutions. You mentioned how they're trying to figure out which are the right ones, where they should spend their money, but a lot of these solutions have become a lot more affordable. I think that as technology evolves, we will continue to see maybe VR headsets won't be as expensive for everyone to have in their own homes or whatever, or it just won't be seen as before a nice to have, it’s a must-have. Those things will obviously grow with behavior, consumer behavior and affordability of technology as well, I think, because I would say ten years ago the thought of adopting AI was probably a very major investment for a lot of companies to make. Now today it's just, yep, we’ll budget for that. That's not a big line item in the budget. I think that that's also a big part of how technology gets adopted and evolves as well.
[00:31:35] BM: Like I said, I wouldn't rule anything out at this point.
[00:31:36] NS: Yeah.
[00:31:38] BM: I think it's incredibly exciting to see where we've got to and things that maybe you could see as a trend and things that came right out of left field that I wouldn't have anticipated, but they're all really exciting because this industry is enormous in size and scale. The tech advancements that have come are incredibly exciting and just when I think that we're at a place in the industry where it's so mature on the technology front, there's a next level, right?
[00:32:06] NS: Another level.
[00:32:07] BM: Yeah. I think that's what’s been, you know when I think about being in the industry as long as I have and why I encourage all people who are getting started young in their career, you can have a great career multifamily, because it really does continue to evolve.
[00:32:19] NS: It does, yeah.
[00:32:21] BM: It's an exciting time. When I think that you're having a conversation and I know from a history perspective you know I work with Jason and the team back over 10 years ago and you guys started, and a new webcon event happened. Canada was not something that was incredibly aware of from here. Yet I can tell you, they always were a couple of weeks away from the NAA event here in my adopted hometown in San Diego.
[00:32:48] NS: Yeah.
[00:32:48] BM: The three Canadian companies alone that I talked to, just in the last week that are coming out to really get together, but is so –
[00:32:54] NS: Nice.
[00:32:54] BM: To see that happen or even the expense that I've seen internationally to Europe. I mean, again, things that a decade ago wouldn't have contemplated, but are happening now. Tech, I think is a key driver of that for sure.
[00:33:06] NS: Absolutely. It's funny, you mentioned NAA, I was going to say, now that events have opened up, is LeaseHawk going to be at any big events coming, because it's all of a sudden just hit and now we're scrambling to all attend these events that we just didn't do for the last two and a half years. So your team will be at NAA. Are there any other events you guys are planning in the near future to attend?
[00:33:26] BM: Yeah. I mean, everything got kicked off this year in a very big way. We just came off of the event in Huntington Beach, which was great and great to see a lot of old friends that attendees. NAA here in a couple of weeks. All I know, there's an MAC op type later on in the year. We’re also doing a number of our clients have their own events, so we do a lot of those in it. It's funny, we spend a good portion of our time talking about tech, but there's still nothing getting to see people in person and having that conversation that is engaging. It's funny. Here, I represent tech in AI, but I still place tremendous value in engaging with all of the clients and prospects and customers I've known over the years. So yeah, I'm excited to see everybody back in a couple of weeks.
[00:34:07] NS: Yeah. We've got a few people coming, our CEO and a couple of our directors, and things are going to be going down there and meeting with people. I know that everyone's planned events, so it's hard to get people to say, I can go to that one, there are six other ones going on, so it'll be a big just go where you can and see who you can see, but yeah, I think this year's is going to be pretty big. Yeah, I mean, we can we'll wrap up the conversation from there. Last but not least, if listeners or anyone else is looking to connect with you, where can they find you online predominantly? Obviously, if they really want to find you at NAA then they can search you in the crowd.
[00:34:45] BM: Yeah. NAA and certainly would love to connect with everybody. Brock MacLean on LinkedIn is a great spot. So certainly, find me there, must be happy too happy to chat with anyone. Leasehawk.com is another great spot to get a good idea of some of the interesting AI tools that were up to, some of the results a lot of our clients are seeing. I love to share all the great things that are happening.
[00:35:07] NS: Awesome. Well, Brock, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us and taking the time to join me on this episode of Sync or Swim.
[00:35:15] BM: Yeah, thanks, Nicolina. It is a pleasure.
[00:35:17] NS: No, problem. Until next time, keep swimming.
E78:The Housing Pulse: Toronto Star's Business Reporter on Canada's Rental Landscape
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