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Ascent 430 grows investor ROI with Zego Engage & Zego Smart bundle

Ascent 430

Location: Wexford, PA
Industry: Multifamily
Units: 320 Units
Zego Solutions: Zego Engage, Zego Smart
Client Since: 2019

Located just north of downtown Pittsburgh, Ascent 430 Apartments offers luxurious apartments with Class A customer experience and amenities. Managed as a Village Green community, their focus is people first, from associates to residents, as well as investor ROI. The Ascent management team trains and develops professionals who continually learn and make best practice recommendations to owners looking to improve their properties while controlling costs and growing their returns.

The Goals

  • Differentiate the community from market comparables
  • Provide an amenity that would exceed resident expectations while meeting owner NOI and ROI goals
  • Implement a smart apartment solution that was built for multifamily with the proper resident and administrative flexibility and controls

The Benefits

  • Residents get an easy to-use, community-branded app to control their smart devices, submit work orders day or night and chat with staff.  “Our residents absolutely love the app. It’s extremely convenient.”
  • Staff saves time with a simple, safe solution for smart lock and thermostat control in vacant units, plus self service resident work order submissions. “We’ll come in in the morning and have 15 work orders and know how to schedule our day.”
  • Ownership differentiates their property in a competitive market and boosts NOI. “Now that we have Zego it separates us from other properties.”

When Ascent 430 was brought on to new ownership in 2019, their goal was to improve the community with value-add amenities. “Our owners wanted to set us apart from the comparables in our market since we were all built around the same time. Residents would hop around and it was becoming a struggle,” said Nicolette Krall, Executive Manager.

While some of the apartments had Nest thermostats and locks, this posed a challenge for the staff since there was no management software or administration app. “It’s inconvenient and dangerous,” said Nicolette “If there’s a fire and we can’t get in because you changed your lock code that’s not responsible. That’s one of the biggest things that properties don’t realize.”

The Solution

With the competitive pressure and management challenges that the existing Smart products were posing, the team decided to look at a modern, comprehensive solution built for the needs of Multifamily. They wanted an easy to use resident mobile app that did more than handle Smart hardware, and also robust administrative tools. “We put together a spreadsheet of all the vendors. Zego met every criterion that we wanted. We saw the value in Zego over the other apps.”

In addition to the comprehensive resident mobile app and Smart administration tools that Zego offered Ascent’s associates, some of the other criteria that Ascent was looking for included the simplification of maintenance work order processes, as well as a full-service implementation process. Implementation and installation were key decision drivers, particularly for the Smart solution. The Zego team went out to the property to install everything, without requiring Ascent’s maintenance team to take on that burden.

The Results

  • 74% of residents are actively using the Zego app
  • Approximately 50-80 work orders processed per week majority through Zego app
  • Time and energy savings from better management of vacant/show units
  • Recovery of 100% of the cost of the Zego solution as part of a resident amenity fee

“Our residents absolutely love having the app. They think it’s really cool and it’s also practical,” explained Nicolette. The Zego Engage app is allowing Ascent’s residents to self serve in a number of ways. First and foremost is work orders. “The majority of our work orders come in at night when we’re not in the office,” said Nicolette, “We’ll come in in the morning and have 15 work orders and know how to schedule our day.”

Screenshot of Work Orders in Zego Engage Multifamily Community App

The app also gives residents the option to chat with staff. While some may see this as a feature for younger demographics, Ascent has found their middle-aged residents from countries outside of the U.S. utilize the chat functionality the most.

For the Smart functionality of the app, Ascent loves the fact that “Zego caters to everyone. Residents can use the app to unlock their door if they want, or they can use a four-digit code, or they can still use a physical key if they don’t want to use the app at all,” said Nicolette “It’s extremely convenient. Residents will tell us, I was going out of town and forgot to turn off my A/C but I could do it on my phone. Or I thought I forgot to lock my door and could check on my phone.”

The Smart functionality has also helped to save time for the Ascent team and conserve energy use and costs by allowing property associates to use their phones to manage the temperature in vacant and show units. “We actually do this from our app,” explained Nicolette, “We can change the vacant unit temperature to 80 degrees when it’s empty, or if we’re showing the apartment then we can change it to 72. If you forgot if you turned it off, you can check it from your app. The leasing office utilizes the app a lot.”

Zego Smart app where you can remotely adjust thermostat

Ascent is now able to promote their unique Zego amenity to set themselves apart from market comparables. “Now that we have Zego it separates us from other properties. We call Zego out on our website to differentiate. When people come in for a tour we show them the app and how it works, and share the marketing material we get from Zego to set ourselves apart,” said Nicolette. In addition, they are saving time for associates and providing residents with a solution they love. “I live here and I use the app every day.”

Finally, the Ascent team has developed a strong relationship with their partners at Zego. “Our Zego team reaches out and asks us for input and candid feedback and they appreciate and enjoy that. They actually want our feedback and run with it to make improvements. That can be rare in vendors. We appreciate it.”

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