block.a gives landlords a competitive edge in New York’s booming rental market

bloc.a: Ben Haghani & Michelle Mosseri

The last time we spoke with Ben Haghani and Michelle Mosseri from block.a (formerly Knock), they were talking about their revolutionary rental app, which allows renters to schedule visits and access units with just their phone. Owners highly value that the app saves them time, adds convenience and security, and increases NOI.

Since interviewblock.a has grown rapidly and its name change reflects the evolution of the company’s mission and capabilities.

As Haghani, chief revenue officer at block.a explained, “When we created block.a, we wanted to solve the biggest bottleneck of the traditional rental process: planning and projections. As the business has grown, we have evolved to provide a full end-to-end rental experience, including marketing, AI communication, self-guided tours, occupied apartment tours, signing rental contracts and managing revenue. Our new brand — block.a — better communicates this larger mission.

Haghani and Mosserithe company’s vice president of real estate strategy, sat down with The Real Deal for another exclusive interview to discuss: how block.a’s price discovery feature helps homeowners increase profits on every unit , how the platform combines technology with a personal touch, and why block.a is so valuable in a volatile market.

Progress and price discovery

Over the past year, block.a’s growth has been breathtaking. Mosseri remarked, “We have signed with some of the major landlords in New York. From a growth perspective, the number of units our owners own and manage is on the rise tenfold since last year.”

One of block.a’s keys to continuing this growth in 2022 is its unique price discovery feature, which gives landlords the opportunity to capitalize on the price elasticity of a vibrant rental landscape like New Town. York.

How does price discovery work?

The problem with pricing units in New York is that the market changes quickly – from month to month or even week to week. And unfortunately, the transfer of information from demand generated by tenants between agents and owners is generally too slow.

Haghani explained: “Coming out of the pandemic, our rental market finds itself in a delicate and highly transitional period. Prices have risen significantly from a year or two ago, but for owners the question is: what’s the right number? »

For example, a particular bedroom in East Village can historically rent for $3,500 per month. But with the evolution of the market, an owner may to be able to bill $3,800. But how to be sure?

With block.a’s reverse-engineered pricing model, owners can simply price the unit at $3,800. In real time, the app’s dashboard will give you transparency on how many requests and visits (in-person, not virtual) the unit has received. Haghani noted, “If you see that your unit has received twelve inquiries and two visits in the past 24 hours, you know that, at the very least, your price increase is credible to the market.”

Where the traditional pricing model fails

In a traditional leasing model, you can’t get that instant feedback because the data is trapped in an agent’s inbox, and they don’t have the ability to filter that data and deliver it in real time. For busy owners with multiple properties, having real-time data helps them make better pricing decisions faster, giving them a competitive edge.

With the traditional structure, agents don’t necessarily have the incentive or the bandwidth to provide instant feedback to owners and guarantee the maximum rental price for each unit. Mosseri adds, “Our data shows owners exactly how the market reacts to their prices in real time, eliminating the guesswork. They get the maximum price for each unit with the fastest turnaround times.”

As an experienced owner in New York, Haghani understands the shortcomings of renting units the traditional way. Being able to use block.a to lease his units, he sees firsthand the value of his seamless workflow, even after a candidate is approved.

He noted, “From an owner’s perspective, block.a is truly a revolutionary step forward for owners and landlords. The platform eliminates friction at every step of the process. This includes backfilling a unit when a tenant falls through. Because block.a maintains a candidate database for each unit, the system can quickly hire other candidates to fill the position. So you don’t have to lower your price to rent the unit in a hurry.

Constant improvement of technology and service

Although the Price Discovery feature pays big dividends to landlords, it is only one element of the complete rental experience offered by block.a. And the company is constantly building its team to bring best-in-class technology to the app.

But while block.’s technology has reduced friction and generated results for owners, its account managers are unlocking the capabilities of technology for New York City owners.

Account managers provide the human element

block.a is not just an application. The company has an experienced rental team of account managers to guide owners and answer any questions, which includes weekly calls and weekly reports.

Mosseri explained: “We have a full in-house rental team. They are all licensed and know the ins and outs of real estate in New York. Our technology creates less friction in the rental process, but our account managers add the human element to show owners how to get the most out of technology. »

“We just need an address, unit number and your supervisor’s phone number…”

Even though block.a is at the forefront of technology, Haghani and Mosseri highlighted how quick and easy the process is when owners initiate the service.

Mosseri explained: “When some owners hear ‘tech’ they immediately think it’s going to be complicated and time consuming. The reality is, it’s a two minute phone call. There are no upfront costs. You don’t need to download anything or embed any software. We just need an address, unit number and your supervisor’s phone number. And we hurry our team. Owners are shocked at how easy it is.

Perfect for New York

The block.a team has prepared to meet the needs of landlords in what looks to be a chaotic rental season in 2022.

Mosseri noted, “The New York rental market this summer will be so responsive. We’ve worked extremely hard to ensure block.a is a safe and technologically sound solution for landlords, and we’ve perfected the solution for New York City. We are excited to bring our rental experience to even more owners and renters this year. »

To find out more about block.a’s global leasing solution, click here to schedule a demo.

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