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Property Management

Self Check-Ins: How to Nail Your Residents’ Move-In

Introducing self-check-in processes increases efficiency in student housing and multifamily.

Save 12+ Hours with an Efficient Move-In Process

In most multifamily communities, move-ins are spread out over the year. Two residents arrive in April, another five in May, and staff can give each move-in a personal touch. 

In student housing, move-in marathons are the norm. When you’re moving in five hundred residents in one weekend, it isn’t possible to walk everyone to their unit or give them a personalized tour of the building. Even rekeying the locks in anticipation of move-in is a daunting prospect. 

Economizing labor is essential, and to do that, automation is key. 

In circumstances like these, your smart apartment could be your MVP. Whether you’re in multifamily or student housing, here’s how your smart apartment can help you nail your residents’ move-in experience.

Effortless Access Management

It begins with configuring access before the move-in. Properties that use traditional metal keys have to rekey locks during each unit turnover.  It is a time-consuming process for a solution with limited security, so, unsurprisingly, metal keys are falling out of popularity. 

Homebase Smart Access allows properties to configure access for each unit in a minute or less. In student housing, management teams can expedite the configuration process by bulk uploading all resident information via CSV. Property Management integrations, with systems like AppFolio, are also available to seamlessly transfer information to Homebase when a lease is created in AppFolio.

In addition, preset access configurations for each unit make assigning access easy. For example, when you assign access to a private bedroom in a suite, access to shared doors can be added automatically. Exterior and amenity access can also be configured to assign automatically on a unit-by-unit basis. If you offer paid spaces, like storage units, it is easy to enable access for individuals after payment is received. 

Time Saved for Staff: 5 hours per door

The Self Check-In Experience

Imagine you are moving across the country to a new apartment. You’ve packed your furniture into a trailer behind your Ford Escape, but as you pass Flagstaff, you start smelling smoke.  One day and a new transmission later, you’re back on the interstate, but now you won’t reach your new home until Saturday–a day later than you told the leasing office. 

In a traditional apartment, this delay might be a considerable inconvenience to the property management team. It might mean someone has to miss their daughter’s softball game to wait in the office.

In a Homebase smart apartment, weekend move-ins are easy to manage. After Homebase access is configured, residents can access their unit with their phones as soon as their designated move-in time arrives. This means move-ins can be fully automated, so no one on staff has to be in the building. 

Self check-ins can be similarly helpful in student housing, where the huge volume of new residents can be overwhelming. When you use Homebase in student housing, you offer your residents the unique opportunity to see their new home as soon as they reach campus. This can allow shy students to decompress and give excited students instant gratification. Unlocking the door with a phone also creates a thrillingly futuristic first impression.

Time Saved for Staff: 1 hour per door

Easy Onboarding

The move-in process can be overwhelming for both residents and staff. There are a lot of pieces to consider, from hiring movers to transferring utilities. As an all-in-one smart building system, Homebase creates an unusually integrated move-in experience.


WiFi is the #1 most desired amenity, and for many, it is hard to imagine living without it. When residents move to a new apartment community, they often have to reach out to an Internet Service Provider, select their WiFi plan, and then wait for their WiFi to be installed. This waiting period can be a huge inconvenience for the busy professional or student. 

Self-check-in processes, like automating WiFi selection, can make move-ins much easier to manage.

Homebase smart buildings have always-on building-wide internet with private networks in units.  Leading up to move-in, residents receive email reminders to choose their WiFi tier. Once payment is received, they can enjoy their WiFi immediately. What better way to decompress after move-in than by streaming your favorite show?

Homebase Managed WiFi makes moveout just as simple. Residents don’t have to worry about turning off their WiFi or returning equipment. Their WiFi plan will automatically end when they move out.

Automated Utility Transfers

Homebase also offers automated utility transfers for places in the country that have energy markets. Choosing between energy providers can be overwhelming, so Homebase automates this process by breaking down residents’ choices into several recommended plans. This makes it easier to understand the options so residents can select a plan that is aligned with their needs and values. 

Walmart+ InHome

Grocery delivery is another service that many around the country rely on, but delivery can be difficult in apartment buildings, especially if a resident isn’t home at the time of the delivery. 

Walmart+ InHome solves this problem by integrating with Homebase smart locks to offer in-unit grocery delivery. Each employee is outfitted with body cameras and time-bound access. Then, they deliver the residents’ groceries straight into their unit. They can even place produce in the fridge. Residents can view live footage of the drop-off as they enjoy a convenient and secure grocery delivery.

In addition to saving time for residents, Walmart+ InHome also generates extra revenue for properties. The property receives a payment for each resident who signs up. To encourage signups, and remind residents about this time-saving feature, the Homebase app prompts residents to sign up for Walmart+ InHome after they move in. 

Time Saved for Residents: 3 hours

Automating Unit Turns

Unit turnover can be costly and time-consuming. It involves cleaning the unit, repairing damage, advertising the unit, and paying for utilities until a new resident moves in. The total cost often falls between $1,000 and $5,000. Everyone knows that minimizing unit turnover is ideal, but it can’t always be avoided.

When residents move out, your Homebase smart apartment can play an important role in making unit turnover efficient and affordable.

Visitor Access

Between cleaning units and repairing damage, outside contractors often need to come in and out of vacant units to prepare for the next resident’s arrival. In a traditional access system, the property staff must meet vendors in person to give them a key. With Homebase Visitor Access, staff can send timebound, trackable access from anywhere. 

Automating the unit turn process with visitor access makes move-ins much easier to manage.

This allows property staff to stay focused on tasks that add value to the property. Homebase Visitor Access can also be used to help with leasing through Self-Guided Tours.

Vacant Unit Automation

Managing vacant units can be a big task for staff, especially if you want to conserve energy. In a traditional property, staff members would need to go to each unit and manually adjust the temperature or ensure that the lights are off. Vacant unit automation allows staff to set all vacant unit thermostats to turn on only when the temperature goes above or drops below a designated range. It also allows staff to turn off light switches in all vacant units simultaneously.

Time Saved for Staff: 20 minutes per unit

Streamline Your Process

From self check-ins to unit turns and back again, automating your property with smart technology can save your team time. In multifamily, the time saved can make it possible to manage more units with fewer people. In student housing, automation can help properties move in hundreds of residents in a single weekend.

You could even start to explore your own automated ChatGPT bot for apartment managers.

Curious about how you can optimize your team and create a seamless move-in experience for residents? Let’s chat.

Homebase brings the smart apartment experience to new build and retrofit multifamily with trusted technology that delivers intuitive building access control with smart locks, automation of property management, new revenue with property-wide WiFi, and IoT technology amenities residents enjoy. All completely installed and managed for the multifamily innovation leaders of this decade.