With the increasing demands from tenants and owners for digital solutions, labor shortages, and low-interest rates, property managers have to embrace new technology to stay relevant in the market. Read on for 15 technology trends property managers should incorporate into their operations.
Automated security systems
When hunting for homes, most potential buyers and renters place safety and security at the top of their lists. This has led to the increased adoption of automatic security systems among property managers to offer enhanced protection and security to their tenants and amenities. Automated security systems enable property managers to guard their investment with just a few clicks.
With automated security systems, owners can monitor their homes, edit security codes, and review video surveillance footage from their mobile phones. Instead of key cards, intelligent security systems rely on face recognition and smartphones to authorize access, providing an extra layer of security.
Automated security systems also allow touchless sign in options to handle deliveries and guest entry. They provide a two-way video conferencing and intercom facility that enables visual verification and auditing of guests and deliveries before allowing access. This prevents tailgating, theft, and unauthorized access.
Use of cloud-based solutions
Cloud-based property management systems provide scalable solutions flexible across different devices. They allow property managers to access crucial tenant information, including contact details, moving dates, and unpaid rents on the go, without being physically present near a server. This speeds up decision-making, cuts operational costs, and makes the life of property managers easier.
Automating account payable
One of the most effective ways property managers improve operations and free employees time to focus on tenant relations and other roles that add value to the organization is by automating the account payable.
Automated account payable processes cost up to 2.5 times less per transaction than manual processes. Implementing automated account payable services also helps mitigate the risk of fraud that often arises during manual processes, allowing property managers to deliver payments more efficiently and gain better insights into overall operations. It also allows managers to direct employees away from low-value activities to more strategic tasks that could result in more cost savings, improved employee retention and satisfaction, and better-run communities and buildings.
Smart homes and buildings
Gone are the days when prospective homebuyers and renters prioritized downtown proximity and BBQ grills when choosing a home. Today, millennials are more attracted to intelligent properties with home automation to ensure efficiency, convenience, comfort, and safety.
Smart buildings or smart homes are properties connected to technologies and devices to transfer information electronically, improve performance and automate processes to boost overall energy efficiency. Some IoT driven innovations property managers and real estate professionals are incorporating into their investments include:
- Remote control devices to switch on the air conditioning system and open and close doors
- Programmable thermostat and HVAC to predict bills based on usage and save energy
- Integrated systems and sensors to ensure security
- Alexa provides intuitive ways to control devices and lights using voice commands
Most companies, homeowners, and property managers invest in connected devices and sensors that monitor and record usage rates for specific appliances. This helps them make accurate estimates about when the machines require repair and replacements. For instance, a manufacturer may recommend repairing an office heating system every three years.
However, if your office does not use equipment such as printers every day, the heating system may require repairs much later than the recommended time frame. With intelligent maintenance sensors, the office equipment performance can be monitored, preventing you from handling repairs and replacements before they are required, saving the company time, money and inconvenience.
Organizations collect unlimited data, which could be used to offer helpful insights into decision-making every day. However, it is easy to miss or spot crucial information with the vast chunks of information collected, so property managers are investing in property management systems with built-in data analytics to obtain actionable insights which could be customized in real-time.
The data analytics systems integrate customer service, sales CRM, and operations data in one platform, allowing you to make connections and identify patterns that could have otherwise not caught your eye. With the real-time data, you can quickly identify markets to exploit, measure and manage tenant behavior, forecast returns, and discover more efficient ways to work. Getting real-time information customized as per your company requirements also offers a granular view of operations allowing you to spot and fix problems quickly before they affect revenue.
Embedded payments are gaining more traction in property management today. They allow property managers to control the payment process with one financial institution and under one digital umbrella, creating a seamless experience for owners and tenants.
Usually, every property you manage has its bank account, and often these accounts are at different financial institutions. This makes it challenging to manage cash flow from the various accounts. All funds can be directed to a single account through embedded financial platforms, providing a one-stop-shop for banking. These platforms also give owners and tenants a central point of contact for handling additional services and payments. Including escrow deposit accounts and renter’s insurance. This reduces extra costs associated with payment transactions and provides more insights into tenant and owner payment preferences.
Thanks to the advancements in technology, prospective renters and home buyers no longer rely on real estate agents to find property. Homebuyers will only seek a realtor’s services for more knowledge and insights. This has increased localization and push for location-based real estate agencies to help realtors demonstrate experience and authority in the local market.
Real estate companies are investing in sophisticated geolocation technology to help them provide potential clients with valuable information such as local maps, property data, soil types, and locations prone to flooding. They are also using local SEO practices to enable them to appear on local searches and Google Maps.
Online payment options
Prospective homebuyers, clients, and tenants experience the ease and speed of online payments in other economic areas, so they expect similar property management services. By allowing digital payment options, property managers help renters pay rent on time, improving cash flow and reducing arrears. It also reduces employees’ time handling paper checks, allowing them to focus on higher-value-added tasks.
Facilitating digital options also provides additional engagement with the ability to deliver payment reminders. Send messages to renters via the online platform, accept charges for other receivables. And enable self-service capabilities for recurring payments.
Predictive analytics entails running big data through machine learning algorithms to predict market trends. The insights obtained help experts in property management industries and real estate to:
- Have a better understanding of the client personas and journeys for enhanced marketing and lead generation
- Identify optimal investment properties based on location, value, local occupancy rates, and tenant incomes
- Improved clarity on the prospective value added by potential improvements such as remodeling and extensions
Centralized online tenant portals
To ensure renter satisfaction, property managers are investing in tenant portals. These portals provide a digital communication hub between tenants and owners, paving the way for more back-office automation. They provide offerings tailored to specific fundamental segment needs, including multi-family housing, commercial real estate, and single-family home rentals. Tenant portals provide online support tickets for maintenance, automatic rent collection, accounting, vacancy management, and maintenance cycles.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence
With the shift to digital communication today. Property managers rely on Artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively engage with prospective clients online. Virtual robots, assistants, and chatbots make communication between landlords, managers, and renters more efficient and fast. They can handle different types of operations, including hosting virtual showings, understanding client preferences, and answering generic queries.
Property management and commercial real estate agencies are turning to drone aviation technology to showcase properties. Providing breath-taking aerial views for marketing purposes. Drones also offer invaluable maintenance and engineering data, thanks to their up-to-date imagery.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments worldwide have stepped in to provide measures to reduce pressure on tenants. For instance, according to research by JLL, 34 out of 50 states in the US prohibited evictions during the pandemic. Governments also recommended the reduction of viewings and conducting them out with a pre-screening process.
This has led to the shift of the rental market online, with property managers hosting virtual viewings. Landlords and managers now rely on 360 virtual tours, professional photoshoots, and video tours to decrease social and physical contact.
Digital housing societies
With the rise in the housing crisis today, most people are apprehensive about renting or buying property alone. This has led to the development of digital housing platforms tailored to potential homebuyers. And renters seeking shared office spaces or accommodations, providing a greater sense of community and reduced running costs.
The constant evolution in property management technology is not an inconvenience or threat but an opportunity to grow your business. Familiarize yourself with the above trends, identify what works for your organization, and implement it to improve tenant satisfaction, increase your revenue, and stay ahead of the competition.