The Role of Technology in Modern Property Management
The property management industry generates about $88 billion of revenue each year — approximately 16% of the United States’ GDP. In fact, there are over 282,000 property management companies operating in the U.S. alone. However, the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on this industry, decreasing revenue and activity overall and causing a significant decline in demand in the luxury rental segment.
In addition to the disruption caused by the pandemic, the industry is reacting to other trends such as a shift in the tenant base from a Millennial-heavy market to the up-and-coming Generation Z, a shift in government regulations governing the rental market, and a shift in areas of demand for markets outside of big cities. To keep up, the industry has been taking advantage of modern technology to maximize effectiveness and continue with positive growth.
Types of Technology in Property Management
Before we delve into the benefits of using technology for property management tasks, let’s take a closer look at what types of technologies are being leveraged in the industry.
Cloud-based technologies — Using the cloud helps property managers stay mobile — and flexible. With cloud-based software, managers can access all the information about a given tenant regardless of their geographic location. This not only reduces operational costs, but can help encourage better, faster decision-making. Listing platforms, automated showing platforms, automated lead qualifying technologies and others are examples of cloud-based solutions that can help streamline the property management process.
Smart home technology — The new generation of renters is digital-savvy, and they want simple solutions for home security and safety, even in rental properties. Smart thermostats were the most wanted tech by renters, along with keyless entry and smart lights. For property managers, these devices can help reduce operational costs and provide better access management.
Big data — Big data offers a multifunctional view of your rental property. It can help you track operational costs more efficiently, understand tenant preferences better for more accurate marketing and tenant placement, and give you a better understanding of market shifts and demand.
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) — These technologies can help property managers conduct fast, efficient communication with landlords and tenants by using chatbots and virtual assistants. These features can help answer tenant questions, get to know their preferences, and even help to show your rental properties virtually. In addition, using algorithms you can get a jump on market predictions and analyses for better positioning of your properties to maximize profits.
Virtual or augmented reality — Both of these technologies can allow potential tenants to view your rental properties without having to make an in-person appointment. Empty rentals can be staged with virtual furniture to offer a better feel for the living space and reduce the amount of time managers must spend marketing a property.
Benefits of Technology in Property Management
There are many benefits associated with adopting one or more of these tech tools to assist you in managing rental properties. These include:
Faster, Better Tenant Communication
When a tenant is experiencing a difficulty with their rental home or apartment, they want a fast response. However, humans typically do not work around the clock. If you can offer a chatbot or virtual assistant, you can help to resolve tenant issues faster and sometimes even in real time. This feature helps tenants feel better served and can help improve landlord-tenant relationships.
More In-Depth Property Monitoring
Smart tools such as video surveillance, smart security systems, and other mobile applications can help property managers keep a closer eye on rental properties. Using cloud-based technology, you can also provide real-time access to contractors or repair crews through smart locks or other security devices, and even help remote managers get access to required tenant data when — and where — they need it.
Smarter Management of Paperwork
Managing rental properties involves a great deal of document processing — from rental agreements, contracts, and even maintenance and contractor agreements. Document management software alongside other software products can help property manager more efficiently — and securely — process necessary paperwork as well as create audit trails and reports to better understand and track income and investment trends.
Technology Best Practices
While technology can provide a lot of value for property managers, it does come with some caveats. First, you should choose any software you use wisely. Ensure that software solutions will integrate seamlessly with the tech tools you already have and that they also work well with one another. If you decide to digitize your paper documents, ensure that the software you use provides security that aligns with federal, state and local data protection and privacy laws.
Finally, it is important to ensure that any technology you use is properly backed up and managed for redundancy. Cyberattacks are a real threat and if all your information is digital and you lose access to it, your business continuity will be negatively impacted. This, in turn, has the potential to directly affect your revenues.
33 Realty — Using Technology to Improve Outcomes
At 33 Realty, we keep our fingers on the pulse of technological advancements in the realm of property management and real estate in general. We use our deep knowledge of the marketplace along with our investment expertise to carefully select the technologies that will be of greatest value to our clients in the efficient and profitable management of their properties.
If you’re ready to learn more about how we leverage the power of technology to expand the resources available to our clients, contact us here or call 773-839-4728.