According to Deloitte, 61% of surveyed real estate companies are reliant on legacy technologies, but around half are working on changing that. These companies realize that outdated tech platforms are responsible for more than just hassles here and there. They’re accountable for massive productivity losses, wasted time, and unnecessary costs.
Conversely, the right tech platforms at the right time save property teams time, money, and effort on tasks large and small. In this article we’ll look at how the right technologies play a crucial role in boosting property operations efficiency across two of the core property management challenge areas: repetitive processes and communication. We’ll also take a look at how to begin the tech implementation process in a real estate management setting. Let’s get started.
Where tech makes the biggest difference for property teams
Tech impacts property management in a variety of ways. A 2022 National Apartment Association survey of over 1,600 property managers surfaced many of the top challenges property managers face. For instance, 24.3% of respondents said their biggest challenge was dealing with aggressive and abusive residents and tenants, 16.1% said mental health and the inability to switch off after hours, 15.7% said maintaining proper staffing levels, and 12.1% said managing their workload. While many factors contribute to these challenges, it’s fair to say that two of the biggest underlying issues are headaches associated with the numerous repetitive processes managers face, and challenges in communication.
Impactful but repetitive processes
Many tasks within property management are repetitive in nature. Touring prospective renters, processing contracts and payments, and turning units recurs with every single unit you lease. Even more of a time sink, managing maintenance is a duty that can pop up over and over again even within the span of a single unit’s year-long lease.
In addition to simply being repetitive, these are all tasks that have a massive impact on both renter experience and overall profitability. If a resident needs a replacement refrigerator, every day that passes without resolution will have a tremendous impact on their likelihood to refer your property and renew your lease. For every passing day that delays in your turn process prevent you from filling a vacant unit, you’re sacrificing revenue.
Communication problems are massive time sinks that can cripple a brand’s reputation and exacerbate problems that would otherwise be easy fixes. Part of the issue here is that poor communication creates frictions both inside and outside your team.
“Who’s on first” challenges when tasks are shared between staff members. Perhaps a resident surfaced a maintenance issue to one manager via email, spoke to the maintenance person in the hallway, and followed up with a call to another manager
Misaligned expectations with everything from building access for a tour to utility setup
Lack of clarity for property rules around friction points like smoking and pet care
Residents that feel unheard in the face of nuisances and frictions (construction noise, broken garbage chutes and elevators, etc)
Missed updates on property changes such as new amenities or events
Issues dividing work between team members
The impacts of tech on property management challenges
While there are a million management-focused tech solutions out there, tools tend to benefit teams by doing one or more of the following:
Automating repetitive processes
Where automation isn’t possible, providing a framework for teams to handle tasks that come up again, such as a maintenance approval and tracking process
Digitizing contracts, payments, and other paperwork
Increased communication effectiveness by providing a single, persistent source of truth shared between multiple team members on and offsite
Better transparency and data visibility, allowing stakeholders such as property teams, asset managers, and other decision-makers to see where operations are exceeding or falling short of expectations at a glance
Enabling tenants to take care of many of the tasks associated with apartment living, such as requesting maintenance, reserving amenities, and handling a move-in without needing to talk to your staff
Many of the tools that are out there accomplish both of these impact areas simultaneously. Our platform, for instance, makes it very easy to source contractors, manage maintenance, and conduct quick unit turns. It also facilitates easy communication between residents and managers around these frequently stressful focal points. Finding a tech solution with that kind of impact takes effort, but is very manageable with the right planning. How should you identify and implement a tech solution for your own real estate team?
Deploying the right solution
According to leading tech research site Technology Advice, a good software implementation plan takes a ten-step process. Here’s a summary:
Define what the tech should solve
Build a team of stakeholders and decision-makers
Identify needs across your team, leading to a tech tool criteria list
Look for a fitting tech platform
Resource for implementation (the time and money needed for training)
Determine how you’ll communicate the tool to your organization
Develop a training and kickoff plan
Thoroughly test the tool, looking for friction points
Check out their full guide for a deeper dive into each of the ten steps. Remember that you’ll want your tech partner to be a good trainer, guide, and coach for your team as you deploy their product—it isn’t just about the tool. Also, keep in mind that even after you’ve begun deploying your solution, you’ll need to listen closely to your stakeholders to keep your feedback loop tight.
In this article, we discussed the major challenge points for property management teams and how tech can help reduce stress across communication and repetitive processes. We also discussed what a typical tech procurement strategy looks like.
It’s unwise to jump into a tech deployment on a whim, but teams that deploy tech for a good purpose can benefit from massive performance and efficiency gains. As property owners increasingly look to their management and operations teams to drive better portfolio performance, deploying the right technologies will separate those that sink from those that swim. Not every tech solution is a fit for every scenario but with the right strategy, real estate teams looking to get out of the 61% of legacy system users stand to realize enormous operational benefits across every role on the team.
If you’re interested in deploying our full-spectrum maintenance and turns management solution, get in touch.