Monday, November 30, 2015

Why Emerging Technologies Always Win For Property Management

Why "Property Management" Rhymes With "Technology" Today

Cyber Monday is a day for great discount deals on tech products. But we should observe the impact of technology in the property management industry as well. In an ever-changing industry like property management, the means for advancement will be based on the rate at which information can be compiled with great customer service.

Information is the most prized possession in all industries. Accessibility with top quality software tools to attain data and the right personnel for a property management company will give them an edge over their competition in the real estate market. You will make life easier for yourself and your tenants by using web-based applications, research software, and messaging systems that help them stay updated as well as resolve issues including water heater installations, new parking requirements, fire emergencies, moving days, illegal tenants warnings, repair updates, board member voting meetings, and new lighting in the building.

With social media and other web-based applications that can manage live chats, there is no excuse for a property management to not regulate their operations with higher results of success.

Marketing via Social Media: Technically Fast, Less Furious Tenants

Technology increases the response rate and efficient communication methods for tenants to know what is coming from the residential property management team. Without it, your tenants will be trapped feeling like prisoners in your building from potential problems that arise. Do you want them to wait for a crew to get to their problem with a delayed response? The matter could be urgent and need immediate attention. If not, it could potentially cost lives and more money than you can afford to fix. 

Here are some examples of those problems:

  • Broken thermostats- Nobody likes to deal with Boston winters with just a blanket, sweats, and seeing their own breath inside the house. A quick fix to thermostats can make a big difference for tenants who don't know how to fix a thermostat. But if you have social media and someone on a 24-hour call from the property management crew, you can address this issue immediately, instead of having to wait a day or two. With technology, you can also track the heating systems in all your units in a centralized database so you know which ones have recurring issues.

  • Trash days- Tenants tend to forget what days the trash goes out after their September 1st move-in to their unit. Being connected with your tenants, you send them a reminder about the trash day and help make the garbage in your place go away for the week.

  • Flood watches- If you have a basement floor that is below the ground level, it's good to let your tenants know that there is a pending flood watch. You can help them take precautions by sending a text message alert sent to their mobile devices. If the property management is connected online via social media with their tenants, they can let them know immediately by that means.

  • Water shutoffs- Sometimes the Department of Public Works may be doing some street work that affects the water in the units of your building. That could affect a tenant who showers in the morning and make them late for work because they either forgot or didn't see the postings in the lobby or the hallway about the date and time. Of course, your tenant didn't plan accordingly, but they could have if they had gotten a reminder message about it the day prior to the shutoff via email, text, or on their social media channels from the management.

  • Fire Emergencies- We have all heard crazy stories that will make you scream of people getting trapped inside their apartment unit or condo during a fire because they didn't get the message in time to evacuate the building. When it comes to these situations, you should make sure that all of your tenants get a message on their mobile devices for points of egress in the building. Implementing a centralized contact database of your tenants and units into an emergency alert SMS chain that can be made similar to an AMBER ALERT message can be a life saver.
These are just ideas of what can be dire situations that can be avoided by being connected as much as possible via Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or whatever can give you an instant message. Also, social media can market your units to potential new tenants, and showcase the luxury or image that you are putting forth on a site like Pinterest and Instagram for them to leave comments and share your posts.

Recordkeeping and Reducing Error In Management

Recordkeeping is the means of knowing what someone needs and to track their history. When you have the right property management system in place, you can reduce the double entry of information after uploading reports from exported data. This is how you can track percentage increases and decreases in various areas of the business; accounting and rent collection, work orders, hiring personnel, screening tenants, and retention versus new leases signed to fill the units. 

Convenience of Payments

Having people pay their rent online via your property management software can help automate payments from your tenants. Direct debits to their accounts can save you the hassle of chasing a tenant down for a check. Especially if the check is mailed one to an away address, if the owner or landlord of the building does not live there.

Final Thoughts

What type of experiences have you had as a tenant or landlord that either saved yourself a headache, your money, or your life when dealing with issues that come forth by usage of technology? Has this added expense made a difference in your operations?

Tell us some of your examples that made life easier and faster for you and your tenants.