How Technology Runs a Property Management CompanyTechnology.
In some fields it’s taking jobs, in but in fields like property management tech is merely adding important tools that help property managers untangle, and organize a sometimes complicated business.
Owning a tech-first property management company has allowed us a level of service we would never be able to achieve otherwise. It allows us to be a green company, allows us to greatly improve investments for our property owners, it allows us to greatly improve our tenants’ lives.
I can’t say that technology has reduced our workload, that systems are in place that eliminate the need for us to still do tasks. But it has certainly allowed us the luxury to do what a property management company is supposed to do: increase our owner’s bottom lines.
For my company technology has created massive service opportunities for us. It allows us to respond to tenants faster and better, it allows us to organize our property owner’s documents, and rental keys, and to organize repairs more seamlessly.
Here are some ways that Technology has improved the Property Management Industry
1. We’re Paperless!
Not only are we now a paperless company; but our document handling systems are far superior than ever before. During my first few years as a property manager, I spent a lot of my time creating an elaborate system of binders. Each property owner had a binder and each binder was divided into sections.
I had a section for the property owner, sections on the property, sections on the tenants, and sections on past tenants, I kept copies of all the leases, a copy of the public record for the property, a copy of the property management agreement, rental licenses, lead swiping certificates, rent suitability certificates….it just goes on like a horror film for trees.
The logistics of such a system – keeping track of what leases and rental licenses were terminating soon, how many sets of keys a property had, lock box codes, receipts from contractors, roof guarantees…
My first few years as a property manager were spent being diligent on not missing a date, and not losing a piece of paperwork because those tasks are incredibly important. A property manager must be licensed by the state and the state wisely requires property managers to hold on to documents for a certain number of years.
As my company grew, so did my binder collection. At first, it was fun, a way to measure how well my property management company was doing. Each binder represented a client and it was exciting to watch us grow.
But eventually, there wasn’t room for the binders and I found myself in an office space I needed merely to house them all. I became a property manager for paper and binders.
Now we are paperless
We are required by the state to have a locking place to keep files; but otherwise, we are cabinet cabinet-free, paperless company.
2. Secure Online Storage
One investment that my property management company made towards technology was our elaborate online portal system.
This is a one-stop place for our property owner clients, our rental tenants, and the contractors who facilitate repairs. It’s where all documents go and it’s where all communication takes place.
Every text, email, lease, city of Philadelphia compliance document, receipt, and letter that we send is stored neatly here. Not only does this give us a quick reference of what was said and when but we can print out everything with a few clicks.
“Can’t pay your rent because your grandmother died?” I see from our text history you lost four grandmothers this year.”. Hot Water leak? I can see it is still under warranty.
Not only does this system handle everything paper; but it does it far better than I could ever have hoped to with my binders.
And the true value is time. I’m not spending my time serving clients or organizing binders. I’m spending my time negotiating with contractors over property repairs, I’m showing and marketing properties and getting them rented, I’m doing the things that will actually improve a rental property’s bottom line.
Tech allows me to do my job, and that’s to increase my owner’s real estate holdings investments.
3. 24/7 Tenant Repair Response System
Our tenant portal allows tenants to report repairs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It documents the requests and saves them indefinitely. Once a repair comes in several people can be notified instantly by text or email. The notice always comes to me, but it can also go to several others at the same time.
This allows us to instantly respond to the tenant, and instantly begin facilitating the solution. In the case of something that can damage a property, like a burst pipe, this is invaluable.
In the case of a tenant emergency like lost keys, or a broken furnace in winter, this is also invaluable. We a simply able to respond the way a property manager should be able to respond when responsible for tenants.
A quick response reduces and creates tenant loyalty. It reduces vacancy and gives us tenants that take care of their rentals.
And back to forever storage, available at the click of a button, we know who to call. Leaky roof? We know it’s still under warranty. It’s right there in front of us connected to the property, to the owner and even to the tenant.
- Tenant Book Keeping Ledger
Another benefit to using a tech-savvy system as a property manager is that we have a complete, neat spreadsheet ledger of each tenant’s tenancy with us. It’s not uncommon for us to have tenants that question their financial standing with us. The tenant ledger makes it clear that there isn’t a question a charge is due.
And if we ever find ourselves in a courtroom, the tenant ledger is an impressive piece of clear evidence a judge can appreciate.
5. We Are Now Field Property Managers!
No longer am I forced to sit in my office (next to my binder collection). Now I’m in the field, physically at my client’s rental properties, overseeing things just as I should be.
Technology puts my entire office, including all those binders I used to keep, right on my smartphone. I can manage a property, just as effectively, while standing in another property making sure a broken pipe is repaired correctly.
I can respond to a tenant inquiry about a charge; by easily showing them their tenant ledger or facilitate a repair anywhere I am. I can schedule a showing instantly, and while a prospective tenant is still interested; just with a click of some buttons.
Technology allows me to supersize marketing for available rentals. I can create videos and social media ads, and post vacancies on 1000-plus rental sites with ease.
The bottom line?
The bottom line regarding property management tech is the actual bottom line. Your property manager shouldn’t be shuffling papers all day, he shouldn’t be afraid to step away from his office. Your property manager should be making you money.
He should be showing your available rentals the same day potential tenants inquire about them, he should be making sure the property is cared for with routine maintenance and inspections, a property manager should be onsite when a repair is being done.