Revolutionising Property Management | The Power of Proptech
Automation of tasks is going to be one of the focus points of many companies.
When I started in Property Management nearly two decades ago, reflecting on how far this industry has come, it wasn't easy. When I first started, it was a very manual process-driven industry.
Our software only gave us rent payment updates every three days; inspections were handwritten or recorded on a Dictaphone and then typed up back in the office.
We had an old camera we would fight over for entry inspections, and then you had to upload the photos onto a CD.
You even advertised your properties in the local newspaper. However, Property Managers managed portfolios of much more significant numbers back then.
Today, the average portfolio size that Property Managers look after has reduced considerably. In the mid noughties, the average Property Manager would be managing portfolios of approximately 150 units. In New Zealand, this number has dropped to just under 100.
As compliance, increased legislation and stronger enforcement from the judiciary has resulted in an increased workload for Property Managers.
What has become a challenge is that the increased workload has resulted in a mindset shift of many Property Managers.
As new people have entered the industry, the mainstream view is that managing numbers as high as 150 properties is simply not feasible. I believe that will change.
The evolution of Proptech, which is a blend of property and technology, is starting to send a transformative wave of change throughout industry. Slowly, but surely, companies are starting to learn how to adapt technology to improve efficiency within the property management sector.
Automation of tasks is going to be one of the focus points of many companies. As the number of properties that a Property Manager has dropped, so has the profitability of the company. In property management, lots of the tasks are repetitive and mundane.
Automation is slowly being adapted to remove these tasks from the Property Managers. An example of this is rent arrears. Rent arrears is a process that is easy to automate.
Every day, the Property Manager will receive a list of tenants in arrears once daily rents have been reconciled.
They will then act on relevant tenants to recover the debt. Now, Trust Accounting Software is adapting automation to remove this task from the Property Manager.
The software will automatically notify the tenants that rent has not been received. The Property Manager will be notified that action has automatically been taken to recover the outstanding rent. The Property Manager is still responsible for the arrears however, automation now does the donkey work.
Another new tool being adapted is 360-degree virtual inspections. Companies such as Melbourne based Inspection Express have introduced this amazing approach to inspecting your rental property using a small 360-degree camera.
The improvements in service, efficiency and transparency far outweigh the small investment in such Proptech solutions.
Also, this software can be adapted for multiple uses. As well as being used for the marketing of a property, it could be used as a tool for maintaining property.
In New Zealand, most companies use Tapi. This company provides a proptech solution for reporting and managing maintenance, simplifying the reporting process of maintenance to the Property Manager.
The tenant simply scans a designated QR code on the property to report the maintenance and can take short videos or photos, highlighting the problem.
The inspection application can easily integrate with Tapi to make the reporting of maintenance from a Property Manager’s perspective simple.
The next step for these protech solution companies is to allow tradespeople access to the 360-degree inspection so the tradie can see the maintenance request and provide a simple estimate around costs associated with the repair.
This again will save time for the Property Manager. It can also be used to keep investors informed so they have greater transparency around the management of their property.
Time and money are saved through faster inspections and a quicker response time for maintenance.
Another area that needs focus is key management. I can see a time when we become a keyless industry. We already have the technology to do this, and I believe it is only a matter of time before we see this being adapted.