The introduction of technology to an industry can be daunting, due to changes in executing daily tasks, and also a fear of automation.
This is certainly true in property management, which has been generally slow in the uptake of software, lagging behind other industries that have embraced technological advances.
Technology is often perceived as a competitor to letting agents and property managers. However, this is a misconception that comes from a failure to understand its potential.
Property management – the tech benefits
Technology in the form of property management software should be seen as a facilitator for property managers and agents, rather than a replacement service.
Properly harnessed, technology can help relieve property managers from burdensome admin tasks and reduce unnecessary costs, allowing them to focus their time on more important jobs.
This type of dedicated software provides the solution to common issues experienced by property managers.
Designed specifically for them, management software is not generic like Excel or Dropbox, but targeted at pain-points specific to the property industry.
Here are some of the key functions property management software offers:
• Document storage – Contracts, certificates and other important files can be stored on the cloud and sent to tenants at the click of a button, all within the platform. Documents are in one place, and they so can’t get lost or misplaced.
• Accessibility – Cloud-based portals mean that everything related to property management can be accessed from anywhere in the world, meaning that requested documents can be sent immediately and wait times can be significantly reduced.
• Automation - Rent reminders can be automated and set to trigger on particular dates. This lets tenants know exactly when they have to pay, saving property managers the trouble of chasing things up manually.
• Accounting - Payments can be reconciled on the system automatically, meaning that it is no longer necessary to export payments onto excel spreadsheets.
By using automation features that technology offers, property management software minimises the risk of human error and miscommunication.
Tenants know when their rent is due and how much to pay, reducing the risk of missing payments.
Tenants can also benefit from property management software, because it gives them a set structure to register any issues. For example, if there is something in need of repair, the tenant can enter the matter onto the portal for the property manager to deal with.
They are then able to track work orders, making them aware of when a problem is going to be resolved. In this way, everything follows a set process.
Property managers no longer need to receive phone calls or text messages to their personal phones, as everything can be managed through the portal.
Redeployment not replacement
Property management software cannot replace the role of the letting agent who manages the portfolio; property managers are needed to action tasks, to decide who to send documents to and manage tenant issues.
Owners who don’t want to self-manage their portfolios will not be able to use software as a replacement for a property manager.
Technology offers support in the way of reminders and organisation when managing a portfolio, but cannot replace agents and managers, as the level of management required is too great for technology alone.
The human element is necessary in property management. Software can facilitate processes and admin, but ultimately, the responsibility falls upon managers to take decisions on what the system brings up.
Property management software should be seen as a complimentary technological solution for property managers and letting agents for everyday tasks.
Used to its full potential, this software provides a way to help reduce workloads, saving hours of work on admin tasks, resulting in better communication and streamlined workflows.
*Marc Trup is the Founder and CEO of Arthur Online