The article was originally published on Ascendix Tech.
Today, the property manager needs much more than their natural dexterity to be efficient – in fact, the growing digital capacities raise tenants’ expectations to the point where one needs to use property management technology to stay competitive in the industry landscape.
This includes communication, coordinating maintenance, and providing proper experiences to the tenants, as well as other aspects. Small wonder one may want an upgrade to their tech-powered capacities to boost ROI.
Here are some essentials to implementing a property management tech stack, with efficiency in mind.
Property Management Routine Challenges: Why Technology Must Be There
On average, property managers manage communities of 101-500 units. That, in turn, is accompanied by many administrative tasks. Considering that most of them are manual, they eat up a majority of property managers’ time. For example, 80% of property managers are involved in the coordination or performance of maintenance/repairs and rent and fee collections. (based on iPropertyManagement.com). Here is the whole breakdown:
- maintenance and repair (80% of property managers)
- rental and fee collection (80%)
- leasing and advertising (77%)
- property inspections (74%)
- evictions (68%)
- cleaning (62%)
- accounting (57%)
- financial reporting (55%)
- property sales (53%)
- outdoor services (52%) This routine circle of manual tasks makes it harder for rental property managers to concentrate on the top priorities, defined as growth (47.8%) and cost efficiency (45.1%) in almost half of cases.
Another priority is providing the proper customer experience for the tenants by means of communication – and technology frees up time for exactly that.
The technologization implies the large-scale usage of cloud-based property management solutions and mobile apps from the proptech landscape that foster better scalability, simplicity of use, streamlined tenant communication cost-effectiveness, and fewer manual operations. Considering that 50% of online traffic comes from smart devices – that becomes crucial.
This way, property management tech stack and smart mobile-friendly leasing become the key priority for this sector. And the longer one ignores it, the more barriers they face later, for instance:
- loss of the best opportunities and competitive advantage on the market
- hardships of catching up with digital skills later on
- longer way and more investments to keep pace in the long run
This, in turn, means businesses need a comfortable ‘launching pad’ for tech adoption that will allow for minimum disruption. Understanding and prioritizing possible applications by process or user can be helpful.
Property Management Technology: Top Areas of Application
Property management often revolves around many separate and unconsolidated systems which rarely translate into a single property view. Meanwhile, property management technology creates an interconnected property ecosystem that allows both property owners and tenants to have a seamless experience using digital tools that work in several areas of property management and maintenance:
- rent collection
Technology’s primary goal is to eradicate outdated spreadsheets and manual processes to make the property management process faster and more efficient. In a recent survey, 90% of respondents reported that using property management software resulted in improvements in portfolio expansion, revenue, and efficiency.
Property management solutions are designed to simplify each of property management areas, effectively manage more properties, complete more tasks for rental property managers and follow the latest property management trends. With the right software, they can list properties, screen tenants, and automate their paperwork, having all of it in one place – particularly in the smartphone.
Property Management Technology Trends
Improved Property Management
Real estate obtains various data from various sources but as far as the speed of today’s market is daunting, it must be processed quickly. Real estate consists of various systems and communications channels that are often desynchronized and scattered through multiple sources and third-party tools. This creates one of the most challenging aspects that prevent effective management now – data desynchronization. 26% of marketers find it difficult to store, manage and standardize existing data and consider it their top challenge.
One of the first and evident benefits of technologies for property management is its ability to orchestrate the management of a large number of properties and the ability to unify this data across them.
Getting back to growth as the main priority of rental property managers, its pledge is scalability. And that’s the exact reason why many organizations choose custom proptech software development services that indeed provides better scalability. There are no two identical organizations or even two similar affiliates of the same organization. Each has its own specifics: regional, cultural, economic, or regulatory differences that have to be considered during the organization’s expansion.
Custom-made software helps to scale new instruments across the organization and ensure rapid growth for the organization by unifying data
Better Access to Information
7 in 10 marketers are finding it complicated to implement a strategy to unify and manage data. However, the right software makes the information more accessible and protected. It provides data access in just a few clicks. Moreover, unified customer data supercharges personalization providing a more accurate picture of user data as well as location risks and opportunities.
Automated Task Flow
Considering the volume of the routine tasks, it looks like real estate professionals spend just around 10% of their time on income-generating activities – the rest is paperwork and routine tasks. It’s hardly a rational distribution of time. The typical tasks and areas of real estate that scream for automation in real estate revolves around leasing, vacancy posting, billing, contract automation, appraisals, and communication with tenants.
Marketing automation solutions are a proven way to increase marketing indicators. Reportedly, they increase conversions by 77%. Technology helps not only to make precise and accurate appraisals but also set up a strategic dialog with tenants.
Enhanced Customer Communication
Among multiple customers’ requests, the most challenging task is to deliver personalized experiences. Be it, shoppers, hotel residents, or factory workers – every tenant, above all, wants to feel “special.” Moreover, 70% of customers feel frustrated when their experience is impersonal.
By introducing the right channel, suggesting the right time, and accurate property data – property management solutions make tenant satisfaction a bottom line in the benefits it delivers. 90% of marketers say personalization significantly contributes to business profitability.
Property Management Tech Stack: Market Landscape Overview
Property Maintenance Software
The perfect condition of a property is a guarantee it remains a competitive source of income generation. That’s why property maintenance software, such as a property management system, is so requested among entrepreneurs in CRE, for instance. Moreover, the condition and operability of the building are often direct factors that affect the tenants’ satisfaction.
This way, life cycle management and maintenance are the most important aspects of property management in general. Property maintenance and repair services software include:
- organization of repair
- preventive works scheduling
- lawn maintenance
- space utilization
- resource allocation
The advanced solutions also arrange the workflow of all property management activities with triggers that launch certain preventive maintenance works. Evaluation and prioritization of these tasks are done automatically, setting tasks in a specific order. Acknowledged examples of these solutions on the market are MaintainX, FMX and UpKeep – CMMS, EAM & IIoT suite for centralized property maintenance with the biggest number of 5-star reviews in this category.
Rent Collection Software
Property managers typically deal with multiple clients simultaneously and conduct large volumes of transactions where there is always a place for costly mistakes.
This is the place where the dedicated software can replace the pile of papers scattered across different systems by accurately organizing all their transactions in one place. This allows investors to have full visibility into their portfolio performance with reports that are automatically generated and updated in real time.
According to Michael Mullin, President of Integrated Business Systems, accounting software in property management reduces invoice processing costs by about 80%. A good example of such is Stessa, Appfolio, and Buildiums – cloud-based software that allows one to track and record your latest income and expenses from anywhere. Appfolio also made part of our list of the 10 most innovative proptech companies in the real estate market.
Interface of BLG Property Management System
If a landlord doesn’t cooperate with real estate agency to market the property, the burden of creating listings and keeping them up to date falls on the property managers’ shoulders. This is where listing solutions come in handy allowing property operators to:
- centralize communications with tenants
- improve the quality of property listing and unify related information
- foster quick properties search with the fullest information, the most relevant data, and images that match customer’s requests.
One of the most advanced solutions in this category is Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. The different solutions currently available all have their own specifics, addressing different combinations of common issues. This is why we at Ascendix, while having our own out-of-the box solution, routinely offer building customized tools based on it, for optimal fit with the customer’s idiosyncratic needs.
Tenant Screening Tools
Renting to an unverified tenant can potentially result in large losses due to damage, non-payment, lawsuits, and frequent turnover costs. Therefore, tenant screening is a natural step in the leasing process, which includes checking the applicant’s financial and criminal background. With the help of digital solutions, this process can become many times easier. One of the key features of these solutions is the protection of tenants’ data and quick access to all data in the form of user-friendly dashboards. The best tenant screening services include RentSpree, Avail, and Appartments.com.
CRM has become a vital tool in real estate professionals’ toolkits. Operating on cloud technology, CRM improves the workflow of property managers and helps them keep track of information about their residents. A platform tailored to a property manager’s operations fosters better communication with tenants and property owners through the project management modules and marketing workflow tools that allows property managers to keep track of their marketing routine and spread efficient messages among their clients.
In this regard, Ascendix has created its own solutions for CRE that provide advanced customization, introducing powerful Salesforce functionality to meet commercial real estate needs and ease the routine of real estate professionals so that they can concentrate on profit-generating activities instead of routine tasks.
Efficient Reporting Tools
Landlords and property operators should keep their hand on the pulse of property management, maintenance and overall building performance. Thus, at certain times of the year, they get all of this information in the form of reports that is often a headache for property managers who are having a hard time collecting information, unifying it and presenting it in the form of attractive reports.
Luckily, there are tools that help generate branded commercial real estate flyers, property profile reports, and brochures with a few clicks. For example, one created by Ascendix enables sending reports and brochures to multiple recipients right from your CRM system or downloading them in various formats. It also uses prebuilt report templates to generate reports or brochures according to specified requirements and branding policies. Of course, it can be used as the basis for creating a custom solution, as well.
Templates of Reports in Composer Online
Property Management Software Development: Two Options
There are two types of solutions for property management – ready-made a.k.a. mass market, and custom ones. For a long time, one of the greatest debates has been which one to choose. Property management includes management of many assets at once, simultaneously understanding their statistics, rent increases and availability of spaces, etc. Not every tool can cover their needs by making them complete at least half of their tasks manually. Considering the fast speed of the market, such a system may also turn out to be outdated.
Let’s shed some light on what your options are when you need software tailored exactly to the real estate market and property management.
Many factors are at play here, from company size, type of organization (multiple local offices), current software in place, to the availability of in-house tech specialists, and the relevance of scaling in the future.
Ready-Made Property Management Solutions
The indisputable advantage of ready-made solutions is that they already have rich and proven functionality, which has proven experience in the market. They are a regular choice of small and mid-sized teams. Except for cost-savings at the initial stage, they also provide:
- free trial (as a rule) that allows to test them before implementation
- they are not overloaded with features, making them a great fit for the team that adopts them
- fast time-to-market with fewer sacrifices in terms of price and resources
But after thorough analysis, the traceability map may show that in at least 50% of cases they don’t cover the initial demands of the customers and require adaptation. Besides, once the customer’s team grows, this option will no longer be cost-efficient, especially considering that there is also a continuous need for a subscription fee. By picking a ready-made solution, it’s harder to remain flexible and scale your business in the future. In the long run, the lack of customized features may also prevent organizations from organic growth and entail additional expenses for adds-on and integrations to fill in functionality gaps.
Custom Made Property Management Solutions
Custom-made property management tech stack is more requested since customization of real estate systems is a top challenge for 56% of businesses. These perfectly meet the needs of their owners and have a huge potential for scalability, being adaptable to different countries and different teams. Custom-made property management solutions are necessary when:
- one needs custom-made features: there is always a possibility to add some new features, users, and functionalities
- compatibility with one’s business model and existing process is required
- one plans a rapid growth or entrance to the global market
- integration and seamless interconnection between apps are the key priority
- in the long run, it also provides cost savings and return on investment
The only drawback of custom-made solutions compared to ready-made is that individuality, as always, goes with a higher price, and these solutions are indeed more expensive and usually take a longer time to develop. But considering all the pros and cons (after the research phase), it often may turn out that custom development is more cost-effective in the long run since, in this case, you will have to pay just once and will get quicker returns on investment.
Custom Made Property Management Solutions: Why Does Integration Matter?
In the ready-made vs custom-made opposition – integration capabilities often play a key role. It is very unlikely that you plan your software to work in isolation. Ready-made solutions, however, often have a limited set of functionality to allow robust alignment with existing systems.In this regard, custom made solutions allow for smoother integrations with third party software or existing systems through custom API, providing seamless expansion of your system in the future.
Property Management Software Development with Ascendix
With 16 years of experience in the real estate market, Ascendix has the required expertise to deliver both custom software development and consultancy services across various domains of real estate. When you choose Ascendix, you get:
- best tailor-made solution for your business
- agile software development: MVP scoping, addition of on-demand features for better scalability
- update of existing systems and migration to up-to-date technologies
- integration with other systems, CRM tools, and platforms
- practice-based real estate software development services: we work with the industry leaders among which are Colliers and JLL
- global delivery capabilities: the US and European-based teams
If you are interested in learning more about property management automation, check the full blog post Property Management Areas Where Technology Can Help.
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