In today’s market, real estate offers attractive investment opportunities for a variety of reasons, one of which is the minimum amount of risk involved. However, despite these numerous benefits, an average investor may not be ready to face the numerous challenges involved. Owning one property may be a breeze to manage since it is a small extra job, however when there are multiple properties in question the task becomes much bigger and requires proper management.
A typical real estate purchase is a safe and secure investment, and it’s likely to generate significant amounts of profit in returns in the future. But there is no “typical” real estate investor. Start by having a look at your own street to notice that on property is a single family owned house, whereas next door there is a house owned by a high profile real estate investment trust (REIT)like Cromwell with millions of dollars in holdings. We all want a piece of the pie, but the processes and software usually used to manage this real estate are outdated tech that slows down the rest of our lives.
One thing in real estate investment is to find the perfect property, but managing the residential real estate effectively requires different skills entirely. A land lord must be extremely sound at determining the rent price, marketing their property, screening and processing prospective tenants applications, collecting rent payments, carrying out general maintenance and understanding all the legal aspects like tenant advocacy involved in land lording that govern tenant-landlord relationships. Also, the landlord must make themselves available for tenant’s calls at all hours and act as a first call helpline for tenants.
There are more than 34,000 property management companies in the US and each of them we require an office, a team of employees, a network of contractors and service providers and well-structured processes for all the tasks above. As a business owner, this can be very expensive to create and sometimes can be difficult for landlords to contract. However, technology has made it possible to accomplish this task without sacrificing high-quality service.
Technology is underused in property management, but the potential has improved the quality of service while drastically reducing management and paperwork expenses. Tedious tasks in property management should be automated or streamlined using an appropriate business management system, this could be a sales portal or accounting software. Real-estate is often seen as an old-fashioned profession that involved multitudes of annoying paperwork and procedures, but you will be surprised to see the technological innovations helping real estate managers. Devices such as ipads and tablets act as compact paperwork and store documents for immediate access on a communal network, digital websites and social media has made putting up advertisements and finding tenants much faster and cheaper as well as drawing in many more prospects. Websites such as realestate.com are huge platforms for property owners and prospects alike.
Leasing is a process that is time-consuming, you may even need to outsource lease administration to manage you property professionally. To begin putting out rental advertisements, replying to queries, handling tours and showings, collecting and processing documents, choosing a suitable tenant and eventually preparing a lease, all require lots of manpower. Automation can significantly improve this process but how do we differentiate from other customer services? The possible way forward is always to ensure a personal touchpoint throughout automation of tasks.
Although leasing agents are inevitable, however, all other process except calls and showings can still be automated. For instance, like 3D virtual tours, self-serve scheduling of showings, automated tenant notifications, online applications and background checks, online lease signing and payment collection. All the process above can either be automated or heavily optimised with commercially available software, a bit of non-technical customisation and some defined processes. Data and documents can be stored on a cloud management platform to minimise paperwork and optimise accessibility.
It is challenging counterbalancing between the value of automation and the importance of customer service since people will be critical to property management. Today, no computer has been able to fix a toilet and customers at the other ends always need a friendly and calm voice during phone conversations. Technology can increase convenience and reduce costs for property managers, however it could isolate tenants and clients from their landlords and cause issues due to miss communication. It is important to always remain personal and understanding toward tenants whist being efficient and fast with processes.
However, with the speed in which technology is rapidly growing, real estate investors and managers can find out how to take advantage of technology to improve their customer service and rental experience.