How technology is changing the job of the property manager

Published on 21st February 2019 by Laura West

Property managers work directly with landlords and tenants in order to save time in the marketing, rent collection, maintenance and repair of their rental properties.

Equipped with experience, expertise and tools, property managers provide peace of mind. But as experienced in all industries, technology is rapidly transforming their job, duties and business. Here is how technology is changing the role of the property manager.

The staggering rise in the number of technology solutions available in the lettings market during the last few years has, for example, meant that property managers have had the ability to arrange viewings using third party solutions. Assured shorthold tenancies can also be easily signed electronically and generated, while rent payments can be reconciled, rent collection automated using sophisticated algorithms and payments pursued using a software platform.

Some companies also offer 24/7 concierge services for each tenant, in addition to a digital assistant for property managers. In a traditionally interactive and person-based industry, it is now possible to operate remotely and utilise digital tools to conduct a wide range of mundane, everyday tasks with free property management software.

The range of proptech solutions being introduced into the market is vast, stretching from drones used to undertake surveys, virtual reality to illustrate how a property will look after refurbishment to BIM systems which accurately assess running costs.

Complex data sets which enable property managers to make insightful and informed decisions will become powerful tools. Keyless access enabled by tech, such as by smartphone, will inform people how much time is spent in office buildings, how people use spaces, and what services could be utilised in order to enhance their environment.

Future advances such as blockchain software will likely underpin operational costs, which will initially be service charges. However, as net operating costs and inclusive rents replace service charges, the process will become more transparent and useful for occupiers and owners. Technology will offer alternative routes to transactional reconciliations and audits, as these are currently manual processes which can take weeks or months.

Building access technology will also provide greater functionality for customers, such as control over environmental and thermal comfort and the booking of facilities. It is also predicted that geofencing technology will provide contractors, visitors and employees with selected functionality and information as they arrive at a building. Technology will provide an opportunity for property managers to transform engagement, in terms of access to facilities and services, in addition to pushing content.

Clients will also have direct access to their property portfolio data, and property managers can continue adding value by inputting hard data and filling in any gaps.

Some technology interventions will support differentiation and product enhancement which will allow property managers to reduce void periods and achieve target rents.

Technology is enabling the buy to rent sector to process prospective tenants through well-designed workflows which capture key information, implement credit checks and complete tenancy agreements, in addition to other services. Software platforms will continue to be developed, and will transform the leasing process.

This will make the lettings industry more efficient, while yielding higher returns. Technology will free more time up for property managers, allowing them to nurture relationships with landlords and improve the profits of their business.

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