PropTech can be defined as the digitalisation of the real estate industry. Countless other markets are learning to embrace technology—for ease, inclusion, accountability and record-keeping purposes - why should property management be any different?
Rochelle Trup, co-founder of property management software specialists, Arthur Online, explains:
"Technology is advancing every day. It has made the entire rental process simpler, and yet, some feel it may be leading to the obsolescence of their role.
So, what’s a property manager to do? Does PropTech help property managers?
PropTech organises information and automation procedures, simplifying management and helping property managers save money. It has not only heightened expectations about how smoothly rentals should run, it has raised the bar on speed and service quality.
In reality, it has progressed from a property manager’s convenience to a competitive requirement in just a short amount of time. What was once simply a helpful hand has grown to feel like an indispensable partner for those who have embraced it. And for managers not using it, its absence is going to start becoming more and more evident.
PropTech performs many of the tasks that would otherwise be the responsibilities of managing agents, and some feel it threatens to “cut out the middleman.” Those who have been using PropTech for some time might agree that roles are not being cut as much as they’re being modernised.
Property management is becoming “people management”
Though PropTech makes managing more streamlined, what it cannot do is make the “human” decisions that property managers handle on a daily basis.
Some PropTech software has been integrated with messaging platforms, allowing property managers to enhance the renting experience through better interaction with tenants.
Person-to-person communication remains a vital part of successful management and can never be fully automated. For example, an HMO requires strangers to live together, this means the property manager must work diligently from the very beginning to promote a harmonious and trouble-free living environment.
Property managers are also needed to determine whether a potential new tenant is a suitable fit for an HMO—a judgement that PropTech simply cannot make. The human touch of listening and liaising with tenants will always be needed and can never be replaced by PropTech.
So in this sense, the manager can never be entirely cut out of the rental process. The manager’s duties are simply lightened by the integration of PropTech.
PropTech: an aid to property managers
The potential benefits of adding PropTech are virtually limitless. Benefits that have already been realised include enhanced tenant search, application vetting, tracking, record keeping, rent collection, lease renewals, feedback, conflict resolution, clear communication, automation and much more.
A few platforms can even leverage third-party technology via integrations. For example, integrations with cloud accounting software streamline day-to-day bookkeeping—something that is time-consuming and subject to human error. Property maintenance issues can get more immediate attention with Prop Tech, too. If there’s a leak on the 54th floor, the building engineer can be alerted immediately with a dedicated app.
The most common tenant complaints can be addressed with PropTech. And when tenants are happy, rent is more likely to be paid on time, voids are reduced and property management companies enhance their reputations.
Property managers are no longer tied to their phones, fielding calls from tenants and struggling to connect with superintendents, engineers and contractors. They are accomplishing the same volume of work whilst spending more time with their families and on other personal and professional pursuits. Instead of being caught up in day-to-day tasks, they can focus on growing their businesses.
Not long ago, property managers were feeling overwhelmed, overworked, underappreciated…and now, they’re wondering if they’ll be replaced by an app. What we have here is an exercise in balance: a proposition that will solve one primary problem, and in turn solve countless others.
The property manager is not deemed obsolete by PropTech. He or she is now able to fulfil their duties with more speed, precision…with clear communication and record-keeping. By default, costs are lowered, and profits are heightened.
As with any new technology, PropTech is feeling some resistance; however, the overall impact for stakeholders is becoming increasingly evident and progressively positive for everyone involved—including those property managers whose roles are being modernised, NOT eliminated."