Forever changing and constantly evolving, technology touches almost every industry—and real estate is no exception. While tech often gets a bad rap, well-placed and thoughtful technology can transform the way that people live, work (and yes, socialise—thank you Instagram.) It’s about way more than just the latest gadget, and can support businesses in establishing an effective workflow with ease.
Here are our thoughts on technology and its place within our ever-evolving industry.
The current context
Ultimately, the industry is currently very admin-heavy and task-based, which often results in many a laborious process for property managers and a slow experience for clients—neither of which are ideal facets of business. The work of property managers at present can be characterised as highly reactive instead of proactive, and the manual nature of the work is something that can be remedied through the implementation of technology.
Although we’re looking at technology within real estate here, it would be remiss not to mention the impact that technology within the broader context of society has on our industry. The facts are that the expectations that clients have of property managers no longer come from direct comparison to previous experience or other agencies—they’re now comparing the property management service they receive with the huge range of other services they access on a daily basis—like Uber or Menulog. Those are the expectations that property managers have to match up against.
Minimise mistakes and reset the focus
The very nature of manual work is that there is ample opportunity for human error. While this is inevitable and understandable, leveraging technology in these very task-based contexts can serve to dramatically minimise mistakes thanks to automation.
The duties of a property manager often include a range of low value activities, such as going and inspecting empty properties, whereas the real value in the industry lies in relationship building and building connections with real-life people.
Ultimately, if technology can alleviate some of the pressure on property managers to carry out the more menial, low-value activities, it frees them up to work on building relationships—which will greatly impact a business’ bottom line as well as elevate our industry.
Better client experience
Many of the apps and tech that are available within this context will automate certain processes that will make clients feel better taken care of. Our favourites are Tapi—a property maintenance platform that enables maintenance tracking, invoice automation, a tenant concierge hub and data insights, and Sorted, a platform that assists in automating the process of signing tenancy agreements. Analysis at Independent suggested that using this platform saved the business 40 minutes to an hour per tenancy signing—leaving property managers free to work on adding value in other areas of their role.
We also love Airtable as a do-it-all collaboration platform that streamlines your team’s workflow, as well as Inspection Express for simplifying the property inspection process and eliminating the plethora of paperwork that is frequently involved. All of these platforms create a better experience for the client, and a more communicative role for the property manager. Win win!
Ultimately, if technology can alleviate some of the pressure on property managers to carry out the more menial, low-value activities, it frees them up to work on building relationships.
The future and the Internet of Things
We predict that we will soon start to see the Internet of Things (IoT) make its way into the industry’s mainstream. The value of IoT lies in its ability to completely disrupt the existing process that many a property manager will be familiar with, namely where something breaks and property managers arrange for it to be fixed. We will move toward a system where the IoT enables us to predict and understand when items in a property are going to break down.
This shift has the power to completely turn the role of a property manager on its head; we will be empowered to become proactive rather than reactive, and the user experience will be vastly improved for tenants and landlords alike.
It’s anticipated that by 2032, 82% of real estate jobs will not exist in the way they do today, which means we’ll see a huge shift in the way that tasks are carried out and, inevitably, better integration of tech to help streamline roles.