Balancing technology and human touch in property management

Balancing technology and human touch in property management
Published on April 1, 2020,07:15 am by Alex Vasquez for

When entering the property management industry, there are so many new technologies that, at times, it can be overwhelming to decide what route to go and what provides the best results and return on investment. How you outline and structure your business model will be crucial in optimizing all the amazing systems and software that is available. With that said, there is such a thing as too much technology, and having a lack of personal experience can be just as much a factor. Finding the balance between technology and human touch is still essential when outlining your game plan.

Systems Do Matter

In the past, using QuickBooks and keeping a notepad with expenses was not uncommon. In fact, there are still many property management companies today that are not maximizing all the incredible software and systems that are readily available. From accounting, marketing, call centers, lease drafting, reminders, online portals for both owners and tenants and much more, if you are looking to grow into a larger property management firm with the capacity to manage several hundred or thousand doors, then embracing and utilizing these systems is key.

Systems To Start With

If you’re just getting started, being aware of what technologies are most important, as well as how many doors you should have, is crucial to maximizing your money. Typically, after 500 doors is when you start to see the most bang for your buck. Under that, your cost per door still tends to be expensive, especially if you are using an all-in-one software. Setting your sights on what numbers are necessary to scale must be part of your initial analysis. Otherwise, you cannot truly reap the rewards and exploit your returns.

If you don’t see yourself growing into a larger firm, then it may be more cost-effective to utilize the areas of property management that you feel don’t require all your attention and can save you money and time by systemizing them. These areas may include email marketing syndication, call center for maintenance or self-showing key boxes that enable potential tenants to preview a property at their convenience.

Systems To Add On

Assuming you have scaled passed 500 doors, your operation may be at the point where it has the need and ability to add some more cool tech. So, what next, you ask? How about more owners? More owners equal more doors, and more doors equal more income. One of the most important elements (if not the most important) is your website and ranking on major platforms such as Google, as well as having favorable online reviews. Focusing on your SEO through building original content through blogs, video marketing and encouraging reviews are all what will be necessary to keep your property management company growing.

Investing in companies that can build on to your existing website, or even fully revamp and take it to the next level, is worth considering. Hiring a virtual assistant to help create original content for your website is also a great plan, and, of course, working hard to get as many positive reviews as possible is what will separate you from the pack. Once all of these items are implemented, as well as your all-in-one software, you will be well on your way to property management dominance.

Human Touch Prevails

Make sure you match what makes sense to your clients’ needs and avoid making decisions on trends. What works in highly dense populations may not be as effective in smaller, spread-out towns. Being efficient in today’s world is always a part of any aspiring property management firm, however, lacking that human touch can leave a poor impression on potential tenants and owners. Here are some non-tech ideas that may be worth incorporating.

• Live call line: One thing is certain: No one likes having to go through an automated system when there is a maintenance emergency or serious concern about issues like late rent or accounting questions for new owners. Make sure you have a designated line to address all these issues or the most FAQ in your property management company. This will help make your tenants and owners feel much more valued and that you are there to accommodate them.

• Live showings: When you really think about it, live showings may be the most impactful opportunity to get your property leased faster. When potential new tenants go into a new property, there is only so much they can establish on their own. When shown live with a property manager, questions can be asked, objections cured and more details about the property — it’s amenities and surrounding areas — can be expressed. In essence, helping paint a clear picture can only be done by another person. In this case, technology and efficiency for self-showings cannot compete with human interaction.

• Routine inspections: Ensuring that your owner’s assets are protected should be one of the top priorities as a property manager. No amount of tech currently available can do that. Thus, a good old-fashioned inspection is what is required. Walking the exterior and the interior a minimum of twice a year to determine all is well will increase your value. If you really want to blow your owners away, offer inspections every quarter.

Finding Balance

As you can see, technology cannot only make your life as a property manager much easier, but it can also enable you to scale your business and make more profits. However, as you grow and invest in your company, make sure you incorporate the human element into your plan. Too high-tech and efficient can at times be perceived as cold and impersonal to a new tenant or owner. At the same time, not enough tech can leave people feeling frustrated and like their time was wasted. Blending the best of both worlds will separate you from the competition and enable steady and controllable growth, all the while providing a personalized customer service feel.