FROM THE GUEST EDITOR
FIRSTLY, I’D LIKE to pass on my hearty congratulations to Samantha and her team for the launch of this magazine, which marks a milestone achievement in the evolution of our property management industry.
There is an abundance of information, trends and research that is yet to arrive and be shared in this evolving industry, and this new magazine helps bring together the many parts we all need to be aware of, contribute to and learn from.
In the first edition, we saw some great insight from exceptional people across a number of topics. Engagement and communication between property managers and sales departments, the strategies for rent roll growth and efficiency, dealing with new systems and technology, personnel aptitudes and training are all important and current themes in these changing times.
This issue puts the spotlight on different types of technology available in property management, so with the privilege of a somewhat ‘helicopter view' of the industry, I thought I'd share some observations that come from years of focusing on the rental process and PM teams, working with over 6,400 agencies, about 60 portal and software uploaders, dozens of service providers and feedback from over 350,000 renters every month.
From my own perspective, I started Rent.com.au over seven years ago and, like any growing business, have had to deal with the impact of technology, its efficiency in one place and its social and commercial impacts in another. Having had all the challenges faced by a growing small business, I
We all want better technology, but more than half the industry has not capitalised on the opportunity these mediums present.
can say the most important thing I've learned is to fit the use and adoption of new technology to suit the stage of business you're in at any time. In the past 12 months we've experienced a 250 per cent growth in traffic, people and services, and again I am reminded about the fine balance of people and technology.
It's clear the property management world today recognises a need to improve efficiency. A number of new technologies are being introduced to achieve this, including Property Condition Reports, Maintenance Programs and Inspection Management Systems, which will continue to improve in ease of use and flexibility.
Our recent market feedback indicates that the great majority of property managers want to embrace new technology, but not even half (44 per cent) believe technology makes their life easier. Video and digital floorplans are emerging, but over 80 per cent of the industry is incorporating this new product-related technology in less than 25 per cent of their listings.
The verdict is out: we all want better technology, but more than half the industry has not capitalised on the opportunity these mediums present. It's a classic case of the 80/20 rule, where some adaptive and IT-progressive agencies are making headway, and most agencies are catching up in their implementation because there are real issues of cost and training.
Trends also show that core technology tools, such as iPads and smartphones, are fast being used to improve presentations and referral programs. We're also seeing a move towards services and applications shifting to the increasing flexibility of cloudbased computing.
Moving forward, I can see a renewed focus on the modern renter and how they interact with websites. Their expectations when looking at a property are undoubtedly going to increase in line with faster internet. 3D virtual tours, which a renter can conduct from the comfort of their own home, are one such example. Further to that, I think the ability for an agent and tenant to interact through a video feed has enormous potential, offering the opportunity for remote inspections.
Other likely outcomes of technological advancement will be the further automation of paperwork processing, end to end. We'd be looking at advancements such as digital signatures and a better identification system to make that possible.
Services and portals dedicated to the renting process, such as Rent.com. au, will also improve the way properties are showcased to renters. There'll be better ways for renters to filter and find what they're looking for, with more intuitive searching.
Rent.com.au was started because I saw huge growth and opportunity in property management, the unaddressed needs of the renter and landlord, and that as an industry overall it lacks the empowerment it deserves. As such, this magazine is fantastic and we look forward to continuing to raise the recognition of and support all property managers, and of course renters, for whom renting is becoming more of a long-term lifestyle choice.
Technology and its rapidly changing landscape will continue to grow, inspire and shape the industry. It's exciting and dynamic – but at the end of the day it will always be the people and the quality of our relationships that make all the difference.
It's all about finding your place and the right balance between technology and people skills as differentiators. There are many stories that pay tribute to this, and we should all stop to celebrate the achievements in property management along the way.