From data­base and ad­min­is­tra­tion apps to ma­jor ac­count­ing and file-shar­ing plat­forms, Natalie Hast­ings looks at the cloud tech­nol­ogy that is mov­ing the in­dus­try for­ward.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - Natalie Hast­ings

Re­mem­ber the ad­vent of the in­ter­net and mo­bile phones, and the techno­phobe principals who thought the in­ter­net and real es­tate por­tals were just a fad? The ones who be­lieved news­pa­per ad­verts and let­ter­box-drop­ping would con­tinue as the best way to ad­ver­tise prop­erty and mar­ket their brand? It's likely that those ini­tially-re­sis­tant principals went one of two ways: they ei­ther adapted their think­ing, or they melted into re­tire­ment or ob­scu­rity.

Real es­tate busi­nesses are es­sen­tially mar­ket­ing busi­nesses with a lo­cal fo­cus. Just like hast­ings + co (as a busi­ness we rely heav­ily on the cloud), they would not be able to ex­ist with­out the as­sis­tance of tech­nol­ogy. We rely on tech­nol­ogy ev­ery day to help train our clients from afar, pro­vid­ing a per­sonal ser­vice de­spite the tyranny of dis­tance. We reg­u­larly ac­cess our clients' of­fice com­put­ers re­motely to trans­fer funds on their be­half to their clients, in­clud­ing land­lords and trades­peo­ple. As es­tate agen­cies across Aus­tralia and New Zealand use a va­ri­ety of real es­tate ac­count­ing pack­ages, our team em­ploys tech­nol­ogy to stay up-skilled in over 17 bank­ing soft­ware plat­forms – no mean feat! Nat­u­rally, we love tech­nol­ogy in our of­fice as it al­lows us to be nim­ble and vir­tu­ally pa­per­less, too.

I think it's safe to say that many es­tate agen­cies' ef­fi­cien­cies could be im­proved by the use of cloud­based ap­pli­ca­tions across the busi­ness. By delet­ing clunky, eas­ily-de­stroyed paper-based sys­tems, you're en­abling your agency to go truly mo­bile, which is what the mar­ket de­mands. hast­ings + co's op­er­a­tion is wholly man­aged by cloud-based ap­pli­ca­tions; here are our favourites:

Drop­box: A se­cure file­shar­ing plat­form which al­lows teams to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion they all re­quire via per­mis­sions. Great for col­lab­o­ra­tion with pho­tog­ra­phers, floor plan­ners and copy­writ­ers too – they can up­load me­dia di­rectly into your pri­vate agency Drop­box.

Xero: An in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful Aus­tralian-built cloud-based ac­count­ing plat­form! Al­low­ing principals to gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of their cash­flow is just the be­gin­ning – you can even rec­on­cile us­ing a Xero app while on the road!

GoToMeet­ing: A screen­shar­ing ap­pli­ca­tion that al­lows you to work to­gether with team mem­bers when you're not in the same lo­ca­tion. Great for prob­lem-solv­ing in prop­erty man­age­ment where soft­ware can be com­plex.

REST Mo­bile: Your en­tire REST data­base can fit in the palm of your hand on any de­vice. REST Mo­bile means you can re­trieve owner, ten­ant and prop­erty de­tails on the go, sav­ing you from em­bar­rass­ment next time a land­lord whose de­tails you can't quite re­call catches you on the fly. You can also call, text or email con­tacts live from the app, in ad­di­tion to see­ing cred­i­tor de­tails – and even prop­erty key num­bers, alarm codes and main­te­nance de­tails! A real life­saver.

re­al­bench­mark: New Rock­end tech­nol­ogy, this is a KPI and bench­mark­ing tool which makes con­nect­ing to your busi­ness pulse a dod­dle. Ac­ces­si­ble from any de­vice, re­al­bench­mark of­fers an in­tu­itive plat­form which al­lows PMs to com­pare and an­a­lyse their KPI per­for­mance data re­sults in one place. The data is al­ready pre­pared and can be fil­tered to pro­duce re­ports based on your own needs.

In­spect Real Es­tate: Regis­terOn­line is a prop­erty man­ager's right hand. This clever tool sched­ules, reg­is­ters, books and re­ports on open for in­spec­tions. Of­fer­ing a book­ing sys­tem which al­lows ten­ants to make ap­point­ments to view prop­erty, it cuts down on ad­min and con­fir­ma­tion. Upon regis­tra­tion, ten­ants re­ceive con­fir­ma­tion re­gard­ing their open for in­spec­tion ap­point­ment plus an ap­pli­ca­tion form. They also re­ceive an in­spec­tion re­minder.

Other hast­ings + co cloud­based favourites in­clude WORKetc, Gmail, LogMeIn, and TeamViewer.

This tech­nol­ogy de­creases run­ning costs, and we don't re­quire a costly server or any third-party IT sup­port. ■

NATALIE HAST­INGS is the Manag­ing Di­rec­tor of hast­ings + co. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit hast­


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