WILL YOU SUR­VIVE THE FU­TURE OF PROP­ERTY MAN­AGE­MENT

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - DEB­BIE PALMER

Deb­bie Palmer

From DOS-based trust pro­grams, no in­ter­net or email, big chunky mo­bile phones and a long wait in a bank queue to de­posit thou­sands of dol­lars in rental cash, to the fast-mov­ing busi­nesses we have to­day – the amount of change has been phe­nom­e­nal. Deb­bie Palmer looks at where prop­erty man­agers will sit in the new world order.

The way we do things, the tech­nol­ogy, soft­ware and apps we em­brace, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ad­vance­ments, leg­is­la­tion com­pli­ance and the way we com­mu­ni­cate and op­er­ate a real es­tate/prop­erty man­age­ment busi­ness have rapidly changed and will con­tinue to do so. Be­fore we know it, there will be an Uber-like dis­rup­tion, un­less we stay cur­rent, con­nected to our clients and un­der­stand that prop­erty man­age­ment is more than just tech­nol­ogy.

From a prop­erty man­age­ment per­spec­tive, I be­lieve the most chal­leng­ing is­sues we are fac­ing right now are:

1 A lack of qual­ity and ex­pe­ri­enced prop­erty man­age­ment team mem­bers to re­cruit into agen­cies. This is a na­tional epi­demic, plac­ing many agen­cies/busi­ness own­ers into vul­ner­a­ble and re­ac­tive modes. 2 Dis­rup­tion from out­side busi­nesses to the tra­di­tional prop­erty man­age­ment agency struc­ture, such as Airbnb and Cubbi – and there will be many more to come and chal­lenge what we do. 3 The rapid ad­vance­ment of tech­nol­ogy, apps, soft­ware and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. 4 A shift in prop­erty man­agers es­tab­lish­ing their own in­de­pen­dent agen­cies, where prop­erty man­age­ment is their sole fo­cus and ser­vice is a pri­or­ity. 5 A change in how agen­cies are struc­tured and op­er­ated; in­clud­ing the emer­gence of Vir­tual As­sis­tants (VAs) be­ing more widely ac­cepted and utilised in the in­dus­try. 6 A lack of sys­tems and pro­cesses within prop­erty man­age­ment agen­cies or what I call ‘a blue­print for suc­cess' – be­ing a con­sis­tent ‘mapped way' of un­der­tak­ing each daily ac­tiv­ity and how your busi­ness de­liv­ers ex­cep­tional ser­vice. 7 A lack of well­be­ing, emo­tional in­tel­li­gence and mind­ful­ness be­ing em­braced by busi­ness own­ers to grow strong, long-last­ing prop­erty man­age­ment team mem­bers. 8 An in­crease in com­pli­ance pro­cesses and leg­is­la­tion. 9 Old-school prin­ci­pals not en­gag­ing in or tak­ing the prop­erty man­age­ment busi­ness se­ri­ously. 10 Com­pe­ti­tion of prop­erty man­age­ment agen­cies of­fer­ing dis­counted fees.

MAK­ING CON­NEC­TIONS I per­son­ally be­lieve that the key to sur­viv­ing or stay­ing com­pet­i­tive in a chang­ing mar­ket is to im­prove our con­nec­tions, re­la­tion­ships and com­mu­ni­ca­tions with our clients (land­lords) and cus­tomers (ten­ants).

Prop­erty man­age­ment is a peo­ple busi­ness. It is a longterm re­la­tion­ship of manag­ing the land­lord, tenant and prop­erty; not a quick once-off trans­ac­tion.

Now, more than ever, prop­erty man­age­ment busi­nesses need to be in­creas­ing their ser­vice of­fer­ings to com­pete with the dis­rup­tions that are en­ter­ing the mar­ket­place.

How would you rate your ser­vice now? What client ser­vice strate­gies do you have in place to stand out over your com­peti­tors or to cre­ate longterm loyal clients?

Our fo­cus can­not just be on the day-to-day pro­cesses.

Have you ever re­ceived a tele­phone call from an out­side agent ad­vis­ing that they have just listed a prop­erty for sale that's cur­rently on your rent roll? If you have (and you have a sales de­part­ment), then this is a red alert that you may need to im­prove your client ser­vice strate­gies.

THE KEY TO SUR­VIV­ING OR STAY­ING COM­PET­I­TIVE IN A CHANG­ING MAR­KET IS TO IM­PROVE OUR CON­NEC­TIONS, RE­LA­TION­SHIPS AND COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS WITH OUR CLIENTS (LAND­LORDS) AND CUS­TOMERS (TEN­ANTS).

HOW DO YOUR COM­MU­NI­CA­TION OP­TIONS COM­PARE? Video mar­ket­ing

When we think of video mar­ket­ing we of­ten think of vir­tual tours or videos of prop­er­ties. How­ever, video record­ing/mar­ket­ing is now be­ing more widely used to com­mu­ni­cate with clients and de­liver im­por­tant ‘per­sonal' mes­sages. We can call it ‘video re­la­tion­ship con­nec­tions' (VRC). This is where a prop­erty man­age­ment team mem­ber is talk­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their clients via video record­ings or real-time vir­tual apps such as Skype or the sim­ple cam­era fea­ture on your iPhone.

Open houses An open house has just taken place and all the prospec­tive tenant de­tails have been recorded in a live CRM sys­tem on your agency's iPad. Fol­low­ing the in­spec­tion, the mod­ern-day prop­erty man­ager or leas­ing con­sul­tant sits in their car or at the prop­erty and records a video mes­sage to send to their client/land­lord. “Hi Mrs Smith, great to con­nect with you again. This is Deb­bie from PPM Re­alty. I just wanted to quickly give you a per­sonal up­date on to­day's in­spec­tion. We had ten groups through the prop­erty and six ten­ants were re­ally in­ter­ested, ask­ing for an ap­pli­ca­tion. This is re­ally pos­i­tive news! You can be as­sured that rent­ing the prop­erty to the best pos­si­ble tenant is our pri­or­ity. Hope you have an awe­some week­end and I will give you a call early next week once the ap­pli­ca­tions have been re­ceived and pro­cessed." Click… and send the per­sonal mes­sage to the client/ land­lord.

Rou­tine in­spec­tions I be­lieve that con­duct­ing in­spec­tions re­motely through tech­nol­ogy, where the tenant can guide prop­erty man­agers around the home, will hap­pen sooner than we think. This will al­le­vi­ate many safety con­cerns for prop­erty man­agers. Smart homes are also be­ing de­vel­oped to cre­ate a to­tal au­to­ma­tion ex­pe­ri­ence. Prop­erty ap­pli­ances can be linked to an app that can send mes­sage re­minders of air­con­di­tion­ing units re­quir­ing to be ser­viced, elec­tri­cal is­sues, and so on, as well as many more fea­tures.

Vir­tual tours Ac­cord­ing to re­search, web­site vis­i­tors spend ap­prox­i­mately 400 per cent more time look­ing at video mar­ket­ing of prop­er­ties than prop­erty pho­tos. Vir­tual tours have of­ten been con­sid­ered a high-end op­tion for rent­ing prop­er­ties and more so for sales. How­ever, it is be­com­ing com­mon for rental prop­er­ties to fea­ture on­line with vir­tual tours and floor plans. There are many apps on the mar­ket now and ser­vice providers that make putting to­gether a prop­erty vir­tual tour sim­ple, easy and af­ford­able. It is a 24/7 ad­ver­tise­ment of the prop­erty.

Land­lord and tenant por­tals Prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ments have had ac­cess to trust ac­count por­tal fea­tures for more than a decade. How­ever, many are not util­is­ing them to their op­ti­mum ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Con­sumers want to be able to trans­act, com­mu­ni­cate and view data and in­for­ma­tion on­line re­motely at any time. If you are not util­is­ing this fea­ture, put it on your to-do list.

Tele­phone calls and client sur­veys It is more im­por­tant than ever to start pick­ing up the tele­phone (or send­ing video mes­sages) to have real con­ver­sa­tions with your clients. When was the last time that you per­son­ally sur­veyed your land­lords or ten­ants? Not to talk main­te­nance or rent ar­rears, but to re­ally con­nect, build re­la­tion­ships and find out what you are do­ing right and what you could do a lit­tle bet­ter. Con­duct­ing client sur­veys ef­fec­tively is also a great way to gen­er­ate more busi­ness and in­come.

Once a client has ex­pe­ri­enced in­creased ser­vice of­fer­ings, it will be­come an ex­pec­ta­tion. Would you give your busi­ness to a bank where the only ser­vice op­tion was to walk into the of­fice, email or tele­phone?

The way to sur­vive the fu­ture? Wow your clients so they re­main with you and don't want to ever leave.

CON­DUCT­ING IN­SPEC­TIONS RE­MOTELY THROUGH TECH­NOL­OGY, WHERE THE TENANT CAN GUIDE PROP­ERTY MAN­AGERS AROUND THE HOME, WILL HAP­PEN SOONER THAN WE THINK.

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