IS TECH­NOL­OGY LEAV­ING YOUR TEAM BE­HIND? Si­mone Files

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - Si­mone Files

THE REAL ES­TATE IN­DUS­TRY, in gen­eral, is a fast adopter of the lat­est and great­est tech­nol­ogy. As prop­erty man­agers, if there is an app, a pro­gram or piece of hard­ware that prom­ises to make our life eas­ier, we are will­ing to give it a go. But what about those be­ing left be­hind? Si­mone Files in­ves­ti­gates.

The re­turn on in­vest­ment on tech­nol­ogy for an agency owner is gen­er­ally high; the monthly sub­scrip­tion cost of most apps pay for them­selves by de­creas­ing the work­load and in­creas­ing the num­ber of prop­er­ties that can be man­aged by their staff. Isn’t that what tech­nol­ogy is sup­posed to do: en­hance our life by of­fer­ing us greater flex­i­bil­ity, so we can ac­com­plish more and have a bet­ter work/life bal­ance? Ex­actly – that’s why we jump on the tech­nol­ogy band­wagon.

But tech­nol­ogy may be mak­ing us lose sight of what is most im­por­tant: peo­ple. The real es­tate in­dus­try is based on the premise of serv­ing peo­ple; and as prop­erty man­agers, our area of ex­per­tise is to fa­cil­i­tate two par­ties com­ing to an agree­ment, en­sur­ing the agree­ment is in writ­ing, then man­ag­ing this process through to its con­clu­sion to en­sure all par­ties are ful­fill­ing their obli­ga­tions. This might be con­sid­ered a sim­plis­tic view, but I think we some­times lose sight of what our in­dus­try is about – pro­vid­ing service.

The most crit­i­cal as­pect of pro­vid­ing service is com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We need to pro­vide the stake­hold­ers with an­swers to the five key ques­tions – who, what, when, why and how. Af­ter all, if a ten­ant and an in­vestor could com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively, would they need us?

AU­TO­MA­TION RULES BUT SHOULD IT?

The days of hav­ing in­for­ma­tion over­load and a screen full of jobs and ac­tion items are long gone. Now we have apps with dash­boards that let us know when we need to act, in­stead of be­ing over­whelmed with man­ual to-do lists.

Soft­ware also al­lows us to hand­ball an is­sue off to an owner, trades­per­son, ten­ant or an­other staff mem­ber and then it dis­ap­pears from our screen. We don’t even need to for­mu­late our com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the next per­son as tem­plates are al­ready set up and the sys­tem happily sends out re­minders on your be­half to who­ever needs them.

The level of au­to­ma­tion avail­able now is a dream for prop­erty man­agers, stream­lin­ing our en­tire day; but, as with ev­ery­thing in life, there are al­ways ad­van­tage and dis­ad­van­tages. Our adopted tech­nol­ogy touches a range of peo­ple and we need to con­sider their needs, not just our own.

MIS­COM­MU­NI­CA­TION IS THE PRI­MARY SOURCE OF MISGIVING

In prop­erty man­age­ment, it is the in­vestors and ten­ants – every­one needs a roof over their head, a place to work and some­where to come home to at night. Our clients and cus­tomers are aged be­tween 18 and 100+ and come from all walks of life. Pre­dom­i­nately, they fall into the gen­er­a­tions of the baby boomers, Gen X and the mil­len­ni­als. Some are tech savvy, while oth­ers have never even touched a com­puter.

The cookie-cut­ter ap­proach to prop­erty man­age­ment treats every­one the same to en­sure con­sis­tent de­liv­ery of service and economies of scale to agency own­ers. There is no doubt that soft­ware can as­sist in this method of de­liv­ery – but if you talk to an owner they don’t want to be treated the same as every­one else. They be­lieve they are unique, as is their prop­erty. Ten­ants feel this way too and so do our trusted trades­peo­ple.

New man­age­ments for an agency fall into one of two cat­e­gories: prop­er­ties that haven’t been pre­vi­ously man­aged or prop­er­ties that have been trans­ferred from an­other agency. The lat­ter is an in­vestor frus­trated or un­happy with their pre­vi­ous man­ag­ing

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