5 Technology Trends Real Estate Players Should Watch Out For
Digital transformation is today the hottest area of interest in almost every business sector. With the huge growth in a digital savvy user base, enterprises big or small are continuously investing in new age digital technologies and tools to help them serve customers better and survive the tough market competition. The real estate sector is no different in this regard as digital technologies have reshaped both the customer and property landscape over the past couple of years. From facilities such as a simple listing of properties online to AI enabled best property matching based on preferences, the list of digital innovations in the real estate sector is huge. If your primary business is centered around real estate, then the following 5 technology innovations should certainly be on your watch list for 2019.
Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications
Today, real estate is a globally accessible commodity and not restrictive to localized demand. A property may attract interest from buyers across the world and not just in the vicinity or city that it is located. The challenge then lies in providing a holistic experience for the interested buyer to have a good look and feel of the property before investing. It may not always be possible to bring them physically to the place due to cost or other travel related concerns. This is where technology such as AR and VR can make a difference. With hardware devices, making AR/VR capabilities, inexpensive and accessible, property managers can easily facilitate an AR/VR demo for buyers to make faster and better decisions from anywhere. Another useful application would be for homeowners to use AR/VR to decide their home décor or construction techniques. For example, the positioning of furniture, temporary or permanent interior fixtures, etc., can be decided way before the actual construction begins. This allows more planning and elimination of cost overheads wherein both buyer and builder would have a clear understanding of how the building is to be constructed.
Check out how AR and VR are revolutionizing the real estate industry.
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Big Data Analytics
Real estate is one sector where pricing is a highly dynamic constituent. There are a number of factors influencing property or land prices and very often owners or enterprises that manage properties find it hard to offer competitive or profitable pricing to prospective buyers. However, several forward-thinking players have now started to utilize the power of big data analytics to get the most preferential pricing schemes that bolster both interests from buyers as well as maintain a competitive profit margin for sellers or property owners. Historical rental or property cost data along with trends such as demographic changes, population density, preferential behavior, amenity choices, spending patterns, etc., are supplied as data insights into powerful analytical systems. These in turn offer insights or in other words recommendations for property owners to price their offerings competitively and enhance the overall buying or rental experience for a consumer.
Related Reading: Find how Big Data is influencing the health care industry.
Innovative Property Management
The rise of start-up culture and the global workforce paradigm has impacted the real estate sector considerably. Today, it is not just one major tenant that leases an entire building or space within a building to set up its office, but several players invest to take up co-working spaces. In fact, studies have shown that shared workspaces have grown at an incredible rate of 200% over 5 years from 2013 to 2018. Co-working spaces facilitate companies to set up a presence where their best employees prefer to work thereby helping in boosting retention levels. For the real estate sector, this change in occupancy trend has called for the rise of innovative property management software that incorporates several new technology offerings. For example, power and other utility services have to be shared among multiple tenants in a co-working space and this requires the property management tool to be integrated with an IoT powered building management system that can monitor occupancy levels, adjust power and other environmental support features like lighting, temperature control, etc. Doing these tasks manually would require considerable overhead and hiring of a large workforce. Autonomous IoT integrated property management solutions can easily facilitate multiple tenants to collaborate in a workspace saving them the hassle of worrying about unwanted costs and the owners can have peace of mind without having to deal with manual supply and maintenance of essential support services.
Related Reading: Check out tips to select the right software for property management.
Blockchain Powered Smart Contracts
While some of the technology advancements we mentioned before require autonomous property management, blockchain is the key ingredient that can help make it possible in real time. The decentralized and highly immutable features of blockchain can help transform real estate management and property leasing considerably. An owner or landlord can easily rent out or sell portions of his property with agreed terms and conditions all recorded on smart contracts. The contract makes the details of the sale or rental highly encrypted and complies with all local laws and regulations. Besides, several government agencies are increasingly investing in blockchain to set up regulatory repositories that can autonomously validate land records, property and tax implications and much more. So, if real estate buyers can bump up their investments in blockchain, they can turn to become more compliant and legitimate in the market. This would increase affection for their offerings for prospective customers.
Digital Advertising and Sales
Today, a large portion of prospective buyers or leasing clients are hooked to social media and other digital channels to gain information. As a real estate dealer, you need to ensure that your properties are marketed in the right digital channel and reach the right audience within such channels. There are tons of social media advertising platforms that help you filter your target audience to the finest level. If you do not want to spend time on the filtering part, there are AI-powered tools that help do the job even better than humans. AI is not just limited to ad filtering for the real estate sector. There are intelligent chatbot applications available today for deployment in your website. These bots can converse with potential buyers when they inquire on your website, collect their information, suggest them the best choices based on their preferences, pass the right information to sales agents to take the lead further and ultimately help them close it quickly. From marketing automation to intelligent sales conversations, there is a host of digital solutions that the real estate players, can utilize to win customer hearts with personalization in highly competitive markets.
Related Reading: Watch out for the emerging technology trends of 2019.
No longer can the real estate sector be labeled as a laggard in terms of technology innovations. There are plenty of digital avenues where smart players can invest and stand out from the competition. We have showcased 5 of these avenues that are increasingly driving more value for adopters and we believe that these should be on the watchlist of any real estate player in 2019. Going digital friendly is no easy task, especially if you do not have a sizeable technology team in-house who is well versed in all these innovations. But that is where a technology partner like Fingent can prove to be the decisive factor in on-boarding the best technology innovations in your real estate business. If you are aspiring to be a leader in the real estate space through technology, talk to our experts today to explore the vast opportunities in digital transformation for your business.
Over the years the real estate market has witnessed a tremendous change in the way it runs the business. Intense market competition has compelled the real estate firms to rethink traditional strategies and innovate. Therefore, modern realtors are considering various real estate innovations as opportunities to build up their valuation.
One such innovation prevailing in the real estate market today is the concept of an amenity-packed mobile app. Applications connecting tenants with a pool of amenities are the latest makeover tools adopted by realtors. These apps are now the trending treats offered by real estate companies to retain their existing tenants and attract new ones.
Amenity Apps – The Next Big Thing In Real Estate Market
Recent reports have revealed that the vacancy rate of offices in New Jersey and Westchester County, has increased to 20%. Even the overall vacancy rates of Manhattan is above 8.5%, approximately. With such high vacancy rates in the most competitive real estate markets, realtors have realized the need to adopt differentiated strategies to retain tenants. Hence, realtors are now stepping out of their specialty to foster services beyond the boundaries of property business. The most innovative approach through which builders are now keeping their buildings 100% leased is by introducing amenities.
Why Amenity Apps?
In today’s world where competition is at its peak, workers often fail to maintain a work-life balance. While striving to beat the nerve-racking competition of the modern world, employees are missing out on the necessary routines of life. Regular exercises, health checkups, haircuts, laundry or even picking up a meal becomes a hassle when work is tough.
Realizing these challenging situations of today’s workforce, some prominent realtors like Tishman Speyer and Sterling Bay, created amenity apps for their employees in New York. These apps are helping the workers to achieve a balance between personal and professional life. With these apps, property builders are extending their services to bring in amenities to the doorsteps of their customers.
Life hacks provided through prompt mediums like mobile and tablets are making buildings more attractive for tenants to stick on. Extending real estate services to provide better lives for tenants are not only upgrading the value of buildings but are also turning office markets to service businesses.
How To Woo Tenants With The Perfect Amenity App?
With amenity apps creating a hue in the real estate market, property builders are striving to introduce spellbinding services through innovation. Office landlords and building owners are integrating technology with small-scale businesses to woo their tenants. But to create an impact in the market, it is necessary to load these amenity apps with captivating features. To help realtors deduce the best amenities for their apps, here’s a short list of the popular ones that are boosting the customer retention rates for some leading real estate enterprises. While food services have already become the baseline of several amenity service apps, few other amenity types are also achieving an eminent position.
Health & Fitness
With healthcare activities gaining popularity among the current young workforce, several real estate firms are loading their amenity apps with wellness services. On-suite fitness programs like massages, meditation, yoga, and other healthcare programs are the prominent features of multiple amenity apps. hOm introduced by the Brookfield Property Partners is one such innovative example of technology-packed amenity provider that offers unique fitness events to create healthy communities.
Leading real estate providers are trying their best to create active and lively communities. Lack of time and rush life often makes it difficult for residents to engage well with their neighborhood. With a motive to diminish such hostility and create more engaging communities, property builders are now incorporating emerging technologies to implement amenities that bring people together. Services like group discussions, ride sharing, community meetings, travel management, human resource services, etc. are attractive features of amenity apps.
Access to Building Amenities
Gated communities often extend a wide range of amenities for their residents. Generally, these amenities are offered through common communication channels like emails and telephones, which makes it difficult for residents to reach them. Hence, property owners are now featuring portals to bring these building services closer to tenants. Recently Silverstein Properties introduced the Residential Community App which allows tenants to access rent payments, tenant referrals, community and neighborhood maps, shuttle services, discounts, offers and much more through their smartphones and tablets.
With the increased concern of protecting nature, property owners are now focusing on amenities that serve both tenants and nature. The SL Green Realty Corp., initiated a suite called SL Living Green that connects residents with group discussions, educational talks, recycling projects, eco-friendly waste disposal schemes, etc. to enhance their wellness and style of living. These amenity features allow tenants to feel responsible towards nature which attains them a unique experience.
Other Popular Amenities
Few other personal styling and emergency medical care amenities are popularizing among tenants. Medical aids like backup child care, health screening, drug delivery etc are some of the highly accepted medical features of amenity apps. Also, few real estate firms are designing their amenity apps to deliver styling amenities like blowouts and manicures, shoe shining, hair styling etc. to desired locations.
Related Reading: Self Showing App, an IoT application built by Fingent streamlines the complete inspection and leasing procedures of real estate firms. Find more in the case study here.
How Are Real Estate Amenity Apps Winning Hearts In New York?
Isolated lives of metropolitans have marred the quality of life. The struggles to socialize, stay fit and even to groom well, are becoming the increased concern of the modern generation. Hence, the leading real estate firms are empowering their amenity apps with services to sort these hassles of the modern world. One such enterprise is Tishman Speyer, who has integrated technology with small-scale services to create unique experiences for its tenants.
Tishman Speyer, a diversified real estate firm operating properties of worth $89 billion, including the iconic Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, rolled out an app called Zo. The Zo. app is winning hearts in New York, by exclusively connecting its employees to an unparalleled collection of services. They offer exclusive deals which include wellness programs, social and interest group gatherings, backup childcare, on-site health screening, and medical services, dry cleaning pick up and delivery, personal styling, individual meal delivery, catering, and much more. These services are enhancing the living standards of Tishman workers and tenants by creating a hassle-free work environment for them.
Another leading real estate developer in New York, entering the emerging war of landlord amenities is Sterling Bay. They have introduced their own app offering expanded eye-catching amenities for their workers.
Extreme competition in the real estate market is determining the growth of property businesses on the basis of the number of people in it and not by the square footage. More than magnificent buildings, residents are now attracted to communities that deliver unique and lively environment. Tenants prefer buildings that provide amenities through advanced technology channels that enhance the living experience. Incorporating smarter technologies and utilizing real estate software, is emerging to be an essential ingredient in real estate business today.
With emerging technologies transforming communities, the real estate market is witnessing a new era of property services beyond bricks and mortar.
Related Reading: A Property Management Software can be a boon for real estate managers if adopted the right one. Find the secrets of finding the right property management software here.
Read More: Mobile App Development : 4 Tips To Consider
While most sectors have battled their respective digital disruption by enhancing their own digital capabilities, the real estate sector has been considerably slow to react. This is rather astonishing when you look at the size of the real estate business globally where it surpasses all other sectors to form the most valuable commodity valued at over $217 trillion. In the digital era, no industry is safe from disruptions and this includes the real estate sector as well.
How will custom software transform the real estate business?
With the overwhelming majority of today’s buyers belonging to the millennial group, the sector is witnessing an increased demand for digital innovation. From finance to aesthetics, there is a wide range of applications for technology in the real estate sector and this includes both commercial and residential assets.
What drives the need for digital in the real estate sector?
The three main driving forces behind digital adoption in the real estate sector are
- Buyer Experience
The buyer experience is the ultimate selling point for any property today be it commercial or residential. From the discovery of the property to guaranteed maintenance operations after a sale, today’s buyers need seamless services on all fronts. This could be made possible through a highly connected digital ecosystem that is spread across the entire buyer journey. There is a need for bringing a mature and trustworthy operational model for real estate dealings. Custom digital software can help bridge the gap between realtors, property managers, landlords and tenants in a multitude of ways and bring about transparency and accountability in matters where large financial transactions are involved. Besides the real estate sector draws quite a big eye from the authorities and compliance standards for safety which are amongst the toughest of all sectors. With a digital backbone, it becomes easier for compliance requirements to be validated and audited by government agencies. For buyers, this provides peace of mind and a hassle-free tenure with all risk aspects sorted, at both individual and government level.
What can digital transformation do for the real estate sector?
Now that you are well aware of the need to drive digital innovations, it is time to have a look at ways in which digital transformation can reshape the real estate sector. A gamut of technology innovations exists today that can deep dive into the various nuances in the sector and create lasting experiences for buyers and tenants and transform properties into global commodities. Let us examine the top 5 ways in which the real estate sector can transform with custom software.
Discovery of properties
In the 1980s, close to 22% of home buyers relied on newspaper ads and 8% relied on their friends to discover new properties to buy. In 2017, more than 51% relied on the internet to make a property or a home purchase decision. The internet has become the hotbed for real estate marketing and if you are not out online with full guns blazing, chances are that your listed property or home may not attract any potential interest from the buyers of today. Real estate developers and sellers need to have an attractive website for their property in addition to maintaining a sizable listing on the most popular property portals amongst buyers. Doing your homework on SEO and taking steps to include feedback from powerful search analytical tools provided by search engines like Google themselves, you can improve the online presence of your property considerably.
Related Reading: A Property Management Software can be a boon for real estate managers if adopted the right one. Find the secrets of finding the right property management software here.
Changing the role of real estate agents
Most digital disruptions have focused on massively reshaping the roles of personnel involved and here too, the picture is not different. With the rise of digital portals and custom software, buyers and sellers can connect more directly without losing a hefty price in terms of commissions. But agents are not completely left out as well. They, on the other hand, have a plethora of marketing and customer service tools to offer more privileged and customized services for buyers. The transformation can, however, be a bit painful for real estate agents dealing with residential properties as they can be choked out by a large number of digital listing portals wherein sellers can directly provide information, arrange site visits and even proceed with legal documentation without the agent’s help.
Transforming site visits
By the year 2025, nearly 20 million households in the US would be owned exclusively by folks in the millennial generation. If you expect them to drop by after work or on a Sunday for a property visit, then chances are you will never hear from them after the first inquiry. In the digital age, you can use custom software to schedule and arrange for a suitable site visit time slot that is favorable for both the potential buyer and the agent. It can even facilitate pre-visit conditions such as a deposit, online application, valid document proof, etc. Going a step further, virtual and augmented reality embedded apps can provide a 360-degree walk-through of the property on the buyer’s mobile phone anytime and anywhere. With such digital innovations, the target market would not hesitate in spending an extra premium thanks to the splendid buying experience.
Related Reading: Self Showing App, an IoT application built by Fingent streamlines the complete inspection and leasing procedures of real estate firms. Find more in the case study here.
Setting the terms of leasing or buying
Gone are the days, when you needed hours of documentation to create a transparent lease or buying agreement that aligns with regional laws and complies with all relevant risk management standards. Today custom real estate software can provide digital lease or buying agreements that can be validated by local, regional or national government authorities directly without middlemen leading to significant cost reduction in the entire process. A digital portal could record every transaction from the first site visit pre-requisites to valid document audits, payment information, terms and conditions of the agreement including periodic rental revision agreements, automated payment schedules, etc. Such a massive transformation can bring about significant changes to both residential and commercial real estate properties.
Preventing fraudulent transactions
Having a digital backbone brings with it guaranteed transparency and accountability for every transaction or commitment made between a buyer and a seller. Besides, digital portals having direct validation credentials with government authorities can provide digital verification of documents, identity proofs and other associated legal requirements for every transaction. This can aid in transparent pricing schemes, elimination of bribes and middlemen fees, provide streamlined tax revenue to governments for every deal in the real estate sector thereby eliminating fraudulent transactions.
Related Reading: Read through the case study to know how Fingent developed a customized all-in-one property management solution for one of their leading real estate client here.
Though much of the transformation mentioned above is in various initial stages, the real estate sector holds immense potential for future digital innovation. Custom software for the real estate sector can challenge traditional buyer-seller relationships and even wipe out middlemen in the long run as we mentioned in one of the possibilities above. However, staying ahead and relevant at the same time in the digital era is what key players in the sector need to focus their attention on. Write to us to know how our digital transformation specialists can enable the best of real estate innovations for you.
The real estate industry has traditionally been a technology laggard, with antiquated systems, ad-hoc processes and manual documentation ruling the roost. However, things are changing, with innovation and tech disruption set to change the fundamental paradigms of the real estate sector.
Can real estate technology advances actually predict property prices?
Leveraging Machine Learning Algorithms to Predict Real Estate Property Prices
Smart purchasers and investors look at the value of the property rather than the price. Just as the price of a stock denotes nothing about its inherent value, and one needs to delve into the PE and other ratios to estimate the value of the stock, the price of a property says little about its actual worth, and one has to dig into the underlying data to get to the true worth of a property.
The opacity and lack of access to underlying information surrounding property hitherto inhibited a proper and objective analysis of the true worth of property. Often, the only information available to the stakeholders is the prices at which previous properties of a similar nature, in the same locality were sold. As such, the asking price for properties has always been subjective, depending on what the seller thinks the property is worth, with a loose estimate of the prices other properties have sold in the locality and other subjective insights constituting the basis for asking price.
However, things are changing, and changing fast. Real estate data sets are growing larger and larger with every passing day, every single day, thanks to the ever-improving computing power and cloud storage capabilities. Smart retailers and other stakeholders have already deployed several new tools and services that leverage such data, and many more tools and services are in the offing.
The National Association of Realtors estimates about 42% of buyers looking at property online as the first step in their home buying process. Most of them now delve into further details, such as the crime rates in the neighborhood, availability of public transit, the profile of local businesses such as gyms, groceries, restaurants, and several other factors.
It gets better. Machine learning now infuses objectivity and transparency in property pricing, besides promising a scientific basis into price fixation of property.
Machine learning models, comprising of hundreds of explanatory variables, offer insights into almost every aspect of a specific property, to a very a high level of accuracy and objectivity. Such models scour through piles of data and are capable of not just identifying an accurate price for the property, but also identifying hidden gems among the swathes of properties available for sale. Buyers and may use such insights to quote a fair and accurate price for the property, Sellers may likewise quote a fair price and sell their property faster, without the risk of under-selling themselves. Banks and financial institutions may use the insights to offer loans based on the predicted future value.
Identifying Correlated Variables
Home buyers and investors often end up making unscientific comparison among two properties and are often deluded by a lesser price for a property, oblivious to the far inferior value on offer.
While the obvious variables such as the number of bedrooms and square foot area may be obvious and explicit, some variables remain hidden or not too obvious.
Some variables are also closely correlated with others. Some pairs, correlated by nature, such as “Basement finished area” and “Basement unfinished Area,” and other pairs, correlated by deduction, such as “Overall condition” and “Year built” help to identify the true worth of a property relative to the asking price.
Machine learning models not only factor in such variables but also give proper weight to each variable. For instance, two homes may seem similar while considering the obvious variables, but property A may offer far better value owing to the superior quality of plumbing materials used in construction and availability of groundwater compared to property B.
Related Reading: Find how Fingent developed a customized solution to streamline all the processes in a property management life cycle. Check out the case study – Rentmoji: All-In-One Property Management Platform.
Unearthing Seasonal factors
Seasonality has an impact on property prices, but the impact may be subtle or hidden. Crunching historical data makes explicit trends in sales prices associated with seasons. For instance, sales may be more surfing summer months, when the new school year starts, leading to a spike in prices. Such seasonal prices help property investors leverage their buys, property sellers price their property more accurately, or postpone their sell for a few months to get a better price, and more.
Related Infographic: Major Challenges of Big Data in The Real Estate Industry
Identifying the True Value of Extraneous Factors
Buyers always consider the neighborhood of the property, in terms of crime rates, the quality of grocery shops in the vicinity, the proximity of schools, and other factors. However, such analysis is often done ad-hoc, and on a generic basis. The “devil” in the detail may often be overlooked. Machine learning models factor in the extraneous factors at a much deeper level, correlating factors such as frequency of power cuts in the locality, unemployment in the locality, frequency of transportation links, school ratings and more, all of which not only offer an objective and scientific basis on the true worth of the property, but also have an immediate bearing on the property prices.
However, the true value of machine learning is the ability to derive valuable trends and insights from the data. For instance, analysis of police arrests and the chemical compounds in sewers indicate the use of crack cocaine, indicating that gentrification could soon arrive. When the crack is replaced by cocaine, it may indicate that gentrification may already be complete. Such insights may not be available at plain sight and may be impossible to decipher without the analysis of such underlying data.
While real estate technology now makes it easy to predict property prices with a high level of accuracy and objectivity, the challenge is creating the underlying data models in a robust way. The machine learning system is only as good as the algorithm which powers it. Success depends on creating linear models, co-opting all possible categorical variables and historical data associated with each variable.
Opting for the Best Property Management Software
Leasing out condos or premium apartments to buyers does not end with the handover. Instead, it goes a long way almost in a cyclical manner to oversee the operations and management via close monitoring. Dynamically managing multiple residential or commercial real estate establishments could, in fact, prove to refine it all together as well as endow a consistent experience to the tenants.
The landowner or a real estate company benefits from able to supervise every cent of property they own and leases. It equates to improved productivity enabling the owner to gain a competitive advantage by striving for customer satisfaction at every fronts. This could be a rather not brief definition of property management. And with technology like software integrated into it, we can christen it aptly as property management software.
Investing in an apt property management software elevates and rethinks how realtors or landlords manage their swathes of property. Whether small modular condos, high rises or dedicated commercial hubs, property management using software takes it to the next level. The need to switch becomes more prominent as conventional methods have often failed to demonstrate exemplary levels of property management.
Software alters it into a convenient dashboard, where the owner could simply manage, monitor and operate day to day activities linked to a piece of real estate. Ensuring timely rental payment, maintenance and upkeep, searching tenants for occupying could all be effectively carried out using a property management software. The key is to opt for the right one since the wrong choice would end up curtailing existing practices by cutting out efficiency.
Clinging to Conventional Practices Risks Lagging Behind
As it turned out, property management involves a lot of hurdles that leave the owner frustrated and stressful at times. The job profile when it comes to managing multiple portfolios of real estate assets dispersed across varied locations coupled with maintenance requests, tracking lease expires, routine inspections, ensuring regulatory compliance, responding to inquiries concerning vacant properties and lot others would be equally challenging.
Extensive documentation remain a core aspect when it comes to property management. Besides, the above-mentioned aspects when not managed appropriately could add up to the inefficiency of the job, which reflects in the productivity and performance. Property management software is new and adopting it will definitely warrant less clutter involved in the process. Still, adhering to conventional practices like paperwork or documentation proves time consuming and cumbersome.
The right property management software makes life easy for property managers, improving their productivity and contributing to improved customer satisfaction in a big way. In fact, the right software becomes a valuable source of competitive advantage, enabling the firm to gain a one-up on competition through efficiency improvements and by spawning innovative business practices.
However, the trick is to have the right property management software on hand. Here are some ways to identify and deploy such software.
Good Property Management Software Distinguishes with Ease of Use
The whole purpose of deploying software is to ease things. Software with poor UX, and or convoluted processes, which is a pain to operate, defeats the very purpose. The best software has a smooth interface and navigation, and simple, yet powerful dashboards.
Handy property management software automates routine processes related to rental collections, renewals, and other repetitive functions.
It offers basic functionality like search with multiple fields such as tenant name, property id, or any other relevant identifier, to access the required information easily, and throws up what is required in an easy-to-consume way.
The software is now delivered as mobile apps, making it very easy and convenient to get access to the latest and relevant information on the field and capture field-based inspections as well. Responsible design or a mobile-first design approach improves the ease-of-use of such mobility solutions.
Good Property Management Software Feature Robust Technical Stack
Enterprises vary with regards to their technical maturity. Some enterprises may be perfectly at ease experimenting with newer but unproven technology, which may offer huge benefits but also come with the risk of crashes. Other enterprises prefer stability over potential. Either way, the cloud is fast becoming indispensable.
Cloud-based software spares the cost and hassles of installing software or managing the databases on in-house servers. The data resides on the Internet, enabling anywhere, anytime access, from any device. Besides, it spares enterprises from cost-center activities such as taking backups, updating the code at regular intervals, and other administrative hassles.
Property management firms placing their key data such as rental information, financial reports, documents and everything else on the cloud can streamline operations, thus saving time and reducing costs.
Sync with Technical Capabilities Enhance the Dynamism of the Suite
Smart solutions, especially mobile-based solutions leverage the latest that technology has to offer to enhance the capabilities of the property management suite. A case in point is a messaging system to engage with landlords, tenants and service providers on a direct, real-time basis, to close and resolve issues or deals quickly, and with clarity.
Such a system could either be custom developed or more easily achieved by seamless integration with Skype or some other messaging tools. Similarly, many property management suites integrate with QuickBooks for accounting.
Likewise, good property management suite improves internal processes, making the overall business more efficient. The easy tracking capabilities on offer make stakeholders, especially service providers, more accountable. An optimized navigation system renders role-clarity to employees and agents.
The Feature List is a Double-Edged Sword
A lengthy bucket list of features is no indication of having the right software. In fact, an application with too many features may become bloated and deliver poor user experience. The trick towards deploying the right software is ensuring it has all the relevant features required for seamless operations, nothing more, and nothing less. All things aside, a decision to opt for a reliable property management software starts with assessing the needs.
A realtor or property management company owner first need to consider, whether software indeed can prove to be an advantage and uplift their business process. They need to figure out up front what they want the software for, in terms of their biggest challenge, and prioritize the functionality list towards resolving such challenges.
One could ask themselves some noteworthy questions in the interest of choosing the right software such as:
- What are some key issues faced and how would software resolve each of them?
- Is mobility an option for the work – which require the software to come in a compact and handy mobile app version?
- Are self-service portals needed in the software to serve the needs of customers like residents or clients?
- Is the software having accounting features and capable of dealing with large volumes of maintenance requests?
For instance, if the biggest challenge is managing rentals, make sure to co-opt features that alleviate specific challenges to this end. Other features, such as compliance reporting or communication capabilities are handy add-ons, and should not be the core focus of the suite.
Mobile apps especially work well for specific purposes, with different apps for different objectives of stakeholders. For instance, a property manager could have apps helping them keep track of rental expiry, invoice and payment tracking, maintenance schedule and more. An app for a field service executive could have features such as open service tickets, directions to get to the property, and more.
Apps for tenants could integrate features to initiate maintenance requests, pay rent and fees online, auto-renew lease, and more. Above all, it should integrate stringent security measures such as two-factor authentication or high-end encryption to protect vital customer and company data from any intrusion attempts both internal or external. A comprehensive property management suite could integrate all functionality, leading to seamless integration and better coordination.
Work Orders are Core to an Intuitive Property Management Suite
Intuitive property management software facilitates creating and managing work orders, either through a ticketing system, or some other method. Successful deployments integrate the entire workflow connected with the process, right from raising the issue, assigning work to the relevant service provider, keeping track of work execution, and invoicing. This spares property managers from the hassles of manual monitoring and tracking.
Advanced systems come with the ability to incorporate images and videos, facilitating visual work orders, property viewing, and more. Such innovative functionality helps property managers get more work done without the time-consuming activity of making site visits.
Reporting Capabilities are Integral to Software for Property Management
Another crucial consideration for sound property management software, regardless of the functionality, is the reporting capabilities on offer. The ability to generate dynamic reports easily saves property managers time and enables them to stay on top of the game. The greater insights on offer contribute to improved customer satisfaction as well.
The best software for property management facilitates dynamic reports, in the format of choice, rather than straight-jacketing the reports to a few fixed forms. An intuitive software integrates report with analytic capabilities, allowing property managers to gain insights from raw data in easy-to-consume actionable format.
The property manager’s life will become considerably easier if the software integrates full double-entry accounting, with flexible reports. A spin-off benefit of such functionality is the ability to meet various financial and regulatory compliance requirements.
The Best Property Management Software is Optimized for the Budget
Many enterprises get carried away by the potential on offer and ignore the crucial cost competently. There is no free lunch, and even supposedly free open source software comes at a price to develop and customize. The costs for server space and hosting, and ensuring security is another crucial consideration to decide up front. Successful property management firms engage smart developers who can optimize the features and functionalities within the constraints of the available budget, without sacrificing quality.
Professionally managed real estate investment market is worth $8.5 trillion globally as of last year, but it has traditionally lagged behind in technology. However, innovative companies are changing things and technology is all set to improve the owner-tenant experience significantly via a major technological disruption soon.
Selecting the right software is both a science and an art. Apart from the science of carefully evaluating the feature list and the technical specs, comes the challenging, yet often underestimated “art” of identifying vendors who “fit.” Any software, no matter how robust or comprehensive requires continuous support for upgrades and bug-fixes.
Moreover, implementation is often a challenging exercise, involving training end users and documentation. Choose a software vendor who is competent and has proven their worth in all these facets.
Transparency is the flavor of the season, as businesses understand the tremendous benefits and value addition it offers to stakeholders. One sector which especially benefits from a fresh breath of transparency is the real estate industry.
Emerging technology drives transparency in reality, at all levels. The widespread application of real estate disruption gives stakeholders, from fund managers to real estate agents and from investors to end users’ critical insights into not just static information regarding the legality surrounding the property, but also live and actionable information on the actual performance and status of the building.
Integrated Big Data
Information with regards to ownership prices, occupancy levels, and more are critical when making investment decisions in real estate, especially in new markets. However, the availability and quality of such information have traditionally been insufficient and suspect.
Technology is slowly but surely offering solutions to such handicaps. Fund managers, for one, are increasingly making data-driven decisions, relying on high-quality real-time data available to them.
The sophistication of cloud platforms and associated applications has become a game changer for the industry. Hitherto, reality-based data came in multiple systems and several silos, making integrations impossible, especially in a timely manner. However, of late, several real estate stakeholders see the benefit of moving to larger single platforms with unhindered connectivity to other systems.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things enables investment managers to monitor the efficiency of properties at a deep level. Traditionally, real estate managers and stakeholders make their investment and operational decisions based on static data, much of which was obsolete by the time it reached the hands of the relevant stakeholder. The deployment of IoT sensors and related technology systems now allow stakeholders to measure everything from CO2 emissions to the performance of HVAC systems, and from the exact number of footfalls in a commercial building to the state of the walls, and much more, with a high level of preciseness and relevancy. Several new-gen buildings are now fully digital, with all information monitored and processed from a central cloud-based database, accessible anytime, anywhere.
The deployment of drones enables inspecting buildings at a much deeper level, compared to what human eyes or static cameras can offer. The deep insights offer new perspectives on the real asset to investment managers and other stakeholders Drones can enter hard to access places and make explicit the exact status of key installation such as pipes and roofing. It also enables potential buyers to get a real feel for the facility or land, as opposed to ground level cameras.
Blockchain and Digital Tools – Real Estate Disruption
Technology now allows stakeholders to develop comprehensive real-time database regarding the use and ownership of buildings and other real assets.
Here, Blockchain enables a big push. The Blockchain distributes multiple copies of the database across a network of computers, removing the need for intermediaries who store the information. The model also ensures the integrity of the database and enhances security manifold. The net effect is a fresh level of transparency for transactions. Blockchain also transcends national borders and propel open data, which could help semi-transparent markets leapfrog the normal process of transparency.
Leading global level real estate companies such as JLL have complemented the technology push, by introducing tools based on emerging technologies. Online marketplaces, online property management tools, increasing digitalization of local agent practices, self-service apps for clients, precise digital mapping, building inspection using drones, e-contracts, and much more are manifestations of such a trend.
At the macro level, transparency in real estate prices increases accountability and quality of governance and promotes an overall productive business environment. Several countries across the world are now making a push towards transparency. The push for transparency is in part, the fallout of the Panama Papers revelations, which broke out in early 2016. With real estate been associated with money laundering, black money and several other vices, organizations and watchdogs such as Transparency International began to place the sector under greater scrutiny. As such, stakeholders of the industry have no option but to make the fight against corruption a priority. Transparency is increasingly seen as the tool which enables such a fight.
A good case in point in India’s RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) which aims at making explicit the full price of the property, regulating brokers, rendering clarity on building classifications, and several other particulars, aimed at curbing corruption and “black” money. Likewise, UKs proposed beneficial ownership register and European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive are other cases in point.
Technology is central to transparency initiatives. The United States, one of the most transparent property marketers in the world, has adopted technology in real estate faster than anywhere else, and other countries are fast catching.
Dubai, with a slew of tech initiatives such as building classification project, improved regulatory procedures, new and enhanced online apps for managing contracts and broker information, and unified lease forms offer a good case study on how to apply technology to infuse transparency in the real estate sector. Another good case study is Netherland, which has pushed innovation around blockchain and open data initiatives.
Transparency in real estate markets not only benefits the direct stakeholders through increased dynamism and productivity gains but also has a profound impact on economic development and the quality of life of citizens. Among other things, it confirms and protects ownership, and keeps a tab on the enforcement of building regulations. The improved efficiency brought about by tech-based tools also allow real estate agents, asset management companies, and other providers deliver better service at lesser costs, enabling them to remain competitive in a highly challenging market.
JLL’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) which tracks transparency in real estate markets reveals the top 10 most transparent markets attract 75% of global investment in the commercial real estate space. It also predicts capital allocations to commercial real estate growing from $700 billion to over $1 trillion within a decade, with increasing transparency a key driver to such gains.
It’s always sad to see good tenants vacating your property, when they are not satisfied or happy with their experience. Whenever a tenant vacates, in addition to the vacancy loss, you also need to refund the security deposit, execute move-out maintenance work, advertise the property and bear other costs.
Let’s assume the monthly rent is $1,000.
Vacancy loss(if vacant for a year) = $12,000
Move-out maintenance work = $3,000 (approx. based on the amount of work)
Advertisement cost = $600 yearly (assuming $50 monthly fee)
On an average, your expenses would shoot up beyond $15,600 annually if your tenants vacate, hurting your yield and ROI from the property.
Just because a tenant has signed a lease, it does not mean that he or she will stay for long. Whether you are an established property manager with a whole portfolio of clients and properties, or if you are starting out in the real estate industry, ‘tenant retention’ is a key factor in improving your returns.
Keeping your tenants for a long period is just as challenging and important as finding them. Why?
Well, first it costs you about a thousand dollars or more every time your tenants move out for advertising, renovation and the loss of rent, while the property is vacant. Every minute that your unit sits empty, it’s costing you money! In addition, you need to bear the cost and effort of moving in new tenants such as agent commission, lease signing & processing fee etc.
Here are 5 quick tips on getting your ideal tenants to stay for the long term!
1) Provide flexible rent payment options
Once you have succeeded in getting the property leased, the next major objective is to receive monthly rent and other payments. Analyzing and considering the convenience, age, and preference of target tenants is an important factor.
- Requesting tenants to pay rent online via an autopay or auto-deduct system is the best way to collect rent. It eliminates the possibility of tenant forgetting to pay rent. One-quarter of the U.S. residential sector is already represented by the Millennial generation and majority of them have never used a paper check in their entire life. Online renter’s portal will help them to make rent payments online with their credit or debit card or an electronic check transaction (ACH) securely. Rent payment at stores via PayNearMe is another trending option to pay rent cash, at their nearby local 7-Eleven or ACE Cash Express stores any hour of the day or night.
- Online payments might be an effective option, but senior or technology averse tenants may not find this convenient. They will most preferably choose traditional methods to pay cash directly to the owner or pay at the bank. They may also prefer stacking the physical receipts for tracking payment history. In such case, it’s always good to send them a reminder by post well-ahead of rent payment due date. They might not check their email inbox, but they surely will check their mailbox. In case you turn up at the property and find out that they have not arranged for cash, an alternate option is to ask their debit/credit card to swipe the same on your mobile device. Swipe Card Reader like udynamo or Authorize.Net mPOS also used by many.
2) Quick turnaround time for maintenance
Maintenance happens all the time, even if the property is vacant. Fixing the wear and tear on a periodic basis is important in addition to snow clearing and pool cleaning.
But maintenance requests from leased properties are a super high priority. Swift action to multiple maintenance requests from various properties can be effectively handled via maintenance management software. In addition to getting a bird’s-eye view of everything that’s going on with every maintenance work, effective response depends on various activities such as attend a maintenance request call, figure out the exact category of work required, finding out the most suitable vendor and availability, getting prompt response from vendors, updating the tenant on progress, flexibility for vendors to capture and share work progress and raise online invoices and get paid for the work.
The tips below will help you to expedite, manage and monitor maintenance works with increased tenant satisfaction.
- Provide and make tenants aware of various options to raise maintenance request. Raising requests from anywhere, at any point in time makes it convenient for tenants. Online tenant portals and a phone call can source in most of the requests. In case the tenant does not have internet or does not want to spend time on hold, toll-free number and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) would be the best options to reach out to the maintenance support staff/property managers.
- Communication is the key. Tenants should be able to give a clear idea of the maintenance required and maintenance support staff should be able to capture the right details & communicate the same to the vendors.
- Scheduling is another key aspect where most of the time is often spent in finding out the apt vendors with matching skill, availability and if they are willing to take up the work. In most cases, vendor reassignment iterations consume time.
- A better solution would be to have an auto-vendor assignment and reassignment system that could automatically search from the list of vendors who are available on the field, with the matching skillset, closest to the property, rating and assign work to them on the fly.
- Mobile apps go a long way to make daily activity for vendor much easier. They get notified of the work assigned to them, they get the information on maintenance required, notify tenants that they are on the way to their home, take photos of work before and after completion, clock the time duration of work, raise change requests and materials required, raise invoices and get feedback or rating.
3) Appreciating consistent on-time rent payments
Just like we encourage kids each time they do something good by rewarding them, tenants appreciate it when you reward their promptness. An appreciation mailer or even a small reward like the ones listed below will positively improve your relationship with the tenant.
- Reward points or talk time balance for maybe 3 consecutive on-time payments that they could redeem as cash or as vouchers which can be used at stores nearby.
- Small discount on rent, for the month in which the tenant’s birthday falls along with a greeting card as well.
- Mail or notification or organize a small tea party for tenants who have their lease anniversary with 12 consistent on-time payments.
- Reduction in the total rent amount when paid 6 months in advance.
- Referral programs or promotional offers will prompt tenants to take up a portion of your job to find the prospective tenants for your vacant properties.
4) Keep tenants informed
Avoid last minute surprises for tenants. We often tend to forget what the tenant might be thinking all the while we are struggling to keep up with the rent collection, lease renewals, move-in/move-out, maintenance activities etc.
Keeping tenants aware of terms and policies, do’s and don’ts, right steps to proceed with lease renewal, moveout, maintenance progress, rewards etc. is equally important.
Provide status of activities via email, SMS and online portal notifications in addition to post and IVR if possible, which would enable tenants to be on top of maintenance status, payments, lease details and other important items.
- Maintenance – Keep the tenant up to date on the exact maintenance status and the next expected step or time for work completion. Most importantly, keep tenants informed of the vendor visit.
- Payments – Payment history, the status of payment made and checking the balance due are critical information that needs to be notified and reminded as well.
- Educate tenants who are unaware of the benefits of paying rent on time like increased tenancy credit score, rewards, various rent payment options etc.
Consequences of late payment should be communicated clearly well in advance when it comes to late fees and eviction.
5) Feedback from tenants who are moving out
Capturing and trying to bring into effect the feedbacks from tenants who are moving out helps a lot. Good tenants might move out due to small reasons, which could have been resolved easily like providing a child-friendly environment or mobility facilities for the disabled.
When it comes to property managers, building good relationships with tenants is the key factor that requires investment of genuine time, effort and communication techniques.
Start practicing a few of the tips above and see how it creates a positive impact on your business. Looking for more real estate technology articles? The following articles might be of interest to you
The Real-World Conference has established itself as the go-to conference for the real-estate industry, attended by a host of industry leaders, resource persons, and key movers and shakers in the real estate and property management space. The latest edition of this premier realty and property meet, which took place between 16th July and 18th July 2017 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, USA, lived up to its tagline of “a sign of good things to come.” The host of informative sessions, roundtables, and training workshops on offer, by industry leaders and topic specialists, enriched participants with rich insights on the latest industry trends, training on valuable skill-sets, and exposure to practical case studies applicable to real properties.
Enriching Sessions Keep Participants Up-to-Date
The RealWorld conference is noted for its host of innovative sessions, and RealWorld 2017 was no different. Several sessions, dealing with customer experience, marketing, internal processes, leasing, risk management, and more, offered a host of valuable resources for those in the property business.
A session on “Accounting & Asset Investment Management, Financial Solutions to Run Your Business” offered insights on the tools required to support relationships, effective reporting, and diverse technology unique to the business. It reviews a host of solutions designed specifically for real estate investment firms and asset management professionals, including what’s new.
Another intuitive session “The Latest in Commercial Property Management and Portfolio Asset Management Solutions” offered insight on the right tools and techniques to make sense of the wealth of incoming data every day, how to collect the most relevant data, how to consolidate and analyze the information in shared reports, and more.
The latest trends such as daily pricing, complex floor plans, and internet listing services make the time-honoured practice of keeping track of competition a very complex task. The “session on Tracking Your Comps” offered valuable information on the most relevant best practices and methods, and overview of the new tools which allows coping with new challenges, how to use data efficiently, and much more.
Related post: Infographic on Impact of Big Data in Real Estate
Another session, “Splitting the Atom: Using Data Science to Delineate and Turbocharge Marketing & Sales” offered rich insights on how to evaluate the quality of leads, how to use business intelligence in decision-making the right way, and more.
Yet another session which stood out was an educational session, where multi-family panelists interacted with apartment residents from the greater Las Vegas area. Property managers gained valuable insights on real-world scenarios related to what renters want, the impact of communication and reviews have on leasing and renewal decisions, and much more. Another standout session brought together residents and managers, discussing the issues related to safety, noise, parking and social interaction in property spaces.
These sessions, apart from providing property managers and other stakeholders with rich insights on real life practical issues and grouses of apartment residents, also drives home a point of how a community portal, used the right way, could strengthen the bond between landlord and renter. Today’s residents expect real-time conversations and instant decisions related to critical issues that matter, in the communication mode of choice. The speed and nature of the property management’s response to such issues and requests can have a big say in rental renewals and even new referrals. In such a scenario, a platform that allows identifying and tackling critical issues in a much more systematic and coherent manner, as opposed to public grumbling in social media sites, is invaluable.
Exhibitions Help Participants Stay Aware and Use New Technologies
Apart from a host of informative sessions, RealWorld2017 also features several top exhibitors, offering insights on new ways of doing things, path breaking innovations in the industry, products, and solutions to improve productivity and save money, and overall become more efficient. The exhibition connected to the event offers a ready source of access to the latest and the most advanced products and providers in the real estate space.
Networking in the Name of the Success Game
Apart from enriching themselves with the latest knowledge, insights, trends, and best practices, participants also gain through networking with the top industry leaders, peers, service providers, and other stakeholders in the industry. Participants get a valuable break to kick-start a fruitful relationship with key contacts that matter and sustain the engagement through social media and other industry portals. The RealWorld conference also offers valuable opportunity to build on existing relationships. Smart participants use the time to reconnect with their previous contacts over a cup of coffee.
Most conferences run for a couple of days, and participants with a goal to introduce themselves to, say 10 people each day, providing some encouragement to speakers and presenters when running into them outside of the sessions, and connect with big shorts during the social events connected with the conference, when they are in a more relaxed setting.
However, amid all the potential is the danger of going overboard. The sheer volume of sessions makes it physically impossible for participants to attend all sessions, and participate in all events. Participants would gain maximum value by researching each event, to pick and choose the events and sessions that really matter to their line of business and position in the industry. Participants have the luxury of checking out the social media presence of the key speakers, identify their strengths, and attend the break-out sessions with the most relevant speakers.
Networking and keeping oneself updated is the name of the game when it comes to success in real estate. Attending conferences such as RealWorld is worth its weight in gold for real estate agents, managers, and other key stakeholders. Regardless of whether you attended or missed out on the 2017 session, reserve your seat for RealWorld 2018, scheduled between July 15 and July 17, 2018, at the Wynn Las Vegas.
In the meantime, real estate players would do well to translate the insights gained into action. A big part of such action is implementing state-of-the-art digital and mobility solutions to offer a better experience for customers, and making internal processes transparent and seamless.
The relentless advancement of technology force a churn in many industries and the real estate sector is no different. As it is with most positive disruptions, technology facilitates doing things faster, cheaper, and more efficiently.
Online Services Make Processes Easy and Efficient
Many businesses have shifted entirely online, and other businesses facilitate online mode in a big way. Hitherto, the online component of real estate services has been mainly limited to property searches. However, things are changing, both in depth and scope.
Easy and seamless solutions are now available to conduct the entire process, right from property search to signing agreements online. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology enable making virtual site visits, with annotations that offer even greater insights than an actual site visit would deliver. Collaborative suites make negotiations between agents, property owners and tenants easy, and methodical. Integrated payment options allow the tenant to make deposits and rents seamlessly, without the hassles of follow-ups and manual accounting. Many realtors already have their agreements online, with digital signatures.
For the realtor’s end, online technology makes things easier, convenient and more accurate. Big data analytics and the infusion of artificial intelligence allow realtors to score leads more accurately, predict what their customers want in a highly specific manner, and engage with them in a more customized way.
Field service apps enable field agents to connect with the head office, clients, and other stakeholders easily, on a 24×7 basis, addressing needs proactively, and solving issues in the bud.
An integrated platform, with a cloud-based backend and intuitive mobile apps for different stakeholders in the front end, and co-opting the latest technology such as Virtual Reality, is all set to become the technological backbone of an efficient and well run real estate enterprises in the near future, and is a priority for realtors seeking to take their business forward in an increasingly tech-centric world. Providers such as Zillow has already made a start, aggregating real estate data down to details on each available property, allowing consumers to learn everything about an interesting property, with just a few clicks or swipes.
Greater Insights Lead to Stability and Predictability
The real estate industry is turbulent in nature, with cycles of oversupply and depressed prices, followed by high demand and prices going through the roof. Macroeconomic conditions such as recession can lead to a crash, followed by rebounds. The problem with such a scenario is nobody can predict the market.
However, things are changing, thanks to technology. Big data analytics, in combination with predictive analytics, can crunch data from a variety of sources and predict the future to a fair level of accuracy. If nothing else it may be able to predict future demand, enabling realtors to predict demand and supply accordingly, and thereby keep prices stable. Such insights would also enable governments and regulators to intervene in the real estate markets in a more proactive and meaningful way, protecting the interests of all stakeholders.
Advanced algorithms can even match home buyers or sellers with the most suitable agents, eliminating the wastage and inefficiencies associated with the present models, and sparing the need for relying on hunches or trial and error methods.
Also, real estate prices are now by and largely subjective. Big data analytics and an accurate insight into the demand-supply situation would enable price fixation in a more objective and scientific manner, benefiting everybody. For the realtor, it reduces the speculation and risk, leading to more stable and predictable ROIs.
For the success of back-end operations, big data analytics, infused with artificial intelligence and predictive analytics is just as important for a realtor.
Technology Propels Innovative Business Models
Technology has enabled rolling out a host of innovative business models, not possible before.
- Advanced big data analytics predict property prices to a great level of accuracy, taking away uncertainty and agents who over quote or under quote, infusing a much-needed transparency into the process, and reducing the hassles of price fixation – one of the biggest banes of the industry.
- Uber-like rental platforms, with pre-approved rating scores, background checks, standard agreement forms, and other normally time-consuming hassles, make rental just as easy as availing a taxi. Technologies such as online reservation systems and e-conveyance make property buying easy and hassle-free as well.
- Innovative cloud based models facilitate auctions or allow lessors or buyers to bid for the property. New apps that facilitate live stream without any time lag eliminate the need for physical auctions or meetings.
These models enable realtors to find new customers and close deals faster, increasing their ROI manifold. Most of these models are becoming very popular and are all set to become the benchmarks in the near future.
Property investment becomes Democratic
Technology is enabling a significant shift with regards to the investment model of real estate. Hitherto, the reality is the exclusive domain of high net worth investors, with small and medium investors priced out of the market due to the high ticket size of real estate investment and the cumbersome, time-consuming effort involved in the process.
New, online-centric ownership model allows even small investors to become part investors, or invest “bricks” in an edifice. Such investors earn ‘dividends’ in the form of rental returns and can trade their bricks like a traditional stock market. Naturally, a strong and robust online platform which facilitates a smooth and transparent buying and selling process, and takes care of all regulatory, legal and other formalities is the key to success of this model. It is a win-win situation, as a lesser entry ticket means more buyers flooding the market, enabling more sales, accelerating the sales cycle, and increasing the ROI.
The other end of such democratization is crowdfunding real estate projects. Crowdfunding now makes up less than 1% of total real estate investment volume, but such investments are all set to take a quantum leap.
Needless to say, this is all poised to become of the biggest disruptors of the realty market in the coming days, as the new models mature and gain a foothold.
Creating electronic solutions has its own set of challenges, and disruption of the existing business models would be met with resistance by those who benefit from the status-quo. However, such resistance would be like battling with the waves. As the saying goes “No army can stop an idea whose time has come.”
For all the possibilities enabled by technology, success depends on rolling out well-designed, robust systems. Real estate players need to tie up with a strong technical partner who has the expertise and know-how to deliver intuitive mobility and other solutions that leverage the latest technological capabilities to realize the desired business models and take customer satisfaction to a new level.
Business Consulting & Technology Augmentation delivered by Fingent helps client evolve into a regional market leader, achieve quantifiable objectives and add multiple dimensions to their business repertoire
A Top Ranking Property Management Client
A leading property investment and management company, handling more than 8000 properties segmented under single family real estate wanted to implement technological transformations to their business to soar new heights. The client manages real estate portfolios of private equity funds, offering a vertical spectrum of services ranging from property acquisition all the way to lease or sale management.
Major Roadblocks in their Real-Estate Business
Back in the day, a typical brick and mortar operational model was effective for the client, if not sophisticated. However, overhead liabilities and persistent gaps of a manual process soon curtailed scalability, and automation was inevitable.
How a Wrong Decision Curtailed Their Business
A switch was made, and a leading off-the-shelf property management software was inducted into the environment. But as is the case with most implementations, migration was far from seamless. The software primarily catered to multi-family real estate requirements, and level of customization offered was too limited. The gap was however massive, even if customizations were to be made. In the simplest terms, when the rework was exceeding the value-added work that has been budgeted for, the client realized that the project is failing. This is what happened to our client when they attempted to introduce a ready-made property management solution for their processes.
When the software fails, it jeopardizes the company’s prospects. And if the failure is large enough, it can even steal the organization’s entire future. In fact, software failures can be traced to a combination of incorrect project management, technical, and business decisions.
For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, elegant, and wrong- H. L. Mencken
The client was forced to fall back on a plethora of excel sheets to manage million dollar transactions and persist with several manual processes. They were considering alternate vendors when detailed transparent analysis and ability to comprehend the business problem firmly tilted the decision in Fingent’s direction. Following multiple rounds of promising discussions, executives at the client side were excited to begin the core transformation project with Fingent.
Finding the Right Solution
With disparate cycles amalgamating into a vertically integrated solution, a phased approach had to be adopted. The challenge was to ensure business continuity while deploying solutions on a unified platform. Business processes were classified into three major cycles – Property Acquisition, Management, and Maintenance.
- Property Acquisition – Prospective properties get channelised through an application funnel for inspection and evaluation. The value range thus assigned to a property help bidders make decisions during auctions. Acquired properties get updated on the database, and transactional parameters and contracts are abided by in the system. An assigned property manager visits respective sites, to initiate renovation and development. Three distinct mobile applications were created – for Scouting, Bidding and for the Property Manager, which are tightly integrated into the property acquisition application.
- Property Management – Application enables lease ready properties to be listed. It syndicates with several listing sites and caters to the entire lead management cycle for sales associates. All contractual formalities for leasing are taken care of within the application. An accounting module caters to the rent collection process, with a section dedicated to handling exceptions including evictions. While a mobile application caters specifically to the functionalities of a leasing agent, another app helps tenants explore the properties themselves. The latter termed the self-showing app enables physical entry into a pre-booked property view session based on geographic coordinates.
- Property Maintenance – Comprehensive property maintenance application within the real estate spectrum, enabling tenants to raise support tickets for various issues. A mobile application allows tenants to connect directly with vendors that are pre-approved and listed.
By meticulously gathering and mapping requirements, an area of expertise for the Fingent team, the project met every major milestone on time and budget. Key highlights of the comprehensive property lifecycle management include:
- Cloud-based solution delivering features via the web and mobile platform, with the capability to scale at ease. An advanced property lifecycle solution that exhaustively covers all possible process flows in single family real estate
- Seamless integration with industry leading service providers for payment, credit verification, accounting, listings etc. Individual portals for the owner, tenant, and vendor.
- Efficient data sourcing enables tight department wise integration, helps to create proficient workflow and enables easy data migration from disparate data sources. To cite an example, all parameters can be imported while acquiring a portfolio, without manual intervention
- Facilitates transparency across functions and departments alongside exhaustive customized reporting, delivering maximized performance.
The Right Software Solution can Make a Good Business Great
Deployment of a unified platform, tightly integrating all functions within the property management life cycle, transpired into exponential business growth for our client. Streamlined, end to end automated workflow meant substantial cut back on their operational overhead, while enabling phenomenal scalability.
Fingent’s client got listed by the prestigious magazine Inc., ranking amongst the Top 10 Real Estate and Top 200 overall. A whopping growth of 2626% was registered over 3 years, and company valuation increased multifold. This lead to a 1.7-Billion-dollar hedge fund investing in the client to further propel growth.
The enterprise application suite is now maturing into a comprehensive product for the real estate industry, opening up a new line of business for the client in partnership with Fingent.
To Sum Up…
The average company spends about 4-5% of revenue on IT. Much of this money goes into software and hardware, software upgrades, software license fees, and the like, but a big chunk is still for new software solutions that are assumed to create a better future for the organization and its customers. Custom software solutions and enterprise applications are now one of the largest corporate expenses outside employee costs. Yet choosing the right software vendors and getting the right solution tailored made for your processes is mission critical for every business aiming heights in today’s competitive market.