In a bold forecast for what’s coming up on the property management horizon for 2021, our property management experts Brock and Kathryn explore what’s trending in the industry and what this means for property managers, tenants and owners in the year to come and beyond. You heard it here first.
Things don’t exactly move at lightning speed in property management. So let’s start off by saying 2021 is set to be another year of small steps on a bigger journey towards working practices that make life easier for everyone involved.
One thing we did see leap forward last year was the rise of virtual experiences for property leasing and routine inspections. And we think this prepares the way for a very important shift towards a more practical and efficient way of matching up tenants and properties.
Most virtual inspections have been ad hoc, relying on real time appointments with manager and tenant via video conferencing apps. But with the cost of virtual reality (VR) headsets falling, hosting virtual tours of multiple properties in a single location could save a lot of legwork for both sides. Of course content would need to be updated to show the actual condition of the property and the tenant might want to actually sight their new home before signing the contract. In principle though, this way forward would save a huge amount of time and hassle. Hundreds of hours of staff time would be saved every month and with less dashing about from one address to the next, imagine how much less stressed they’ll be.
A digital passport for tenants is another way to iron out the double-ups and delays that are the bugbear of leasing property. The way things are now, tenants often apply for multiple properties. They hedge their bets because they know it can be a long wait for the outcome of their application and they won’t always be successful. If they were a pre-approved tenant, with all their details, rental history and references in a database property managers could access with their permission, getting an application approved would be a breeze.
Going digital for things like condition reports also makes a lot of sense. It’s really time these written documents stored in filing cabinets were replaced with a 21st version using photos and videos for an accurate record of the state of a property when a tenant moves in.
Another technology innovation that could eliminate all sorts of headaches is electronic locks. Key management for rental properties is a major cause of inefficiency across the board. Whether it’s tradies needing access for repairs or being certain that keys retrieved from a departing tenant haven’t been copied, the hassle factor with keys can be colossal. And it’s also another thing that keeps property managers tied to the office.
With today’s electronic locks, access can be controlled by passcodes generated for each person and for a limited time as needed. It gives owner and property manager full transparency over who is at the property and when. And without being tied to the key cupboard, trades and property managers get even more of the flexibility they need to make the most of the hours in their day and deliver a better quality service to tenants and owners.
While these are just some of the innovations we’re expecting to improve day-to-day routines, take-up of technology is already triggering a shift in property management business models. It seems larger scale businesses have got the deep pockets it takes to invest in technology for greater efficiency and profitability, and we’re certainly getting plenty enquiries about the Kolmeo app from that end of town. But we’re also hearing from the startups wanting to find out what our app can do for their budding businesses. These new entrants are more specialised and localised, with half a dozen or so properties on their rent roll. They don’t need a shop front to get up and running, and are looking to holistic cloud-based apps like ours to help them deliver a high-quality service from day one.
With tech lowering the cost of entry into property management and powering profits for the bigger players, we think we’ll be seeing more pressure on agents in the middle of the market to keep up. For real estate agents who play in this space, technology also represents an important opportunity for improving the whole property management experience, for staff, owners and tenants.
The whole Kolmeo journey started on the strength of this opportunity to remove as many points of friction as possible from the process of owning, managing and renting property. And that’s just how we’ve designed our app, by constantly reminding ourselves that we’re aiming for comfort and ease for everyone during the whole experience.
But with a new year beginning, we’re also wondering what else the app could do for our customers to make life in general even easier. We’re already on top of a maintenance feature to help owners locate screened, insured and verified trades for top quality repairs and maintenance. But what about a database of verified service providers to help tenants out on moving day or walk their dog? We’re always seeing opportunities to deliver more value with every release of the app, so watch this space for even more features and services to take the guesswork out of life’s many choices and changes.