Last week we co-hosted a webinar with Grace Hill titled, Hot Technology Trends featuring Nat Kunes last week, during the webinar we had many attendees ask us if we would outline the key trends that were covered during the webinar. Here they are:

Past Technology Trends (in the past 5 year)

The Shift to the Cloud: In the last five years there have been more and more property management companies shifting to the cloud based software to help streamline their business.

Virtual/Paperless Office: Another popular trend has been growing among property management companies is the adoption of going paperless, and shifting to a virtual filing cabinet such as dropbox.

Paying Rent Online: More and more tenants are paying their rent online. For tenants being able to log in a pay their rent online has broken the mold of having them come into the office to drop off a rent check between specific hours of 8AM – 5PM etc. Many Property Managers are adopting and transitioning to online payments to make their Rent Week less stressful and help save time.

Owner Communication: Owners are leaning toward getting e-statements via email or a portal instead of paper statements via postal mail. Adoption rates for property management companies switching to e-statements have increased significantly over the past 5 years.

In a poll we found that 42% of attendees are emailing owner statements.

Upcoming Trends
Owner Acquisition & Retention
Reviews: Reviews are becoming more widely used throughout the property industry. Two large review sites that are used frequently are Yelp and Angies list, surprisingly a lot of property managers today don’t actively manage their virtual presence on the Internet – which can really affect your business. A best practice for managing your reviews is to keep up on responses and follow up with customer reviews. This allows you to see where you stand and allows you to say involved with potential prospects and tenants.

An in audience poll found we found that an astonishingly only 50% actively manage online reviews.

Remote Meetings: More and more owners and investors are using online tools to have detailed face-to-face meeting, remotely. Face-to-face interaction is huge in the property management industry, this personal interaction helps make owners and investors feel more comfortable with moving forward with transactions when they are making deals remotely.

Big Data: More and more data services are available on the Internet to help you grow and effectively manage your business. There are services where you can get a list of everyone who has purchased a home in your area – this is great for being able to pick up the phone and call on a property to see if the investor or homeowner are looking for a property manager. These data services are all over the internet and available at your fingertips.

Owner Acquisition & Retention
Listing Sites: There are tons of listing sites available on the web. Nat defined three different types of listing sites, they are as follows:
Younger upstarts: Lovely and Zumper
New Entrance to the Markets: Zillow and Trulia
Older Sites: Rent.com, Apartments.com
There is big competition for finding qualified tenants, which will vary by market, but listing sites will help you acquire qualified tenants. From our experience, Craiglist is still the most effective listing site on the market.

Self Service Showings: Leasing activities can take a significant time and effort. More and more property managers are switching to self-service showings where tenants can get access to a property without having a property manager take time out of their day to open up a property. Self-Service showings is a growing trend in the property management space and makes leasing more convenient.

An in audience poll found that only 13% of our attendees are offering self-service showings today.

Payments: Many residents are switching to pay their rent online. Checks and money orders are a hassle and require a trained property manager to approve the check or money order. The modern resident wants to pay online – this is truly becoming a requirement for many renters when choosing a new apartment. Offering residents the ability to pay rent online or at convenient location saves everyone time and money and increases your resident retention. These online payment services are changing the way property management businesses run.

Your Rent Week: If you have web-based software where tenants can make a payments online, then you can relax during your rent week. You don’t have to worry about collecting checks or money orders etc. For us, this is one of the biggest and hottest trends that we’ve seen in the industry.

Leasing: “Closing them on the spot,” is a sales term, which means being able to get that residents to sign a lease on the spot using an iPad. This also allows property managers the opportunity to market to them, sending prospects online leases, and most importantly the ability to screen on the spot. Nat predicts that in the next 5 years this entire “closing on the spot” process will be adopted by all property management companies in the industry. This process not only reduces time, but it makes tenant happy and streamlines the leasing flow and process.

Text Alerts: Text or electronic notifications is becoming more and more popular in the industry – you’ll see more and more property managers communicating with their residents via text. This allows property managers to send a mass text about an emergencies or basic parking notification for convenience and safety.

Service and Maintenance
Expand Your Reach: Having a web-based property management software allows you to work remotely to expand your reach and grow your business. It allows you to work from anywhere.

Mobile Workforce: We’ve seen more and more property management companies transitioning to hiring an in-house maintenance team. The tradition of having a maintenance tech team off-site with a central location is really going away. Nowadays, property managers have a maintenance team that carry their tools in their truck. They can use an iPad to access work orders and go from house to house to complete maintenance issues. This process helps with reducing office space and helps maintenance teams become a mobile workforce.

FaceTime Assessment & Remote Hands: Maintenance coordinators are using Facetime to address issues. Having this technology at your fingertips, can save a trip for your maintenance staff and reduce bothering tenants numerous times. Typically the senior technology associate can assist the maintenance staff remotely via FaceTime and address the maintenance order. This flow can be a significant time reducer for any property management company.