How has property management changed over the last 10 years? In our last article we stepped into the future and what it might hold for Property Managers. So we thought it would be useful to compare how things have changed in the last 10 years, in an attempt to see how far the industry has come. We’ve put together a list of – yes, you guessed it – 10 changes that have happened in the last decade in the world of property management.
Here it is, the CPL Software top 10 changes in residential property management of the last decade. In no particular order…
When I look around the internet at Residential Property Management websites, like any industry, there’s varying levels of functionality, usability and good design. The industry has come a long way since 2010. Payment portals would have been non-existent via a website. If anyone had suggested the idea of an app we’d probably have been laughed at. And many companies might not even have had a website!
But now, many Residential Property Management firms have websites that give customers so much information and make it easy to do business with them. From easy online payment methods, detailed account information and simple to use voting systems, websites have come on leaps and bounds.
2. Client Portals
Client portals replace old payment methods – like over the phone card payment, cheque or even cash payment in the office. But over the last 10 years, more and more Residential Property Management businesses are realising that Client Portals are necessary.
Client portals are usually plugins to a website offered by a specialist software company. They make it easy for customers to pay and seriously enhance the customer experience. They also make it easier for Property Managers and Accounts departments to manage the finances of the business.
Before Client Portals, it would have been a very manual process to keep track of payments received and outstanding. However, with technological advances, a good Client Portal will integrate all of this information in one place, provide reports and send reminders automatically when a payment is outstanding.
The introduction of Client Portals to Residential Property Management brings a lot of benefits to both clients and Property Management teams – from Property Manager to Director level.
For those of a certain age, apps are still relatively new, having only been introduced to us in 2008 by Apple. But as we talked about in our previous article , anyone who is a teenager or in their early 20’s now, probably can’t remember a time before apps.
In Residential Property Management, the use of apps is still fairly limited. The benefits of an app is that they are easy to access. The tap of the app opens everything a customer needs without the hassle of logging into a website. Apps can be updated regularly with new features allowing businesses to stay up to date or get ahead of the competition. Going back to the article I mentioned already, apps are also something that the future customer will expect to have – a bit like websites now.
4. Growing population
As we also spoke about in our last article, population keeps growing. Looking back to 2010, the UK had a population of 62.51 million compared with 67.9 million now. People are living longer and new generations are moving into their own home. A decade may not seem like a lot, but someone who was 18 in 2010, will be 28 now and will have very different needs and wants than customers who are 50 plus. Again, this could be different ways of communicating – do 28 year old millenials open or respond to mail? And do they expect businesses to be more ethical and sustainable?
“The rapid growth of technology and gadgets makes information available to millennials in real-time. They are more familiar with global trends, sustainable and ethical practices that directly impact their consumption patterns.
To win over millennials, they must buy into a brand’s story. Companies must build a reputation for environmental stewardship and social responsibility to gain customer loyalty while having a positive environmental impact.
The population is ever changing. And Residential Property Managers must adapt to suit the ever changing needs and wants of the upcoming generations – potentially improving the lives of all in doing so.
Which takes me on nicely to Sustainability as it’s a topic in itself. 10 years ago, sending paper invoices and snail mail would have been the norm for Property Managers. Sustainable thinking probably wasn’t too far up the agenda.
But gradually over the years, most Residential Property Managers have been encouraging customers to switch to email communication to save paper and the trees. Some forward-thinking firms are getting involved in bigger longer term projects with the implementation of e-chargers in buildings. And some are supporting the global good with charitable initiatives.
You can read our previous article which goes into the potential opportunities for the next 10 years for Residential Property Managers.
6. Bigger teams
Along with growing populations, comes more homes. Which potentially means, that in the last 10 years, most Property Management firms will have bigger teams. This means that communication in house needs to be clear, efficient and available to all who need it.
The Post It Note on the screen, the ‘forward to all’ email in the hope someone will answer, the manual In Box. None of these are going to cut it anymore. With bigger teams, comes more room for human error and it’s important that managers and directors ensure this is minimised.
With the right technology in place, this can of course help with SLA’s, a continuous flow of information and at the end of it all, happier, more satisfied customers.
I’m not sure I could have written this article about the last 10 years without mentioning the situation we find ourselves in now. The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in how we live our lives. Which, for the most of us, means working and living at home.
The Property Management firms who have invested in technology over the last 10 years are the ones who have perhaps found the shift a little easier than those who haven’t. Yet there are still challenges to navigate that we have not experienced ever, let alone could have prepared for in the last 10 years.
But perhaps we can utilise this time to identify what can make the business more future proof or how to serve customers better. We’ve all realised that our homes need to be looked after and that Property Management is an essential aspect of this.
8. Key Scanning
In 2014, we launched a solution for the never-ending problem of misplaced or lost keys. We realised that many of our clients were losing keys and forking out for new ones, weekly, if not daily. It’s an expense that we felt could be avoided. But how?
We need a tracking system. Something that could check out and check in keys so that people in the business would know who had them where last. To date, we have help numerous clients who have saved time and money with this simple add-on to their system.
9. More competition
One of the additional consequences of having more homes is that it opens up the market for more Property Management firms. Or existing Estate Agents diversifying into Property Management. There is now more competition on the market than ever before. This helps the customer because it means they have more choice. For firms, this means continuous improvement in service delivery must be high on the agenda.
Last but not least, another consequence of more homes, is more repair and maintenance work – which needs more contractors. More contracts, means more communication which in turn requires better management of all processes and people in those processes.
Until now, this has been a very manual task. Perhaps there are mixed methods of communicating between office and contractor making it difficult to stay on top of who has responded and quoted. Maybe spreadsheets would be used to track jobs which are prone to human error. And how does a Property Manager keep track of how well the job is going? Is it nearly finished and on schedule? This would also have been a very manual process of relying on the contractor to get in touch or chasing them down for an answer.
Luckily, we have launched the Blockworx app this year to help Property Managers communicate easily and smoothly with contractors. The app brings the entire process under one perfect digital roof. If you’d like to find out more, you can visit the Blockworx website here.
If you’d like to chat about Property Management software and the solutions we can offer your business, please do get in touch with us today. We’re always delighted to hear from new people!