Cities certainly look different these days. The global coronavirus pandemic has changed how people interact in public spaces, causing everyone to spend more time at home and affecting how people work, learn, and play. Property managers are no exception.
With people suddenly inhabiting property managers’ multifamily housing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, property management has become an even more critical part of people’s pandemic lives. And for commercial property managers, the real estate landscape looks extremely different from how it did pre-pandemic.
From how property managers can communicate with tenants to how prospective new renters can take a look at rental properties, the pandemic has caused a lot of changes.
Let’s take a look at how the coronavirus pandemic has changed property management.
Losing That In Person Touch, Gaining Virtual Connection
For most on-site management teams, in-person interactions with tenants and owners have always been key to the business. Meeting with tenants in person to address concerns and maintenance issues provides a sense of security and creates a feeling of community that has had to shift with the pandemic. Property managers have had to embrace contactless methods of communication, addressing tenants’ needs remotely via phone calls and video chat. Welcoming prospective new tenants has also become more difficult without the personal touch and sense of connection sparked by person-to-person live interactions.
Property managers used to creating a sense of community in the properties they manage have had to adapt, embracing tech options for creating community. Virtual get-togethers and socially distanced forms of entertainment have been vital for creating an ongoing sense of connection and care in the community of tenants.
Information organization has also gone digital, with property managers relying heavily now on remote, digital cloud-based storage systems with interactive platforms. Tenants and prospective new residents can now interact with property managers and access relevant forms and information via software like Google Sheets, Landlordology, and TenantCloud.
Embracing Contactless Tech
Daily aspects of property management have had to go digital. Regular rent payments and maintenance requests have all been transferred to virtual, remote forms of communication. For some property management companies, apps and digital videos provide a direct way to share information with tenants. Some companies have begun to share step by step videos on Youtube and TikTok displaying how to successfully do simple home repairs. That way, tenants can fix minor issues like leaky faucets and replacing the light on the stove without needing to navigate the potential risks and awkwardness of in-person interactions today.
Letting repair and maintenance workers into people’s homes is now much more complicated, so property managers have turned to tech solutions to help address the difficult logistics involved in necessary in-person repairs.
Property managers have begun to rely more heavily on smart tech to help regulate their building environments: smart home ventilation systems and climate control can help purify the air, and limit the in-person maintenance required, as long as the property has adequate internet access. Smart locks also provide one solution for controlling access to shared spaces, as a limited roster of people can be granted access simply by having their pre-programmed smartphone with them. Instead of entering private residential spaces, some maintenance workers now drop off a sanitized package of supplies for residents, with detailed video instructions on how they can fix the problem themselves.
In addition, when residents file work order requests now, they don’t simply fill out an online form. Remote requests require more details, so residents now share photos, videos, and more detailed descriptions of whatever issue needs to be addressed. This aspect can actually be a boon for property managers, who can then address the issue more efficiently, with all the pertinent information available upfront.
Attracting New Tenants
For property showings, virtual and remote have become the new norms. Prospective new residents have now come to expect virtual property tours, with some properties using high tech options to show off their spaces. Virtual reality and 3D video tours can give potential new tenants a full, immersive experience of the space before committing. The benefit of providing digital home viewings is that property managers can reach a broader audience: anyone can view the property at any time that is convenient to them, from anywhere they are currently located. This means that property managers can attract a broader pool of promising tenants from far and wide, who can seriously consider the property even before they have stepped foot in the door.
Smart locks can allow prospective residents to let themselves in and embark on a self-guided tour of the property, with the manager communicating via video chat. Plenty of smart locks also come equipped with an automatic digital welcome brochure, that gives self-guided tours a comprehensive view of the property, its amenities and highlights, and anything else the manager thinks prospective new tenants should know.
Virtual tools for screening clients have also become even more important now, as more people can apply to rent the space via online platforms from anywhere in the world. Applicants can now submit all the relevant information online using specific, targeted apps. This can help make the process faster, more accurate, and better organized, allowing property managers to keep track of more applicants, while dealing with less cumbersome paperwork.
While the pandemic will not last forever, the changes it has wrought on the property management industry are on track to stick around for a long time to come. The transition from in-person to virtual methods of communication, filing, and property viewings will continue to evolve, as tech developers create increasingly sophisticated ways for people to connect digitally.
So for savvy property managers dealing with the shifts of the pandemic, now is the time to embrace technology. Even after the pandemic is a thing of the past, technology solutions will continue to be integrated into everyday interactions for property managers- and that change is here to stay.
Please visit us at www.RentBottomLine.com if we can help you as an investor or property owner navigate these interesting times.