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Real Estate Management Software: What Is It, and What Can It Do for Your Property Management Business?
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow’s, humans have three basic needs: food (and water), clothing, and shelter.
This suggests that a home is anything but a luxury. Of course, that’s not to say that real estate is within everyone’s price range. The average cost of buying a house in the United States is approximately $200,000, and even though most people don’t pay it all upfront when they finalise the purchase, the traditional 20% down payment is still a whopping $40,000. Additionally, not everyone is interested in owning a home — some prefer the freedom that comes from not being tied to a mortgage, and for many the increased bills and greater responsibility of homeownership just aren’t worth it.
And that’s where renting comes in.
The rental industry is growing.
In the United States, when people mention renting, the first thing to come to mind is usually apartments, but the truth is that apartment rentals are only part of the whole. As of 2017, single-family rental homes and townhomes account for 35% of the country’s 44 million rental units, compared to 31% in 2006.
The point is that the rental industry is growing, and not only among singles and younger renters. The most recent available data indicates that the number of renters older than 55 grew 28% between 2009 and 2015. Additionally, the last 10 years have seen the largest gain in housing history, with 9 million more households becoming renters, resulting in roughly 45 million families and households as tenants.
What is real estate management software?
Real estate management is not a new concept. Property managers have been managing relevant data for as long as the rental market has existed. However, as new technologies become more widely available, the capabilities of real estate management are advancing.
Today’s real estate management software is used to connect property managers and tenants like never before. That’s because modern real estate management tools incorporate the same technology used in customer relationship management (CRM). With CRM for real estate management, property managers can now offer their tenants the kind of high-level customer service that is so important to developing long-term business relationships.
Simply put, real estate management software is a CRM program for the rental industry, and it’s revolutionising the tenant-manager relationship.
What should you look for in a real estate management solution?
Unfortunately, not all real estate management software options are created equal. For the best results, you need to know which tools and capabilities are the most effective.
Here are five features you need if you want to get the most out of your real estate management solution:
- Real estate management software should be fully cloud-based.
Not too long ago, where property managers kept their digital data wasn’t really an issue. Work was done on in-house computer systems, and so every important piece of information was maintained on those same systems. But with the advent and proliferation of the internet, data became much more mobile — information could be sent and accessed remotely for improved data convenience. Even so, data was still generally kept onsite. Cloud technology has changed all of that.
With cloud-based management tools, your real estate data is kept securely offsite. Authorised users can still access that data whenever they want, but now they don’t have to worry about restrictions associated with location. Using any standard internet browser, you can log into an encrypted real estate management system and get direct access to real-time customer and business data, any time, and from anywhere.
Cloud-based systems offer other advantages as well, including reduced hardware and maintenance costs (all of that is handled by the cloud provider), and improved team collaboration (as everyone has access to the same up-to-date information).
- Real estate management software demands reliable data security.
There’s a significant amount of personal information that goes into renting a property, which means that tenants have a lot riding on property management data security. If data is damaged, lost, or (worst of all) stolen, more than just the tenant-manager relationship may be at stake.
Cloud-based real estate management greatly reduces risks to your and your client’s data. A centralised, professionally managed database eliminates the danger of files being lost or misplaced. Likewise, local hazards such as fires and floods may devastate on-premises computer servers (destroying data in the process), whereas cloud-based data will remain untouched.
And, regarding data theft, most cloud-based real estate management software providers employ multiple layers of the most up-to-date safety measures, including authentication protocols, user privileges, and data encryption. And, in the unlikely event that data becomes corrupted, effective data-recovery techniques ensure that no lost information stays lost for long.
- Real estate management software should make it easy for tenants to reach out.
As previously mentioned, one of the most valuable aspects of real estate management software is that it facilitates a better relationship between you and your tenants. The end goal, of course, is for every tenant to feel as though they’re the only tenant (or at least the only one that matters). And, like any relationship, your relationship with your tenants depends on honest, open communication.
By moving real estate management to the cloud, you open up those channels of communication. The best real estate management software includes built-in client portals, where tenants can log in to access important information, share concerns, connect as a community, and get support. And because not every tenant prefers to communicate in the same way, the best tools offer a range of channels and support options.
Email, telephone, live chat, and more — the best tools will be able to incorporate every available channel into a single platform, so that no matter how tenants get in touch, you’ll always be able to respond effectively. Remember, communication is a two-way street, and if your real estate management software doesn’t make it easy for your tenants to connect with you on their terms, then the relationship may suffer.
- Real estate management software should feature built-in analytics.
Having easy access to property and customer data is essential, but unless you can use that data to inform your decisions, you’re only getting part of the value. Of course, mining millions of data points for that odd insight is a bigger job than most property managers have the bandwidth for.
Built-in analytics tools do that job for you. These tools are able to automatically sift through all of the available information to find connections, causes, and clues that you might otherwise have overlooked. Forecasting marketing changes, measuring tenant behaviour, and generating accurate reports at the push of a button, built-in real estate analytics give you the insights you need to be able to act with confidence.
- Advanced automation takes real estate management into the future.
With access to the right data, property managers can improve their business and better connect with their tenants. But checking reports and applying insights still takes time, and when you have a large number of clients, that’s time you might not have — unless your real estate management software solution incorporates advanced AI.
Artificial intelligence (AI) picks up where more traditional automation leaves off. For example, A.I. can incorporate data to build tenant emails, suggest next steps, and find connections. And, with new advances in machine learning, property management AI. can actually become smarter and more effective as it goes. If you want to provide your tenants with the best possible service, having AI enhanced real estate management software can make a significant difference, while also freeing you up to focus on what’s truly important: the relationship, not just the details.