The real estate market has been affected by social distancing. The uncertainty coming from the pandemic is painful but has served as a wake-up call. We still have to carry on with business even if it isn’t possible to meet face-to-face.
The good thing that has come out of this is people are starting to come together to help each other reach a common goal. There are some great tools that can help in remote property management during the era of social distancing. The tools can help keep your site up to date, creating electronic leases, ensuring prospects can tour the properties, automating rent collection, giving your vendors and staff the tools needed to work independently, and communicate with the office.
How can you make remote property management work for you? Below are some ways;
- Putting your website to work
The key to remote property management is websites. When tenants are looking for an apartment, 80% of them are going to visit the website of the apartment, according to the 2020 NHMC/Kingsley Report. You need to give tenants what they are looking for when they visit your website or they will look for another option. Make sure the website looks professional, updated with the latest property description and photos, and provide accurate contact information so they can easily reach your office.
If it was in the past, everything would end here. But technology has changed how everything is done, especially with everyone accessing the internet using their smartphones. It is important to recognize how prospective customers are accessing your content. People are using different devices to visit your website. The fact that many people are accessing the internet using their phones means you have to make sure the website can be easily accessed by mobile. Mobile-friendliness is one of the most important things online. You want them to come back again and again. If they can’t access your site from their phones, they are not going to come back, and you end up losing a lot of prospects.
Your website is a great tool you can use in showing people what it is like to live in the community and why they should apply. Make sure the site has;
Amenities that make you stand out from the rest
Description of the neighborhood
Positive reviews from former and current resident
Social activities/clubs at the property
When you provide the right information, you have a higher chance of converting residents who are going to be a great fit.
- Offering virtual tours
This is a good way of showcasing the properties to many people without having to do a lot of work. There are some things you need to know about them before you get started. You might never have done this before if you are not used to remote property management. This is new, but it is very simple.
It can be pre-recorded and uploaded or help live. This is not a replacement for descriptions and high-quality photos, but an addition. When someone signs up for the tour, you can assume they are interested in the property – which means they are the most valuable prospects.
Even if you don’t have videos on your site, you can still easily host a live virtual tour. You just need your smartphone and a free video service like Skype, Facebook Live, or FaceTime. You can film and record the videos for free using these services. If you choose to use Facebook, you can have a live tour in front of many people and the video is going to be saved. This means future prospects can click on it and watch.
Skype and Facetime allow you to have a one-on-one experience personalized for a specific person. Which style is better, group or individual? That is a good question. Give both of them a try and see which option works best for you.
LEVERAGE SELF-GUIDED TOURS
This is another good option to use during remote property management. You are putting it in the hand of the prospect. Self-guided tours have become very popular in the residential market. The prospects can choose to tour the property at a time of their liking, even if it is not within normal office hours.
The downside of this method is you are not there with the prospects answering questions, collecting information, getting to know them, providing an application, etc. Still, they are good because prospects have the chance to tour the property while still observing the social distancing requirements. If they have any questions, you can answer them from your remote location.
A good way of offering prospects self-guided tours is putting the key in a lockbox then giving them the code. You can optimize things by going with more advanced technology tools that offer smart locks, built-in ID verification, smart lights, etc.
- Taking your leasing online
Online leasing has become popular because it provides a fast and easy way to turn a prospect into a renter through remote property management. E-signatures allow residents and property managers to sign and renew leases without being there. If it is not possible to meet the renter, whether because they are moving in from another area or social distancing, how can you know they are who they say they are?
ID verification technology is the answer. The sophisticated tool can be used in authenticating a prospect by scanning their identification documents like their driver’s license. The tool can scan selfies, which then compares them to the ID documents submitted.
When you are working remotely and can meet the prospect, technology is going to help. ID verification is a good way of making things happen without being there.
- Helping residents get through tricky situations
When the resident has moved in, make sure they have access to an online portal where they can request maintenance, pay rent, and communicate with the office. The portal makes it easier to remotely manage properties and make payments. It also makes communication easy – which is very important when social distancing.
If some residents prefer paying in cash, then a retail walk-in payment service (WIPS) such as PayNearMe can be a good option because it offers a contact-free way of paying. Many grocery and convenience stores are locations for these payments. This means you can pay your rent during shopping trips. You are going to have peace of mind when you know that remote property management is not going to hurt the chances of collecting rent from residents paying by cash.
HANDLING MAINTENANCE REQUESTS
When the residents can electronically submit their maintenance requests using a portal or an app, it gives them peace of mind. They can send a photo and description of the problem, making it easier to find the best solution. Both the resident and the office can easily track the progress of a work order through an app or online. This is a win-win for everyone.
MANAGING RENT DEFERRALS
Tracking deferred payment is important, especially with the economic challenges we are all facing today. There are tools you can use to do this, with one of them being Breeze Premier.
- Protecting your maintenance staff and vendors
Having good communication and management tools with your vendors is as important as resident tools. A good fully integrated notification system is going to streamline remote property management. You will have an easier time linking a maintenance request to a contractor. It also allows you to receive the uploaded invoice, and process the payment. The contractor is going to be updated throughout this process.
When you have a vendor portal, all payments and communication are going to be done online. You don’t need to have a face-to-face interaction with anyone. Maintenance apps for tech make sure that all the important work can be done on the properties and you don’t have to meet them at the office. The apps allow you to keep permanent records of all communications. This will mean having all your important financial documents in one place.
PRACTICE SAFETY DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING
Protecting your maintenance staff and residents is very important. A communication portal allows you to share important information with them. For example, you can send out a notification to them about maintenance policy changes and other important issues.
When you are a business, you are always looking for ways of reducing expenses, streamlining processes, offering affordable property management and meeting the needs of the residents. Technology is one of the best tools to use in achieving these goals. With the right tools, you have the chance of staying competitive even during tough times.#CloudPakforBusinessAutomation