The events of the past few years have ushered in a new era for property management, one that is far more lucrative and allows for growth within the role. Long viewed as agents of landlords, property managers are increasingly acting as true liaisons between owners and those residing on the property. This evolution of property management is a result of hardships experienced on both sides during the pandemic – most notably, the inability of many tenants to pay their rent when they lost their jobs or were furloughed – which had to be navigated in order for everyone to thrive.
Property managers suddenly found themselves front and center as arrangements were made to make the landlords whole while being sensitive to the plight of those struggling to catch up on their bills. Moreover, the change was not just about finances but logistics, with property managers having to create new processes that kept things moving when people could not conduct business in person. Unavoidable things like building repairs and rent collection had to be managed differently, per health regulations that seemed to change on a daily basis. And, when the dust finally began to settle, many of these processes were found to be more efficient and kept in place, with the property managers continuing to bear the responsibility. In fact, clients have come to expect these and other additional services, making them necessary to remain competitive. This has led to another trend: specialization within the field, for example, focusing on single-family dwellings.
Not surprisingly, technology, which pre-pandemic was largely ignored by the industry, has since become essential to supporting these new offerings. Digital tools are usually developed out of some great need, and once they are around there is no turning back the clock; they just continue to evolve to bring more benefits to consumers. For example, during the lockdown, virtual property showings became a way of keeping the lights on; now with the evolution of property management, they are accepted and even preferred to in-person showings for their convenience. In fact, virtual reality and augmented reality are now being utilized in these showings to provide potential tenants with a more accurate impression of the property. In addition, more property management companies are utilizing big data to learn more about their target consumers and deliver the right messaging to them.
Communication among industry professionals has also been transformed over the past few years. For example, people who used to meet in person to go over blueprints now had to share that information digitally and be able to discuss it in real-time. In the beginning, most hastily cobbled together a process using texts and emails while software developers got to work on a better way. The result: singular platforms like EstateSpace that allow property managers, owners, residents, and subcontractors to collaborate on projects more efficiently than ever before, no matter where they are in the world. Every aspect of property management, including workflows and documents related to renovations and tenant concerns, can be addressed from their devices. Bottom line: whether you are a veteran of the field or just entering it, there has never been a more exciting time to be in property management. It continues to be a challenging one, requiring stellar organizational and communication skills, as well as the ability to work with different personalities, often serving as chief diplomat and problem-solver. The key is to embrace the latest tools that will support you as you deliver the best value to owners and residents while reducing your own stress level and creating opportunities for increased revenue.