Post-pandemic property management-What has changed and why technology matters more than ever

The winds of change have blown across sectors, industries and businesses ever since the coronavirus pandemic reared its ugly head upon the world. The health crisis triggered a clamour for speedy reinvention, course correction and innovation on a scale never seen before.

The pandemic has pushed leaders across organizations to come up with tangible actions that can help turn this massive complexity into a meaningful change. The repercussions of this invisible spectre have severely impacted businesses like property management, leading to a radical shift in policies and processes to enable business continuity, and at the same time provide support to property managers and residents.

For property managers, it was a race against time to deal with this sudden and unique challenge. The nationwide lockdown, social distancing, work-from-home mandates, travel restrictions, property maintenance and rent collection were some of the many obstacles that hung over them like a dark cloud.

Tech to restructure this transition

Running a business smoothly, while also obeying emergency protocols and adopting socially distant management structure was a tough nut to crack. Property management companies thus took refuge in tech to digitize their work structure, stay connected and paddle their business into motion.

While it’s hard to tell whether these changes will be temporary, looking at how the pandemic is peaking by the week, property experts quip that some changes will stay and are indispensable for running business long after the pandemic is over.

So, let’s learn how the property management business has changed in the past few months and whether its future is safe.

Leasing has gone virtual: In-person showings and signing lease were a standard part of the leasing process that was followed by property management pre-pandemic teams. Then, of course, it was difficult even to imagine anything but in-person.

However, a softening of demand during the pandemic led property managers to rapidly adopt innovative technologies including virtual tours, self-guided showings and online leases to fill up the shortfall and keep the occupancy rates healthy. Interestingly, the level of convenience virtual tours and online lease agreements have brought in the life of consumers, it is unlikely that they will go away soon.

Property managers will use these technologies to provide an enhanced consumer experience, while tech-savvy customers will look to ditch physical house-hunting and steer towards tech to get their search done quickly and conveniently.

Shift to remote working: Remote working has become the new normal worldwide since the eruption of the virus. Property managers who were once hesitant in switching to the virtual space are now active proponents of this trend.

Property management companies had to bank heavily on actionable tech to manage their teams and maintain consistency across all properties. Property management leaders readily inducted property management software for real-time flexible reporting, procurement of data & insights and completion of tasks like lease renewals and rent collection.

This rampant adoption of tech helped property managers to overcome challenges that seemed impossible during the pre-pandemic. Leveraging virtual tools helped property management companies take a positive outlook on the future, serve customers better and stand out from the competition.  

Digital tools key to proactive communication: One of the most stellar things which Covid-19 taught us is that online communication is key to keep in touch with colleagues, peers, family and get work done during this crisis.

In the wake of social distancing, it was no longer possible for residents to interact with property managers, sign leases, pay their rent, or stay connected with them. Property agents also faced hurdles in carrying maintenance inspections, show their units to prospects without staying six feet apart.

This forced the property management profession to automate communications to stay in frequent touch with residents, informing them about Covid-19 policies and answering questions on safety, maintenance and rent collection during the course of the pandemic. Technologies such as bulk email and text messaging were used to contact a broader set of residents.

Moving forward, digital communication will stay as a prime tool to exchange information, increase visibility into various building communities and enhance decision making.

Property maintenance operations got more complex: Property maintenance during the pandemic was a nightmare for property managers owing to strict safety protocols. To keep maintenance technicians & residents safe and limit physical interactions, property management businesses deferred non-essential repairs.

Some property management companies devised unique ways for residents to settle non-essential repairs via step-by-step online tutorials, video calls and doorstep drop-offs of essential tools.

Technology has come in handy in addressing maintenance operations. Digital property management software that enables residents to lodge repair requests and track their status has helped property management companies provide better service, communicate effectively and resolve issues more efficiently.

On a concluding note, it is fair to say that property management has undergone insurmountable changes during recent months. Through accelerated adoption of technology, property managers have unlocked a gamut of opportunities that have helped streamlined processes, enhance communication and boost efficiencies. With the coronavirus continuing its deadly effect upon the world, the future is for them who have plugged into the right set of technologies and capitalized on the opportunities that are to come by their way.

Also Read:
Impact of COVID-19 on the Real Estate Market
Property management startups provide A-Z services for NRI home owners

Sumit Mondal Content Analyst at Square Yards
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