Changes to stamp duty and a lettings fee ban protecting tenants means several new costs have now been placed on property managers by the government. This means that property managers are now looking for ways to reduce costs in other areas. One of the ways to do this is to reduce time (and therefore money) spent on admin. By introducing software designed specifically for the property sector (aka PropTech), businesses can streamline their management business, allowing them to scale more easily or simply reduce the cost of their current business.
Property managers have to jump through hoops every day: this person must be sent that bit of information, otherwise a terrible thing will occur. Trying to keep track of it all can be a nightmare. However, thanks to developments in technology, there is now software out there to make life easier. Be that new payment systems such as GoCardless, e-signature platforms such as Signable or full management systems such as Arthur Online.
At its heart, property management is a people business. Managers are tasked with keeping tenants, owners and contractors happy whilst trying not to tear their own hair out at the same time. One way that PropTech is making management easier is by bringing all these groups together. In the past, disparate communication between the different groups involved meant a manager would spend half their time on the phone, typing with one hand and writing an address with another and heaven forbid if they had to produce proof that someone received it.
Thanks to technology, property managers can send emails with recorded delivery to ensure that they have proof someone received the information. Systems like this protect a property manager against potential problems in the future. Alternatively, managers can use CRM systems to email their contacts; this means that all their conversations are marked against the contact. By keeping records of interactions with someone against their contact card, management is made a lot easier. The best solutions bring all the different groups onto one platform, allowing them to communicate with only the people that they need to. This prevents different people using different platforms.
One of the areas that property managers can spend a lot of time trying to deal with is financials. With the best will in the world, rents don’t get paid, payments get missed and it can cause managers a lot of problems. However, now there are a lot of different options for managers to make their life easier. New payment portals such as GoCardless and Stripe allow managers to have larger control over charging and recharging tenants when payments are missed. On top of this, managers are now using cloud accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks to follow live payments and reconcile charges to easily see the state of their portfolio. Finally, by linking management platforms together as well, automated communication can be had with tenants notifying them of outstanding charges. By creating this sort of ecosystem around the payment of monies, arrears can be reduced and management time can be saved, thus making the management of a property portfolio easier.
Property management can involve a vast amount of paperwork. Previously, this meant having a room dedicated to filing cabinets. That was until software such as Dropbox and Google docs came to be. This solved part of the problem; everything moved online and that other room could be used for more exciting things! However, they were not specific to the property world and you still had to come up with a less than ideal way to easily share these documents with other people. Furthermore, what happens when a certificate needs to be renewed? Now, true document management systems for property people have been created.
There are several different areas where these systems can be very helpful and streamline your business. The first is by constantly updating your documentation to ensure you have a legal contract, notice etc. The second is by reminding property managers when something needs to be done. As an expiry date approaches for a certificate, systems are able to automatically contact contractors or managers to inform them of the news. This prevents a manager’s business from falling behind in terms of compliance.
The best PropTechs on the market are the ones that know what they are, Arthur Online is one of these. By knowing what they are, the software doesn’t try and shoehorn in functionality. Instead, in this wonderful world of cloud software, systems can integrate by using their APIs. This means the two systems have a conversation, pushing and pulling data to offer a user a complete solution.
Marc Trup is the Founder and CEO of Arthur
Marc fell into the property sector after selling his first business in 1998 to BUPA healthcare. Focusing on residential property, he built up a portfolio in and around the London area, starting off with a small block of flats. Over the following 15 years Marc grew his portfolio to manage over 85 properties. He wanted a system that allowed him to manage the portfolio from his iPhone, while drinking his espresso at the local coffee shop. Having searched online to find an app to help him do just that, he realised that it simply didn’t exist. So, he founded Arthur to make not only his life easier but that of other property managers. Arthur is a cloud-based platform that enables property managers to respond instantly and solve problems fast – be it with tenants, contractors, property owners or letting agents.