Automating Property Management: Which tasks can you REALLY automate?
Automating the property management industry sounds impossible, but it’s becoming more of a reality every day. While we can’t fully automate property management yet (building relationships with residents is still kinda hard to do without human interaction), many property management tasks can be automated today with the right tools.
In this article we’ll talk about:
- Property management tasks that can be automated
- Some best-in-class products to help automate those tasks
- How to implement these automation products for your real estate business
Even if you’re not familiar with any of these tools, odds are if you’re in property management, you’ve performed the tasks they help automate. We’ll describe each task in detail and explain how the automation works.
The best part is that you don't need any specialized knowledge to use these automation methods - and most are straightforward and can be set up within minutes.
What is property management automation?
If you’re new to the idea of automation or how it applies to property management, you may be wondering, what exactly is property management automation?
Property management automation refers to any process that reduces your manual workload by using software (and other tools) to streamline your operations, simplify workflows, and automate away repetitive tasks. Including:
- Rent collection
- Maintenance requests
- Leasing and screenings
- Resident communications
Essentially, what makes automation such a crucial and powerful tool is that it saves you time, effort, and money.
We will delve deeper into this topic in the next section, but an excellent illustration of the effectiveness of automation can be seen in the screening of new applicants. Previously, screening applicants would take a considerable amount of time and resources, but now it can be done easily with a few clicks of a button.
This results in significant time savings for each applicant and, when multiplied across multiple properties over several years, can save hundreds of hours. The impact of automating a single task on reducing stress and simplifying workflows is considerable, and this effect can be amplified by automating numerous essential tasks.
5 Tasks you can Automate in Property Management
Below are five examples of essential property management tasks you can automate using property management software and other tools:
Rent Collection and Accounting
Rent collection is perhaps the most important item when it comes to owning and managing your property. Finding methods to effectively collect rent and allocate financial resources is the hinge pin to a successful business.
This is where having the right tools is of the utmost importance. Property management software that includes useful automation features makes collecting rent easier and simplifies accounting transactions. This not only streamlines your business but also appeals to tenants.
Most notably, automatic rent payment systems will send your residents automatic reminders when their payment is due and allow tenants to schedule their rent to be automatically withdrawn on a specified date each month. These tools will notify you and your residents if there is a transaction error, greatly reducing the workload of collecting late and overdue payments.
Another major benefit of property management software is that it can automate many bookkeeping tasks that were previously controlled manually, including syncing accounts, managing transactions, payables and receivables, and reconciliations.
Resident Maintenance Requests
Maintenance requests are a disruptive reality of multifamily living and property management.
Keeping up with property maintenance is necessary to ensure resident satisfaction and safety, but filtering work orders through property management prolongs the time between request filing and completion. Automation eases the flow of communication between residents and vendors and successfully simplifies one of the most time-consuming property management tasks.
Property automation software now allows you to automatically accept maintenance requests straight from tenants via a convenient dashboard. Furthermore, they give tenants access via their smartphones – and you access to viewing and editing requests and work orders via your smartphone.
Depending on the application, you are also able to easily create and assign the work order to one of your vendors as well as manage payment.
Tenant Leasing and Screening
Performing background checks, assessing credit scores, and reviewing criminal records of potential tenants is standard but it’s also time-consuming and forces attention away from current residents. Additionally, ineffective leasing processes can impact your turnover rate, as initial impressions and the establishment of expectations are imperative.
Property management software offers some of the most impactful tools for leasing and screening that can truly help streamline the process overall.
Tenant screening is a key task that can be effectively automated, many programs can automatically scan multiple databases and run multiple checks simultaneously. This not only provides an efficient use of time but also ensures quality information, allowing you to make the most informed decision possible.
Additionally, property management software simplifies the leasing process by enabling digital signatures and allowing lease agreements to be completed entirely online. The software then automatically keeps records of all applications and lease agreements.
Perhaps the most intriguing and surprising area of automation innovation has to deal with showings. Aspects of this type of application are still relatively new but the available property tools have been specifically designed to ease limitations and human touchpoints when it comes to setting up showings.
Using property management automation software you can offer self-guided tours - beneficial if you have vacant units but little time to facilitate multiple tours.
Additional tools allow a scheduled visitor to access a unit via a secure lockbox using their smartphone’s Bluetooth technology or enable you to create a copy of your client’s key without the need to pick up their keys at all.
Effective time management is crucial in property management, where even minor inefficiencies can quickly compound. Property management software offers significant time-saving benefits in automating lead generation.
A range of management tools are equipped with features that enable the automatic creation of listings for newly vacant units on major listing platforms. This immediately streamlines the process of searching for new applicants when you have a vacancy and saves you valuable time.
Property management software can also automate emails and SMS messages to make following up with leads more efficient. This automation can help you stay on top of your leads and prevent them from slipping through the cracks.
Moreover, these tools can automatically pull listings and send them directly to your leads based on pre-set criteria. This not only provides automated follow-up but highly targeted follow-ups, which are more likely to convert.
By automating lead generation, property management software enables you to focus on managing your properties while ensuring a steady stream of new leads.
5 Tools for Automated Property Management
We have discussed various techniques in which property management software and other tools can assist landlords and property managers in automating their procedures. Next, we will dive into a few of the tools that make automation possible.
Below are five tools that empower you to automate specific aspects of your property management process.
- Fortress - Fortress is the real estate industry's most automated property management software. It automates calculations like average outstanding work order time and forward occupancy, and eliminates the need to manually export multiple reports because it brings owners and managers into the same platform to collaboratively review metrics. Fortress's accelerated onboarding process uses AI to onboard properties in a day, not weeks. And its built-in training program through walk.me and online portal for resident payments further simplify property management, saving managers several hours each week compared to other property management systems. That's why 9 out of 10 property managers recommend Fortress over other leading software providers. Fortress also offers seamless integrations with top providers for credit reports, payments, and accounting such as TransUnion, Domuso, and Sage Intaact, with an option for Quickbooks integration as well.
- Rently - Rently is a compelling tool as it enables the automation of showings, a task previously deemed unrealistic. Traditionally, showings required an on-site representative to access the unit via a key. However, Rently's Rently Blue service streamlines this process by granting scheduled visitors access to a secure smartphone-activated lockbox, enhancing convenience and creating a favorable initial impression. This feature proves especially advantageous for remote properties as it eliminates the need for multiple travel trips, providing a means to offer showings to interested leads without having to travel back and forth multiple times.
- RealScout - RealScout offers automation capabilities for a crucial aspect of property management, lead generation, and more specifically lead nurturing. This tool enables the automatic delivery of follow-up emails and SMS messages to leads, while also allowing for the automatic pull of listings from the MLS based on predetermined criteria. Consequently, not only are follow-ups automated, but they are also highly customized and tailored to the specific needs of each lead, resulting in a higher probability of successful conversion.
- KeyMe - KeyMe, like Rently, provides an innovative solution that enables the automation of an aspect of the showing process that was previously unimaginable: key duplication. This tool allows you to effectively be in two places at once. Here's how it works: a client can send you a photo of the key using their smartphone, which you can then upload to the KeyMe app. You can then visit a KeyMe kiosk to retrieve the key, all without having to be physically present. This feature is convenient, particularly in situations where the client is located far away, as it enables you to complete the showing in a single trip instead of having to make multiple trips to obtain the key and conduct the showing.
Start Automating Property Management for Your On-Site Teams
The property management landscape has advanced significantly with the advent of automation technology. And, the reality is that automating numerous property management functions can save you a considerable amount of time and alleviate potential stressors. To optimize your properties and maintain peace of mind, embracing property management automation tools is key.
Fortress is a solution designed to simplify the pesky and redundant property management tasks, allowing you to focus on building and fostering real estate relationships. With Fortress, property management can be transformed from a task-oriented business to a more relationship-focused one. Learn more about Fortress from the articles below:
- Fortress: Built by Property Managers, for Property Managers
- How Property Managers Save an Hour or More Each Day With Fortress
- Fortress: Real-time Insights, Not Stale Reports
- GlobeSt.com Names Kerri Davis a Women of Influence
- How Can Fortress Help Manage Your Affordable Housing Units?
Or schedule a demo with our team below and see Fortress in action: