Between scheduling routine and unexpected maintenance, communicating with tenants, and managing finances, there’s a lot to do when you’re a property manager. Due to these many time-consuming demands, technology that helps scale the workflow of property managers has flourished. According to Grand View Research, the market size for property management software reached $3 billion dollars in 2021 and is predicted to grow 4.8% by 2028.
Large property developers have been relying on management platforms for years — but as the technology has become more ubiquitous, it’s also become more accessible to smaller businesses. Unfortunately, it’s not always utilized. Real Property Management reports there are 80,000 property managers in the U.S., a staggering 66% of which don’t even have a website. This lack of technological adoption also contradicts the modern tenant’s expectations — Buildium’s 2020 Industry Report notes 34% of renters cited “technology” as a factor that influenced their choice of property manager.
If you’re a property manager who has yet to embrace the power of technology, allow us to make the case for a turnkey mobile app. Not only can a turnkey app be completely done for you, it can also be customized to serve your property’s specific needs — and the needs of your tenants. Let’s take a closer look at the different things a custom property app can do for your business.
What do property management apps do?
A property management app isn’t just a useful tool to keep things organized; when successfully implemented, it can enhance the tenant experience and improve operational efficiency from the ground up. Here are some of the critical things a successful property management app can accomplish:
- Facilitate efficient communication. Clear communication is a key component of a successful relationship between tenets, a property manager, and their employees. With a mobile app, features like push notifications and direct messages can be leveraged to ensure important information is quickly disseminated to all relevant parties.
- Manage and track maintenance requests. One of the biggest advantages of a mobile app is the ability to submit, manage, and track maintenance requests. Automating this workflow ensures maintenance requests are processed and resolved quickly — and scheduled maintenance is clearly communicated to tenants.
- Collect electronic payments. People have come to expect digital payment options in every sector of life — and rent is no exception. Electronic payment through a mobile app not only offers tenants a direct, secure avenue to pay, it allows property managers to view tenant payment activity in real-time and send targeted payment reminders as necessary.
- Streamline tenant applications. Digital applications cut down on the time it takes a potential tenant to apply and allow a property manager to easily access all the submitted applications in one convenient place. Screening reports such as background checks and income evaluations can also be integrated into this feature for a one-stop-shop application process.
- Market available properties. When it comes to marketing available properties, a custom mobile app is a great way to tell existing tenants about openings and encourage upgrades or referrals. It’s also an excellent brand-building tool, which can go a long way in helping your business stand out from the crowd.
According to Buildium’s research, the top three technologies tenants want property managers to provide are: electronic payments, digital communication, and maintenance requests.
Property management apps and COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 has only continued to precipitate the reliance on mobile apps for effective property management. As The New York Times puts it, “Building apps are designed to connect office tenants to maintenance, security and logistics systems and community-building programs. They began gaining traction in 2018 as a way to make offices more efficient, and have taken off in the pandemic as employers try to entice workers back on-site by making work-related tasks safe and convenient.”
Here are some examples of how property management apps play a role in the ongoing fight against the spread of COVID:
- Ensure tenant safety. From contact tracing to routine COVID screenings, a mobile app can serve as a central location for managing tenant safety. Frequent communication about the building’s health and safety status also goes a long way in helping tenants feel secure in their environment.
- Contactless access. To help cut down on touch contact, a mobile app can be programmed to automate a variety of useful functions, such as entering a building or calling an elevator.
- Conduct virtual showings. Even before social distancing, it was difficult to show a rental property to someone looking to relocate — but thanks to the advent of virtual reality (VR), property managers can now host showings to potential tenants all over the world from the comfort of an app.
Benefits of a property management app
As we’ve seen, there’s a lot a custom mobile app can do to boost a property management business’ efficiency and effectiveness.
From the management side, a mobile app can streamline daily operations, process maintenance requests, monitor payments, and manage all communications with current and prospective tenants. Additionally, mobile apps are a great way to market properties, reach new tenants, and bolster your brand.
Mobile apps also go a long way in enhancing the tenant experience. A useful, well-designed mobile app can be as attractive an amenity as free parking — especially as we continue to navigate the new safety protocols necessitated by the pandemic.
To see a custom property management app in action, check out our Q&A with enCappture founder Denise DiSano on how Marx Realty and other commercial real estate companies are using apps as a competitive advantage.