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Why technology alone can’t manage rent rolls

By Mina Radhakrishnan
22 May 2023 | 11 minute read
mina radhakrishnan reb s8cq60

The real estate industry has experienced a significant evolution in technology in recent years.

We’ve seen the rise of digital platforms such as online marketplaces and mobile apps that make it easier for buyers and sellers to connect. We’ve adopted virtual and augmented reality, which have created a means of virtually viewing properties and expanding markets. We’ve even observed how artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can allow real estate professionals and investors to make more informed decisions.

But as the industry continues to evolve, it’s important to acknowledge that technology alone can’t solve all rent-roll problems. The real estate industry is one that thrives on human connection. As much as we rely on technology to streamline and automate workflows, we also need people to work alongside it to bring compassion and empathy to life.

The current state of play

There are plenty of quality proptech software solutions available that enable workflows to become more efficient. However, most existing options don’t integrate with each other. This creates challenges for agency principals, who end up using five or more different software packages to get the job done.

It’s often the case where one app might be great at leasing and another has a specialist feature for managing maintenance or repairs. But you can’t use the two in tandem. As a result, unnecessary time is spent learning how to use various pieces of software and building workable processes around them. And then you have to train your entire team to do this.

In reality, this isn’t an efficient use of anyone’s time. I like to think about it in the same way I think about the question, “What am I having for dinner?” I could decide to run to the grocery store and prepare a home-cooked meal from scratch. I could use a service like Menulog or UberEATS to bring my meal to me. I could even hand this over to a chef and pay more to eat out at a restaurant if I wanted the entire experience handled.

It ultimately boils down to the level of involvement you want to have in preparing your meal. Or in the case of real estate, what level of involvement you want to have in the day-to-day management of your rent roll.

Successful tech integration

The purpose of technology is to take away the mundane tasks so agency principals and property managers can focus on what they do best: building healthy rent rolls, having good conversations and establishing relationships.

The key to success in the real estate industry is to combine the creativity and innovation of people with the power and efficiency of technology. A simple example of this is how we manage maintenance requests, a common aspect of any rent roll. Here at :Different we approach this, well, a little differently.

Unlike traditional workflows, we don’t accept maintenance queries through emails or text messages. Instead, when a tenant logs a maintenance request, they use our app to specify all the necessary details, including what room the issue is in, the category of the problem, relevant photos or videos, and full description. This reduces the amount of time spent going back and forth with the tenant and ultimately increases the speed of resolution.

If we need further clarity, we can then do this directly within our in-app messaging feature. Once we review a request, we send it to the owner via the app, where they will see the same level of detail plus any additional context we provide to explain why they’re receiving the request and our recommendations on next steps.

As a result, both the tenant and the owner have real-time visibility every time the status is updated without having to send an email or call somebody to figure out what’s going on.

The real value of technology here is not about taking people away. It’s about creating transparency and visibility. You have custom technology that allows you to own the processes, creating a streamlined experience for owners, tenants and property managers. In the same vein, the admin aspect, which humans often don’t enjoy, can be easily handled by tech.

The focus of the integration should always be on how we build systems that work well with real relationships and how we can scale our technology communications so they still feel human.

We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the empathy and knowledge that experienced property managers and agents provide. Instead, advancements in software should be viewed as a tool that complements and enhances the human element. In doing so, we can create a real estate industry that is both efficient and empathetic.

If you’d like to learn more about the efficiency of your current rent roll, you can try :Different’s free rent roll performance check here.

Mina Radhakrishnan is the co-founder of :Different

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