As the real estate industry continues to adopt innovative technology, property managers face the challenge of sourcing the best solutions available to manage their operation. Without the right platform in place, your business is vulnerable to certain blind spots that are not only potentially catastrophic in nature, but are also easily avoidable through a simple, proactive approach. Property management software is critical to growing your real estate business; and the perfect system can pay dividends for years to come.
Still, determining which platform to adopt can be tricky – especially if you don’t know where to start. With an array of options available, offering both similar and unique functionality, the process can become overwhelming without the proper strategy. The reality is that a simple audit of your core business needs will help you establish a clearer understanding of the best property management platform out there for you.
Before researching different solutions, the most important step is outlining the general functionality your operation requires from a property management system in order to achieve your goals. Whether your goal is to grow your portfolio over the next few years, or attract and retain tenants, the software you implement can turn these goals into reality. Just starting out? Only manage a small portfolio of units? Doesn’t matter. Although specific requirements may vary slightly from one company to another, below are a few industry standards – in no particular order – that property management companies have collectively moved towards over the years.
Ease of Use
One of the most important aspects to consider when shopping for property management software is ease of use. Considering the platform you select will potentially be utilized by various departments – from building management, to leasing, to even your tenants – you may want to prioritize a system that will be easy to adopt across the board. The easier the platform is to navigate, the more powerful it will become in centralizing your critical data.
The best way to quickly gage the complexity of a platform is to arrange a live web-demo and walkthrough of the system with different members of your team. Following a web-demo, request access to a personal demo account to take that test drive. A company that is confident in it’s suite of products will typically provide you with a no-strings-attached demo account for 14-30 days.
Not only is ease of use critical, but it also goes hand-in-hand with having real-time access to the platform regardless of your location. Once again, considering the platform will be utilized by a variety of employees, many of whom don’t work from a traditional desk or office, being able to connect to your platform in real-time is a functionality that has become a requirement for companies today.
This is particularly applicable to maintenance tracking and workflow management, which permits your staff to manage their day from their mobile device, while offering head office transparency and visibility in real-time. On the flip side, tenants also prefer mobility and demand services such as the ability to pay their rent directly from their phone. Look for a platform with a strong mobile app, available on both iPhone and android, bringing you more flexibility in the long run.
Many of the benefits of a strong property management software platform rely on its ability to scale across your team, depending on different needs and use cases. Due to this, it is also critical to find a platform that doesn’t price their system on a per user basis. An unlimited user model allows you to effectively scale and offer the system across your employee and tenant base, without restrictions and roadblocks.
You may also want to look for pricing plans that are tier based, which will offer you room to grow your operation, without increasing your costs for the platform at the same time. Lastly, most pricing plans today are subscription based and billed monthly, however, take advantage and ask about plans that offer a small discount for upfront, yearly payments if possible – it adds up!
Depending on the size of your operation and scope of your needs, you may want to prioritize a platform that can easily integrate with other third-party systems or has a strong partnership model. Specifically, property management software that connects directly to your back office accounting system will prevent any duplicate data entry and streamline your operation more efficiently. Popular integrations across the industry typically include connections with Yardi Voyager or Hopem Primmo from an accounting perspective, direct connections with Kijiji for your marketing efforts, and Equifax for credit checks and screens.
Reliable Customer Success & Security
What good is a property management platform without a dependable and knowledgeable support team at your disposal? Companies that emphasize platform onboarding, employee training and continued technical support are more likely to ensure the success of your real estate company on the system going forward. At Domum Link, our account management and success departments act as a direct extension of your team to assure that you are extracting the most value from the system.
Security & Data Protection
Finally, there’s no doubt that security and data protection is at the forefront of today’s digital environment. This topic is currently so controversial and pertinent that it deservedly will be accompanied by its own in-depth article in the near future. Property management platforms operating under bank-level security requirements and that prioritize multiple daily backups of your data will give you the peace of mind you need at the end of every work day. If you can find a platform offering flexible data storage plans and easy export capabilities to Excel, PDF and other everyday formats, you will eliminate more friction down the road.
Your Property Management Software Search
Overall, the search for a property management platform might seem challenging, due to the scope of options seemingly available in the marketplace. Still, after a simple assessment of your critical goals and values, not only does the mandate become easier, but it also becomes possible. Throughout this process you’ll discover you are investing in more than a platform: you are investing in a team. And as the world of investing goes, “bet on the jockey, not the horse.”
Written by Trevor Romoff – Director @ Domum Link
Keywords: Property management software
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