Long-distance owners can pay a virtual visit to their properties with a few taps on their smartphone thanks to industry technology that also boosts the efficiency and service of companies that use it to manage those investments.
Advanced property management software offers web-based portals that allow busy or long-distance property owners to check on their investment anytime. This is especially helpful for military personnel, foreign service members and other long-distance owners who don't have the option to drop by. With a couple clicks, owners can obtain real-time information such as work orders and income and expense reports from their personal computer or tablet. No more waiting for a monthly statement in the mail or making an international phone call for updates and the peace of mind they provide.
The web-based systems take information that has been stored in file drawers and spreadsheets – including tenant application data, accounting information, work orders, owner reports – and integrates it on a single, user-friendly platform.
Because full-service systems automate routine tasks and generate electronic reports and payments, managers say they spend far less time on repetitive data entry and administrative tasks such as copying, faxing and mailing checks and reports. That time savings allows them to focus more on work that protects and enhances the property, such as marketing, visiting properties and communicating with owners and tenants.
Tenants also have a portal where they can pay rent online, communicate with managers or alert them to a problem.
A tenant can log on day or night to report a leaky toilet, malfunctioning furnace or other maintenance issue and even upload a smartphone picture illustrating the problem. The software immediately alerts management and helps track and prioritize requests, ensuring that urgent needs are addressed before they become major, expensive problems and that all orders are handled efficiently.
In addition to ensuring speedy response time, the software keeps tenants apprised of the progress of their requests, beginning with a confirmation that it was received –responsiveness and communication that can be key in retaining good renters.
Most systems also include functions allowing rental proceeds to be directly deposited in owners’ accounts, giving property owners quicker access to their money.
And the software developers have started offering mobile apps that connect to the system and allow managers to attend to properties when they’re on the go. And despite all the convenience of the web-based systems, vendors report that they have “bank-level” security to ensure the privacy of tenant and property data.
–By Jill S. Gross