January 07, 2016
2016: The Year Property Management Goes Paperless
Lately, we’ve been interviewing a variety of property management leaders on their views of the industry and where it’s headed in the next year. (Stay tuned for that article next week.) Through our conversations with them, as well as our ongoing client work, one thing has emerged as being abundantly clear: Slowly but surely, the property management industry is starting to adopt digital technology to transform the front and back office.
The Digital Front Office
Several of our clients have committed to going paperless by end of 2016 in two key ways:
Digital Payments: They will no longer accept paper cheques at the building level in the form of rent payment. Of course there will always be a small percentage of renters who resist going digital, but those people will have to mail in their cheques to head office. Property managers can also charge a processing fee for residents who insist on using cheques; it will cover those additional admin costs and add extra incentive for renters to embrace online payments.
Automating rent reminders is another way to capitalize on digitization to reduce back office collections. You can significantly reduce arrears by scheduling reminders via email, social media, SMS or voice alerts. Simply set up automatic end-of-month reminders for the coming 12 months, and then put it out of your mind until the following year.
Work Orders: Many of our clients have vowed to phase out paper work orders before the year is up. In place of manual processes, they plan to make use of our web-based maintenance portal solution. Why? It provides faster, easier maintenance monitoring and management, and ensures timely updates for renters as well as traceable communications with contractors and maintenance staff. It also enables property managers to identify high-cost properties and take preventative, cost-reducing maintenance measures in troublesome areas—before problems occur.
The Paper-Free Back Office
If there’s a bigger challenge than managing diverse properties and the front office responsibilities that come with them, it’s managing back office processes, which include applications, legal and collection, lease renewals, lease increase procedures and much more. Traditionally, these have all have been tremendously paper heavy. But that doesn’t mean they have to be.
Today, even the back office can be automated and digitalized. Integrated online leasing solutions enable you to perform credit checks more quickly and consistently than ever before. All applicants, co-applicants and guarantors are analyzed according to your pre-set criteria, so you can confidently screen prospective residents in just a few seconds.
Properties also leverage online application and renewal solutions to minimize errors and cut back on low-value administrative work. Options like e-signature capture eliminate the need for sending endless faxes back and forth. As an added bonus, you’ll benefit from having a digital record of resident information, which you can use later for leasing forms and welcome letters.
Embrace the Year of Living Paperlessly
Leaving paper processes behind in 2015 means you can save time, improve efficiency and reduce the potential for human error. Typically, within the first three months of implementing our integrated web-based solutions, Property Vista customers see dramatic improvements, including a 45% increase in collections, 75% increase in online payments, 35% increase in approved lease applications and 85% increase in closed work orders.
But going paperless does more than simply cut back on administrative tasks. By automating older, manual processes, you can shift your focus to the areas of your operations that impact your bottom line.
To learn more about what Property Vista’s web-based solutions can do for your business, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.