Technology has been integrated throughout the real estate spectrum for some time. It may come as little surprise then, to learn that property managers in Phoenix are utilizing the very latest and lasting trends in technology-managment enhancement systems.
“The property management job has become much more technical,” says Sue Cannon, LEED green associate and senior vice president of property management at Cushman and Wakefield. “Ownership is often through large institutional companies that have internal accounting and IT systems, that are required for property managers to operate–even when the property manager is outsourced,”
With technology coming into play, potential tenant screening and risk assessment can be conducted with the click of a button. When the tenant is screened, if he or she does not qualify for a lease, the manager can use a system like RentScreener.com to calculate the dollar value of the risk that may result with a particular tenant.
“The service we use can report back to us quickly whether the prospect is a ‘green light,’ which means the resident is qualified to rent, a ‘yellow light,’ which means the resident needs to provide an increased security deposit, or a ‘red light,’ which means the resident doesn’t qualify,” says Melanie Morrison principal of MEB Management services.
Yardi, an application dedicated to real estate is being used to reduce management expenses. Through these types of databases that ensure the tenant has paid all expenses, the vendor can guarantee the tenant is in compliance with the lease agreement before purchasing goods and services. By having a program that checks the tenant’s payments automatically, property managers can hire less staff and no longer have to wait multiple days to process payments.
“Technology helps us control operating expenses such as utilities,” Morrison says. “Our company works with intermediaries who provide us with feedback on gas, water and electricity so we can get the information we need more quickly, and not have to wait for the bill to see if there is a problem, such as a leak or overuse.”
Advances in technology are not only aiding property managers, but they’re helping the tenants as well.
“Technology eliminates the middle man,” says Founder of the Keyser Foundation, Jonathan Keyser.
Through Keyser’s new application, Keyser Office Space Calculator, tenants can input how many office spaces they need and the application will deliver a summary of the square footage the tenant needs to rent.
“Tenants used to wait for weeks to meet with an architect. This application puts the power in the hand of the tenant and it takes only five minutes,” Keyser says.
Not only are tenants able to eliminate the middleman, they’re able to indirectly help property managers by utilizing social media.
“Residents have much more to base rental decisions on because of social media,” Morrison says. “We use technology to track how many positive and negative reviews we get. Being able to measure that is an important aspect to ensure residents are happy.When I started out 30 years ago, we were still doing rent rolls by hand. Now that we have better access to data, we can do better for the client.”