It’s not easy being a property manager. In addition to being the point of contact for all residents and staff at your property, you oversee a multitude of tasks and processes to keep the building operating smoothly. Luckily, property management automation will help streamline those repetitive tasks and save you time.
As a result, you can focus on the areas that need your personal attention. If you’re not sure how to start automating parts of your job, you’ve come to the right place! From property management software to package delivery systems, there are dozens of tools to help simplify your day-to-day life.
This guide breaks down the top eight tasks that property managers should automate. Simultaneously, it will demystify property management automation.
This post will cover:
What is property management automation?
Property management automation refers to any tools or processes that reduce your manual workload by letting technology work for you. Software, apps, and other tools will streamline your operations, simplify workflows, and automate away your repetitive tasks.
This doesn’t mean you have to automate everything or replace your building’s staff with technology. It simply means making your (and your staff’s) most time-consuming tasks easier to handle. At the same time, automation will optimize your management techniques.
Recent years have presented a new wave of tenants, primarily millennials and Gen Zers. These renters expect their residences to keep up to date with technology. By adopting property management automation, you’ll make your job easier while pleasing your residents.
AI property management
AI (artificial intelligence) property management refers to using technology that imitates human intelligence to complete management tasks. Generally, AI technologies use machine learning to analyze data and make decisions or improve operations based on that data.
A 2021 study by Clockify found that workers spend 219 hours per year “on repetitive services and tasks that could be easily automated.” Property management is a unique industry because a disproportionately large number of tasks fall into this category.
As a property manager, it may seem like your work never ends. In fact, you’re the primary point of contact for all staff, residents, leasing agents, and contractors. Because of this, you must use the time you have efficiently.
The easiest way to do this is to implement AI tools.
How does AI help property management?
AI helps property management by automating redundant tasks and using machine learning to continually improve how it performs those processes.
To begin with, think of tasks you have to be present for to complete. For instance, many property managers are pulled away from pressing work to facilitate lease renewals, collect rent payments, or accept package deliveries. If that is your case, AI can help you.
One common example of AI in property management is AI leasing assistants. AI leasing assistants complement real human leasing agents by being available 24/7 when staff members aren’t working. Rather than letting a human agent field all inquiries from prospects, you can use an AI assistant to automatically respond via text or email to prospects.
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Top 8 tasks property managers should automate
Compared to traditional property management, enhancing property management with automation can seem intimidating. But if you approach one task at a time, you’ll find your property running smoother than ever.
Here are the top 8 tasks property managers can automate:
- Lease renewals
- Package and delivery management
- Rent payments
- Facilitating apartment tours
- Staff recruitment
- Maintenance request management
- Granting property access to residents and guests
- Tenant screening
1. Lease renewals
It’s incredibly easy to automate the lease renewal process! Using software like Visual Lease or AppFolio, you can enter lease terms when a tenant moves in.
Then, when their lease renewal date is approaching, the software will automatically send them your personalized lease renewal email. This email can contain information on how to proceed with renewing their lease, changes in rent, and more.
If a resident chooses to renew, the software can then prepare and send them a renewal contract. Once signed by the tenant, it’ll make its way to you. Altogether, automating lease renewals reduces your work to the final step: signing off!
2. Package and delivery management
Implementing a package management system at your property will increase convenience for you, your residents, and couriers.
There are a few package delivery systems to choose from:
- Package room
- Package lockers
- Off-site package storage and drop-off program
- Package management software
For best results, set up a package room in your building — and control access to it with a smart video intercom. With a package room system, you can grant property access to couriers remotely and automatically notify residents of deliveries via their smartphones.
Installing a package room can dramatically reduce property management operating expenses and increase your property’s NOI.
3. Rent payments
Collecting rent online with automatic reminders is one of the easiest ways to save yourself time. Not only will establishing an automated rent payment system streamline your business, but it’ll also appeal to your tenants.
Nowadays, most tenants prefer digital banking. By offering a digital rent payment option, you’ll appeal to more prospective residents. Furthermore, you’ll make rent payments more convenient for both you and your tenants.
Many online rent payment systems will send your residents automatic reminders when their payment is due. What’s more, these systems will notify you and your resident if there is a transaction error. This will greatly reduce your workload of collecting late and overdue payments.
4. Facilitating apartment tours
Do you have vacant units that need to be filled but no time to facilitate multiple showings? You can offer self-guided tours using property management automation tools to save time, money, and energy.
With self-guided tours, you can show vacancies to more people, increasing your chances of signing a lease faster. Moreover, prospective residents will be happy to tour a property with a flexible touring schedule. You get to showcase your property’s willingness to please residents before they even step foot on site.
You can completely automate the touring process by investing in:
- A self-guided touring app or platform. Companies that provide these platforms make it simple — all you have to do is add a link to a booking platform to your website. From there, prospects provide their information and ID and choose a time to tour the building.
- A smart access control system. When prospects arrive at the building, they can use an automatically generated virtual key to gain property access and unlock doors within the building.
5. Staff recruitment
The last thing you want to do with your time at work is spend hours searching for new employees. Thankfully, there is software built to screen applicants before you even get your hands on a resume.
Recruiting software scans submitted resumes to flag possible good fits for your job posting.
This way, you can just review a few highly qualified candidates instead of sifting through a pile of resumes.
6. Maintenance request management
Maintenance requests are of the most disruptive realities of multifamily living.
Keeping up with property maintenance is necessary to ensure resident satisfaction and safety. But filtering maintenance requests through property management prolongs the time between request filing and completion.
By automating maintenance requests using software, your maintenance crew will be notified as soon as a new request is sent in. The software can assign tickets to crew members accordingly. Then, after a maintenance worker marks a request as complete, you’ll receive an automatic notification. Use this notification as a reminder to follow up with the resident and ensure they’re satisfied with the work!
Alerting tenants of routine maintenance such as checking smoke detectors, or larger projects like painting hallways, is also particularly time-consuming. You can automate these alerts using property management software like RentBridge or Entrata, among others.
7. Granting property access to residents and guests
One of the most time-consuming tasks for property staff is monitoring your property’s front door or gate. In the case of an especially large building, vetting visitors could be a full-time responsibility.
You can easily alleviate staff from this monotonous duty by installing a video intercom system.
Here’s how a video intercom automates property access:
- Residents and staff members can easily open the door for themselves with their smartphones or a unique PIN.
- Visitors can video call a resident to request access — and residents can grant access from anywhere using just a smartphone.
- Residents and staff can send planned visitors a virtual key for one-time or recurring use.
Unquestionably, property safety is the top concern for property managers. A smart video intercom system automatically snaps a time- and date-stamped photo of all entries. This log optimizes your property’s safety without compromising convenience.
8. Tenant screening
Taking time to perform background checks, assess credit scores, and review criminal records of potential tenants is standard. But it’s also time-consuming and forces your attention away from the residents already living in your building.
Thankfully, modern property technology has made it possible to screen tenants without spending your time at a computer!
Online services like Experian Connect and E-Renter do the work of screening potential tenants for you. This way, you can save time and be sure that you approve the best possible tenants for your property.
When you’re deciding which tasks to automate at your property, it can be easy to overwhelm yourself with choice. So, start with just one or two tasks that often steal your time away from more pressing work. Let your staff, your residents, and yourself adapt to new AI-powered property management slowly.
- Property management automation is meant to make your job easier. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to automate everything all at once.
- Property management automation can save each staff member from spending hours completing repetitive tasks.
- You can easily automate some of your tasks using property technology like self-guided tour software, video intercoms, and package rooms from ButterflyMX.