Going Digital: How Property Management Automation Works

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In the last several years the adoption of digital technologies increased. Organizations in all sectors are undergoing a digital transformation. Property management is no exception. 

Going digital makes sense. After all, property managers and owners undertake a high volume of operations. From rent collection to ensuring smooth communication with tenants and enabling additional streams of revenue – juggling these tasks is expensive and time-consuming. 

Without a doubt, managing facilities, especially multi-let buildings can be a challenging and multifaceted endeavor. By implementing technology to automate daily processes, managers can avoid mistakes, save time, and increase tenant satisfaction, gaining a competitive edge for their business.

However, property management software is no longer just a commodity. Due to increasing regulatory scrutiny, such as ESG reporting regulation, the property management process automation has become a necessity.

Continue reading to learn how technology can help your property management business stay efficient and compliant. 

Table of Contents

  • What Is Property Management Digitization and Automation?
  • Why Clients Want Digital Buildings
  • Reasons to Digitize Your Property Management Process
  • The Most Important Tasks You Can Automate
  • How to Establish a Digital Property
  • Tips for Picking the Best Property Management Automation Software
  • How Can Flanco Help Automate Property Management?

What Is Property Management Digitization and Automation?

The world we’re living in continues to embrace digital technology to make our lives easier. These days most things are accessible online, saving us precious resources such as time and money. This process, which involves the use of digital technologies to perform certain tasks, is called digitalization. 

Just like many other processes, property management can also be digitized. This means that building owners can use digital technologies and tools to improve the management, operation, and maintenance of their properties. 

Property management digitization helps to save time and increase efficiency. It also provides convenience to the owner, managers, and tenants of the property. For instance, digitalization allows them to complete tasks, such as lease signing online. This way, all parties benefit from a remote and environmentally friendly procedure. 

For property businesses, digitalization also results in a decreased workload for their employees. However, this doesn't mean that the purpose of digitalization is supposed to replace employees and limit human interaction. 

In fact, the purpose of digital buildings is to ensure efficiency, sustainability, comfort, and safety for the tenants. This often results in the automation of tedious tasks that allow managers to focus on more important tasks, such as building relationships with their tenants. 

What Is the Difference between Property Management Digitalization and Automation?

Property management digitalization and automation are closely related concepts, but they aren't the same. So what’s the difference between them in the context of property management? 

Property management digitalization allows the transition from traditional paper-based processes to various digital formats. 

Digitalization allows both landlords and tenants to carry out and manage lease agreements, maintenance requests, financial records, and tenant communication online. Its goal is to improve efficiency, reduce paperwork, streamline communication, and make information as well documents more accessible. 

In this context, automation is an additional feature of digitalization. It takes a step further and ensures that processes are performed automatically, with minimal human intervention. 

With the help of software, automation allows landlords to handle routine and repetitive tasks, such as billing, reservation management, and scheduling. 

Property management automation helps to reduce the manual effort required to gather utility data, invoicing, maintenance schedules, prepare lease agreements, and many other property management tasks too.

Why Clients Want Digital Buildings

Tenant expectations are growing. Property managers are no longer required just to solve problems. The current shift in the market demands management to become more transparent about their business practices, analyze data, and prevent issues ahead of time. As a result, tenants are beginning to recognize the value of digitalization.

An important issue frequently brought up by tenants is the effect the building has on the environment. Tenants are seeking sustainable properties amidst the global environmental crisis.

Automatically collecting and analyzing data related to energy consumption and carbon emissions can help property businesses map their impact on the environment. Managers can take action to conserve resources by understanding consumption trends. This way, they can deliver service that matches their clients' values.

Furthermore, utility data tracking can also help property managers adhere to regulatory compliance and avoid penalties. Since new regulations, such as ESG, demand throughout data collection and reporting, landlords need automation solutions that provide raw data without additional effort. Such solutions can help owners preserve their reputations in the eyes of their tenants.

However, this is not the only data that is relevant for tenants. More and more business tenants recognize the need to optimize their space via data-driven means. Digitalization of the office space allows to address space utilization issues. This is especially useful for companies that implemented a hybrid working model and want to reduce office space. 

Additionally, tenants need better or rather effortless communication. Currently, many managers have complex processes that often confuse clients. From remote document signing to issue reporting – tenants want an easier way to interact with the buildings they lease. 

These and many other requirements are the reason why the number of tenants choosing digitized, smart buildings is increasing. Investing in property automation and digitalization can help managers adapt to changing tenants' demands. The technology allows the making of data-driven decisions and prompt addressing of tenant concerns and needs.

Reasons to Digitize Your Property Management Process

Without a doubt the property management industry needs a digital transformation. Yet, the process of streamlining the current processes with the technology has been stagnant. It appears that managers and property owners are yet to discover the vast benefits of automation and digitalization. 

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of property management automation. 

Improved efficiency

Simply put, property management automation is efficient. With automation, property managers often take on the responsibility of data entry. This can often lead to mistakes, especially due to a large volume of data. 

However, managers agree that while necessary, tasks such as utility billing, and invoicing are extremely time-consuming and rarely require being done manually. Thus, automation software can take on this task and save precious resources including time and labor-related costs. 

Simplified communication

Technology serves as an efficient channel of communication. Various tasks can be performed, from reservations to lease signings, without the need for in-person meetings between tenants and landlords.

By using property management software, landlords can swiftly send updates and reminders to their tenants. Furthermore, they can use the software for marketing purposes, notifying tenants about special deals and offering additional services. 

Tenants, on the other hand, can report issues and send requests. In turn, this simplified communication can have a positive impact on retention rates and overall customer satisfaction. 

Better access to information

Digitalization allows you to have all relevant information in a single dashboard. Landlords can easily track lease expiry dates, reservations, and bookings. Meanwhile, tenants can view all available services and pricing information without the need for an inquiry.

Furthermore, digitalization allows managers to track important metrics and make data-driven decisions. The metrics include energy and water consumption, and space utilization. This data can help evaluate financial performance and environmental impact.

Increased client engagement

Property management software can play a crucial role in increasing client engagement by streamlining processes, improving communication, and enhancing overall client satisfaction. From swift and frictionless onboarding to flexible online payment methods, technology aids to help the client to easily engage with their buildings, maintaining retention. 

The Most Important Tasks You Can Automate

Not all manager's work can be automated. Let's explore tasks that can be automated to reduce stress and workload.

Tenant Onboarding

While most landlords still welcome new tenants in person, they can easily do it digitally. Property management automation can make the entire process of client onboarding smoother and more efficient for both property owners and renters. 

Automation allows managers to get rid of time-consuming paperwork and manual data entry. With the right property tools, managers can set up listings, allowing tenants to pick the property and book it online. Then, prospective tenants can complete applications, submit required documentation, and even pay deposits online, reducing the need for in-person visits and simplifying the leasing process. 

Landlords can also use the technology to provide move-in information, community guidance, lease information, and even marketing materials. 

Accounting and billing

Property management automation is indispensable for accounting and billing purposes. It comes as a time-saving solution that makes it easy to keep on track with complex financial statements. 

Through automation, a property manager can effortlessly track rent payments, late fees, and other financial transactions in real time, reducing the risk of human error and the need for manual bookkeeping. 

Additionally, automated systems can generate invoices, statements, and financial reports with precision, making it easier to keep tabs on the financial health of each property. 

By integrating a payment platform, landlords can provide tenants with an easy way to pay rent and other fees.

Maintenance Requests

No matter how well-equipped your building is, something is bound to break. In these instances, it’s important to provide tenants with a solution to quickly report maintenance issues. That’s what automation is commonly used for. 

Through an automated system, tenants can submit maintenance requests online, describing the issue and attaching relevant photos or documents for clarity. These requests are instantly logged, prioritized, and assigned to the appropriate maintenance personnel. 

Automation ensures that nothing slips through the cracks and helps quickly address the issues. This way, landlords can protect user experience as well as avoid costly repair delays.

Lease Renewal and Documentation

Keeping on top of lease renewal and other documentation is crucial for every property manager. Yet, sifting through stacks of paperwork or entering data manually into spreadsheets is time-consuming and inefficient. 

When managers lose important documentation or miss expiration dates these problems can have costly consequences. With automation tools, property managers can easily track lease expiration dates and send automated reminders to both tenants and landlords, ensuring timely lease renewals. 

Additionally, the property management software can generate and store digital lease agreements, making it effortless to access and review essential lease documents when needed. 

Property Utility Management

Historically, utility management has been a complex and resource-intensive task. Fortunately, these days technology allows us to monitor and control utility usage with ease. 

Landlords can track electricity, water, and gas consumption and make data-driven decisions to reduce over-competition and carbon emissions. 

Additionally, automated billing systems can accurately estimate utility charges for each tenant, eliminating the need for manual calculations and reducing billing disputes. 

Overall, property management automation ensures that utility management is not only more cost-effective but also environmentally responsible, benefiting property owners, managers, and tenants alike.

How to Establish a Digital Property

If you’re new to property management automation, the process of getting started may seem daunting. After all, you need to make sure that introducing new technology to your business is worthwhile. Here are the steps to get started:

  • Start by defining your goals. Think about what you want to achieve with this new technology. Do you want to improve customer engagement and retention? Or do you simply need to optimize your workflow to have extra time for other tasks?
  • Assess your current workflow. Think critically about the property management tasks you do daily. Find the most consuming procedures that require minimal or no human interaction. Then think about how technology can address these tasks.
  • Research property management software. While digital property management automation is still in its infancy, the market offers several tools that can address your individual needs. In the next section, we provide tips on how to pick the best option. 
  • Implementation and training. Keep in mind that some solutions require time for setting up and training. While most software providers offer resources to get you up and running in no time, you can also opt for solutions that require little to no setup. 

Tips for Picking the Best Property Management Automation Software

Here are some tips to help you pick the best tool for your property:

Consider your budget. Determine how much you're willing to invest in property management software. Consider not only the initial cost but also ongoing subscription fees and any additional costs for integration or customization.

  • Research options. Look for property management software options that align with your needs and budget. We recommend looking into Flanco, a smart property management platform. 
  • Choose features based on your needs. Carefully evaluate the features and functionality offered by each software. Some features to consider include: lease management, maintenance management, request tracking, tenant and owner apps, financial reporting and accounting integration, and document storage.
  • Overall user experience. The software should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface to ensure that both you and your team can easily navigate and use it without extensive training. If the provider offers a tenant app, make sure its interface is also easy to understand and navigate. 
  • Customization and scalability. If you’re planning on growing your business in the future, assess the scalability of the software. Customization is also important to ensure that the property management software is suited to your individual needs. 
  • Integration and compatibility. Check if the software can be integrated into the tools you already use. This can be accounting software, CRM systems, or property listing platforms. Integration capabilities can enhance efficiency and accuracy. Sometimes, the property management software can even replace some of the tools you use, so assess the features carefully. 
  • Customer Support. Assess the level of customer support provided by the software provider. Reliable customer support is crucial when you encounter issues or have questions. 
  • Security and data privacy. Ensure that the software has robust security measures in place to protect sensitive data, such as tenant information and financial records. Verify that it complies with relevant data privacy regulations, such as GDPR if applicable.

Once you narrow down your choices based on the above criteria, it’s time to make a final decision. Remember that the right property management automation software can have a significant impact on your efficiency, tenant satisfaction, and overall success in property management. Take your time to evaluate your options thoroughly to make the best choice for your business.

How Can Flanco Help Automate Property Management?

Digital property management solutions are the future. It’s time to stop wasting resources on redundant and monotonous property management tasks. Instead, landlords should focus on building connections with their tenants and other important operations. 

So if you’re ready to start automating your work, Flanco can help. Built to enhance productivity and save time, Flanco Structure is a smart property management platform. Our solution helps to swiftly onboard new clients through your chosen customer journey. It automates reservations, listing management, document signing, and overall communication with your tenants. 

With Flanco you don’t need to worry about invoices, as they can be generated in just a few clicks. The platform also handles utility management, allowing you to calculate and distribute bills through all your tenants. If your business falls under ESG compliance, Flanco Structure will help you with data collection and preparation for reporting. 

If you’re looking for a more lightweight solution, Flanco Space is the answer. Best suited for office management, Space allows you to optimize your office resources. It allows booking meeting rooms and desks, track access to amenities, report issues, and control access to the building. Space offers everything you need for a hybrid office.