The pandemic has obviously caused a lot of disruption to the world and property management is no different. The ability to adapt and implement technology to allow remote work has been essential for Citiside to continue to run efficiently when faced with these challenges.
The biggest things that we learned is that a large percentage of property management can be done from home and technology allows us to do it more efficiently. The ability to work remote has also been increased by courts and other organizations that normally require in-person appearances or original copies of documents embracing the use of Zoom meetings and allowing electronic receipt of documents. Below are examples of various technologies we have implemented to allow for remote team management and the ability to manage properties without needing to be in an office.
- Google Meet – Virtual business and team meetings
- Thanks to google meets, our team hasn’t missed a beat since the pandemic. If anything, going virtual has increased our communication with one another. Not only can we chat with each other in hangouts but our virtual meetings are like the glue keeping our communications strong. This allows everyone to participate virtually or call in to the meeting by phone if on the go. It’s a really convenient way to keep everyone updated and involved when working from home.
- Basecamp-Team communication, collaboration, and task tracking
- This is a very straightforward and simple software that does not do everything but does its job very well. It allows for team members to track where projects are at and automatically give update to team members updates in a simple interface.
- Online Phone System.
- Seeing as though many companies have moved toward virtual/work-from-home it’s never been so important to keep communication alive. Having an online & in-office phone system was a major plus when the pandemic hit. Our phone system 3CX allows us to not only answer calls from office phones, but it allows us to access calls from home. This system is accessible in an office setting, online, and has an app to allow calls no matter where you are. Each of our employees have their own extension, which allows us to not only communicate with each other as a team but also with our tenants, clients, vendors, etc. Having access to this level of flexibility was monumental during the lockdown. This service also works in other countries so allows for using virtual assistants if that is something you are considering.
- DocuSign is probably one of the most effective virtual service we utilize on a daily basis. Not only is it user friendly but DocuSign offers much needed flexibility when it comes to creating and sending virtual documents.
- Electronic signature allows us to securely capture signatures needed by sending our documents via email directly to our signers. Whether it’s to landlords, tenants, or housing authorities. This method allows us to gather the documents and signatures we need regardless of the signer or senders location. This effective method came in handy when the unforeseen pandemic occurred.
- Mobile friendly. Anyone who is able to access email on their phone can complete these documents quick and easy on the go.
- CRM – AppFolio
- Client and Tenant Management- We are able to effectively manage our client and tenant relationships with our online CRM AppFolio.
- Online Rent Payments- There are many companies that still currently only accept rent payments via physical check or cashier’s check. In the current economic situation this isn’t the most feasible way for tenant’s to pay in our opinion. Covid-19 affected every life across the world if not directly, then indirectly. With people having limited access to the things they need coupled with many losing their jobs or transitioning to working from home requiring rent payments to only be paid in person can add additional stress during this unprecedented time. Being that our company manages properties all across the Metro Atlanta area, we are not around the corner from most of the residences we manage. We are able to cut the amount on undelivered payments by having more options for them to pay online or via PaySlip locally.
- PaySlip Payments- Our online CRM gives us the ability to allow our tenants to pay in more than just one way. The PaySlip option allows tenants to pay us directly by accessing local payment locations like CVS and Ace Express. This way they are able to go somewhere close by to pay us electronically versus making a 45 minute drive to our office in Atlanta traffic. It’s not only convenient for us to accept payments but convenient for out tenants too.
- Recording Keeping-The CRM’s profile set-ups offer a great way to keep track of not only our documents but our communication with all parties. We are able to keep tenant, owner, and property documents within the same system on separate profiles. Which helps a ton when it comes to organization and knowing exactly where to find what you need as situations arise. With this technology we are able to text, email, receive payments, view ledgers, keep track of files, and more all in each individual’s profile. This is not only beneficial for us but also for third-parties. When a property we manage is selling, the property’s documents can easily be downloaded to send to the buyer’s agent. The same goes for ledgers, receipts, and other information on the property owners may request.
- Online Maintenance Management – Property Meld
- Using an online maintenance management system can really streamline your communication and response time on projects. Property Meld for example has been essential in our company’s execution of work orders and tasks. It allows our tenant’s to enter work orders online or by phone. We can easily assign vendors to tackle the job and allow communication with our tenant’s for when workers will be arriving. The best part is that it’s all tracked and we can upload photos of the progress from beginning to end. Once the work is done we can download all of the receipts and photos to upload them to our tenant’s accounts.
- One of the best functions is it allows us to keep an accurate account of our average time to complete work orders for each individual vendor. Vendors that complete work quickly get more work. Fast vendors keep tenants happy which reduces the vacancy for our clients.
Other virtual services for landlords
- If you don’t have an in-house notary, this new capability swarming the internet might be very beneficial to your business. Many eSign companies like DocuSign, RightSignature, and NotaryCam provide information on a virtual notary service of some sort. Each vary based on their capabilities and aren’t available to all states as of yet. If you deal with mortgages or section8 this could be a very beneficial tool to use that doesn’t require either party to leave their home. This takes the hassle out of having all parties meet at a notaries office or bank to have your legal documents notarized while the pandemic is still underway.