A new Rent.com.au survey shows what existing technologies have been embraced by property management and those new technologies which are emerging.
Rent.com.au’s study, run in May 2018, canvassed Australia’s property management teams to find out what technology is being used across Australian offices, which functions it is being used for, if not, whether it’s something that’s planned for their team down the track.
“It is clear that some technologies have been embraced by property managers more than others over the years, with the management of routine inspections via apps, and managing of email enquiries and open for inspections topping the list, however, AI is sure to affect many facets of property management and potentially at a faster rate than perhaps even the internet,” said David Berridge, National Agent Services Manager for Rent.com.au.
While many agents have already adopted necessary automated systems to manage their workflow, some have begun to leverage real estate technology to their advantage to automate predictable communication and administrative tasks such as rent collection, inspections, and tenant communications.
Google Assistant and Alexa
Google Assistant and Alexa devices can serve as an on-the-go resource, with agents able to pull up answers fast and be prepared when renters or owners have specific questions. But while this technology is already in homes with consumer devices and smartphones, its commercial application in property management is at a very early stage. Just 11% of respondents in Rent.com.au’s survey said they use a Google Assistant or Alexa device in their day-to-day activities, with 57% of those primarily using the device at home, 29% at home and in the office and just 14% once they get to work.
Inspection Booking management systems
The rental market is fast moving, and agents can experience large volumes of enquiries about inspecting properties. Processing and responding to these enquiries can tie up substantial resources for property management teams, which is why many agents utilise solutions such as Inspect Real Estate, Real Estate Bookings and REI Master to create, view and manage their inspections. 60% of respondents said their office uses an inspection booking management system, with just under half (40%) not making use of the technology.
Payment services to manage rental payments
Around half of all agents that responded to the survey (48%) said they make use of a service such as DEFT Payment Systems, Ezidebit or RE Connect to manage their rental payments. Agents will often choose to outsource the processing of payments to reduce bank fees, streamline office procedures, and free up their property managers to focus on growing their rent roll. More than half of respondents said it was unlikely their business would consider a payment service to manage rental payments in the future.
Apps for routine, incoming and exit property condition inspections
Today, some 82% of agents said they’re using apps like ADLInspect, Console LiveAgent, RentFind Inspector, and Inspection Express, to name a few, to quickly complete their incoming, exit and routine condition reports on site. Many systems offer the ability to create reports with comments and photos, allowing agents to produce cleaner, more accurate and professional condition reports while also saving the business time. For the remaining 12%, this is a tool that’s likely to come into use within the next 12 months.
Maintenance management systems
Maintenance management systems are more regularly in use across Australian agent offices, with 34% of respondents indicating their office makes use of systems such as Maintenance Manager or managing the workflows in their property management systems including REST, Console, PropertyTree, and PropertyMe. These systems make managing maintenance easier, allowing agents to take care of work orders, track maintenance status, and create payments upon completion. 66% of survey respondents said their office does not use a maintenance management system, with the majority indicating the technology was not in their future for the business (67%).
360-degree virtual tours
Virtual reality is making its way into the mainstream, and some agents are beginning to make use of the technology in their business. These systems allow renters to go online and take virtual tours of rentals they’re interested in from their personal computers, saving themselves and agents time helping to narrow down the selections and cut down on unnecessary drive time. Just 8% of respondents indicated their office was currently making use of virtual tours in their property ads, with tools such as Matterport: 3D Virtual Tours, and Virtual Tours Creator (VTC). Around 30% of agents who weren’t using virtual tours believed it would come into use within the next 12 months.
Rent.com.au is Australia's #1 website dedicated to rental property. We exist purely to make Property Managers' and renters' lives easier. Every service we offer is designed to give you the edge you need through better information, more quality applicants and better access to landlords.