If your real estate business operates using “standard business processes”, your property managers are spending 50% or more of their time using manual processes that are simply not fit for the digital era in which we now live and work. Consider the number of applications, spreadsheets, and paper documents that are used by property managers each workday to manually perform complex analysis and financial modeling tasks, compile important reports, and inform key business decisions.

Spreadsheets alone consume an average of an hour each day for the average office worker and 2.5 to 3 hours a day for finance and R&D roles. Not only is the laborious process of integrating data from all these disparate sources needlessly time-consuming and costly but it is also error prone and can lead to bad business decisions. It’s not an exaggeration to say that manual processes performed by property managers today are generally inefficient, impossible to track on a large scale, and introduce unnecessary risks to your business.

In an age where automation success stories are everywhere, it’s crucial that the real estate industry in general and property managers in particular begin taking advantage of digitalization to automate their business processes and drive strategic business improvement.

What Are the Manual Processes Property Managers Would Love to Get Rid of Forever?

It Starts with Paper

The first manual process most Property Managers would love to eliminate is managing all of the paper. According to Records Nation, just tracking down the paper needed to perform manual processes takes 30-40% of the typical employee’s time. How much happier and more productive would property managers be if they could free up one to two full workdays every week?

Another shocking statistic is that over 70% of all businesses would fail within 3 weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper-based records due to fire or flood. In the real estate industry, where contracts, financial records, and compliance verification records are such a critical part of day-to-day business, this percentage could be even higher.

How Much Paper is Used in the US in One Day
Although it is difficult to find global statistics, this infographic shows the incredible amount of paper used every day in the United States alone (Source).

How much paper are we really using? In the United States 363 million kg of paper is used every day, and that is only about 1/3 of the paper used globally. This means that around the world, we’re using enough paper to build roughly 75,000 houses or print 16.5 million copies of the Hunger Games Trilogy!

Not only would drastically reducing the amount of paper handled in your business every day improve efficiency and give time back to your people, but It will also dramatically improve your sustainability efforts.

Compiling and Analyzing Reports

Collecting data from various sources and compiling them into spreadsheets, formatting the data into something useful, and performing calculations on it all manually is highly time-consuming and, more importantly, prone to errors. It also does not give managers actionable data, since they need to further analyze the data to gain insightful information, which clearly requires even more time.

Lease Administration

“Efficient and effective” has become the mantra of choice for busy real estate owners and property managers. Nowhere is this more applicable than in lease administration, especially in current challenging times when survival can depend on successfully collecting money due, and accurately managing revenues and pass-throughs. A surprising number of property managers/management companies still calculate expense recovery billings manually, without a high degree of automation. Many utilize spreadsheet programs – which generally goes strongly against the drive toward efficiency and effectiveness.

The real estate industry forfeits billions of dollars of revenue and valuation each year. Why? Because the lease terms that entitle them to recover operating & utility expenses from tenants are manually interpreted, calculated, billed and applied incorrectly. For example, many property managers fail to properly manage subleases or even keep track of the entire leasing process, especially when managing multiple properties. Invoice discrepancies are still common. And critical contract dates to exercise expansion or renewal options, often at discounted rates, are frequently missed.

Manual Communications

The communication gap between property managers and tenants has grown worse over time and led to poor rental experiences. Most property management companies still require paper checks and application materials, and they expect tenants to call them with utility requests and to report issues. Today’s tenants have different expectations. Zillow reported last year that 55% of millennial tenants want to submit rental applications online and more than one-third want to pay rent electronically. Tenants and property managers have also expressed a preference for communicating maintenance requests and other issues via an online portal as opposed to phone calls, texts or emails. This disconnect has led to stressful tenant-landlord relationships, factoring into decreased retention rates. According to Zillow Rentals, 68% of tenants leave because of bad customer or communication service. This turnover can be costly for both tenants and property managers.

Today, property managers and tenants are seeking for an automated and easy-to-use platform that allows for data gathering. Easy data access helps to solve vital pain points in the tenant and resident relations component of property management. For the average property manager, better service means streamlining communication, facilitating faster repairs, collecting online payments and providing tenants with value-added features like discounts to local businesses, a calendar of nearby events and the ability to control smart-home devices from a single platform.

The Majority of Property Management Companies Are Struggling with Manual Processes

Software Advice, a widely recognized provider of detailed software reviews, recently sampled 385 property management professionals and established that while 53% are yet to switch from manual to automated computer-based systems, 28% have already done so, and 9% claim that they do not run their businesses on any system. It’s almost impossible to imagine effectively managing properties without automated processes of any kind. For many property managers, handling their routine tasks consists of juggling many tasks around. Manually performing such business operations as tracking rent payments and managing maintenance requests is highly time-consuming and often overwhelming, and these processes form only a small part of what property managers face daily.

The property management industry is struggling to find a solution to everyday property problems. Today’s top performers in the property management market are the ones embracing digitalization. Eliminating manual processes is no longer a ‘nice to have,’ but a necessity that’s critical to your company’s goals and growth. The cost savings realized from automating these manual processes can collectively add up to significant cost reductions along the lines of 2-4% of total real estate portfolio spend.

Property Management Process Automation Empowers Your Business

Property management is one the oldest fields in the corporate sector, once requiring professionals to spend countless hours working on location to complete their tasks. Today, even with all of the technologies making them obsolete, some property managers are still performing these laborious location-centric workflows today.

It is important to note that the role of an end-to-end real estate management platform in the property management sector will be one of enablement not replacement. Digitalization cannot replace the role of the property manager. It can only free them up to take decisive actions, more effectively manage tenant and vendor issues, and manage the many important day-to-day issues that they’re too busy to focus on today.

The BuildingMinds platform seamlessly enables property managers to automate their day-to-day activities via our closed loop process. Our platform empowers building managers to digitize, automate, and standardize service and servicer relationships, and empower stakeholders at every level within your organization to efficiently collaborate with service providers. Also, we help our clients to improve their tenants and employees experience by leveraging on new data-driven insights to increase efficiency and quality of the collaboration of all of your service providers around the world.

With these automated processes you can speed up vendor management, issue and manage procurement contracts, and allow documentation of services performed directly in the BuildingMinds platform. Above all, we assist your property managers in identifying opportunities for quick savings and help your business stay ahead of commercial real estate trends.