Current uncertainty in the property market poses an opportunity for property management and estate agency companies looking to improve their competitive advantage. As our industry adjusts to the effects of stamp duty legislation and Brexit now is the time to explore your technology options and review the operational issues that may be hindering efficiencies in your organisation. By investing in software services and innovation during an uncertain period, you place your company ahead of the competition now and in the future when the marketplace rebounds.
In the short term, spending your money wisely now will help you streamline current operations and cut costs. Installing or upgrading your property management or estate agency system will make your company operate more efficiently with less overhead and make better use of your current resources. In the long term, you will be ready to take advantage of the property market as it emerges from the effects of legislation or other market forces when it occurs.
Implementation of a new property management or estate agency software system will simplify and produce cost savings throughout your operations from client accounting, maintenance tracking and regulatory compliance to marketing, document handling and business reporting. Creating efficiencies in your overall operations will allow you to lower overhead and focus on the revenue producing parts of your business such as stimulating new tenancies and sales and strengthening relationships with your existing landlords, tenants owners and applicants.
The best way to go about using technology to overhaul your business practices is to properly implement an industry specific property management or estate agency software solution. There are five basic elements to consider when investigating these solutions:
1. Technology companies in the marketplace that specialise in the property management or estate agency industry and their backgrounds and expertise.
2. Software features that fit with the property management or estate agency industry.
3. Strong customer references.
4. Support and implementation of the software product.
5. Choice of technology.
The first step is evaluating which technology companies offer the kind of software you are looking to buy. Who are the technology providers in the property management or estate agency market? Which company has more expertise in the property management or estate agency industry? It is important to go with a technology company who knows the property management or estate agency industry thoroughly, has a successful history in this vertical market and, most importantly, is focused on the future of the property management and estate agency industry.
Another consideration are the features offered in the software product. Do the features take into account the way the property management or estate agency industry does business, such as complex overseas landlords tax calculations or the automation of repetitive tasks, marketing or regulatory notices? Will costly modifications be necessary to make the software specific to the way you operate? Will the software satisfy the complexity required to meet ARLA, RICS and legislative regulations?
A third important factor are customer references. Does the company have a solid reputation and a significant list of satisfied customers? Is there a good representation of companies in the property management and estate agency market? Is the software company willing to put you in touch with other customers to discuss their experience with the product? There is no better way to prove a property management or estate agency system’s worth than successful installations and operations at other property management or estate agency organisations.
The fourth step is gathering information on support and implementation of the software. Do the implementation and support services personnel know the property management and estate agency industry? How is support handled? Are customer support representatives available quickly to resolve your issues? How are upgrades handled? It is important that trained staff be available to help you through the process every step of the way.
The last consideration is the technology. There is no single “magic” technology that will work for the property management or estate agency industry. That said, be sure to choose a technology that is sound, widely used and constantly being improved. Also make sure the technology is forward-looking and incorporates the latest standard features so that your system is current and will stand the test of time. As the market struggles to deal with changing times and uncertainty, let your property management or estate agency technology help you bear the storm and put you out in front for when the weather clears.