Property Management Trends for 2021

by Dec 22, 2020

As if our world wasn’t turning to tech fast enough already, the pandemic has dramatically increased this shift. Forced to find ways to continue working with as little physical contact as possible, the age of COVID-19 has rapidly increased the pace and scale of moving business operations online.

Here are the most prolific forecasted trends for property management in 2021.

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Trend 1: Operating from the cloud

Businesses globally looked to cloud technology to combat the challenges of 2020 and the property sector was no exception. Cloud-based systems can efficiently handle many aspects of a property manager’s duties, such as:

  • Collecting rents and associated fees
  • Tracking schedules and moving dates
  • Managing requests and complaints
  • Scheduling repairs and cleaning crews etc.

These changes represented a significant threat initially, but the property sector has ultimately adapted well. According to a 2021 Industry Report, property managers believe that the pandemic has shone a light on the value of strategic, tech-savvy managers. They see enormous potential for property managers with the right balance of drive, technology use, and customer empathy to gain market share in the coming years. And, with new practices such as virtual tours and electronic leasing taking over, residents are reporting an appreciation for such new conveniences, too.

With this transition, however, new aspects of management are being considered. Social media presence, social listening, and reputation management are growing areas of concern, and property managers will need to keep their fingers firmly on the pulse when it comes to managing these. The online world moves fast, and quick reactions are key. Although not entirely new, chatbots are being utilized more frequently now, as an effective way to get potential and current tenants the immediate answers they seek.

Trend 2: Properties are getting smarter

The trend towards renovating our homes to be ‘smart’ has been rising for some time, and for good reason, as it is beneficial for renters, property owners, and managers alike. For starters, it is a more economical way to run a home, with constant utility monitoring and automated maintenance reducing costs which can therefore reduce rents. It also allows for easier access for anyone authorized to enter the property in the owner’s absence.

And then there are the security benefits. Again, whilst automated and touchless security systems are not new, the pandemic has certainly raised the demand for touchless access. As the property sector continues to embrace a technology-driven landscape, this trend is one to watch into 2021 and ahead into the post-COVID-19 world, and it’s full of benefits:

Smart security allows property managers to monitor properties via smart devices. Security alerts can be connected to emergency services to help expedite assistance

Video surveillance can provide crucial evidence of resident property abuse

Parameters can be managed, such as security clearance access or limiting access to amenities for residents who don’t pay condo fees

Technology has been creeping into our 21st Century lives faster than ever, and the way we run our homes is no exception. With the increased streamlining of property management that going smart affords, we can be assured that this trend will grow exponentially.

Trend 3: The demographics are shifting

Babyboomers are finally reaching retirement age and with that, the rental demographic is shifting and moving the goalposts as it does. When it comes to property highlights and amenities, expectations are not what they once were.

Despite the fact that today’s tenant market is defined by Millennials, Generation Z is certainly making its presence known. Gen Z is entering the workforce in a world led by technology trends. They are tech-savvy and it’s no surprise that they are attracted to smart home technologies, free Wi-Fi, and electric vehicle charging stations. Landlords and property managers need to move fast with the times. A whopping 97% of Gen Zers are planning to buy a home, meaning that more and more tenants will be opting for more affordable options to maximize their savings, whilst also requiring modern functionality.

Trend 4: Property management startup increase

Another trend that is poised for prevalence is the influx of emerging property management startups. COVID-19 has had such an impact on the remote capabilities of running a property management operation, it led to an increase in startups within the sector. In addition, the pandemic led to a growing number of ‘accidental landlords’ who could potentially see the opportunity to expand into this area. With streamlined cloud-based systems, tenant expectations inline with online trends and user-friendly property management software, it’s become almost anyone’s game.

Final thoughts

The property market was hit hard by COVID-19 initially – in line with most of the world, it was wracked with fear and confusion as to how it would survive the restrictions. But, like other sectors inevitably set for a tech-based future, the real estate world upped its technological game in response, and largely, it’s not only paid off, but has paved the way for long-term change at lightning speed.

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