As I write this blog, we are just 17 working days into the new year so there’s still plenty of time to refine your New Year’s Resolutions list.
You don’t have a list?
Ok, as a property manager you may be struggling to see the wood for the trees, so drawing up a wish-list of things you are resolving to get done in 2020 may be a ‘nice to have’.
Drawing on our 11+ years working with managing agents, let’s help you with FIVE resolutions which could radically change yours and your colleagues’ working lives.
PREPARE FOR CHANGE
2019 was very busy for property managers without a doubt, but for us, it was the calm before the storm. Compulsory regulation/accreditation for property managers and their employers, far-reaching health and safety changes, and leasehold reform, will all start to impact in 2020.
So how should managing agents be preparing for change? Dwellant’s success has relied upon continuous interaction with managing agents and adapting our way of working accordingly. A revolutionary addition to our team in 2019 was welcoming an extremely experienced property management professional as our implementation director who helps to make sure a managing agent is READY for change. The successful adoption of Dwellant or any other IT solution depends ultimately on the readiness and willingness of the wider team, so cultural changes may be needed first!
Our advice is to keep talking to your peers and others in the industry who will have opinions as to the direction of travel of block and BTR management. Very quickly you will know what your competition is doing and what you should be doing to ensure you’re ready for the considerable changes ahead.
SPEND TIME ON SITE
We won’t attempt to repeat the great advice from Cledor on getting the most out of your on-site staff. Needless to say, estate managers and concierges are an invaluable resource to a property manager and indeed they can and should be running the show on site.
What better way to get the most from your on-site staff than visiting them regularly, listening to their concerns and taking on their great ideas? And have a think about the right tech tools to make it easier for them to deliver a better service to the residents. This , for instance. Property managers can now work for anywhere these days, so why not work from site more often?
WEBSITES FOR EVERY BUILDING
These days, leaseholders are able to reach their managing agent in a number of different ways including messages through portals like Dwellant, WhatsApp, emails, webchats… In common with all methods of communications, many or even most answers to queries can be made available online.
Websites for each of your buildings/schemes provide an online window for residents to access useful information, application forms, rules and regs etc. Attractive websites help to stimulate a sense of community and help with ‘place-making’. Even with smaller buildings, a website is a great way of bringing people together and increasing self-sufficiency amongst leaseholders who should be able to request a key fob or check when the lift will be back in action via the website rather than contacting you.
CONSOLIDATE YOUR NETWORK PARTNERS
How many of you think of your suppliers – accountants, surveyors, contractors, lawyers, software providers, H&S consultants, utility and insurance brokers – as ‘network partners’? All represent YOU and your client one way or another, and you rely entirely on them to get your job done.
Our implementation director sees most residential managing agents struggling to approve/vet hundreds or even thousands of suppliers. It has been said that the residential property management industry is a decade or two behind the commercial management world, where far fewer suppliers are used, better economies of scale are achieved, and a more loyal network is developed.
Dwellant has an inbuilt function to vet your contractors, with a live link to SafeContractor’s database if this is a pre-requisite for maintenance contractors, in particular, dealing with your firm. Our advice for 2020 is to use fewer suppliers and nurture your relationships. It’s all about making your working hours more efficient and getting a more reliable service from the chosen few.
USE TECHNOLOGY TO GET ORGANISED!
Most estate management software packages were originally designed to provide a database of your clients and leaseholders, to request service charges from them, and manage/track/account for the expenditure of these service charges.
The popularity of in-the-cloud portals has dramatically increased over recent years to cater for demand and to fill the gaps left by server-based estate management software packages.
Portals were originally designed to improve communications between agent and occupiers, however increasingly PropTech solutions are geared up to helping property managers get more organised, so they can process their hundreds and thousands of tasks faster and more accurately. Whether it’s a deluge of resident requests, floods of insurance claims, it’s raining supplier invoices, or you’re inundated with overdue site inspections, speak to us about staying high and dry.
2020: OUR 12th YEAR
As we enter our 12th year working ever closer with property managers, the Dwellant team enjoy an unrivalled knowledge of the property management industry at a granular level. We are continually developing our software and every year we resolve to remain cutting edge and genuinely useful.