REAL TALK RENTALS
Episode 29: The Power of Technology in Property Management
Are you looking to stay ahead of the curve in the Property Management industry? On this episode of Real Talk Rentals, Eric and Ben show you how modern tech-driven solutions can help you streamline your processes and make your business more efficient. Learn everything from online portals to AI-based solutions and see how they can revolutionize the way you do things. Join us as we explore tech and innovation in the PM industry!
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Harness the Power of Technology to Streamline Your Property Management Business
Ben Bailey: Coming up on today's episode of Real Talk Rentals, we're going to talk about technology and innovation in the property management industry. Welcome back to Real Talk Rentals, a podcast brought to you by Oncue Property Management. We're here to give you all the tips and tricks of the property management industry and everything that goes into owning an investment property. I'm Ben. I'm your host. And with me, as always, Mr. Eric Dixon, the go to expert on all things property management. And today, today is going to be fun. We're going to talk about some new and upcoming stuff. We're going to talk about technology and innovation in the property management industry. Um, you know, Landlording is probably one of the oldest industries in the world, right? That's right. Somebody owning something and renting it out to someone else. But there's a lot of new stuff happening, a lot of things that are changing the industry. So let's jump right into it. And Eric, I'm going to kick this to you. Let's talk about tech innovation, different things that are changing the way people rent out a property. That process.
Eric Dixon: Yeah. So the what's crazy is you mentioned, you know, obviously stuff is ever evolving, but more and more there are more and more rentals and people renting instead of buying. So there has to be a way to manage more and manage more efficiently, you know, in general. And then on top of that, technology is just going at such rapid pace that, yeah, I feel like property management was so behind for so long and now we're just trying to leapfrog and get ahead. So, um, when you say that like the, you know, just in property management in general, I've been in it about 15 years and I've seen so much change just from how we just on cue, but all not just on cue, but all rental agents and leasing agents and stuff like that. Used to even.
Ben Bailey: Have a smartphone when you started probably. Right? I know. Did a flip phone or something.
Eric Dixon: Hey, dude, I'm not that old. I'm trying to think that's a while. And eight. Oh yeah. So, um. So yeah, like leasing agents even like ten years ago, right? They we didn't have self showing technology. They were showing every house. They were limited to the 8 or 10 hours a day they'd put in. They were commission only, they didn't have a company vehicle and company, you know technology company technology to to use. Right. It was a very old school use the key open the door manually walk them through, use you know sales tactics and follow up and try and get them to apply. And now because of technology, we can walk in every morning and there's applications ready in queue going because we can show houses almost 24 over seven, seven days a week, nights, especially when people are off work and weekends. And it used to be like leasing. Agents are like, Yeah, I'll work the weekend. I guess you want that commission. I want that commission, you know, And now it's like, Hey, look, we can through technology and that's just one tiny aspect. Self showings was a was a big one.
Eric Dixon: Online applications have kind of been a thing for a decade, but now it's like we see some people still do paper applications and you're just like, Dude, they're stuck in the 1990s or early 2000s, you know. Um, and so the traditional leasing agent, you know, is commission only. They use their own vehicle, their own gas. And it was kind of just, it was a mess, honestly, and it was just like you only could lease as many houses as there were time, as there was time in the day. Right. Whereas now we can just through efficiencies, can get through that. And we felt like the incentives were not aligned with our owners. It's like our owners are hiring us to rent their house and we're missing out on people that have to see it at night, people that have to see it on a weekend, people that work night or work days that are only available at night or whatever. And it's like, Hey, I can't have a leasing agent 24 over seven, right? And now we can with technology. So.
Ben Bailey: Well, yeah. And to your point, a leasing agent would be incentivized if they're driving out, you know, 45 minutes from the office to show a house and they show it and then come back to the office, they've got a lot less incentive to drive out again and show it again for.
Eric Dixon: A better applicant.
Ben Bailey: Yeah, exactly. It's like, no, just got to nail this first one. Yeah.
Eric Dixon: And so it does, like you said, it's like we want our, our leasing agents and our team to align with the owner's best interest. And I feel like technology gives us gets us a little closer to that every time.
Ben Bailey: So yeah, I think too, it's worth digging in a little bit when we say self showing and I only know this because I said it, my wife says I have no idea what you mean.
Eric Dixon: It's one of those, one of those things you and I just spitball and we're.
Ben Bailey: Talking about an actual, an electronic verification box that's on the property.
Eric Dixon: Right on our vacant properties, on a.
Ben Bailey: Vacant property, and then maybe walk through. How does that work?
Eric Dixon: Like, yeah, so it's not like you can just show up and go in. You have to go through a verification process. They do a kind of a mini background check on you. You upload your ID, they do with technology, They they scan your face and do on the ID and validate things. They validate the the actual driver's license number against the birth date, against the, you know, all the data. It goes back and it gets verified and then you can schedule a time and then you don't get a code until you're actually physically there. You're validated and verified that you're in there and then they can go see it with their family or their friends or their roommates or whatever, and they can go look at it. They can secure the home, we can verify it's been secured, and then they can get a follow up text email call from us and then apply online. And they could be approved for that house same day. Yeah. Whereas before it's like, oh yeah, let me drive 45 minutes there, you know. Oh, you're interested. Okay, let me follow you to circle K and get the $500 money order to hold this property for 48 hours while we do a paper application.
Eric Dixon: And I run it, you know, tomorrow. And then maybe you can move in in a week. And now it's like we're doing move ins within days. If not, you know, less. And it's just it's so efficient. But it also is more secure even though it is efficient. And, you know, we when you go show a house, I just look back, all the places people I've showed houses to, I didn't verify them like, hey, Ben, send me your driver's license to validate you before I drive over. Yeah. I mean, first you make sure there's interest, but we did no checking. It was like, Oh, my gosh, you're interested. Yeah. I'll drop everything and meet you at the house. Yeah. And then we would pre-qualify them a little over the phone, but now it's like, no, we don't even consider your application unless you've been validated. You've seen it. You've, you know, hit the minimum criteria. Then we'll run your application.
Ben Bailey: Yeah. This is a 100% true story is, you know, I would always say self showing. And I was telling my wife, we are switching from one self showing software to another. And she said, all this time I thought you guys just left the houses unlocked like your self showing was just like, go over there, walk through and then just give us a call if you're interested.
Eric Dixon: Yeah. And on the sales side. So maybe, maybe listeners are more familiar, but the sales side open door kind of like piloted this. I feel like at least in the real estate sales side of things where you can self show your your self the house or your agent can self show without having to go through all the, the scheduling and stuff. And it kind of it's taken property management. By storm where if you aren't doing that or your property manager isn't doing that, you're losing out. Yeah. And you can't you cannot convince me otherwise because I've seen it the last five years and it's like, no, we've tripled the amount of applications which triples the amount of interest, and we're renting to more qualified tenants. Yeah, you know, because we're getting five applications on a property and we take the best one instead of maybe getting one. And then you kind of are like, Yeah, it's the best we got.
Ben Bailey: Yeah. Already drove out there. Yeah. And it makes you the in the property management industry what you can cover bigger, right? Because if it's like, oh, that's 90 minutes away, maybe we don't manage this because I got to drive out there ten times to show it, you know?
Eric Dixon: Yeah. And we still have to, to your point, you still have to drive out to the property. There is an element that you do have to have a human being jump in a car, go to the house, you got to install the lock box, you got to do the inspections, you got to do the maintenance, you got to do all that stuff. There is a human element, right? It's a physical home you got to take care of. And just just this technology. Now, the other stuff that has changed, I made a little list because I just didn't want to miss anything like we do. 3d tours are crucial. Like you have to do 3D tours to attract that out-of-state buyer or out of state resident that wants to apply, right? They can virtually walk through that place. Oh my gosh, I love the floor plan. I love the size. There's a measuring tool with a ruler. A digital ruler. Yeah. And you can oh, man, my son's bed will fit in that room or Oh, man, that's too small. Let's go to the next one. That is, you can rent sight unseen when there's 3D tours. We talked about self showings nights and weekends, fast application process, executing leases online like we don't do any paper signature ink signatures anymore. Yeah. Or paper. And that sounds normal, like me. And you were like, Oh, duh. But I'm telling you, a lot of property managers and a lot of self managers are still doing like, paper with a pen. Yeah, absolutely. And it's crazy. It is.
Ben Bailey: And you figure when you're dealing with housing, people are, like you said, moving from out of state, right? So they may not be able to just pop into the office and sign something. It's like, no, man, when I get to the state, I have nowhere to go. I want to move into my house, you know?
Eric Dixon: So and the last piece of technology we love, it's kind of we feel like it's proprietary to us because it's the only company I've seen do it and we invested in it a couple of years ago is these automated locker pickups. We kind of cloned the way Amazon does those you'll see at like Circle K or QuikTrip or whatever, and you can pick up your packages. One of our biggest complaints from residents moving in was like, Hey, I don't want to have to swing by your office during work and pick up my keys. Yeah. And we're like, Oh man, we'll have somebody stay after work or we'll meet you after work. And we were trying to be accommodating. And so we found a way through technology, again, through advancements in this where they can come, scan a QR code, put a secure code in the system, the locker pops open and they're welcome. Packet and keys are right there. And this is huge for our clients, our owners that have us because they know that we're accommodating applicants and tenants 24 over seven. Yeah, they can go in the locker. It's the locker room, you know, they go in the locker.
Ben Bailey: Room for lack of a better name.
Eric Dixon: 24 over seven. It's just like an old school banks where they had the ATM right inside the lobby and and they can pick up their keys on Friday at 10 p.m. when they have the U-Haul loaded up rather than get off work, take PTO. You know, you're disgruntled because your property management company is only open till five. Yeah. And now we're like, no, it's 24 over seven, man. Or the first.
Ben Bailey: Is on a Sunday. Want to move in that day? So it's like, okay, you can come pick up your keys whenever.
Eric Dixon: It's one of the coolest, most awesome things we do. And I think it's going to it's going to become the standard. It has to be. You have to be able to pick up keys and stuff 24 hours a day.
Ben Bailey: Yep. Um, all right. So let's talk about the day to day management. So now it's rented out person. You know, they picked it up from the automated locker. They moved in as far as an owner's experience and property management in general, what does that look like with technology and what new things are we seeing?
Eric Dixon: Well, so when we were prepping for this kind of we were talking about like any service based thing you have, say, DirecTV or your cable company or any service you have, there's like an app or a web portal or like a browser portal of some kind, right? You put credentials in to log in. And what do you have? You've got your documents, you've got your lease, you've got your owner's agreement. You better have all your work orders, your inspections, your lease terms. Everything should be summarized and accessible on your smartphone or your iPad. Yeah, absolutely. And it shouldn't just be like a portal of like, you log in and you just see like, Hi, welcome. Ben Yeah, your rent came in or whatever. It's got to be robust, right? And so we've built out, you know, our portal has, you know, all those documents, reports, ledgers, all of that stuff. But it also has before and after pictures of work orders, a history. We've have owners been with us for 13 years and they can look at the work order from 13 years ago, the before and after picture. They're like, didn't I paint this thing ten years ago? Let me look. Oh, yeah. Oh, dude, I did paint it. Yeah. Or whatever. So I used it recently. I replaced a fridge and it was my tenant that I self-managed when he moved in.
Eric Dixon: So he, he texted me directly, which I'm like, Oh, dang, okay. He texted me and said, Hey, the fridge is on the Fritz. And I'm like, Dude, that fridge is brand new. I don't know what you're talking about. I looked 2008 is when I bought that fridge and I'm like, Oh, it's 2023. That's a 15 year old fridge, pretty old, you know. And so I'm like, you know, it's on the Fritz. At first I was taken aback like, Dude, it's stainless steel. It's super nice. There's an ice thing. And then he's like, he's like, Yeah, dude, it's making loud noises. It's going in and out, you know, whatever. And so I was like, Oh, dude, I logged in. I checked when I bought it, and I was like, Oh, 15 years went like that, you know? And so, so we replaced it. So it because we had access to that, to that data, you know, it's super nice. Um, I was going to say, we have a the inspections, right? So the move ins, move outs, routine inspections, any sort of spot inspection, they're all there. So, you know, every time on cue has been at your house, you can jump in and check, you know, when they went.
Ben Bailey: One thing I think we do and I'm sure a lot of other companies do, but which I think is so useful and that when we were designing these portals is one thing we constantly heard from people was a timeline. You know, it shows you where the process is, whether it's estimating they moved out, you know, it's submitted just a simple like so you can log in and see, oh, okay.
Eric Dixon: Where it's at, where it is in the in the in the process.
Ben Bailey: Right. Oh, it's pending my approval. I need to go in and do something. Yeah.
Eric Dixon: Everyone's used to that. Like you order DoorDash or you order an Uber and it's like you're not just said like. You know, Hey, you made the order to order your Uber and it's arrived. It's like, no, you know, when they accepted the job, you know, when they're 15 minutes away, you get a ding. When they're three minutes away, you get exactly when it's complete. Then you get, you know, dinged for a tip and under review, you know. And so they're everybody's used to tell me what's going on without me asking, you know. And so that's the idea, right, is we want to keep you up to date. And then if you do want to find out at midnight, hey, is my tenant paid rent or what's my my statement or what are my work order progress or whatever, Whatever it is, you can just log in online and check the progress. And if you have a question, shoot a message. If not, it's all available.
Ben Bailey: Yeah. All right. So one thing that came up when we were talking about this and you already kind of mentioned it, but I've seen this trend where property, there's companies in this field and property management that are like, you know, we we've innovated out the property manager. You don't need a property manager. You've got this software and it's fine and stuff. Um. Do you think it's still important to have a flesh and blood person in the market? You know, that's there.
Eric Dixon: For me personally. I do. And it's kind of one of our core values, right, is we want to have a brick and mortar like human presence in the markets that we're in. Right. Not just to say we're here, not just to, you know, say, hey, look, we're here and we have a physical office and we have, you know, local employees. But it's there's a human element with housing. So it's like housing is the most crucial thing. It's like you need to you need food, you need water, you need shelter. You know, like shelter is it's not just any shelter. It's where you raise your family. It's where you create memories. It's where, you know, it's a it's a big deal. Yeah. And when you're dealing with that, you don't want a chat bot to tell you what's going on, you know, or like or like I like, you know, whatever, you know, you want somebody that actually internalizes it, feels it and says, Man, I have sympathy for you. I have empathy for you. I know what you're going through, but blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you know, whatever it is. So there is that human element. I think that that's never going to go away. There will be technology that overturns property management. It will continue doing it right. But there's going to be a human element that you just can't get rid of, in my opinion. Yeah. And we're kind of committed to it. Like we we pride ourselves in having property managers, local that manage, that know the market that are here physically. And so, you know, I hope that ten years from now that the technology doesn't, you know, boot the property manager out of this, you know.
Ben Bailey: Well I think so many you know I hear from our RPMs and. Leasing agents, even just everybody who interacts sometimes with an owner, but that there's our customers a lot of the times just love to have a sounding board. Yeah, a human, just someone to say like, So is everything good? You know, like you think this is a good decision? Is that the right rent? You know, they don't want a computer, say like, that's the right rent. They want to hear another person tell them, Hey, I'm seeing the same thing you are. You're doing the right thing. Yeah.
Eric Dixon: They just need a voice of understanding and solidification and even even like even if I was self managing, I thought it was worth 1500 a month. And my property manager says, no, it's 1300. Here's why. Let me show you. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it's like, no, I just needed that reassurance, you know? Yeah, exactly. To go into it. And there are just tasks that have to get done by a human. Like somebody has to drive to the property like a chat bot or like automation can't fly a drone to the house and unlock the door, you know. Yes, right. Yet but it's like pictures, lock box sign any contracted work you know replace the tub or put in appliances or clean the house or clean the carpets or put new blinds up or whatever it is. I mean, as of right now, you still got to have a human being drive to the house, you know, and do that. Those moving inspections move out inspections, just documenting the properties. Yeah. As of right now, human being has to do that so well.
Ben Bailey: And we talked about this in our inspection episode. But yeah, you could take pictures and do all that, but like even just the inspector being like, Hey, it stinks in here. Yeah. You know.
Eric Dixon: There's, there's a smell. Yeah.
Ben Bailey: It's that stuff that it's like you need a human being to walk through and be like another human being is going to be living here. How does this environment infect me? Yeah.
Eric Dixon: Yeah. So. So that that part of it. I don't know that you're ever going to get away from the flesh and blood person, you know. But I think it's going to be that that person can either manage more doors or they can manage just through efficiencies. They can offer better service with technology. Yeah. And so that's our goal is like, hey, we're not trying to get away from the human element. Yeah, we're just trying to give a better experience to the owner and the resident through technology. Yeah. And use that as kind of a way to make it more robust.
Ben Bailey: All right. Last thing we wanted to touch on here, and this is something we've been having fun with in the office. Everybody's talking about everywhere, I feel like, and that is AI and machine learning chat Gptp. Yeah, you know. Hey, um. How of you know, got a couple examples. I know we talked about examples, but what do you think? Artificial intelligence, how is that going to factor in to property management? Well, it's.
Eric Dixon: Funny because even on these forums and these groups and these conferences within just property management, one small realm of society, you know, Yeah, I and you know, these buzzwords is all the rage. That's what everybody's talking about. And again, we have to dial back and be like, what do you want to be automated and what do you not want to be automated And what what the last thing you want is for the user, either our client or the resident to see like, Dude, that was just a robot. Yeah, that was just AI or that was just this. And man, I wish somebody would answer the phone, you know? And so there are really cool like machine learning things that are really helping us and there are ways that they can help us with marketing descriptions or they can help us with, um, you know, bringing in work orders and determining different things. And it can shoot it down different, different processes in our system and stuff. But then it will land at the human, the, you know, and then there will be more data. Yeah. Right there. Readily available.
Ben Bailey: It's like you said earlier, the efficiency, right. It helps if it can cut a couple little steps out until it gets to that person or prepare it for them a little more.
Eric Dixon: And prepare for it. Right? That's a good term because I'm looking at it like if I'm a resident and I have a leak, it's like I have no problem going through a process of uploading a picture real quick, a description of video, all this stuff, as long as the end user uses that information, yeah, it's like, Hey, don't make me go through all these steps and these videos and these pictures just for you to say like, Hey, what? How can I help you? Yeah, it's like, Dude, I just gave you all the info. Like hopefully technology and AI or whatever you want to call it can process all of that and then the person can get it and be like, Oh, done. I'm going to reach out to the tenant, say it's dispatch, they'll be there tomorrow. Thanks for submitting it. You know.
Ben Bailey: It seems like people are so excited about AI that there's there are places where everyone's just like, We could do it here, we could do it here. And it's like, that's not helping anything. And there this is a true story. Uh, just recently I had to switch to a new doctor, and they send me a text and say, Hey, do you want to do your pre-visit paperwork, paperwork, VR, AI chat bot? All right, sure, I'll do it. So I'm chatting with this thing back and forth. The only paperwork it had me do was like, sign a, you know, like thing to treat. Basically. Like just signing that you're okay. It was like ten minutes of me. I was like, This could have been in that first text message, a DocuSign thing.
Eric Dixon: They're they're forcing it, man.
Ben Bailey: They were so excited. And it was like just asking me all these questions. We're going to prepare you for this and this is that okay? I'm like, Yeah, sure. And then it was one document to sign. It was like, this did not we didn't need to bring robots into this. You know.
Eric Dixon: The that reminds me of I did the same exact thing with my dentist, filled it all online, did all this thing, got to the appointment and they said, Here's a clipboard. I filled out every piece of information I put on their insurance card, all this stuff, and I have to put it on this clipboard and then turn it in. I'm like, Hey, I did this online. They're like, Oh yeah, Sometimes it doesn't sink or whatever. I'm like, Did you just it doubled my work. The experience is horrible, you know? And so there are a lot of bugs to work through. I think in the next five to 10 to 15 years, you know, we're going to it'll be leaps and bounds more efficient.
Ben Bailey: Absolutely.
Eric Dixon: I'm just hoping that that we can make sure and realize that within property management, it is a human interaction. You're talking about people's housing where they like I said before, it's kind of beating a dead horse, but it's like you live there, you make memories there, You're going to kids will grow up there. Your marriages will, you know, flourish there. Like there's certain things that you're like. You don't mess with people's housing. Like you don't just try and make this a profit center and and only the landlord gets rich off you and we take advantage of it's like, no, you make this an experience for both sides. And I'm hoping we can use technology to improve that, you know, and make it absolutely make it that much better.
Ben Bailey: All right. Well, I feel like that's it. We covered everything from AI to self showings. Now we know what those are. So that's it for us this time. Be sure to follow the show and leave us a review. Wherever you listen, it really helps out. And we'll see you guys next time.
On Q Property Management is a full-service Property Management company specializing in managing residential rental properties. On Q's client-first approach - utilizing a proprietary process and set of tools - delivers a more transparent and profitable property management experience. With year-long tenant guarantees and a no-fee cancelation policy, On Q is dedicated to earning you business month after month.
Arizona Designated Broker: Eric Dixon
Texas Designated Broker: Rodney Henson