When brokers become property managers

Here’s the technology you need to expand your business

With their fingers on the pulse of the local residential real estate market, it’s no surprise that more and more brokers add to their acumen as property managers.

According to U.S. Census estimates, the number of single-family rentals in the U.S. grew by 31% in the ten year period following the housing crisis of 2007 to 2016. And with a first-look opportunity at listings, brokers have a unique vantage point.

Jake Beeson of Beehive Property Management is one such broker. “I’ve been doing purchase and sales transactions since June 2000. And our property management company turned 11 years old this week.”

Despite their close professional proximity, Beeson can attest to the varied skill set required as a broker versus a property manager.

“There is a lot of crossover, but the businesses are very different,” he said. “Sale and purchase transactions can be intense when you’re going from zero to closed in 30 days or sometimes less. Property management is a steady flow of calls and emails about various things with some intense moments.”

And just as modern brokerages rely on technology tools to deliver service and grow their bottom line, property managers need a tech stack that can support and scale as they expand their roster. Here are the tools you’ll need for the major areas of managing single-family properties.

Digital marketing tools for property managers

A property management business starts with a web platform. Look for software that lets you easily create new listings with photos, descriptions, pricing, and availability. It should provide an easy means of posting to other sites and listing services you use to advertise your properties.

Then you need an organized program of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media to be effective.

Finally, you need a lead tracking system that lets you systematically track every prospect from lead to lease, capturing their information and scheduling property visits.

Screening and leasing tools

Today’s online screening systems need to tap into huge databases of criminal and financial information to protect you from “bad” tenants. They also help protect you from Fair Housing trouble since you set objective standards for acceptance. An online leasing solution allows everything to happen over the Internet, right through to a final e-signature, easing the burden on renters and saving your people hours of data entry.

Owner/Tenant communication and management

Tenant portals and owner portals not only foster better communication, but they also centralize it in one location. Owners can keep an eye on their properties, and tenants can find the information they need 24 hours a day without calls to the office burdening your staff.

Inspections and maintenance software

Users of mobile inspection software have reported reducing the time spent on inspections by up to 85 percent. A streamlined online system that routes documents to those who need them and stores everything for instant access is critical.

Accounting tools

Many property managers still use off-the-shelf accounting solutions that aren’t designed for property management. This software rarely integrates with their other software and inevitably results in accounting-related functions that take longer and contain more errors. The software should handle accounts payable and receivable, naturally, but also bank reconciliations, budgeting, and reporting.

Build your stack or use this one solution that does it all

Real estate professionals who wear both hats as brokers and property managers have to have specific acumen.

“You need a tolerance for ambiguity and problem-solving skills,” said Beeson. “Every day is different. Today I drafted a budget for a new HOA, helped to install a security camera in an apartment complex laundry room, and later I’m negotiating a lease extension with a tattoo shop.”

Stretching himself across such a wide variety of functions would not be doable without the support of a technology platform that covers all the bases with solutions that share information and work seamlessly together.

For Beeson, that solution is Propertyware.

Propertyware provides an integrated technology solution for all the functions and services he needs, with customization and scale that grow as he grows.

“As the market gets bigger and fees decrease, it’s important to be more efficient. Propertyware’s online payment system speeds up payments and increases collection percentages. Their partnership with cash pay vendors makes payments more convenient — and more ‘on time!’

Find out why more property managers prefer Propertyware. Learn more about Propertyware with a free demo.