During the pandemic, many real estate investors were forced to adopt new digital tools to survive. But there was a silver lining. Now those property management tools are helping propel their businesses in new ways.
Sam Yen, MD, Head of Commercial Real Estate Digital at JPMorgan Chase
If you haven’t digitized your property management yet, here are six reasons it’s time to do it, according to Sam Yen, Head of Commercial Real Estate Digital at JPMorgan Chase.
1. Enjoy paperless rent collection
Online rent payment makes things easier for tenants, property investors and employees — and it all starts with abandoning paper. Switching from paper checks and invoices to digital solutions makes payments simple, trackable and organized by eliminating the hassle of going to the bank or worrying about lost documents. A digital rent collection tool takes away so much of that pain, Yen explains, and gives you full transparency in terms of exactly who's paid and who hasn't.
According to Yen, the most effective way to use this tool is to get the greatest portion of your tenants on board with one system as soon as possible, because you’ll only complicate things more by using multiple payment systems. Luckily, most tenants today will jump at the opportunity for digital rent payment methods.
2. Access and leverage data and trends
Digital dashboards allow you to view the status and performance of all your properties in one place. You can compare them with surrounding properties and markets, allowing you to benchmark how you run your business, Yen explains.
One of the most important features of these tools is access to both current and historical data and trends. According to Yen, this access lets property owners make better decisions pertaining not only to collecting rent, but also for their overall investment strategy — since they have access to information like which buildings are performing better and why. Ultimately, that can help you run your business better and even expand it.
3. Amp up security
Security is a top priority when it comes to collecting and organizing tenants’ personal information and your finances — and switching to a digital process can improve your security. Digital rent payment, for instance, eliminates the vulnerable piles of cash and checks on your desk.
At the same time, make sure you’re using a trusted digital platform and pursue necessary precautions to prevent information breaches.
4. Pass your business on more easily
When it’s time to transition your property to a successor, having digitized operations can help. According to Yen, most of the real estate business is face-to-face and runs on a lot of tacit knowledge. Many organized property owners have their processes written down on paper — but that may not make sense to the person you're passing the business over to. So, going through digitization forces you to organize and make your inferred knowledge overt, Yen explains.
5. Improve communication with tenants and your team
Embracing digital tools can also help property investors connect and communicate with their tenants and the broader real estate community.
From rent payments to maintenance requests, tenants can easily flag issues and build more transparent relationships with their landlords. But according to Yen, the benefits extend far beyond improving tenant relationships. It speaks to enhancing your property — and a huge part of that is optimizing the team you have running the property, if there are multiple people involved. It’s about keeping your team on the same page and using the system for collaboration.
6. Grow and scale your business
The best property investors keep an eye toward the future and regularly keep tabs on the newest technology. According to Yen, the whole system in real estate is incentivizing you to grow. The earlier and the faster you get better operating tools, the quicker and more efficiently you can expand.
By the editorial team at Story by J.P. Morgan, a new real estate platform from JPMorgan Chase