4 Property Management Challenges Solved by Smart Home Automation


Current Challenges

Access Management

For companies that manage a large number of residential rental properties, the challenges can be daunting. Among them is how to manage access to properties—both occupied and unoccupied. Until now, the typical solution involved controlling and maintaining a large inventory of keys, often entailing mechanical lock boxes. As anyone who has been tasked with key management will tell you, it can quickly get out of control. Keys are often lost, copied, and stolen, which puts the property and the residents at risk. Plus, key and lock replacements drive up costs. Lock boxes have been around for quite a while but have not proven to be a reliable access-management solution—especially when the key to the box is missing. Additionally, using a lock box doesn’t eliminate the possibility of someone copying keys.

HVAC Costs

The costs associated with heating and air conditioning (HVAC) are near the top of the list for residential property managers. This includes everything from energy abuse by guests and air conditioning units being left on high after a property is vacated, to frozen pipes and HVAC systems missing required maintenance. Reducing even a portion of this cost center would have a significant positive impact on the bottom line.

Vendor Scheduling and Accountability

Managing large numbers of properties also requires detailed scheduling to provide access to vendors and maintenance personnel. Improving turn times and returning a property to the market as quickly as possible is a goal for all property managers. The challenge is tracking who showed up at the property, ensuring they have reliable access, verifying how long they were on-site performing work, and then making sure the next work order is started as soon as the last one is complete.

Differentiating Properties

The competitive landscape is never simple or easy to navigate. Residential managers are constantly trying to differentiate their properties from the competition and make their homes and their management company stand out. By finding ways to create a positive customer experience before and during the time they occupy the property, the more likely you are to have a longer, more profitable rental, and a renter who says positive things.

Enterprise Smart Home Technology Streamlines Property Management and Enhances Assets

Smart home technology has delivered many benefits to consumers—primarily convenience and security. Property managers have also begun seeing the benefits of the smart home wave, thanks to enterprise solutions like PointCentral. Enabling property managers to control access and temperature for any number of properties from a central location opens up a broad range of possibilities.

Smart Access Management – Reliable and Dependable

Eliminating keys has many benefits—something the hotel industry discovered a long time ago. In fact, it could be argued that the benefits to managers with properties dispersed across a wide geographic area are even greater than those experienced by the hotel industry. Reliable access is near the top of the list when it comes to managing residential properties. Instead of inconsistent lock boxes, a smart lock delivers predictable, manageable access. Gone are the days of fighting to open a lock box and finding there’s no key inside; turning away a prospective resident or rescheduling a vendor; and forcing you to replace the key.

Smart HVAC Cost Management

Smart thermostats enable significant HVAC savings in several ways:

  • The thermostat can be programmed with High/Low limits that prevent a resident from abusing the HVAC system and/or vacating a property with the temperature set to an extreme level.
  • Schedules can be automatically downloaded to your vacant properties. Several times each day, the system is reset to a temperature selected by you, thus avoiding heating or cooling that runs for days after a prospect or vendor visit.
  • Online HVAC analytics provide a detailed view of how the actual temperature is tracking with the set point of the thermostat. When the temperature is not tracking to the set point, or the HVAC is running too long to get to the set point, then this might indicate a problem and maintenance could be scheduled. Being able to perform preventive maintenance rather than waiting for HVAC failure is much smarter cost management.

Smart Scheduling and Vendor Management

Property managers are constantly scheduling and providing access to vendors and maintenance personnel, especially when a unit is vacant. Knowing that the correct vendor has shown up as scheduled and completed the work as billed is a key part of getting units back on the market as quickly as possible.

The PointCentral system allows you to track who showed up at the property, makes sure they have quick, reliable access, and verifies how long they were on-site performing work.  For the first time, you now have a method that creates accountability for the work that was scheduled and the cost associated with the work order. You also receive notifications through the system when a vendor has left the property, which then allows you to immediately notify the next vendor scheduled—saving you hours, if not days, in getting that property back on the market.

Smart Differentiation

Making up the largest segment of renters in America at 75.4 million people, Millennials are a sought-after demographic for nearly every market. Fortunately for the residential property management industry, Millennials love to rent.

They also love technology. 47% of Millennials already have smart home technology in their residences, and according to a study from Scripps Networks Interactive unveiled at CES 2017, 85% of Millennials said they were likely to add smart home technology to their home, with more than half doing so within the next year. What’s even more exciting about this generation is that 86% of them are willing to pay MORE RENT for a property outfitted with automation technology compared to one without—as much as one-fifth more.

Integration with Rent Manager

Residential property managers across the U.S. are realizing dramatic savings and operational improvements after implementing smart home property automation. PointCentral’s integration with Rent Manager allows users to utilize these smart home technology solutions through the software in order to provide a seamless overall experience. For more information about this integration, contact your Rent Manager sales representative today at 800-583-1482 or sales@rentmanager.com.

 

This article was contributed by PointCentral, a Rent Manager integration and supplier of Enterprise Property Automation solutions.