Property & Strata Management

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4 Companies Disrupting Property Management

Property management is feeling the effects of disruption – both technical and generational - with a host of new tech businesses reimagining rental and investment experiences.

The INMAN Connect 2018 conference in San Francisco featured a host of startups that are changing business models, making renting more flexible for tenants, providing transparency around a greater range of investment opportunities and removing a lot of the friction, pain and cost from the traditional processes of property management. 

The demand for this, they claim, is coming from millennials, who have high expectations on standards of living, but value experiences over security, and want flexible leases, great locations and easy ways to book and confirm.  

The drivers are big data pushing into tech enabled platforms that give property managers oversight into every element of the property, collate and respond to information in real time and deconstruct the transaction with security. 

Here’s a quick overview of the top contenders:

1.    Running inspections with a robot


The days of setting up a 15-minute inspection window for every potential tenant interested in a property are over with the robot from Zenplace. Zenplace is a property management disrupter that uses technology to find tenants and manage rentals more quickly and affordably than traditional agency models. Their latest offer, the ZenBot, is located within each of their properties to rent. Interested parties can then make an appointment to inspect any time, a unique code is sent to their phone to unlock the door and the robot greets them and shows them around. At the other end is an agent who identifies features, and answers questions and if the tenant wants to proceed, they can fill in paperwork immediately on the screen. Zenplace claims the efficiency of not having agents on the road to open properties allows them to do 10 times the number of inspections and attract a better quality of tenant. But if you’ve got stairs, you’ll need two robots. 

2.    Introducing corporate housing


Landlords want good tenants and long term leases. Tenants want shorter leases in good properties and great locations that feel like home. Companies want to be able to attract great talent and get them settled into new roles in new locations quickly and easily. To date, furnished apartments have been the only – rather soulless and expensive - option. Enter Zeus Property Management.

Zeus signs master leases with landlords of 2 years or longer. They design, furnish and maintain the property for corporate tenants who can place employees into properties in good neighbourhoods quickly and easily with more flexibility. For landlords, the benefits are proactive maintenance, low fees, guaranteed rent and great quality tenants. Tenants get to live in great properties for times that suit their work assignments and without the hassle of leases that lock them in and corporates can swap staff in and out.

3.    Deconstructing shared living


Shared houses have historically had a dodgy reputation – a group of near strangers living under one roof, and often one lease, with second hand furniture and dubious standards of hygiene and arguments over the bills. But that was before the Millennials took over the world with their expectations of ease, comfort, flexibility and constant access to wifi. Common offers shared housing for the new generation. Private furnished bedrooms within beautiful shared suites one all-inclusive rate covering your rent, cleaning and essentials and flexible leases. And of course, it wouldn’t be a tech play if your co-tenants weren’t screened for compatibility using big data. Common is currently available in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington and Seattle but expanding quickly.

4.    Investing in holiday homes


Many is the family who have told themselves that their ideal holiday home is “really a great investment” at purchase time, only to find the constant overheads, maintenance and sporadic rent turn the dream into a nightmare. 

But Vacasa is a property management concept that specialises in vacation homes – a supported property management version of AirBnB if you will. It screens travellers, manages guests, promotes bookings, and manages property maintenance to a high standard, driven by a technology platform that adjusts rates in real time using data from local events, seasonal patterns and market demand. Vacasa claims landlords earn 34% more rent on average in their first year. 

In addition, Vacasa works with local agents in each area to help their buyers understand the holiday rental potential of a property by providing the data and insights to support the decision. 

So the next time you fall in love with a cottage by the sea, Vacasa can help you understand exactly how many days it’s likely to be rented, peak times, rates and returns you should expect, as well as advice on renovations or improvements that will affect rents so you can remove any guess work from understanding its investment potential.  


Kylie Davis is the Head of Content at CoreLogic. She was a speaker at INMAN Connect 2018 in San Francisco on Robots and Automation. 

 

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Speaking Out! How Voice Activation Will Change Real Estate

Most conversations with Google Home or Alexa tend to focus on quirky features like weather or telling jokes. But voice recognition technology is set to become the most powerful computing step-change that we have experienced since the launch of the iPhone.

According to Gartner, 30% of human interactions with technology will happen through conversations with smartphones in the short term. By 2022, voice recognition will be a $40b industry, says AdWeek, with 55% of homes having a smart speaker. 

The INMAN Connect 2018 conference was told voice activation is allowing the creation of virtual assistants that can be on call for real estate agents 24/7. Imagine an assistant that is always present, connected to you through your watch, or ‘Fitbit’ styled device. 

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard it before, the next big thing. But let’s stop to think a moment about why voice technology is so powerful and how it can help real estate agents. 

1.    It will make us faster

People speak 150 words a minutes compared to typing about 40. This means that you can give approximately three to four times the number of instructions to a voice system, than you can by typing. Voice technology therefore is likely to revolutionise how much we can get done. Real estate agents have a gift for the gab - this unleashes that skill as a tech platform. 

2.    It will be less exhausting

When you can conduct business and get things done simply by asking questions and giving instructions, the need to peer constantly into a backlit screen 24/7 starts to dissolve, and with it, the headaches, the eyestrain and the cramping thumbs. Gartner predicts that voice technology is a new operating system that will physically free us up rather than current systems that suck the life from us.

3.    It will make life easier

The current process for most agents is this: meet someone, get their business card, go back to the office and your desk, type their details into your CRM, rage at your CRM for refusing to save the record until all fields with an asterix are completed and you forgot to ask a question or two, categorise the record, send the new contact an email, maybe send a second one a few weeks later, completely forget about them, wonder why they sold their house with someone else. 

The new process might look more like this. Meet someone, ask if they mind if you turn on your assistant, you and your contact talk while the assistant records and picks up key words – name, current address, email, why they want to sell, their fears and concerns, name of their dog. By the end of the conversation, their details are in your CRM and upon your prompts, your assistant has emailed your new contact a property valuation of their current property, a list of curated properties they might like to buy based on the preferences you discussed together, has connected them into a contact schedule and posted a reminder in your calendar to follow up with a call and a bone for the dog. You win the listing. 

4.    It will help us deliver higher levels of service

Why don’t agents deliver amazing service constantly? In most instances, it is not because they don’t want to but because consistency is really hard work – especially with the busy and overwhelmingly manual processes of buying, selling and renting property. With the ability to request things by speaking, we’ll be able to take action as soon as we remember or think things through. The need to write instructions or spend time researching dissolves. We can take action in an instant.

5.    It will help us be more human

As humans we connect through speaking – it helps us gather and share information and build relationships. We’ve created manual systems to capture the information from these conversations but they now slow us down and distract us. Voice activation will give us confidence that the details are being taken care of, encouraging us to inquire more, connect more and focus on the people – not the device – in front of us. In short, voice activated  technology will make us more human. 

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What Your 2018 Could Involve: Property, Your Data Knowledge And Social Media Accounts

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Just like that, January has disappeared in a flash. It may have passed by quickly - but with an abundance of public holidays, the property market takes just as long as the rest of us to get into the swing of things again. Was it just the usual sluggish summer pattern? Or does it indicate the beginning of a slower year?

The next two months will give us an indication of how 2018 will unfold, and we have the latest market stats to keep you up-to-date on the property market’s current situation. Read the update here

The QV House Price Index shows further value growth for most regions, picking up where we left off before the holidays. Building consents have been a positive factor, and December’s recently released figures show an increase in many areas. New listings seem to be holding to a similar number compared to this time in 2017, despite many previously predicting a drop.

Overall, without the effects of elections and LVR restrictions looming, the property market could grow at a moderate rate (compared to previous years), but only time will tell.

For more in-depth analysis, check out the latest commentary from our Head of Research, Nick Goodall. There’s also our monthly Property Market and Economic Update, available under the News and Research section of our website. February’s edition will be the first for 2018.

Does your business crunch the numbers?

Many of our property industry clients undertake research and provide reports to their clients using one of our subscription products (Property Guru, RPNZ, Emap, etc.), or by ordering one-off reports (QV.co.nz, Terranet). They’re all powerful tools and can yield impressive insights for your business.

But, if you really wanted to develop a unique view of your customers or market - you can order customised data sets extracted directly from our databases, giving access to a whole new level of market insight. It’s also possible to clean your database and certify the accuracy of your mailing lists for cheaper postage.

How could you use data in your business? Well, here are a few examples. 

A real estate agent might be interested in segmenting their patch, and finding out exactly how many houses, units and apartments there are. Maybe with bedroom numbers and land size as well. How about when they were last sold? Not only can you be the area expert, but you can also find the best properties to bring to market.

Mortgage advisers could be interested in finding hotspots of areas where people have owned houses for more than 10 years with no mortgage whilst enjoying a significant RV increase: sounds like some equity locked away there! 

Builders may want to know which properties in their local area are subdivisible. Or a list of pre-1960s properties with weatherboard cladding and steel roofs could identify prime renovation opportunities.

If your business involves property, we have the data and the expertise to help grow your reach or dig deeper. If you want to know more about what we can do for you, our team is here to help. Contact us today

Are you social media savvy?

Social media can be foreign territory for small business owners, but (as repeated at almost every conference you go to) it can be an incredibly valuable tool for communicating to existing and potential clients.

Before joining CoreLogic, I worked in a 3-person real estate team and looking after our Facebook page and website was part of my role. My next job was working for a marketing company on the property and finance desk and I soon realised that posting listings on Facebook 24/7 is just about the worst thing you can do - your followers will just tune out. I certainly could have done with our “TOP 50 GROWTH HACKS” guide, which includes plenty of social media tips for growing your online presence this year. Download a copy now.

Curate content 

If you constantly post offerings from your business, you aren’t adding value for followers, except for that narrow band of time when they’re looking to buy what you’re selling. Create and share meaningful content to drive engagement. 

If you’re the ‘local area expert’, share some posts from local shops, talk about the cricket game down the road, tell people about your favourite takeaway find. If you talk to homemakers, share the occasional recipe or things to do on a rainy day at home with the kids.

These light-hearted posts keep you in people’s feeds and grab their attention. When you really want to engage them, share something powerful that relates to what you do. News articles, infographics, research, or even share posts from CoreLogic. You can find us on LinkedInTwitter  or Facebook for easy sharing – and whilst you’re at it: add your own thoughts for personal relevancy too.

Now when you want to talk business to your audience, they’ve already gotten to know you:  you’ve added some value to their lives, or at least entertained them! This makes you much more trustworthy and approachable.

Our Top 50 Growth Hacks Guide is such a great (and free!) resource:  it’s not just for social media improvement either. Plenty of solid tips from top real estate professionals that are easily transferred to other industries too. 

When you’re ready to delve deeper into your data with one of our customised services, definitely let our team know but in the meantime, make sure you’re on top of the latest research thoughts here.

- Geoff Phillips, Sales Director - SME

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Do You Operate Like A Tech Company?

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When last did you learn something new from your customers or competitors?  Something that changed how you did business?  When last did you perform a test on your business or with your customers that changed the way you are planning for the future?

If you can’t answer this question, you are not alone.  Most of our industry operates as if customers are not changing, that their needs are constant. Most of us are good at looking at our internal processes and getting efficient, but are not preparing for when those processes no longer work.

This is a culture that can sleep walk us to irrelevance.  Think Kodak who invented digital photography but then couldn’t change their own business model to use it, and couldn’t learn from competitors who were.  Kodak was caught in time, thinking they knew who their customers were, and what their customers wanted.  Without continuous learning, and the internal processes to use that learning to change, they lost their market. 

Contrast our dominant ‘make and sell’ culture to the culture of fast growing technology companies, one based on ‘sense and respond’ to customers’ needs, or even ‘lead and define’ what a new market can look like.  Innovative technology companies don’t believe they have all the answers, so they constantly experiment and learn.  Companies like Netflix who started out as a mail order business but pivoted into online content delivery when technology was ready, and use big data and constant measurement to get better and better at delivering to customers.  Technology companies experiment with real customers by changing what they offer and seeing how customers respond.  Amazon for example changes their prices millions of times a day in response to the supply and demand they are seeing and as a way to experiment and learn.

Question yourself: are you a ‘make and sell’ business that is good at delivering a service or product repeatedly.  Whether it is a mortgage or an off the plan development, a residential sale or new land release, most of our industry ‘makes’ a product or service and then ‘sells’ it.  This works while that product or service is relevant and while the channels in which we sell keep delivering customers.  It can rapidly shift when the product is no longer relevant or customers prefer a better channel.  Uber still sells a similar product to the taxi industry but through a much more efficient online sales channel.  They have changed channel but will eventually change even the service with driverless cars.  

In a rapidly changing world, our property industry should look at how we iterate the development of our products and services with customers, sensing their needs and responding to those needs.  With advanced customers or particular segments this can even become a way to lead and define the market.  LJ Hooker’s Settlement business is targeting millennials and digital natives and is a good example of a business that can learn and lead a new approach with customers, learning from the millennial segment and taking those learnings into their core business over time.  

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