10 Must-Know Trends for Property Managers in 2021
By Tobie van der Merwe, Business Development Manager, WeconnectU
A complex chain of events over the past 12 months has been driving new trends in the Property Management Industry. 2020 has certainly brought about its fair share of problems and challenges and 2021 will require us to raise the bar even higher. In reality, the Covid-19 pandemic has created amazing opportunities for those willing to adapt to the “new normal” and embrace the changes we have seen – to add more value as property managers.
Below, we will explore the main trends we expect to influence the industry over the next 12- 18 months. You’ll notice one common theme: tech-enabled property managers will always be better positioned to adapt faster and capitalise on the opportunities the current situation is creating.
1. Doing more with less (efficiency)
Reduction in turn-over, cash flow and even staff, paired with a rising in overdue levies and rent receivable, means you likely have to run your property management business with a smaller, more pressurised budget. The property management software you use, and how you use it, can help improve efficiency to meet your targets.
2. Cloud-based property management software is now non-negotiable
While cloud-based property management software has been a trend in the past 3-5 years, it was still often perceived as a convenient “nice-to-have”. When the pandemic hit early in 2020, most property managers had to scramble to bring all of their processes online. The tools and systems we use now have to be online, real-time, and accessible to all stakeholders to optimise efficiency. Cloud-based solutions are now a “must-have”.
3. Tech-enablement will lead to 3 core advantages
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology. Your clients – whether trustees, investors or tenants – require and appreciate a more tech-enabled solution. Tech- enabled Property Professionals will gain three clear advantages: 1) Increased efficiency for stronger and more profitable businesses, 2) Increased transparency, and 3) Increased communication that adds value.
4. Software eco-systems will improve manageability and scalability
New software technology integrating with property management software is offering amazing opportunities. Referred to as property management eco-systems, the integration of various functions of property management into one system (e.g. online meetings, time management, utility billing integration, tenant screening, online or debit order payments, bank integration, property maintenance and inspections, and property management analytics and reporting) will ultimately enable the Property Manager to enjoy greater manageability and scalability. Choose your Property Management Software for the long run.
5. Get your (POPI) Act together
By now, you should be well aware of the fact that Community Schemes, HOAs and their partners have just a few months left to ensure that their record-keeping systems and those of their Property Managers are compliant with the POPI Act – coming into effect on 1 July 2021, after which any business or legal entity that is not compliant is risking prosecution and a high fine. All stakeholders need to be proactive to ensure that they are gathering, storing and using personal information correctly, or currently upgrading their procedures and systems to ensure that information is protected. Don’t delay in getting your Privacy Policies and procedures in place and compliant with the POPI Act.
6. Online and Hybrid community meetings will become the new normal
2020 has brought about the adoption of online meetings via Zoom, Teams or Skype. This creates wonderful opportunities for the Property Manager with regard to AGMs and other community meetings. The benefits of online or hybrid meetings are enormous: time-saving, convenient, increased involvement from owners (which will assist in reaching quorum), online voting, and reduced admin and costs. We foresee a great response from owners as a result.
7. Demonstrate your value by stepping up communication and sharing valuable insights
Communication and transparency are more important than ever. With the world moving online, Property Managers need to be on top of their game regarding planning, execution, feedback, and reporting – your clients are expecting it. Your Property Management Software should equip you to send out personalised and bulk communication, as well as comprehensive financial and operational reporting – even have it ready on demand.
Listen to Managing Director of WeconnectU, Johann van der Merwe as he discusses the software solutions WeconnectU offers and how these can position property managers in the best way.
8. Develop strategies for business growth
Covid-19 has highlighted the value of a clear understanding of the business of property management. The property professional of the future is more strategic and figures out the right balance between specific growth goals, tech enablement, empathy for their customers, workflow efficiency, effective and more aggressive marketing, and strategic partnerships.
9. A demand from Trustees and Investors for greater transparency by the Property Manager
Trustees, directors and investors will become influencers in the decision to use the best property management software solutions and will demand greater transparency, comprehensive reporting, better management of day-to-day activities, greater compliance, and advice on asset management. This will distinguish the end-to-end property management solution from the “one-trick-ponies”.
10. Big data for better decision-making
2021 will see Property Managers and stakeholders understand, value, and utilise industry data to track trends, anticipate red flags and make strategic decisions to adapt and to grow their businesses. The key to this data will be its quality, consistency and cost. Your Property Management Software should give you, as the business owner, access to relevant, real-time data around KPI’s.