Are You Getting the Most out of Your Software Investments?
Five essential questions you should be asking yourself
When you’re purchasing software and technology to help manage your properties, most people get excited about the potential benefits that will be achieved once it’s implemented, but buying the software is the easy part. Realizing those benefits is where the real work begins. You want to achieve ROI as quickly as possible to justify the decision and ensure employees are utilizing it in a way that delivers the most value, and most importantly that it doesn’t turn into shelfware.
At Entrata, we coach our customers and prospects to ask themselves the following questions to determine if they’re achieving the desired benefits. If they aren’t, it might be time to reassess the situation to see if there is something that can be done to ensure they will in the future, or if it’s time to move on.
1. Are you required to use other software for it to work? The biggest struggle when implementing software is getting employees to use it. If it adds any friction to their day-to-day work, it’s going to be a hard sell. Some of the most common ways this happens is when multiple logins are required for it to work or if your teams have to toggle back and forth between systems to get the data needed just to get your job done.
Speaking of data, when it is siloed in different software systems that can also complicate matters because one of those systems might not have the most accurate and up-to-date information. The end result could be reports that are incorrect and need to be fixed, which adds (you guessed it) more friction to the process.
The best way to solve this is by implementing an all-in-one solution that consolidates all of your work into one system. This eliminates the friction present in logging into and using multiple systems, additionally it ensures that data is housed in one system, so nothing is lost in the shuffle and everyone has real-time access to all of the data necessary to do the task at hand.
A great example of this is the financial planning and budgeting process. If your financial data is spread across a third party accounting system and your property management system, your budgeting process will likely become more complex because it will take time to export and import data between the two systems. And even then there is no guarantee that the most up-to-date information will be available because access to new data won’t be available in real time.
If an all-in-one solution isn’t the right fit for your business, be sure all of the solutions you choose to manage your properties have a robust API that allows for information to easily flow back and forth between systems in real time.
2. Are you bogged down by fraud, delinquency notices, and evictions? As rental rates have increased in the post-pandemic world, so has rental fraud. In 2021 alone, applicants submitted 11 million falsified or altered applications. The biggest impact that comes as a result of increased rent and fraudulent applications is an increase in delinquent rent payments and unfortunately evictions. It also results in frustration for your site team and residents around units involved in the eviction process.
All of which are costly for your properties. It is estimated that evictions that come as a result of late payments cost the property $7,500 on average for each eviction. When you take into account that there are more than four million evictions every year in the US alone, those costs really add up.
In addition to the actual monetary costs associated with each eviction, there is the potential loss of future revenue if resident frustration leads them to leave negative reviews of the property. Your online reputation has a significant impact on whether or not potential residents submit applications, and a bad reputation will definitely steer applicants to another property.
To combat this increase in fraud, it’s recommended to implement a multilayered approach to fraud prevention to ensure only people that meet your requirements move into your communities. This goes beyond simple background checks. You need as many data points as possible to help make the right approval decisions. These include income verification, account verification, as well as digging into the applicant’s online/digital footprint.
It’s also crucial to have a software provider that is flexible enough to seamlessly manage and track the eviction process, including delinquency notification. Because laws related to eviction differ from state to state and even city to city, managing this process manually can be time consuming and increases the possibility of mistakes and falling out of compliance. When this process is automated and your property management software takes into account differing local laws, the likelihood of falling out of compliance significantly decreases.
3. Is AI being used to set your pricing for new and renewing leases? One of the hardest parts of the property management process is setting the price of rent. Like Goldilocks, you don’t want the price to be too cheap or too expensive. You want it to be just right, so you can maximize NOI, while not scaring away potential residents because the price is too high.
This problem can be solved in part by utilizing AI models that identify pricing trends in the market and help you set a competitive price. AI will take into account a number of variables that are unique to your properties and run that through an algorithm, ensuring your rates are optimized for current market conditions.
4. How many of your processes have you automated? One of the main drivers for purchasing a property management solution is to make your teams more efficient and allow them to do more with less. This is especially important now when many multifamily businesses are experiencing a staff shortage. It’s crucial to be able to deliver exceptional resident experiences regardless of how large or small your on-site teams are.
Accepting and posting payments has been one of the most time consuming processes, but it’s also one of the easiest to automate. With the right technology provider, you can have payments posted to the ledger securely and automatically, regardless of payment method, meaning you get money into your accounts faster while also decreasing workload.
But posting payments is just one piece of the puzzle. Oftentimes there are adjustments that need to be made for things like early termination fees, when a payment is returned for non-sufficient funds, or a bill has to be adjusted due to a change in the move in date. Having to manually make these adjustments, takes up a lot of time and can result in a losing focus because they occur randomly throughout the month. If your property management solution doesn’t handle adjustments and auditing automatically, then it might be time to look for a new solution.
Reviewing and approving applications is another process that can easily be automated. Solutions like Entrata enable you to set criteria for background and income verification and these checks are conducted automatically once applications are submitted.
Another process to consider automating is the move-in checklist. This process should be managed entirely in your property management system. When this process is automated, the software will automatically send reminders to the applicant of what still needs to be done before they can gain access to the unit. All your on-site teams need to do is periodically check their dashboard to monitor progress.
These are just a few examples, but the possibilities of what can be automated are virtually endless.
5. Is your software provider responsive to requests and questions? It’s crucial to find technology providers that won’t abandon you after the sale is made and implementation is complete. Whether it’s fixing bugs, listening to feature requests, or just being there to answer questions, it’s crucial to find software companies that aren’t just looking for customers, but are willing to partner with you to grow your business.
These types of relationships are mutually beneficial to both you and your technology partners. First, you feel supported and are able to better manage your properties. Second, they get feedback and input on how their product works in the real world and suggestions for how to make it better.
How Entrata can help Entrata gives you the tools you need to manage your entire portfolio with one tool. Our solution drives operational efficiency at the property level, which enables site teams to elevate the resident experience. For more information on how Entrata can help improve property performance for your portfolio, request a demo today.