Handling property management and real estate can be both time consuming and exhausting. There is often an endless stream of activities that simultaneously happen in this industry, which leads property managers to lose a trail of the latest developments. These activities range from finding tenants, doing background checks, property inspection, follow-ups, creating documents, organizing property maintenance, repairs, accounting for tax and recording rent receivables.
All these tasks involve a lot of time, what if this time gets diverted to value-added tasks that gives a tangible ROI?
The real estate industry is a slow mover in terms of technology adoption when compared with other industries. However, the latest developments within the field of real estate and property management offer a huge opportunity for technological innovation. It would be interesting to see how the real estate will adapt to score on efficiency gains, cost and risk reductions to get a decisive advantage over their competitors.
Property management and the real estate industry bring a lot of repetitive, rule-based activities like recording rent receivables and document verification, which makes them a good contender for leveraging robotic process automation (RPA). With RPA, property management and real estate companies can utilize the gains of process automation to shorten their turnover time, improve efficiency levels, save costs and release valuable human resource for more value-added tasks.
RPA can assist property and real estate managers in different processes.
Financial Transactions Reconciliation
Automation can help to reconcile manual details entered into the proprietary tool of the property management company against the actuals. Automation bots can cross-check if the bank account number or the name of the account holder is correctly entered in the records. RPA would flag an error for manual intervention if there is any discrepancy in the name and account number with the bank records before sending it to the general ledger.
Automating Payment Transfers
RPA can verify the accounting entries posted in the owner’s ledger account. After the posting, the bank will be automatically notified of the payment transfers. The bank team will inform the accounts receivable (AR) team of the real estate agent if any entry is posted into a wrong account.
Real estate companies face a lot of hassle while creating, validating and sending invoices. RPA assists the Account Receivable team to validate and adjust the overpaid amount to the homeowner’s ledger, process the request to the Accounts Payable team to let the accounts team make timely payments to the homeowner.
RPA drastically decreases the processing time for rule based repetitive month-end tasks like reconciliations, standard journal entries, financial statement preparation and adjustments.
Housing Market Data
Property managers and real estate experts can leverage automation to update the unsold inventory data, at the end of each quarter to analyze the market demand and supply. The unsold property carries the risk of being delayed for sale and open to price correction, if their status is not updated in the system. Automation can decrease the TAT of unsold inventory thereby bringing a real picture of the growth of the real estate industry.
Onboarding New Properties
RPA can be used to automate the onboarding of new properties, by scrolling through the data from real-estate’s excel maintained by the operations team and enter it to the property management system. This eliminates the possibility of errors and expedites the new property onboarding process.
Auto-Reminders of Rent Payments
Automation makes rent collection easier than ever before. Based on the tenant agreement, an automated friendly reminder can be set up monthly to send rental dues reminders to the residents. If the tenants fail to pay up, the RPA bot can send late fees reminders, in addition to maintenance charge payments if applicable.
Invoice Write-off Process
Many invoices are written-off if they don’t meet the threshold, or if when they surpass the threshold (for instance six months). Automation can check the business rules and depending on the invoice type (customer/ non-customer), segregate which invoices need a write-off. RPA can also update the records with standard comments in the CRM against the invoice details and save the record.
Automate Vacant Properties Records
Real estate agents can leverage RPA to automate the daily records of vacant properties and update the same live on multiple real estate search websites. This would garner more visibility and dedicated interested buyers for the property managers.
Automate Credit Checks and Background Checks
Before the process of letting out, background and the credit score checks are recommended for property managers. RPA can automate this crucial step. Property managers will have an automated record of their tenant’s background, to resolve any issues if they arise later on.
Automation in Real Estate: The Benefits
The property management process is tedious, and usually involves several activities, that includes data processing, document management, inventory updates, accounting entries and so on. Although there are many management systems, still property managers trust legacy software’s. These legacy software involve manual operations that often require real estate managers to invest in labor, who may be low on efficiency and consequently end up in high error rate.
Besides, tedious backstage operation process, result in low productivity and compromised customer satisfaction rate that is difficult to improve, ultimately leading to a downfall in market competitiveness levels. Credit to the rapid progress in technology, property management and real estate is transforming, playing an important role in ensuring employment, improving people’s lives and promoting residents’ consumption.
Technology has become an important differentiator in the fiercely competitive real estate market. The benefits of a well-integrated property management system are gradually emerging, and its advantages outweigh the disadvantages for the real estate managers to fundamentally strategize technology adoption. The uncertainty of the real estate market, stringent regulation and control policies have also prompted to move from behind the scenes towards a more robust system that allows for live process improvements.
Property management and real estate is one kind of service, where customer satisfaction and process optimization are the secret to a successful business. Automation enables the availability of a virtual workforce who is present round the clock and works faster than any human worker. Besides the automation bot does not make mistakes, can work around the clock without any supervision and take multiple responsibilities in one go.
Property managers can track the activities of an automated worker and monitor their operational metrics. Here are a few processes where RPA is further impacting the Property Management and the Real Estate Industry:
- Facilities management
- Mortgage applications
- Supplier management
- Lease management
- Utilities management
- Legal support
- Database management
- Contract administration
- Data cleansing
- Portfolio management
Automation gives a greater degree of control to the real estate and the property management teams especially in the areas of risk and compliance. The basic and standardized activities need no longer be handled manually. The advent of Artificial Intelligence has propelled this industry to move towards self-learning algorithms, expanding the application areas of automation in the future.
The next frontier of RPA in this promising sector involves integrating disruptive technologies like machine learning and intelligent automation into workflow management for the bot to lean and relearn by its experiences and improve work processes along the way.
Intelligent Automation can even automate property showings to interested buyers with keyless entry locks connected to a cellular smart home. Automation in the real estate industry unfolds many opportunities for instance instantly matching properties with prospective buyers who qualify based on pre-set business rules like credit score, income, eviction terms, pets, and other pre-screening questions.
Summing up, considering the ongoing pandemic, and the work from home new normal, automation in the real estate and property management industry is all set to witness a rapid growth. There is no argument that the property and real estate managers stand to gain substantial ROI from investing strategically in this disruptive technology.