Property management trends for 2022

Date Published : Dec-15-2021

Written By : Kim Brown

Property managers (PMs) are ambitious, tenacious, goal-oriented people. Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that, despite the challenges 2021 presented, property managers remain confident in the value they provide for their customers.

This past year was less turbulent than 2020, but it was still full of uncertainty. Property managers have had to continue to be creative and resourceful as clients heavily relied on them to implement processes and procedures that would support their community operations. More property managers have turned to technology, transitioning many traditional services and operations online. Things like annual meetings, monthly payments and service requests all continued because of thoughtful PMs and convenient, user-friendly software.

Owners have also been instrumental in this shift. Without their willingness to embrace technology, these solutions would have only had a minimal impact.

No one can predict what 2022 will look like, but we have a strong belief that technology will continue to help PMs serve their condo and HOA communities. We’ll take a brief look at the trends and goals that dominated 2021, as well as the trends that are likely to emerge in the new year. 

  

2021 trends and goals

Technology and software became essential

During the pandemic, property managers adopted technologies so that interactions with their clients could be transformed from face-to-face to online. These technologies, often cloud-based software, have proven that they can enhance productivity and customer satisfaction.

According to a recent survey, 30% of property managers said that using technology to drive efficiency was a key aspect of their revenue generation strategy for 2021.

PMs relied on these types of software systems to maintain operations and keep their clients happy:

  • Property management software
  • Electronic payments
  • Resident portals
  • Professional websites
  • Document signing/sharing/storage

Tip: some systems conveniently provide multiple solutions on a single platform. For example, Condo Control’s property management software system includes online payments, a portal for residents, documents storage and much more. By selecting a more robust tool like this, PMs don’t have to sign in and out of different platforms to accomplish different jobs. Everything can be done in one place, and it’s far easier to learn how to use one system really well than to have a basic understanding of multiple systems.   

The pandemic forced many professionals who were on the fence about technology to finally give it a try. There has been a major increase in the use of online applications and online payment options. Larger companies have been using property management tools for years, but now it might become standard for all companies.

  

The client demands that stood out the most

The software and tech tools that property managers relied on most heavily were directly influenced by the needs and demands of their clients. 

Condo and HOA members were looking for solutions that would minimize unnecessary contact and exposure. Integrated mobile apps and software proved to be most effective when it came to completing tasks like payment processing, submitting and managing work orders, scheduling times to use fitness centers and other amenities, and voting in elections, reports HOAresources.com. 

Owners wanted to know what was going on and what changes were being made during the past two years. Communication became more important than ever; as a result, mass communication through text, voice, and push notifications increased in popularity. These communication channels accompanied traditional email. Not everyone is online though, and some communities found an efficient way to share important information using interactive display screens in lobbies or mailrooms.

Some boards tried virtual meetings for the first time. Meetings may have been broadcasted or replayed on closed-circuit television stations to keep residents informed. For elections, associations allowed mail-in votes or virtual votes.

Cleanliness was the last big ask from clients. Keeping common areas and amenities clean and safe was a must, and associations closed non-essential amenities like pools and clubhouses so that more resources could be devoted to essential facilities like mailrooms and elevators.

Important to note is the rise in demand for analytics. PMs understand the value of data, but boards and owners have started to realize its importance too. Property management software is great for gathering data because it automatically logs and processes custom information that can be analyzed every month, quarter or year.  

  

The top services owners wanted property managers to provide in 2021

  • Rent/fee collection – 83% 
  • Maintenance/repairs – 75%
  • Resident management/communications – 63%
  • Property analytics – 25%

  

Strengthening customer service through technology

Property managers are pleased to see that residents, owners, employees and vendors are open to using the technologies they provide. Most property managers feel that automating processes has freed up more of their time. This allows them to focus on the projects and tasks that truly require their attention.

PMs will still need to make concrete efforts to have conversations with clients and ensure they maintain the relationships they have built. It can be harder to nurture those connections if people are seeing less of each other.  

  

2022 trends and goals

  

Clients want information in addition to services

Clients will continue to rely heavily on property managers to handle maintenance, communications, payments, violations, etc. But they may also be looking to their PMs for reliable information about local market conditions, regulatory changes and real estate intel.

  

PMs are planning for portfolio growth

More property managers plan to grow their portfolios in the next two years than they did in 2016. This is reasonable considering more property managers reported portfolio growth over the last two years than they did in 2017.

  

Technology is here to stay

Technology has become a standard part of doing business for property management companies. Software allows them to increase efficiencies and provide residents and clients with additional conveniences. But property managers will also be looking for ways to maintain the human connections that they consider a key competitive differentiator.

  

PMs may have to travel further to visit associations

It’s a good thing that software and apps allow PMs to stay connected to the communities they manage.  With more families renting due to affordability challenges, and remote work pushing people farther away from city centers, developers are expected to create more suburban communities. That means PMs will need to make longer trips when they do visit associations in person.

  

Personalized customer service becomes even more important

Technology makes things easier for property managers, boards and residents, but PMs shouldn’t expect software to do all of the work for them.

Clients will still make selections based on the company/manager they like the most, not the software they have to offer. As such, PMs are encouraged to respond to emails, phone calls and maintenance requests as soon as they can – even if they don’t have a solution right away. Acknowledge that you’ve received the message and let the resident know you’re working on solving the problem.

Moreover, PMs are asked to consider giving residents options to pay and communicate in a way that’s convenient for them. Most residents will pay online if given the option. However, there are people who value having the opportunity to interact with you in person or over the phone.

Make sure that your residents and clients know that you care about their experience. Ask them how things are going, respond to requests in a timely manner and care for the property with the understanding that this place is invaluable to the people that live there.

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