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Do you remember when mobile banking entered the tech space? It started small with SMS but eventually grew to what we now see today: an application that allows you access to everything you need about your bank account. You can view your account balance, see transaction history, transfer funds and even track investment portfolios. Having this kind of data available to you is incredible, but so few property owners are utilizing software that provides it.
Having co-founded a platform that delivers real-time data to property owners and investors, I know that there are several reasons access to real-time data is beneficial to have. Below is a quick breakdown of the most important ways you should be leveraging real-time information reporting.
To Gain A Deeper Understanding Of Your Investment’s Performance
Yes, we all want that big-picture stat that shows how much we profited this month, but we also know that running a successful business of any kind requires full knowledge of all the elements that make it work. Having detailed reports showing all of your property’s information gives you a clear picture of how well or how poorly things are going in your community. Notice that there are unfilled maintenance requests? You instantly know you need to put in a call to your property manager and discover what is causing the delay. You have an increased ability to play an active role in ensuring that your property’s management is top-notch if you have instant access to all of your data.
Action plan for investment performance reporting without real-time data:
1. Urge your property manager to use a tracking system, and have him track all of your property’s operations.
2. Ensure that your property manager delivers the information from the tracking in a format that is detailed and useful, not a paragraph summary.
3. Go over the details and work with your property manager to improve your asset.
Find Errors And Fraud Faster
Errors in accounting occur way too frequently, but it shouldn’t be acceptable to operate and make business decisions on less than 100% surety. Having full, real-time access to your data means that you know why any event that incurs payment happens. If you see a strange invoice from a vendor, you can step in to investigate. And that’s not to mention, though it rarely occurs, that having up-to-date financials allows you to see if there has been any misappropriation of funds as well.
Action plan to ensure quality accounting without real-time data:
1. If you’ve already set up the tracking system with your property manager mentioned above, have your tracking manager deliver weekly reports of transactions to you.
2. Make sure that your property manager is performing an audit of errors and fraud alerts on a monthly basis.
3. Confirm that your property manager has an open line of communication to answer your questions about your accounting.
Improve Your Decision-Making
There will always be costs that seem to come out of nowhere, but your regular, repetitive expenses should remain average every month. With real-time data that covers current profits and costs and those from previous months, you can make predictions on when you can and should begin additive construction. Or, if you’re scaling, you could forecast when you would be able to purchase another property.
Action plan for better decision-making without real-time data:
1. Ensure that you are still receiving weekly reports from your property manager on your asset’s performance.
2. Deliver these reports to other partners, or have your property manager do so.
3. Use time-proven, historical data to inform your decision-making.
Measure The Efficiency Of Your Marketing
Resident retention is vital to your business, but drawing in leads to fill vacancies also dictates your property’s success. By monitoring your applications received and move-ins, you can accurately measure how effective your management team’s marketing efforts have been. If your property received fewer applications than previous quarters, you know to have a conversation with your property manager to discuss ideas.
Action plan to analyze marketing efficiency without real-time data:
1. Ensure that you are receiving a monthly report on marketing expenditures.
2. Confirm that your property manager is tracking lead-to-lease ratios and return on ad spend for each advertising and marketing channel.
3. With your property manager, develop a plan to adapt advertising strategies to increase return on ad spend.
Determine The Quality Of Resident Care
Real-time data on your properties can provide insight into the satisfaction of your residents as well. With a view of the resident retention rate and occupancy rate, you have a quick view of how your staff is treating your residents. If the value is low or suddenly drops, you know the issue is with your property management. If the value remains steady, you can discern that your staff is operating at their prime to keep residents in your community. The occupancy rate shows this by detailing which percentages of renters are new and which are older.
Action plan to improve resident care without real-time data:
1. Use a tool like the Net Promoter Score to allow your property manager to implement a rating system for residents.
2. Confirm that your property manager is tracking this information quarterly.
3. Develop a plan for your property manager to quickly address issues that may arise based on previous NPS ratings.
Protect Your Units
How many residents have you had turn into “bad apples” and damage your units? Real-time info allows you to view photos taken before move-in and save them for review if the unit has been damaged. While renter’s insurance is growing throughout the market, some owners still utilize security deposits, and this would help to protect an owner if the resident were to fight back for their deposit.
Action plan to protect units without real-time data:
1. If you have your property manager using NPS scores to track resident satisfaction, also use this information to predict resident turnover rates.
2. Use a security deposit alternative that will protect your revenue, such as rental insurance.
3. Develop a preventative maintenance routine to ensure no units are left in disrepair.