Property developers are under pressure to reduce costs and risks, while improving efficiencies.

Sanjeev Patel

With this in mind, proptech presents both a challenge and opportunity for us to factor in to new developments.

As Angelica Donati highlighted in her recent column, proptech is becoming more relevant – and popular. But with that popularity comes challenges.

One of these is the cost of investment in relevant software for developers. Fortunately, increasing competition and cloud-based systems help to keep the price far lower than one might fear.

Even so, developers new to such technologies may find it daunting to consider which property management software and provider is best for them. Not only is it important to identify what you require and the property issues you face; your provider must also invest in future-proofing its tech, as well as ensuring that it is scalable to adapt to your growing property needs.

As a small to medium-sized PRS developer and provider, I found many proptech systems were too large and all-encompassing, requiring links to accounting software and other back-office systems to gain the greatest efficiencies.

Proptech

Source: Shutterstock/Solarseven

But it is relatively straightforward to research what is available and the providers. My company’s decision to invest in property maintenance software was driven by the fact that our business had grown, but our operations’ functionality hadn’t. We wanted to choose software to help identify and manage a range of maintenance issues in a proactive way that minimised manual (human) laborious and basic decision-making.

We found a direct correlation between the software’s ability to help us be much more proactive and agile in anticipating and responding to tenants’ needs and a reported increase in tenants’ satisfaction with our property maintenance. And as a developer, you know that happy tenants stay in their properties for much longer, improving your long-term profitability.

Software checklist

Here’s a checklist we developed for choosing the right software. It should:

  • • Enable your company, tenants and tradespeople/contractors to access it separately and simultaneously;
  • • Update tasks in real-time, to eliminate the need to send multiple email or SMS notifications;
  • • Offer a user-friendly front screen to summarise all maintenance tasks;
  • • Identify repairs status through the repair lifecycle;
  • • Continually track faults;
  • • Log issues by property and then accumulatively so you can easily see all properties requiring tasks;
  • • Be cloud-based, so easy to access at any time;
  • • Be able to scale up to the increased demands as your property portfolio grows;
  • • Be GDPR-compliant, bearing in mind the potential risks of exposing confidential data;
  • • Automatically allocate different levels of priority status for action, dependent on the task; and
  • • If necessary, factor in multi-language capabilities.

If installed and used correctly, proptech software  dramatically reduces the time and human resources required to address tasks. The software’s scalability also means that as our property portfolio grows, we won’t need to add additional staff. You may find other factors not addressed here – and possibly other benefits. If so, it would be good to hear from you.

Sanjeev Patel is managing director at PPP Capital