Property management is an industry that’s profoundly affected by social distancing – from apartment showings to maintenance activities, team meetings to lease signings – nearly every activity requires multiple people coming together to accomplish a given task.
While this moment of social distancing may be marked with fear, confusion, or panic, we’d like to offer you a more inspiring perspective: Perhaps the challenges you’re facing today can be seen as an opportunity to incorporate more effective communication tools and technologies into your working process.
Now, we know you don’t have the luxury of time to research your options, but we’re here to help. We work with folks from all over the world – from property managers in New York to our copywriter in California (hi!) – we know how to get things done and keep communication clear even when we can’t be in the same room together.
We’re grateful to have this opportunity to share with you what we’ve learned. So, to save you time scouring the web, we put together this list of reliable tools and processes to help you navigate these unusual circumstances:
Slack is an amazing teamwork tool. Think group chat on steroids. It’s an application (mobile and desktop) where you can have one-on-one conversations, group conversations, share files, images, and more. You can also make channels (sort of like chat rooms) where you can contain conversations about a specific topic. For example, you could have a channel dedicated to all conversations around leasing for a particular property or a day-to-day channel for chatting with your building managers. It’s searchable, mobile, and a great way of staying in constant communication and sharing files.
These days, video chat is the new in-person meeting! While there are a lot of options out there, we find Google Hangouts or Zoom to be the most reliable. Phone conversations are great, but face-to-face is always more effective. It’s also a great way to hold tenant interviews if you can’t meet up in person! Both Zoom and Google have free options that are really intuitive and easy to learn.
Oh, how we love Google Docs! This is a great place to collaborate with your team. If you need to be drafting newsletters, fliers, or signage, Google Docs is a great option. Multiple people can work on the same document at the same time, and you can leave comments and tag other team members easily.
A super-robust collaboration tool, Asana is available on the web and on mobile. It’s designed to “help teams organize, track, and manage their work.”
We actually use Asana as a project management tool with our customers, making it easy for them to see the status of all tasks, reports, and approvals. With Asana, you can do things like creating interactive to-do lists where you can add deadlines and assign tasks to your team. This is a fabulous platform for tracking projects, too, since you can create timelines and move items between to-do, in-progress, and complete. When you get deeper into it, you can also create forms, integrations with other programs, and more.
Virtual Video Tours
Grab your phone or a wide-angle camera and film a unit walkthru! Then, upload the video to a private YouTube link, or to Google Drive, and share it with prospective tenants.
If you already have them on hand, you can use electronic lockboxes or combination lockboxes to allow prospective tenants to let themselves into a unit.
If not, a service like Tenant Turner could be a great option. They provide software that integrates with electronic lockboxes and keyless smart locks. The devices are controlled by Tenant Turner, which sends a unique access code to anyone scheduled to view the property.
Lease & Document Signing
DocuSign is the most widely used electronic signature platform out there. You can easily upload contracts for signing, and send the links out to tenants. No need to have them come to the office!
Insist that your tenants send photos along with their maintenance requests. This will help you better assess the true scope of the issue, and provide your technician with more information about the job. With a photo, they’ll save time going back and forth to get the right materials and will be able to show up knowing more about the situation. This way, you can minimize the number of in-person interactions for both staff, and tenants.
You got this!
We hope that you found this list helpful and that when you look back on this moment, it will be remembered as a time when you found creative solutions that ultimately left you with a stronger, more unified team.
During this challenging time, please know that we are here to support you however we can – from wherever you are.
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Proper provides specialized accounting and bookkeeping services for property managers. From Yardi to Appfolio, Propertyware to Quickbooks, our expert accountants deliver accurate, reliable results while helping you streamline your processes, and grow your business.
Talk to us today to learn more about how we can help you navigate any accounting challenges you may be facing.