As humankind progresses towards total digitalisation, property management needs to follow. If you feel like your current property management software is not supporting you enough, perhaps it’s time to look into cloud-based options.
Knowing what are the most important features when it comes to property management tools can certainly help you list-check whether you’re up-to-date with modern-day technology.
Here we lay out several essential property management software features that might help you realise whether your current tech solution is adequate, and how to improve it.
Internet and Cloud-based
Having data ‘on the cloud’ means storing, accessing, and maintaining it on ever-connected cloud servers. This means the data is not tied to a specific computer in the office, but instead, the access is remote, and all you need is an internet connection.
Why the Internet and the Cloud?
Remote connection is super-important for property managers, as they are usually on the run. Having the possibility to access the data and perform actions from anywhere, anytime, can speed up their work and allow greater responsiveness.
You just need to log in, make a few clicks, and issue a possibly forgotten invoice.
The other option is setting up an automatic task in your software, so you don’t even have to bother with regular-based invoices.
Another plus for cloud-based systems is that they support working from home. To find out more about the topic, check our no-nonsense guide to working from home.
Strong data security
In case you have a fear of storing important and confidential data online, you should know that this kind of software is usually fully protected by in-transit and on-server encryptions.
In-transit encryptions protect your data when it moves between locations, for example, when you’re sending an email, while on-server encryption protects your data from being visible to anyone who’d try to enter the server in search for information.
Additionally, with Console Cloud, for example, you can define different profiles for employees to determine what they can access.
Not only do cloud systems allow us to enter our data from any device’s browser, but they are usually additionally supported by mobile apps. These should be available for both Android and iOS operating systems.
For example, the Console App is fully integrated with Console Cloud, without the need for any third-party apps. This helps you manage inspections and maintenance more easily, as everything you record goes immediately to the cloud. Console App allows you to deliver entry notices, schedule routine inspections, receive maintenance requests, and store photos.
By using a mobile app, you can perform these tasks even when offline, and then as you connect to the internet, all the data will be transferred.
The app is also available for tenants (Console tenant) and it allows property managers and renters to coordinate more efficiently.
Find out more about how property managers are using our mobile app, and what are the plans for future development in our infographic.
Efficient trust accounting and reporting (compliance)
Trust accounting and reviewing invoices, statements, and other reports are essential property management activities. A cloud-based property management software should be able to issue all types of reports typical for property management, like daily banking, reconciliations, disbursements, payment processing, etc.
Operating these through a server-based software comes down to doing multiple workarounds in terms of entering data in non-specialised or multiple programs, which can take unnecessary hours of your time. Switching to a specialised cloud-based solution should allow you to refocus your energy to more significant tasks like communicating with your clients, marketing the property, or doing detailed tenant screening.
An important asset of the software of your choice is its compliance with the local trust laws. Before making a purchasing decision, make sure you check that first.
Console Cloud offers a list of options for easier and safer trust accounting with detailed instructions for everything, from daily banking procedures, reconciling, processing specific bills, to BPAY in the cloud.
Inspections and maintenance
Routine, move-in, or move-out inspections are usually carried out by following a predefined procedure.
Though the steps are known in advance, these might cost you way more time and mental energy than necessary. A proper software should be able to streamline these procedures and involve scheduling check-ups, sending timely notices, finding the most efficient route for visiting scheduled properties, and preparing reports.
Console Cloud has an app available to assist you on the inspection journey.
Maintenance is a regular part of property management, and as such, should be included in a well-built tool. As the standard procedure involves tracking, taking photos, and creating a report, this feature should enable you to do so.
Besides inspections, property managers also deal with maintenance issues. They either have to organise them themselves or notify the landlord.
Console Cloud has a maintenance workflows menu that allows you to create maintenance requests, attach the necessary bills and keep track of the request as it progresses. After you open the menu, you’ll be given the option to create a maintenance request, set up details, priority level, and upload photos. After the request is received, you can link a bill to it.
As task management can become messy due to the sheer number of responsibilities a property manager has, having a tracking calendar in your property management software is a must-have. In case you need to check the maintenance issue from two weeks ago or want to set a reminder for a meeting with a landlord, it’s much better if all of this work stuff is in one place rather than being in a separate calendar app.
Speaking of calendars, you can check out some property management events to add to your 2020 calendar.
Stable and reliable support
Prompt support by your service provider is an essential feature of any good property management software. It’s perfectly normal that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed every now and then, and trial-and-error shouldn’t be the method of choice.
That’s why you need decent and reliable support. This can be in the form of website contact forms and chat for non-emergency issues, but it’s a definite plus if your service provider offers call support for emergencies.
Comprehensive and efficient data migration
Having a cloud-based property management software is a lot about avoiding repetitive work and possible human mistakes emerging from it. That’s why it has to provide an efficient migration system to its platform. If you need to retype and reupload all data from scratch, what’s the use?
During 2018 and 2019 we’ve seen an influx of agencies move their property management data to Console Cloud, and the process was rather painless and quick. This is important because it saves managers from endless manual work. Before migrating the data, it should be well-prepared and ‘clean’. If you’re interested to find out more about migration processes and preparation, visit our blog to see what we’ve discovered.
But in the meantime, the main takeaway we want you to get from this section is this: when you decide to upgrade to a new tool, always look into how the company tackles migration—they should have a system in place that would allow you to migrate your data as quickly and painlessly as possible.
We hope that our little article on the most essential property management software features will help you gauge whether it’s worth upgrading from the software you’re currently using, or help you decide between 2 different software management tools. At least, that was our goal.
So, to sum it up, here’s what we think is most important when you’re deciding on a new property management tool:
- We strongly advise you to consider a cloud-based solution for your property management
- The tool of your choice should have strong data security and encryption
- Any good property management software would have a mobile app available to help you work offline when necessary, and communicate with tenants more efficiently
- Trust accounting should never eat half of your day again, as you should be able to automate many processes and reduce the manual work
- Task management can be tracked through a built-in calendar
- The company should offer reliable customer support that would allow you to solve problems quickly when things go wrong
- A well-designed software should set you free from rewriting and reentering your data, and have an efficient method for data migration.