8 Tools to Simplify a Property Manager's Day
Every day, we work with property managers who have too much to do and not enough time to do it. A career in property management, while fulfilling and meaningful, often brings challenges, late nights, and long to-do lists. Because we are driven by our desire to improve the lives of those involved in the RFP process (property managers, buyers, sellers, service providers, etc), we invest serious time and energy into finding solutions for the challenges faced by those who use our software every day.
Over the years, we've gathered a list of tools and hacks that make life as a property manager just a little bit easier. You may also find value and interest in these tools (or others like them). As a note, several of the tools that property managers use are software based, requiring the use of an internet-enabled device.
Here are 8 Tools to Simplify a Property Manager's Day:
A calendar that syncs across all your devices - computer, tablet, smartphone - will help you keep track of important events, due dates, board pack deadlines, recurring service appointments, etc. Many popular email services like Gmail and Outlook also have their own calendar platform that integrates directly with your email account, like Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar.
Not a fan of digital calendars? Printed calendars and daily planners work too! Whatever you do... don't use unorganized, messy sticky notes that get just get lost or thrown away!
2. To-do lists
Whether it is in an Excel spreadsheet, a yellow legal pad, or a sophisticated to-do list app like Todoist or Wunderlist on your smartphone, getting tasks and deadlines out of your head and onto paper (or its digital equivalent) will make a big difference. You'll feel more organized. Also, who doesn't love that feeling you get when you cross off something from a to-do list?
3. County Assessor websites
These websites (every county should have one) are a wealth of information. Ursula Mancuso, our Member Relationship Manager and actual Property Manager with more than 18 years of experience, says that these sites are great sources for helpful information like planning/zoning regulations, property values, tax information, GIS (geographic information systems) maps, and aerial photos. To find yours, simply search for "County assessor + [your city/county]."
4. Property management software
Many property managers use a full-service software to manage things like occupant applications, maintenance requests, HOA dues, accounting, and resident communications. Just be sure that the management software you're using is simple, easy-to-use, and provides real, measurable value.
5. Industry association memberships
While more of a resource than a tool, industry associations like BOMA, IREM, or CAI (we're a member of each) provide members with useful information and tools that could help make a property manager's job easier. As an example, members often get access to directories making it easier to find vendors for projects or get access to expert training that helps them manage their properties more effectively.
6. Online real estate listing services
If determining rent amounts or property values is a part of your property management responsibilities, you may try using one of several real estate listing services to check recent market activity to help determine price and for comparables. Sites like the MLS, Zillow or Open Door are a great place to start pricing research. Walking the line between competitive pricing and setting profitable rates all while trying to minimize the number of days on the market can be made easier by arming yourself with actual, recent data pertinent to your local area.
7. Digital signature apps
Nobody likes paperwork, especially in this day and age. Many property managers use digital signature applications like Docusign or HelloSign to expedite the document signing process and potentially save hours of time. Just make sure you are aware of the laws regarding digitally signed documents in your city/state as well as the needs for security/encryption your digitally signed documents will require.
8. Synlio RFP Automation
We may be biased, but our software definitely belongs on the list. Synlio automates the RFP process from start to finish, making it an invaluable tool for property managers. Both residential and commercial property managers use Synlio to invite service providers to bid their RFPs. Each service provider receives the same RFP allowing the property manager to get a true "apples-to-apples" comparison. Don't have any trusted vendors for a specific project you have? Synlio's patent-pending artificial intelligence (we call him Kevin the Synlio Robot) will find vendors from the Synlio provider network to participate in the RFP for you, ensuring you always get the number of bids you're looking for.
To quote Oliver Keller, Synlio's Founder and CEO,
"Synlio is in love with the RFP problem and we are proud to provide the solution. A solution that saves our users time, is easy to use and powerful in its features and functionality by applying artificial intelligence throughout."