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Property management and the digital shift: how landlords should be using technology

POSTED: 28th May 2014
IN: Landlord helpful guides
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Emergent and cutting-edge technology is all around us and is revolutionising the way work is routinely undertaken across all industries.

With such a wealth of affordable technology now readily available and an apparent worldwide keenness to embrace it – resistance is futile.  So in a burgeoning rental market, how can buy-to-let investors optimise this new technology to streamline their business and make cost-saving, efficiency-boosting changes?

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There are a number of ways in which technology can help landlords to refine their day to day practice. Some of the most prevalent are:

  • Marketing
  • Task management
  • Property inspection

So let’s take a look at each of these in a little more detail.

Digital marketing for landlords

Since the internet bowled into everyday life, marketing has fundamentally altered across most industries, not just property. However for property landlords, the emergence of sites like Rightmove, Zoopla and even Gumtree, has made marketing property to the masses more accessible than ever before.

These days, it’s unusual for a landlord not to market their portfolio online, so let’s take a look at how emergent technology is revolutionising the ways properties can be marketed more effectively on the web.

-         Social Media

Social media makes communication immediate in a way that was never really conceivable before.  Whilst as yet, landlords aren’t really feeling the potential of social media to be a way to communicate with tenants, it does undoubtedly have a part to play in the landlord / client relationship.

First of all, being active and responsive on social media can be one of the most effective forms of business damage limitation. If your tenant’s speaking about you online, better that you’re there to respond quickly and efficiently than let a potentially reputation-damaging problem slip under the radar for too long.

In addition, the ability to access a vast amount of information about a person online could also be advantageous to a landlord. Without wanting to encourage ‘social snooping’, the ability to find out about another via the material they post on their social media profiles should go some way to afford landlords a much more effective ‘vetting’ process of potential tenants before they allow them to move in.

-         Video content

For any house-hunter, being able to view pictures of a property is a huge selling point. In fact, listings of homes with photos taken by professional photographers have around 61 per cent more views than those without. 

But these days, landlords are taking the trend one step further. The ability to shoot and cut short videos easily – even on a mobile device – has meant that more and more listings are now accompanied by video.  Producing videos for your property is good in two ways:

  1. Your leads from tenants are more qualified because they’ve already seen the layout so have gathered that it’s the kind of property they want beforehand
  2. Uploading YouTube content can help increase your brand’s presence online

One of the most reputable apps out there at the moment is iMovie, which is an iOS app for smartphone and tablets, retailing at around £5.

Techie Task Management

Depending on the number of properties you have in your portfolio and the types of tenant you have living there, you could find yourself called out for any number of tasks. This will span from emergencies like leaks, to pressing problems such as broken showers, and right down to little jobs like changing a light bulb and replacing pieces of furniture.

These days, a number of pieces of dedicated task management software exist to help landlords keep track of what needs doing and when.  Landlord Vision is one such example of this.

The rise of the digital property inspection

Deposit schemes have long created problems for landlords. According to Glenn Wakeham of Belvoir Lettings, more and more tenants are requesting more reliable inventories as a prevention measure against unfairly lost deposits. But pen and paper inventories can be laborious and time-intensive to complete and easily give rise to conflict. In fact, one-fifth of tenants believe they have been penalised for damage caused by previous tenants and 10 per cent resort to legal action to resolve this.

The counter this, digital property inspection systems such as ‘Inspect&Cloud’ have started to emerge on the market recently, claiming to reduce the time it takes to complete an inspection by up to 75 per cent through automating the reporting process. These smartphone apps embrace all elements of the inspection routine whilst still producing a fast, reliable, professional and legally-sound report. 

What are your thoughts?

Are you a landlord that has started to embrace new technologies? Or will you be sticking with the trusty old-fashioned methods? Whatever side of the fence you sit on, we’d love to hear your views about how the digital revolution has or will impact the world of buy-to-let investments so do let us know via the Aldermore Twitter feed.

Aldermore Bank is a specialist provider of buy to let mortgages. If you’re an investor or are thinking about making an investment in rental property and would like more information, help or advice about your mortgage deal, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert underwriters.  

 

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