We are all guilty of looking for that shiny new toy when it comes to tech. But how do we know what we actually need and the problems it will fix that are relevant to our own businesses? Let’s get a little bit nerdy here and take a look at tech Trends you all need in 2023.
I want to let you know I have a couple of resources to share with you to help you start the new year with a bang. Now the first one is a property management playbook. This lets you in on all the property management trends that worked and didn’t work in 2022 and what my predictions are for this year. Now, it showcases some of the secrets, the trends, what inside the hundreds of businesses that I worked with, throughout the year. In 2022, I’ve also just released a social media masterclass. Now, this isn’t your average masterclass. This training actually steps you through planning your content, using a Trello board, creating your content in Canva, and using a scheduling tool amongst many other social media Gems Insider. It literally leaves you no excuse about posting consistently on social media. You get shown what to post, how to post, and when to post.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW?
“It is interesting. I often say to people, or I ask in every meeting and I’m going to ask you because I’m still yet to find this person who in high school said, “yes, I’m going to be a property manager and that’s going to be my career for the next 40 years”. I’m yet to find that person. So, if anyone is reading and that is you can you let me know? But certainly, for me it was not the case. I wanted to be a professional musician and funnily enough, I have been a professional musician in my life, but it doesn’t really pay the bills. Well, certainly not unless you’re Coldplay or Kylie Mano or Harry Styles. So, when I finished high school, I went and studied music at the Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne University. And three months in, I had a car accident on Royal Parade and I drove off and said, I’m never going back there. I went to my best friend’s and which her family owned a real estate agency. And I said, can I just work on reception? So I was 18 and the rest is history. So, I have not left the industry. That was in 1998 or 1999. And it would be scary to work out that number now. So, I’ve done a lot in my property management career, so right from reception, to managing departments, growing departments and then for the last 10 years, I’ve worked in the consultancy and Proptech space. So that’s very short and quick, on how did I get here. Although, why do I do what I do in real estate? I’m a very passionate real estate person, very passionate about people staying in this industry, very passionate about people loving this industry because I always say property managers are the true heroes of society and perhaps some renters wouldn’t agree with that, but I think we really do. We provide housing for our community. We provide, roof over the heads. We provide stability for people and along the way where every single other thing that people need in their day-to-day lives. I’d been on the tools in property management for about 16 or 17 years. And I’ll be honest, probably the next step was for me to, own a real estate business, I just did not want to do that. I own a business and currently own a vineyard with my husband. I’ve had consultancy businesses and so forth, but I just didn’t want to go into that director of a real estate agency having to do this is crazy because I’m a national salesperson now, but I just couldn’t see how I could sell real estate as well. So, I thought, what’s the next path? I’ve run a depart, I grew departments from scratch. What’s the next thing for me? And this would have been back in 2012, 2013, and I could really see that the technology side of our industry was about to be the next phase of where we went.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TECH TRENDS FOR THIS YEAR AND INTO THE FUTURE THAT AS BUSINESS OWNERS OR PROPERTY MANAGERS NEED TO BE AWARE OF?
“I think one of the important things to understand is with tech is it looks like it moves really quickly, but it actually doesn’t. And what I mean by that is, I see the next trend really being, I mean, everybody’s probably seeing the chat GPT and the artificial intelligence going around at the moment. We have been working in artificial intelligence for the last few years. So, whilst to the market, that is a really new concept in the way that we are going. If you are using inspect real estate, chances are you have already had it in your business and you haven’t even realized. And so, I think that it is got a lot of focus on it at the moment. I’d almost peg back and say, I see the trend as being going back to a little bit more old school. So, what I mean by that is, let’s use the technology that we’ve got available. It is meant to support our business. But what I see as the real trend, especially for this year, is an understanding in our industry that technology is there to support you, to build relationships with your customers. Don’t let technology build relationships. You let technology do what you basically want it to do, what the technology can’t do. And that is build relationships. So, use the automation, if I use inspect real estate as an example, use inspect real estate to respond to your inquiries, book your inspections, do your reference checking. So, you are then freed up to be away from a computer and out doing what the computer can’t do, just calling your customers, seeing your customers out on the road, having coffee with your customers. And I can really see the tech trend shifting this year to be more of that. Let’s go back to the basics because in Covid we didn’t get, get the chance to do that, and that is really what our consumers are after now. So that’s really where I can see tech trending in the next 12 months be a little bit different to what I think you all get as an answer from other people, but for me, I think that let’s just talk to people is really where we are going to next. And I think that is a really great point that you mentioned there it is. Property management, I will say this all the time. It is actually a really simple business, it’s customer service. We’re, selling a service like an accountant, like a lawyer, like a, shop assistant. And our service is managing people’s properties. So, whilst I’m a huge advocate of implementing tech in and software and automation, and I’m even using AI now for another business that I’ve got, which I’m finding is using AI in real estate as well, but for other businesses that I’ve got as well, I’m using AI and it’s been a game changer. But there is that element, I can use that all day long, but if I don’t have clients, it is you know, it’s a waste of time having all that technology. So you’ve got to definitely, I think we need to move back to focus on customer service as well.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NEW PRODUCT RELEASES THAT YOU GUYS ARE WORKING ON?
“I can share so many things with you. It is for those of you who have had exposure to inspect real estate, you’ll learn and understand that we’re constantly moving. There is always new things, new products. Andrew Reese CEO has an extremely unique way of looking at things. And, really 10, 12 years ago when he created our software it was game changing. There was nobody in the industry. He really changed and shaped the industry 10 years ago to do what a lot of us now don’t even realize was a thing. The many people in the industry who don’t realize that we used to do a lot of the stuff manually. What we have really found, and this almost comes back to that point of that customer service concept, what we’re finding is a lot of agencies are what I would call groaning under the weight of all the subscriptions they need to pay. So, we went away and, and essentially our real estate agents are being what I call commoditized. So, you’re not being seen as differentiated or you’re not being seen as different to the guy up the road who’s only charging 3%. We see these complaints all the time, or X, Y, Z agents have gone in and taken my business because they’re only charging 3%. And my thought around that is, well, that’s because you’ve been commoditized. It’s, if they’re just seeing it as dollars, they’re not seeing anything extra. So about three or four years ago, we all sat down at Inspect real estate and we could see this trend was happening. And we said, well, what do?, what do we need to do? That is where we started to build our IRE one platform. So, we started with the inquiry management, we ended with the vacates. And as we have built through all the different modules until we get to that one final piece of the puzzle, which is the trust accounting system. And so now, whilst you can still purchase the IRE modules and use the individual modules, you cannot now run your entire property management business in the IRE one system. So that, we released that three months ago, and in the last three months, we’ve had 60 customers sign up to the trust program, which is huge. It is a big chunk and they love it. One system to do your maintenance, to do your routine inspections, to do your condition reports, to do all of your transactions, your vacates, your inquiries, your landlord reporting, your portals.”
TELLL ME A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT TRUST ACCOUNTING?
“Well, trust accounting is actually very simple. There are a few more answers to it, but essentially we just need to see money coming in, money going out, all of our invoices along the way. And there is, all the integrations with the banks and so forth. So it is a very seamless process. It’s very interesting actually. And, often I’m surprised by things along my journey. I sort of think everyone does everything automatically. And then I find half of our business still manually receipt, which is a really interesting concept. They still go in a manually receipt. So we built a way to do that in a really easy and simple way because whilst we’d like everyone to automate everything sometimes, and especially with trust accounting, because it is a little bit scary for some people, they like to have that control. So there is some really interesting concepts around that. And of course then there is the trustless side of things as well. So, I’m sure many of you including yourself, have heard of the concept of trustless. We are a trust accounting system. We are building out the trustless side as well. So, you’ll be able to do both.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT ARE RIGHT NOW?
“I think there is probably two main problems that our property managers real estate businesses are facing. The first one is staffing. There is a real, I guess, covid and I’m from Victoria, so if any of your readers are from Victoria, you will understand what we went through in Covid. Although there has been a real shift in the workforce of the property manager. Now, I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years. I’m going into agencies and I’m not recognizing people because there has been such a shift. So staffing is one of the biggest issues. For agencies to find a way to onboard and train staff in a really simple and effective way which is where IRE one also helps in the sense that instead of needing seven different software’s to be trained on, they can be trained on one software and our team will assist with that training. The second thing is cost. Cost of living interest rates. That is a really big thing at the moment. Cost of meeting of cost of staff. So, if you do lose a staff member, often you might have to find, you need to add 20 grand to that wage to get another person in. And then the third one is just time. I was talking to a consultant recently and they were saying they worked out every single task that a property manager needs to do. They want to do their job well, on a day-to-day basis, it’s 250 individual tasks for a property manager to actually do in property management. And so, these are real issues, real challenges that our property managers are facing. And I call property, it’s a bit cheeky. I call property management death by a thousand paper cuts. And the thing is, when you, it is a whole bunch of little tasks, but if you miss one of those little tasks, it can go from a little paper cut to a broken leg very quickly. And so software and automations and systems, even if it’s just having Trello in, I’ll give Herion a plug here, but she’s got some Trello stuff that she uses and so forth. But even just having the right checklists or the right task recipes make a huge difference in those three problems and making things far more seamless in your day-to-day life.”