How COVID-19 has changed the way we do things… for the better
While COVID-19 has stopped many industries in their tracks, some (like the property management industry) have been forced to make dramatic changes to enable us to continue our vital service. We have embraced innovation like never before – resulting in a different kind of service that will remain with us long after this is all over.
So in the spirit of maintaining a positive frame of mind, here is some GOOD news for a change:
Due to restrictions in taking prospects through properties, rental property marketing has moved to a higher level. Where 3D Virtual Tours of rental properties were rare just a few months ago, they are now commonplace and likely to continue. Leasing Viewing restrictions have also forced us to re-think our leasing procedure. We are currently limiting viewings of properties to those prospects whose applications have been submitted and passed our criteria. This allows us to focus on showing through pre-qualified prospects who are more likely to be a good fit for the property. This is working so well, we are planning to continue this process even after the restrictions have lifted.
Virtual Routine Inspections
Restrictions on visiting properties has given rise to new ‘virtual inspection’ programs, which enable tenants to hold their own inspections using their smart phones and submitting to their property manager. Our agency utilises software with a built-in ‘self-inspection’ function which we will utilise for those times when physical entry to a property is not possible – even after COVID-19 has passed.
Working from Home
As most of our team has been working from home, we have had to quickly adapt many of our processes from paper-based to online. Now that this has been done, we are noticing more efficient workflows which will assist us moving forward. While our team members are looking forward to resuming working in a supportive office environment, they have also discovered they can be productive working from home on many tasks without distractions. This may become useful on days when they are unable to come into the office – providing a more flexible alternative for work/life balance while maintaining continuity of service.
Digital Execution of Documents
Quicker, more convenient, and secure, we have been executing all our management and lease agreements digitally since last year. And now, the challenge of limited face-to-face meetings has quickly moved digital signing from the ‘exception’ to the ‘norm’ and created more acceptance in the marketplace. The outcome is a more efficient and convenient process for all parties, which will continue post-COVID-19.
The use of such programs as Teams and Zoom to keep our team in touch with each other has suddenly opened up possibilities of other applications of this technology. We are now utilising video conferencing with our clients to enhance communication, offering that personal touch and immediate visual confirmation that photos can’t provide. This technology has been with us for years, but it has taken this crisis to open our eyes and our minds to how we can take advantage of it in our daily activities.
A Brighter Future?
It is safe to say that COVID-19 has catapulted our industry straight into the middle of the digital age, landing us about five years ahead of where we would have been if COVID-19 had not come along. This can be viewed as a positive for consumers, who are the beneficiaries of more efficient, secure, convenient, and value-for-money service.
Perhaps this could be one of the ‘silver linings’ that we can all look forward to.