How to Become a Tech-Savvy Property Manager

Lingo, tips, and tricks to build your digital know-how.
January 28, 2021
Tech

How to be Tech-Savvy in Multifamily

The role of a property manager has changed and evolved. Processes like accepting rent payments in the leasing office, typing up individual lease agreements, and closing books out manually are all in the past.

Property managers are now empowered to manage these processes by using digital tools, such as:

  • Property Management Systems
  • Customer Relationship Management software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • And more!

A tech-savvy property manager relies on these tools to take the “busy work” out of leasing for them.

Are you a tech-savvy property manager? Learn the lingo and use these tips and tricks to build your digital know-how in the multifamily industry.

Learn the Lingo

When it comes to technology, you need to know the jargon and that means acronyms.

Learning basic terms and internet functions can be super helpful, especially if you are responsible for using multiple software tools in your day-to-day. With this knowledge, you’ll find it’s easier to follow along with tutorials and stay up to speed on the latest digital tools.

Types of Software

SaaS

Software as a Service

Unlike traditional software that is downloaded to a single computer, SaaS is accessed with an internet connection and a web browser on any computer. LeaseHawk is a SaaS provider and so are most multifamily software companies.

PMS

Property Management System

This is common business software for multifamily property owners and management companies. This software has replaced many paper-methods that were previously used for handling business, such as for the management of properties, maintenance, legalities and more. Some PMS providers include: Rent Manager, Yardi, RealPage, and others.

CRM

Customer Relationship Management

This is a type of software for managing relationships and communications with residents and prospects. Using a CRM, you can send and receive phone calls, emails, and text messages all in one place—plus, it will track communication history, guest card information, and much more.

BI

Business Intelligence

BI can refer to either strategies and/or software used to analyze large amounts of data for a business. BI software presents data in a meaningful and intuitive way, usually in the form of reports or dashboards, so property owners and managers can make informed business decisions.

AI

Artificial Intelligence

It’s best to think of AI as an umbrella term—it encompasses subfields such as robotics, machine learning, expert systems, general intelligence, natural language processing, and more. Most commonly, there are forms of AI used to power chatbots and other systems for apartment communities. Check out this article for examples of how AI is used in the apartment industry.

Software Development

UI/UX

User Interface and User Experience

These two terms are listed together because typically, if one is changed, the other is affected. The UI handles the interaction between you and the software—often in the form of your computer mouse navigating menus, buttons, and screens. The goal of a UI/UX designer is to make software intuitive, easy-to-use, and an overall great user experience.

In multifamily software you may come across these common UI design elements:

Hamburger menu:

Can you see the resemblance? The hamburger menu is used to navigate to different screens and pages.

Meatballs menu: •••

Yet another member of the menu family is the meatballs menu—a set of three horizontal dots. The meatballs menu signifies that there are more options or customizations available.

If you’re interested in learning more UI elements, check out this full glossary written by Career Foundry.

API

Application Programming Interface

An API allows two applications to talk to each other. They are commonly used in software integrations, so applications can push and pull data from each other. For example, a chatbot may have an integration with your Property Management System (PMS) using an API that allows it to pull your community’s pricing and availability data.

Web Development

URL

Uniform Resource Locator

Also known as a web address, a URL tells your internet browser where to take you on the web. URLs may seem simple and obvious, but there are fun things you can do with them! One of them is creating a URL for your properties’ chatbot and placing that URL in your property’s listings and ads.

Web Hosting

A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. A couple common web hosting providers are GoDaddy and WP Engine.

CMS

Content Management System

This is software that helps you to create, manage, and modify content on a website. There are quite a few CMS providers that specialize in building multifamily community websites, and some even provide web hosting services in addition to their CMS. It’s important to know who your website admin is for your property or have contact with a support rep at your CMS provider, as they will help you with any updates, additions, or changes that your property website may need.

JS

JavaScript

JS is a programming language that makes web pages interactive. Some multifamily software vendors may provide you with snippets of JS code to add to your website. These snippets will add features to your website to make it more interactive, such as a chatbot or tracking.

HTML

Hyper Text Markup Language

HTML is a language that tells your internet browser how to display content for a website. Most websites have a <head> and <body> HTML element and are common places where you may need to add snippets of code to install features, like a chatbot or tracking tools. For example, to install a chatbot on a property website, you may need to add a snippet of JavaScript (JS) code into the <head> of your website. To do this, you may need to log into one of these places: your CMS, Web Hosting service, or Google Tag Manager account—always ask the website admin at your company if you need help. For a deeper dive into HTML, check out this resource from the Mozilla Developer Network.

Use these Multifamily Software Tips and Tricks

Fill in All Fields—Even If “Optional”

You’ll most likely need to do some data entry when first getting started with any new multifamily software. This could be entering the names of your on-site team, editing templates, uploading property photos, or inputting general property information, like the square footage of each unit type. It may feel tedious, but it’s vitally important.

If there is a blank, always fill it in with information—even if it says optional! Software and technology are always changing. Those optional fields may become a vital piece of an enhancement in a later release or provide the best user experience for your on-site team and renters. Remember, technology is only as smart as the data we give it.

Use Templates

Be on the lookout for templates, they will make your life easier! Templates are especially helpful when using a CRM. They can be used to quickly respond to emails from prospects when they ask a common leasing question.

Schedule Reports

Running manual reports can be time consuming. Schedule your reports to run automatically! Most reports can be scheduled to be delivered to you via email daily, weekly, annually—or really anytime that you need. Reports allow you to see everything occurring on your properties when it may be difficult to visit on-site.

Click on Info Tips

Have you ever seen those little “i” icons ⓘ that pop-up next to a widget or dashboard? Those are called, “Info Tips” and they can be very helpful resources of information. When you see an info tip, always click on it to get a full understanding of what you are currently viewing.

Participate in Trainings and Webinars

When it comes to being tech-savvy, it’s all about educating yourself. Set aside one hour each week to attend a training or webinar. There are lots of free resources from multifamily vendors and partners available. If you’re a LeaseHawk client, check out the LeaseHawk Support & Training Center (use your LeaseHawk username and password to login) to sign up for live webinars, access on-demand training, take quizzes, and more!

There are so many facets to being a property manager and being tech-savvy can feel daunting—but, it doesn’t have to be! Practice makes perfect and we hope these tips and tricks will help you to build your digital know-how as a property manager.

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