For Thoughtful+ Members
Unlock all blogs, whitepapers, case studies, webinars, and more!
Robotic process automation (RPA) is making our world faster, simpler, and almost error-free. These software technologies take on the menial tasks and free up employee time. These software robots are changing how we work, and they're now making a huge impression on the real estate and property management industries.
RPA makes it possible to operate more agile and slim teams, making companies more efficient and cost-effective. Their applications create savings that not only improve employee work experiences but create savings so that the technology pays for itself.
The real estate sector has been slow to adopt new technology solutions. Still, RPA is now making it easy to automate multiple processes, and applications can be adapted or built to fit individual business requirements.
Here are the top five use cases of RPA in property management in 2023.
Each new tenancy comes with a series of forms and manual processes. Customer data must be received either in digital or paper format, collated into a CRM, and then processed accordingly.
The tenant onboarding process is highly time-consuming for property managers. First, the application needs to be received and reviewed, including a background check. Then once the tenant is approved, they need to sign their receive, review, and sign their lease before they can pay their security deposit and rent. Each step requires communication and data entry on behalf of the property manager.
Each step in the tenant onboarding process is an opportunity for error, thus leaving the business open to a poor customer experience.
Implementing RPA technology to simplify the tenant application process saves employee time and reduces errors every step of the way, leading to reduced expenses. These technologies automate data entry into management software and can be used to perform background checks, verify income and references, or even confirm employment status. When implemented fully, RPA can automatically review applications in their entirety and issue an approval or denial to the applicant in a much shorter time frame.
Payment tracking and processing are essential core tasks in property management. Tracking payments and following up on delinquent accounts can take up a large segment of a property manager’s time and energy. They have to set trackers and reminders for each account and manually reach out to customers when a payment is missed or incorrect.
Running an RPA payment processor can enable automatic payment tracking and reminders to customers. As a result, it can help improve tenant experiences by reducing late payment fees and decreasing staff time on basic bookkeeping and communications. In addition, automatic payment reminders and receipts reduce payee frustration and ultimately can increase customer service satisfaction.
Accounts Payable, receivable, and reconciliation
Beyond tracking and following up on tenant payments, property management duties required extensive tracking of accounts payable and receivable for each property and its respective ownership entities. Not only is this process time-consuming, but it's error-prone. RPA with hyper-automation provides incredible value to property management companies by automatically collating data from electronically submitted invoices.
Using RPA makes it easy for property management companies to automate most accounts payable and accounts receivable processes. Additionally, RPA can extract bank statements to reconcile accounts. This technology simplifies and automates a tedious process by comparing invoices with bank records. Unlike the human eye, RPA does not make errors resulting in far greater data reliability that is processed almost instantaneously.
According to an IBM case study, RPA can improve the efficiency of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and reconciliation processes by as much as 80% while significantly increasing processing volumes. Therefore, human capital is freed for more value-add activities and productivity increases without hiring more staff.
Real estate investment trusts (REIT) are institutional trusts that buy and manage real estate assets on a much larger scale than individual investors, meaning that they have extensive portfolios that need to be managed. REIT shares typically get traded at the underlying value of their real estate portfolio, which is different than shares of a regular company, whose share value is primarily derived from their balance sheet.
REITs and other companies whose value is based on real estate assets require regular tracking of the asset values of their portfolio with a net asset valuation. NAV calculations total asset values minus any outstanding debt and costs. These calculations become complex because they require a property value estimate which subsequently needs a comparison of other assets and significant market knowledge.
RPA can automate some of the NAV calculation steps and remove manual and labor-intensive data collection steps. For small property management companies, this can help calculate private investors' portfolio value, while for large REITs, it's an essential step in assessing their value and trading shares.
Portfolio Management & Communication
Listing and renting assets are crucial to portfolio management. Part of this process requires web listings on multiple sites, including inputting data and images that need to be updated consistently across each portal. Each change and update can require considerable time and double-checking of data to ensure accuracy.
RPA applications can be used to update lease and sale listings on various websites automatically. Instead of needing to update each website individually, a single form can be submitted and the data sent by the RPA to each website. Using RPA removes process steps and makes completing crucial updates on available and leased properties easier.
Following updating marketing listings, clients also require consistent communication. They need property updates with the status of vacant and leased properties in the form of concise but detailed reports. Collating each owner's property information in an individual email uses excessive human capital, which RPA can significantly reduce. Instead, RPA can automatically generate update reports, therefore improving owner experience and satisfaction because of their accuracy and reliability.
How can RPA save your business money?
RPA shouldn't be looked at as a replacement for human capital but as a property management company's ally that results in increased operational efficiency. RPA applications are customizable to several business processes, saving staff time and ultimately reducing property management costs.
Discover how Thoughtful can help your company! Browse our bots and find out how we’ve streamlined property management business processes to save money, time, and resources.