The Future is Here: Property Management Goes Mobile
By: Jason Randall | VP Product Management AppFolio
It wasn’t long ago when “mobile devices” and “property management” wouldn’t have been used in the same sentence. But as tablets and smartphones have grown both in power and capability, they’ve transformed the field of property management.
If a renter is searching for their next rental home, they’ll likely open up their smartphone, tablet or laptop and start investigating properties. Renters have the power to search by neighborhood, read online reviews, look into crime reports and view 3D previews of available units – all on their mobile devices.
Once they find a potential home, they can use their mobile devices to fill out applications, scan drivers’ licenses and send it off to the property management company – all without ever setting foot on the property. And after they’re moved in, they’re just as likely to use a mobile device to make rent payments, enter maintenance requests and communicate with property managers.
Property managers have also benefited greatly from the convenience and flexibility that mobile devices offer. Mobile apps and management portals let property managers screen prospective residents and access client accounts without even visiting their offices, resulting in expedited background checks and quick resolution to billing questions. And since long-distance residents can now apply for rentals remotely, property managers have a larger pool of potential renters. Property managers can use mobile payment apps for both accepting and processing payments, freeing them up to pursue other business.
If you’re new to mobile apps, all of this might sound like behavior that’s limited to just a few tech-friendly firms and residents. But mobile apps have really gone mainstream. At AppFolio, we’ve seen firsthand the increase in mobile usage and demand with the thousands of companies who use our Web-based property management software every day. We’re tracking the rapid growth of mobile across our customer base as well as with their residents and have gathered some interesting statistics:
- The number of residents who submitted rental applications from a mobile device rose by 22.37 percent in 2013
- Residents using online “Resident Portals” from a mobile device to submit maintenance requests or payments rose from 22.61 to 27.88 percent in one year
- Residents paying their rent from a mobile device rose from 16.96% in 2012 to about 25% in 2013 – a whopping increase of 45.34 percent
- Property owners are going mobile too, with a 29 percent increase in visits from mobile devices to owner portals to receive monthly statements
At this point, there’s no doubt that smartphones and tablets are becoming embedded in every facet of property management. As the world goes increasingly digital, modern residents will expect – and even prioritize – mobile convenience when choosing between properties. Luckily, it’s a convenience that benefits property owners and managers too.
Jason Randall is the VP Product Management with AppFolio, providers of Web-based property management software . He is responsible for setting the product and market entry strategy for all AppFolio products.