Property managers are moving into the next phase of the COVID-19 experience: identifying opportunities stemming from the crisis. That was the subject of a recent IREM webinar, “Reopening in COVID-19: What Property Managers Need to Know,” moderated by 2020 IREM President Cheryl Gray, CPM.
Many opportunities have come in the form of tenant engagement, said panelist Angela Aeschliman. The pandemic led to communications that were “more rapid and more upfront. Even if we don’t have a particular answer, it was important to get back to tenants right away.”
Electronic platforms that were in place are being used more, she added. “We had a lot of different platforms that were electronic previous to the stay-at-home order, but they weren’t adopted at a high percentage rate. We’ve found now that we’re ticking upward near 100%.” Those increases have been in areas such as vendors uploading invoices rather than mailing them, online rent payments, and tenant work orders, she noted.
Fast Track New Tech, Protocols
“From an operational standpoint, the pandemic has allowed us to fast-forward our strategic plan,” said panelist Kevin Owens. “There are some things that have begun during this process—things like virtual leasing or self-guided tours—that are here to stay.”
How-to videos will also become a larger factor at his firm, Owens continued. “Our teams have been producing how-to videos for minor service requests or work orders that residents can do themselves, whether it’s simple things like changing a lightbulb or a toilet flange or knowing where to change air filters.”