Proptech Insights from Property Managers

Most respondents describe themselves, their companies as pro-tech pragmatists.

Making sense of all the new technologies available to real estate managers can feel like wading through terminology and promises rather than selecting solutions to problems and boosting operational efficiency.

That's why IREM’s Technology Advisory Board conducts an annual survey to learn how real estate managers are selecting and using technology. This year’s survey focused on how respondents are using proptech to improve their properties’ operations. Most survey respondents were IREM members, with nearly equal numbers managing conventional apartments (24.7%) and office buildings (24.1%).

Top Concerns and Insights

Respondents said automating repetitive tasks is a top reason for adopting proptech. High-priority concerns they cited include tenant-related issues, integration of existing systems, and security.

Here are more insights and findings from the survey:

  1. Property management teams often make proptech decisions independently, which limits knowledge of risks associated with implementation.
  2. Most people and companies are pragmatists, which may hinder adoption. However, many product options are available to solve the problems that respondents' identified.
  3. Respondents based the return on implementation for pandemic-driven investments in proptech on non-tangible outcomes (tenant satisfaction, increased safety) as opposed to ROI (reduced cost, added value).
  4. Respondent familiarity with each proptech in the survey is 3.1 out of 5 or lower, demonstrating the need for broader training and education.
  5. Drone/photogrammetry is the most widely used proptech among respondents. Real estate managers are using drones for maintenance inspections, to analyze prospect traffic at multifamily communities, and as part of property tours.

Proptech decisions should stem from a team analysis of how a tech solution will affect the company from several angles, including how the product will play with existing IT infrastructure and affect property operations and the bottom line.

Editor’s note: This article was adapted from “Putting the tech puzzle together,” published in the March/April 2022 issue of the Journal of Property Management.

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