Last modified on October 6th, 2022
By Marc Frenkiel
Inspections are part and parcel of the property management process, but they can be time-consuming and difficult to coordinate, especially for a large portfolio.
Michael Brand, Mid-Market Account Executive at HappyCo, joins The Top Floor podcast to explore how a tech-first approach to inspections can make things easier and protect your bottom line.
Having the right integrations enables you to access all the data and insights you need from one place, making property management much more streamlined. Michael explores this in more detail in this episode and explains how technology can help to transform the inspection process.
Why property inspections are so important
Property inspections may be necessary for routine maintenance, but their benefits go much further than that.
In Michael’s words, inspections are vital, and can
“increase your property’s value, minimize your risk, increase your team’s efficiency and really improve just the overall conditions of the property. Essentially, the data that you’re capturing in these inspections is the key to allow you to make really informed quality management decisions.”
That’s why it really pays to nail the inspection process, not just for your residents but also for the wider business benefit. But how can you optimize the inspection process to go beyond the basics?
What’s holding property management companies back
Michael says that a common theme he’s seen in this industry is that people want to do more with inspections, but their processes or tools are holding them back. If you’re relying on manual pen and paper or Excel to manage your inspections, this makes the whole process cumbersome and prone to errors.
An inefficient process takes up more time and money, which affects your bottom line. For example, writing out work notes and having to deal with poor handwriting or miscommunication can cost valuable time and lead to frustration. Also, if you need to upload inspection photos to one cloud service and then move to another program like Excel to do data entry, it’s a lot of back and forth that could be avoided.
Not only that, but inefficient processes can also harm your resident’s satisfaction, for example, if they receive slow responses to maintenance requests or a disorganized inspection process.
“There are major, major risks in doing things manually and not having a digital system you can trust.”
How to standardize inspections
The trick, as Michael explains, is to standardize the inspection process. Once you have a solid, repeatable process, you can fine-tune it, save time, money, and make sure that your residents get a great service.
Rather than relying on manual processes, Michael says that digitizing your operations is the key to standardization. He suggests creating templates and workflows that you can apply across the board to boost efficiency.
By standardizing your processes, you can start to pull data as well. That data can help you make more informed decisions about particular units or overall processes. For example, keeping track of where your work orders are coming from can help you identify common issues and trends in particular units.
Investing in the right tools
Investment in digital and remote tools is growing in line with what residents expect today. Residents expect more than just a phone call. They want things like inspection reminders and even the option to do remote inspections.
But this shift towards digital tools also has great benefits for property management companies and investors. Automating processes saves time and empowers your team to get more done with less.
Michael believes that this opens the door to more tool integrations, which he believes will become more popular in the future.
“I think the future with inspections, and really all your property operations is digitizing, going mobile, and truly, it’s just all about the efficiency and standardization.”
HappyCo is an AppFolio Stack ™ integration partner, which means that residents, property managers, and investors get the benefit of both platforms working in tandem. With the seamless integration, you can automatically create inspections, tasks, and projects to make managing properties simpler.
How to use tech integrations effectively
Integrations can transform how you manage properties, but it’s possible to get them wrong.
Michael says that integrations can go wrong when they’re not designed properly. This is usually the case when the original parties weren’t on the same page in the first place, and so bad integrations can end up causing more headaches for your team.
Issues such as too much back and forth between systems, integrations that get in the way of maintenance teams doing their jobs, or those that waste time with complex processes are common. As Michael says, the role of technology should be to make our lives easier, not more complicated. That’s why your choice of integrations is so important.
“A lot of issues will spiral from going back and forth from systems, data entry would be a great example. And if you can’t trust the data, what are you doing?”
Michael says there are a couple of different ways integrations can help to streamline your workflow:
- Using automation can save time in managing or performing inspections
- Integrations can provide greater visibility between staff, residents, and management. With better communication between each party, everyone is on the same page when it comes to creating work orders or performing inspections.
Both of these things help to save on labor costs as well, which helps you to remain profitable.
A streamlined workflow keeps your team happier and engaged, so they can spend their energy on more important resident communication or other high-value tasks.
To hear more about how to use integrations to manage your inspection process, tune in to the full episode with Michael.