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Will New Pandemic Changes Be Permanent?

Posted by: | Posted on: June 19, 2020


The pandemic has been the catalyst for a bevy of changes in real estate. While there have been a lot of predictions as to how long the pandemic will last and the long-term impact, some changes are certainly here to stay. Property managers are busy weighing the long-term changes, and a recent survey from Appfolio shows that many are prepared for these new norms to be permanent.

“The changes property management is facing due to the pandemic are both temporary and permanent,” Stacy Holden, industry principal and director at AppFolio, tells GlobeSt.com. “While it is impossible to predict which technologies will be adopted long-term, our survey respondents did have some thoughts on that topic. For example, 62% of respondents think virtual showings are here to stay. Eighty-seven percent of respondents think bulk email/text messaging is here for the long term, and 84% think this is true for mobile data access.”

The pandemic has also highlighted inefficiencies that existed before, and forced some property managers that had staved off technology adoption to make the transition. Those changes will almost certainly be permanent. “Property managers that previously had gaps in accessing their data and business performance insights, communications and virtual leasing experiences, are now feeling those gaps even more because of the rapid pivot to remote work,” says Holden. “There now exists a new and lasting urgency around solving these gaps with modern technologies. Technology is not going away—once property management sees the value of different technologies in action, why would they revert to not using it? Digital transformation is going to continue to filter into every aspect of property management.”

From the consumer perspective, ease of virtual tours and increased sanitation will also continue to be in high demand long after the pandemic. “The other aspect to consider is that digital tools make the experience for renters and prospective renters easier and more intuitive,” says Holden. “Prior to COVID-19, the expectation of consumers was already transformed to on-demand and mobile experiences—as property management businesses moved to maintain service levels during the pandemic, meeting these expectations became even more urgent for them. There is also the safety aspect, many residents may still be weary of in-person interactions, so any technology that can eliminate the need for those interactions can put them more at ease.”

In many ways, the pandemic has only accelerated the trends in technology for property managers. “Innovations in property management technology enable property management teams to spend more time developing relationships with prospects and residents, which is always good for business, no matter what outside realities exist,” says Holden.



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