The Slow Creep Of Digitalization: How DIY Landlords Could Get Left Behind

As we become more and more accustomed to the headlines on artificial intelligence (AI), technology and the rise of the machine, I continue to study and watch for the impact on do-it-yourself (DIY) real estate investors.

While attending national real estate investor meetings and conferences, I listen closely to the expert speakers and the clients on the multiple creative ways data is being captured in their property management software. I continue to interview software providers in this space to monitor the industry leaders and the impact of what upgrades and features they are investing in and introducing for 2019 and beyond.

All of this information leaves clues as we determine the changing scope of the DIY landlord’s immediate goals for growth in market in 2019.

It is evident that the changes of the past five years will seem static compared to those of the next five years. With the integration of Generation Z in the housing rental market, the rental market tools will be radically shifting again.  Generation Z has known no other world other than one of e-data and e-tools, and thus they present new challenges in tenant-landlord processes and communications.

From a generation that has always used a social media tool for group communications, we need to be ready for cultural shifts. This generation has always used multiple platforms per day with work/school computers, laptops, tablets and cell phones. Their world has always been on and everywhere. The impact is not just confined to this specific generation; it has expanded to reach all businesses that interface with consumers of all ages. From your public housing providers to medical offices and school districts, each is undergoing upgrades and changes to thrive in a digital-only world. When was the last time you used a fax machine?

I recently asked a group of DIY landlords to evaluate just how many steps are involved in asking a prospective resident to download, print, complete with pen, scan and return via email an application. It almost sounds archaic just to write the steps. People are buying and selling large multifamily buildings from China with a click of their signature on their mobile phone — would it be hard to believe this analog process is slowing your applicant process, possibly losing some candidates? Why would we not want to offer our residents the same frictionless process to apply for our unit: an online application complete with the ability to verify their credit history with a click enabling your team to onboard with a digital welcome video.


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