How tech startups are breaking new ground in managing real estate portfolios
The investor-landlord journey is globally known for being one of the least digitized and fragmented experiences consumers may have in their lives.
However, the UAE’s investment and property management processes are undergoing a considerable transformation, and property technology firms are actively making strides to revolutionize the journey.
The Dubai Land Department’s release of Ejari transaction data, combined with their recent partnership with Emirates NBD bank to offer direct debit rent payments, further highlights the region’s commitment to transparency and digitization.
What solutions can be expected with the next generation of tech-enabled property management?
The modern real estate investor longs for visibility and ease of tracking their property portfolio performance on an easy-to-use app; it is no different from the plethora of apps available for any other investable asset class.
While landlord logins and dashboards are nothing new, the operational complexity of managing a property portfolio and tracking real estate investments in real time is lending itself to a shift from traditional property management to a digital data-driven experience.
Traditional property management typically starts and ends with the broker who sourced the investment property. The broker then helps navigate the complex process, making referrals to a range of other service providers such as mortgage lenders, insurers, conveyancers, maintenance contractors, property managers, etc., to complete the transaction to its intended purpose. Each provider may or may not have digital capabilities, resulting in inefficiencies, duplication and dependency on the broker.
In contrast to the flurry of activity associated with acquiring a real estate asset, once a tenant has moved into a property, it is quite common for a traditional property manager to switch into a reactive mode until the time comes to negotiate renewal terms or obtain approval for any maintenance quotations.
There is typically very little value added for the remaining 364 days of the tenancy, which is sadly one of the greatest missed opportunities. These crucial missed touch points include getting live updates of your unit or portfolio valuation, gross and net yields, gains, rent forecasting, expense management and other key metrics such as occupancy rates, “noise cancellation” market insights and a portfolio rebalancing engine.
Most, if not all, rental management companies do not cater to diversified real estate portfolios, which are typically made up of a mix of residential and commercial, long-term rentals and short-term rentals.
Even if they are all operated under the same real estate umbrella, there is no streamlined consolidated view of the landlord’s entire real estate portfolio. You often must piece the information together from each division to have a complete overview.
This situation is precisely where tech-enabled property management comes in.
There has been an increase in property owners seeking management services from overseas investors to full-time UAE residents. As people’s lives become busier and busier, their focus can shift from their portfolio, which may result in a downturn in investments.
Technology-driven solutions are essential for optimizing operations and eliminating inefficient processes in today’s on-demand world. As a result, proptech startups are on a path to redefine how property investors manage their real estate portfolios to help them reduce their overall management costs and enhance their returns.
The goal here is to bring the real estate investing experience into the future, tackling common pain points that have, thus far, been ignored.
• Silvia Eldawi is the co-founder of Keyper.