Anyone who has managed a property knows there are a lot of moving parts. Managing multiple properties across diverse geographical locations can increase those complexities manifold. Throw in a global pandemic and things become even more complicated. Suddenly public health orders limit site visits, viewings, and document signings. And technology becomes a vital tool for keeping residents and employees safe and cared for.
Avenue Living has used Yardi and other property management technologies since before the pandemic, as part of our commitment to running a paperless organization, improving efficiency, and customer service. So, we were prepared to adapt to new public health measures when they came into effect in March 2020. Our existing infrastructure made the transition to virtual viewings and digital lease signing easy, but we were also able to carry on our day-to-day operations smoothly because we had tools in place to manage them virtually.
Avenue Living owns and operates properties across the Prairies, covering a broad geographical area. While we have teams in every market dedicated to in-person management, property management software gives us a big-picture view of all our buildings, but it also allows us a more granular view of each building.
This view is especially valuable now, when public health measures have kept in-person visits to a minimum in order to ensure resident and employee safety. Clear communication is key when we’re trying to minimize how many people need to be on-site, and when. Yardi allows us to create work orders for our teams in the field and attach photos to ensure the information we capture is accurate, both about the job and its resolution.
For many management companies with large portfolios, like Avenue Living, technology allows us to keep a close eye on how we fulfill work orders, address resident concerns, and communicate between teams. Our properties are spread out across several provinces, and technology like Yardi ensures all our teams are operating with up-to-date information.
We’ve also integrated our listing services with our website, which helps ensure our listings are always up to date. In the past, our leasing specialists would have had to handle these updates manually but automating them frees them up to focus on finding the right matches for prospective residents — a task that’s much easier when they know they’re dealing with up-to-date information.
Informed Decision Making
“Property management is cyclical,” says Jeff Konechny, Avenue Living’s manager of enterprise applications. “Which means we can collect past data and use it to anticipate future results.” When we can analyze monthly and quarterly patterns, we can see how to improve our processes — for example, how we complete work orders or suite turns, or how our rental rate fits into the market. “We can also use the data we collect to look at the issues residents have raised with us and make informed decisions about what needs to be replaced or repaired, for instance,” says Jeff.
Better Customer Service
We operate from what we call a “single source of truth.” The information our call centre takes in reaches our Regional Vice Presidents and Regional Portfolio Managers, who make sure the right people are aware of and addressing the resident concern. The team in the field can generate work orders, upload photos, and add their notes to that same file. In the past, these might have been on paper or sent via email — there may have been documents stored in disparate locations. Now, everything is in one central, easy-to-access place. “Anyone can look at a file and see a lease addendum or a parking agreement or a concern when they need to, without relying on someone in an office to find, scan, and send it to them,” says Jeff.
We’re always working on ways to make our resident experience better. Our future vision involves technology, as we examine ways to create an experience that gives our residents the ability to do more online. “We really want to make Avenue Living the type of property manager that’s easier to connect with than any other property manager,” says Jeff.
While we’re still developing these solutions, we’re using the suite of tools we have now to make that experience as seamless as possible, from the moment they contact us for the first time onward.
This commentary and the information contained herein are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities or related financial instruments. This article may contain forward-looking statements. Readers should refer to information contained on our website at www.avenuelivingam.com for additional information regarding forward-looking statements and certain risks associated with them.