Stock property management
Is enough of digital happening to help out property owners after they made their purchase? Image Credit: Shutterstock

The investor-landlord journey is known for being one of the least digitized and fragmented experiences a consumer may have in their lives. Currently, in the UAE, the investment and property management processes are undergoing huge transformations, and proptech firms are making strides to revolutionize the journey.

The Dubai Land Department’s (DLD) release of Ejari transaction data, combined with their recent partnership with Emirates NBD to offer direct debit rent payments further highlights the region’s commitment to transparency and digitization.

The real estate investor is longing for visibility and ease of tracking their property portfolio’s performance on an app, no different to 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 your 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 property. The broker then helps you navigate through the complex process making referrals to a range of other service providers - mortgage lenders, insurers, conveyancers, maintenance contractors, property managers, etc. - to complete the transaction all the way through to its intended purpose.

Each of these providers may or may not have digital capabilities that can result 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 in it is quite common for the traditional property manager to switch into a ‘reactive’ mode. Until the time comes to negotiate renewal terms or obtain approval for any maintenance quotations.

Missed opportunities

There is typically very little value-add for the remaining 364 days of the tenancy, which is sadly one of the greatest missed opportunities. These crucial missed touch points include: providing live updates of your unit/portfolio valuation, gross and net yields, gains, rent forecasting, expense management and other key metrics such as occupancy rates, along with ‘noise cancellation’ market insights and a portfolio rebalancing engine.

Most, if not all, rental management companies do not cater for diversified real estate portfolios typically made up of a mix of residential and commercial, long-term rents and short-term rents. Even if they are all operated under the same umbrella, there is no streamlined consolidated view of the landlord’s entire real estate portfolio. Often, you would need to piece the information together from each of the divisions to have a full overview.

This is exactly where tech-enabled property management comes in. From overseas investors to full-time UAE-based residents, there has been an increase in property owners seeking management services. As lives become busier, their focus can shift from their portfolio which may result in a downturn in investment fortunes.

Features such as the live visibility enables landlords to make quicker decisions and enhance their returns. In an on-demand world, tech-driven solutions are essential for optimizing operations and eliminating inefficient processes.

Proptech startups are on a path to redefine how property investors manage their portfolio 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.