4 ways to use AI in property management
AI in property management is making companies more efficient and profitable. Find out the best ways to use it in your communities.
It’s difficult to juggle everything that’s needed to run an apartment community. Especially if you’re having a hard time retaining on-site teams. As a result, multifamily companies are adjusting how they accomplish certain tasks. From centralization to AI property management, companies are using new tactics for property management on-site efficiency.
How is AI used in property management?
Companies use AI property management tools to improve efficiency, particularly in back-office operations. Not only that, but it relieves workers of boring or repetitive tasks. Multifamily operation automation lets employees concentrate on work that fulfills them instead of tasks that burn people out.
Some examples of how AI is used in property management include:
- Rent collection: AI streamlines rent collection by automating the payment process, addressing challenges associated with paper-based payments, and providing comprehensive online payment solutions, reducing manual efforts and enhancing efficiency for property managers.
- Utility overcharges and late fees: Property management AI reduces time spent on utility payables, averting late fees and errors by automating the auditing of utility invoices and flagging irregularities, enhancing efficiency and preventing financial losses for multifamily companies.
- Utility expense recovery: AI streamlines the utility expense recovery process in property management by automating the calculation, statement creation, and billing of residents, saving time, reducing errors, and providing valuable metrics for data-driven decision-making.
- Data for critical business decisions: AI in property management not only automates data processes but ensures accurate and relevant information, aiding critical business decisions and improving back-office efficiency for a positive resident experience.
Let’s take a deeper look at how AI is used in these ways and some things to consider.
#1: Property management AI fully automates rent collection
Collecting rent is hands down the most important process for a property management company. But that doesn’t mean you should be devoting a ton of time to this process. AI for property management helps automate the process, making it stress-free and easy for both renters and property managers.
Online rent payment solutions are intended to give renters a convenient way to pay while eliminating manual processing for community staff. But not all renters take advantage of online payments. Without the right automation tools, on-site teams have to manually process rent payments made with a check or money order.
According to Zego’s 2023 Property Management Automation Report, 43% of rent payments are paper-based. That means that 4 out of 10 rent payments must be manually processed by your associates.
Using AI for property management rent payments
Processing paper payments is time consuming. Each payment takes an associate 5-10 minutes to process. And even after those payments are manually entered into your system, they still have to be driven to a bank!
Since 40% of payments are paper-based, converting those stragglers into digital transactions is a must. Three property management AI tools completely automate rent collection:
- Lockbox: These tools move checks offsite and converts them to digital payments
- CashPay: Convert cash and money orders to digital payments
- Comprehensive online payments: Accept all forms of integrated online payments: ACH, Debit card, Credit card, & virtual wallets like PayPal
It’s not just paper payments that lead associates to spend a lot of time on rent payments. Issues that arise after a payment is made can also get teams tangled up. Revenue protection services resolve situations that can be costly and quite time-consuming for property managers like:
- NSF returns
- Delinquent funds
2023 Property Management Operations Report
From centralization to automation, multifamily companies are using new tactics to streamline operations and increase efficiency. This study analyzes how apartment operators are managing their community operations and identifies key opportunities for improvement.
#2: Utility overcharges and late fees are reduced with property management AI
Utility AP is a great place to use multifamily operation automation. That’s because paying utility bills is an especially inefficient process for multifamily companies. Many companies are handling utility AP manually. As a result, it is a time-consuming task. AI in property management can help cut down this time, making it much more efficient.
According to Zego’s 2023 Property Management Automation Report, an average of 13 hours per month is spent managing utility payables. And many companies report several more hours than this!
Manually auditing utility invoices is too inefficient
Long hours spent on utility AP is only part of the problem. Multifamily companies usually get hundreds of utility invoices every month. And each one is costly. Plus, they often contain errors that result in overcharges.
When employees have to manually check each invoice for errors and then pay them, things are bound to move slow. Unfortunately, this means you’re sometimes getting dinged with late fees because an invoice isn’t paid on time.
With AI in property management, you can use automated systems that create and check these invoices for you, eliminating the frequencies of errors and, subsequently, delinquent payments and late fees.
AI technology catches more errors and eliminates late fees
Outsourcing utility AP frees associates from performing these tasks. Each invoice is processed with the help of AI for property management. This flags billing errors that a team of utility experts will dispute on your behalf.
AI also monitors irregular usage. If an invoice indicates usage was higher than normal, it could be the first sign of a malfunction or leak within the property. This information needs to be relayed to the maintenance team before it turns into a major issue. With the help of AI in property management, potential issues are identified and communicated to the right parties.
#3 AI maximizes utility expense recovery and eliminates manual work
AI also helps recoup property management utility expenses. Utilities are a huge expense for multifamily communities.
What’s more is that roughly half of companies pay utilities on behalf of the renter. When that’s the case, those costs have to be recouped.
The best way to do this is to bill renters based on their utility consumption. This ensures property managers get their costs back in a way that is fair to renters. However, the process for recouping those costs is quite painstaking when done manually.
AI in resident utility billing assists the entire end-to-end process
This is why a Resident Billing partner is a must. Resident billing partners use AI property management technology for the whole process including:
- Calculating each resident’s utility charges. This is huge because it saves your teams from performing complex calculations.
- Importing utility charges and any other line items into a singular statement for each apartment unit.
- Electronically sending statements to each resident
- Including a link for residents to pay all of their charges in one digital transaction
- Importing utility usage and payment data into property management software
Most companies are incurring significant costs that could be avoided
More than likely, your company is not taking advantage of property management AI for utilities. Zego’s Property Operations report finds that only 8% do. This is a huge missed opportunity for property management companies. Outsourcing not only offloads the entire process, it recovers your expenses and provides metrics around utility usage at your properties.
Then, there’s the data component that makes resident billing a win. Invoice data is automatically captured from your utility vendors and imported into your system. That eliminates the need to manually extract and track data. Even better, it’s all presented in reports and dashboards. This helps companies clearly visualize utility metrics that are needed for data-driven decisions.
#4 AI property management tools aid critical business decisions
A benefit of using automation for certain tasks is that it automatically compiles pertinent data related to that function. Without an automated system, your team members are responsible for collecting, compiling and interpreting data. This is a significant chore. It also’s more prone to errors. And frankly, inaccurate data is just as bad as no data.
Using data to make decisions about your communities is the most effective way to achieve your strategic goals. Not only that, but data-backed decisions can improve back-office efficiency. This results in a positive resident experience by being better-equipped to cater to residents.
While most multifamily companies understand the value of their data, many struggle to use it effectively. In fact, Zego’s Property Operations report finds that only a third of companies are able to use data for all of their business decisions.
65% of companies could make more data-backed decisions by ditching manual workflows
Manual tasks are still prevalent in multifamily. So it’s understandable that companies are not using data to its fullest potential. As a result, companies are making uninformed decisions, many of which may actually hurt business prospects. Embracing AI in property management not only automates data processes but ensures the accuracy and relevance of this information.
The future of AI in property management
With AI in property management you can streamline operations, reduce workload, and have fewer administrative hassles. But not everyone understands the value AI can bring to property managers.
There is a common misconception that AI will completely replace interactions between renters and their property manager. And as a result, companies will need fewer on-site team members. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, renters still prefer human assistance in many scenarios throughout the resident lifecycle. AI simply allows property managers to automate mundane and repetitive communications. By doing so, they have more bandwidth for valuable interactions that build resident satisfaction. And it helps them accomplish more without getting burnt out.
Demo Zego’s AI property management tools
With the help of automation, your multifamily team can become more productive while providing better visibility into how your organization is performing. Demo Zego’s property management automation solutions and find out how you can start doing more with less.