Property Brokers is a national real estate business and property management company in New Zealand. Beginning as a family operation in 1986, they now boast over 80 branches, 6,500 properties and over 100 property managers. They focus on property in provincial and rural areas, which has helped them do over $4B NZ sales per year.
Property Brokers has been using Palace’s property management software to help them manage communications across their portfolio of properties. Property Brokers’ former General Manager Will Alexander considers it a pillar of stellar property management in New Zealand.
RELATED: Learn how else Palace helps its property management clients improve agent-tenant communications with text messaging.
SMS is a no-brainer.Will Alexander, former General Manager, Property Brokers
Text messaging has long been a staple of real estate property management. Alexander has been working on tightening up operations by looking for opportunities to amplify engagement and efficiencies. Text messaging has played a part in helping to streamline operations.
Understanding the way your end-consumer (in this case, tenants) operates and communicates is critical. According to Alexander, “we live on our phones now,” and smart businesses have adapted accordingly. However, Alexander believes the number one business complaint is still poor communication. Getting it right is important – and optimising your communications strategy for smartphone use is key to success.
Text messaging has proved more reliable for property managers than letters or emails, which are not nearly as instantly received. It’s a communication flow that customers recognise and are in tune with. For Property Brokers agents, sending an SMS to a large group of tenants is quick and easy.
RELATED: Find out how this real estate business uses a single text campaign to drive 500x ROI in sales.
The solution and use cases
SMS is used to supplement any email or letter communications but can also have its own use cases. The main ways property managers use text are for key events throughout the property or tenancy cycle such as:
Rent arrears (late or unpaid rent)
Hi #NAME#, just a friendly reminder that your rent is now overdue! Please pay here: #URL#
REMINDER: We are scheduled for a routine inspection at #ADDRESS# tomorrow at #TIME#. If you need to reschedule, please call #NUMBER#.
Notice to vacate
Friendly reminder that your keys for #ADDRESS# are due back at our office on #DATE#. We are open 9 – 5. Thanks!
There are many other use cases outside of these, including property maintenance requests or lease renewal reminders. An added benefit of using SMS through a CRM is supporting property management firms and real estate agents in legal disputes. Records of any text communications are kept in the system.
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SMS works well, in the busy, busy world that we all live in. It’s just for the right type of communication. It’s a fantastic tool.Will Alexander, former General Manager, Property Brokers
Rental Arrears: Collecting rent that’s unpaid dropped from 3% to 1.7% thanks to friendly text reminders when overdue. Compared to email or letters, SMS is delivered straight away and is more likely to prompt a tenant to pay quickly.
Vacancy Rates: Dropping from 2% to 1.5%, they can now fill a rental property in just 4 days on average. Automated text reminders gently guide tenants towards fulfilling their leaving requirements. This makes for a seamless transition so agents are able to present the property to new renters quickly.
Inspection Completions: On average, 90% of inspections (up from 71%) are now completed, per month, thanks to text reminders. This is a huge win as 2,500 inspections are required over this time period. While tenants are often notified two weeks before, a simple reminder one day before ensures greater attendance and awareness. It also mitigates the agent’s exposure to potential insurance claims as insurers are stringent about inspection frequency.
RELATED: Understand how a real estate marketing agency uses text messaging to lift sales and improve response rates.
Internal efficiencies: Alexander believes technology can help streamline the property management process through its scalability. Saving 5 seconds per communication by using texts makes for a “significant difference.”
Granted there are policies and procedures that guide people, but tools like SMS have enabled us to execute all these strategies in the results. You look at any part of the business and the results have improved.Will Alexander, former General Manager, Property Brokers
Overall business contribution: Text messaging also plays a part in contributing to the business’ overall success including:
- 35% YOY growth
- Increased referrals between departments
- $8.9M NZ in commission from property sales
Customer satisfaction has also lifted 103% over the past three years to a 65 Net Promoter Score (NPS). Alexander attributes this in part to text messaging which has played a huge part in improving communication with clients. As the real estate industry average NPS is -15 according to Perceptive, Property Brokers is “really proud of” leading a much better way forward.
For Alexander, until a more robust and reliable communication alternative appears, Property Brokers will continue to use SMS because it works.
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