As recently as five years ago, traditional phone logs and Rolodexes were a common part of a managing agent’s daily communications arsenal. Yet, with recent advances in property management software, such anachronistic methods are largely a thing of the past. Today’s tech-savvy manager can handle large volumes of communication, track and prioritize messages, schedule maintenance, and interact with vendors via modern web-based applications. Some of these applications can even serve as one-stop solutions for every aspect of condo communication.
"Used to be, clients would just call you on the phone," says David Baron, senior vice president of Metro Management Development Inc. in Long Island City, "Then they would start to fax you things. And now, you have BlackBerry, texting, emailing, faxing, and phone calls. So there's a huge range of different ways in which communications can be delivered to you."
“I’m an old-timer,” says David J. Levy, PCAM, a veteran property manager and president of Sterling Services in Holliston, Massachusetts. “Twenty years ago, everything was ‘put it in writing, put it in writing, put it in writing.’ And people resisted that."
With modern email and broadcast software, real estate management companies have found ways to communicate and document all at the same time. “I think the biggest shift [in recent years],” says Levy, “is the percentage of reactive versus proactive communication. Our goal as an industry is to have no communication reactively, because we’re a fixed-fee business. We’re not like attorneys who are hourly. Attorneys like conflict and complexity. If you’re fixed fee, you want to have people know about an issue in advance, so you don’t have as many questions.”
Messages come in these days from many sources, according to Jerry Kestenbaum of BuildingLink.com—calls, voicemails, emails, email forwards of voicemails left, fax, even sometimes SMS, and occasionally, by letter.