Where we are, firmly in the 21st century, and technology is everywhere. Who would have imagined half of the gadgets and computer programs that we take for granted today 20 or 30 years ago? From the Internet to hands-free cell phones to personal data assistants more powerful than Captain Kirk’s tricorder, technology is quickly outpacing all our previous visions of the future. These days, when it comes to futuristic gadgets and tools, it seems the only thing missing is the jet-packs.
That same swell of technology has swept its way through the property management business, drastically changing the way these companies work. “Technology has had a huge impact,” says Margie Russell, the executive director of the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM). “We’ve really gone 180 degrees in terms of how everyday situations are handled.”
The More Things Change
Communication always has been one of the single most vital components of successful property management. Getting data to board members, letting residents know about issues affecting them, tackling building problems and building consensus on solutions—all of these things require clear, concise and preferably swift communication action.
Fifteen years ago, land-line telephones, grainy, slow moving fax machines and the U.S. mail service were the only methods of getting the word out. Certainly, they were a step above carrier pigeons, but in comparison to today’s technologies, not by much.
“There’s an old joke that a property manager could buy himself 30 days on an issue just by mailing documents to the board,” says Stephen Elbaz, president of Esquire Management, a Brooklyn-based full service property management firm.