In this episode Carla & Adrian are discussing the power of data in property management and how this data can help property investors and rental residents.
Welcome to Canada's Property Management Podcast, your number one resource for investing, managing, and maximizing the value of your real estate assets. And now here's your hosts, Carla Browne and Adrian Schulz, Canada's rental property experts.
Carla Browne (00:18):
Hi, Adrian. In today's episode, we are going to talk about something super powerful. We're going to talk about the power of data in property management.
Adrian Schulz (00:29):
Carla Browne (00:30):
And you are my data man.
Adrian Schulz (00:32):
Right. I've always wanted to be somebody's data man. Finally, I'm yours.
Carla Browne (00:36):
Yeah. Anything technology, I know I can lean on you. And this is one where I was at a conference a couple of months ago, and it really solidified a lot of the things that were in my mind and things that we often talk about, and that is the importance of property management in what we'll call the housing journey of somebody, and how a lot of people, that's how they start off in their housing journey, is in a rental unit. That's just the way life is. And more and more in Canada, as housing affordability is really an issue.
Carla Browne (01:07):
So let's talk about the data that property management actually collects. But not from a negative perspective, but from a very positive perspective on how this could actually help investors and help residents.
Adrian Schulz (01:20):
Yeah, Carla. So we made a little list before we started and we just referenced some of the things, the data points that you can collect or that you have based on your tenancy applications, such as the tenant's job, their birth date, their cars, their number of children, potentially their spouse that's in the unit with them, if there's pets, their income, et cetera. So think if you will, when that tenancy has begun and your property managers, your resident services team is speaking with the tenant. How special is it when you're talking to the tenant and you say, "How is the job going at X, Y, and Z company? Oh. How are your kids? Have they started school yet?" Or asking how their spouse is doing. You have all of that information. And how special do you feel when a company that you do business with... And you know that they have your information because you applied. How special do you feel when they take the time to ask you important things about your life? That is nurturing a relationship.
Adrian Schulz (02:33):
So then when some of the awkward things come up like, "Hey. We haven't received your rent payment yet. How can we work through this?" Because it is. How can we work through it? There's obviously a situation when you've got the foundation of a relationship, like a personal relationship, I find that you can just have so much better quality of a tenant and property manager relationship. So that's just from a relational standpoint, there's extreme power there. But let's talk about resident experience and resident journey and the power of the data there. Carla, have you ever received a birthday card from someone?
Carla Browne (03:16):
Adrian Schulz (03:17):
Carla Browne (03:18):
Adrian Schulz (03:19):
I mean, I don't know about you, but lately with kids, we always go to Dollarama because you basically can't go broke at Dollarama. You can shop forever. And you can buy a box of birthday cards. And what happens to that relationship when you send them a birthday card? Do you think that there's a lot of landlords or property managers in Canada that send a birthday card? Well, you know what? I think sending a birthday card is the lowest cost, best quality of internal marketing that you can do. So when they're talking to their friends or their coworkers like, "I got a birthday card from my property management company," that is such powerful advertising because one of two things. Number one, maybe they're looking for a home, and "Wow, what a nice company to reside with."
Adrian Schulz (04:07):
Or they know someone who has an investment property. "I want Real Property Management to manage my property because they understand and invest in data and do something with it to create a positive relationship with their tenants." You know I can go on and on, but you must have other things you want to nerd me out on.
Carla Browne (04:28):
Well, yeah. I want to dig in a little bit deeper. The birthday card is an interesting one because right now we input birth dates in and we send out a greeting via email.
Adrian Schulz (04:37):
Carla Browne (04:39):
But I do think that by having customized fields in your technology and being able to pull reports or have triggers into your workflows to get things done... This does not take a lot of time. It could be a simple report that you run at the beginning of the month for the next month or the end of the month and do them all at once if that works better, or do them once a week, whatever the case may be. But I also want to really dig in, Adrian, into your techy mind on how you could actually help this tenant. Now, we have all of this information. So the relationship, extremely important. Relationship, rather than transactional, you totally have a switch there by collecting data and then using it.
Carla Browne (05:19):
So in our system, when a tenant calls, if we look them up, we can see all of this information firsthand on screen, which helps you nurture that. But let's talk about what happens behind the scenes when you have some of this information. So you have a tenant. You know where they work. You know how much money they're making based on the application. How can now you help them later on?
Adrian Schulz (05:41):
Well, if you have their demographic information, you have their marital status information, if they have a spouse or a roommate living with them, if there are kids involved, you can actually, from an analytical point of view, you can start forecasting how long they may be residing with you. So let's put that into perspective. If they're, for example, newlyweds, chances are within, well, technically nine months, but within that first one or two years, there's a pretty good chance that they may decide to have a child, to adopt a child. And so newlyweds, I would argue, you've probably got a one- to two-year tenancy cycle. But you have to be aware of that through the application data that you received.
Adrian Schulz (06:36):
Another example would be if they have children that are in school. I would say that the yield zone of when that tenancy could terminate would be at the end of the school season or during the summer because they're going to want to move to a new school area if they move at all. So I would argue when you have a tenant with children to try to either time your renewals correctly, or even just setting yourself a task reminder to check in with them at the end of the spring. Say, "Hey. I remember when you applied that there are kids living in the unit. And with the new school season coming up, we just want to confirm how things are going and if you intend on staying there because we know from having kids ourselves, that if you have to move with kids, you want to plan that. So we want to help you in any way that we can. But even more so, we'd love to continue having you here as a tenant, as residents."
Adrian Schulz (07:42):
So the amount of opportunities that exist from mining your data specifically from the application, but also from when you do your periodic inspections, there are also data points. Let's talk about those for a minute. When you're doing a periodic inspection while you have a occupied unit, you may recognize, "Oh. This paint is going to need refreshing for a unit turnover." So you could note that in a custom data field that you did an inspection on this date and you know for sure that you're going to have to refresh the paint on that unit. That would be a data point, "Needs to be painted by." And hey, if it's a family with kids, maybe you say you're going away in the summer for a week on a camping trip, "Would you like us to go and paint your unit while you're away?" Because then it's done. Based on the data that you had collected. I could go on forever about this one.
Carla Browne (08:42):
Yeah. Well, I think we could go on, but it means when you use the data correctly, you're able to make predictions. The predictions actually increase the tenant experience, will probably get you tenants to stay. So now a tenant who's maybe relocating, you're able to relocate them as a property manager rather than just getting their notice that they're leaving. The other thing that I think enters my mind is that how can you use this data to help them and really assist them on this journey? So we know that if a tenant is now moving in a boyfriend or a girlfriend, we know that maybe there's going to be a year, two years down the road that maybe they might be looking at maybe possibly getting married. Maybe they're going to look at buying a house. How could we actually help them on that housing journey? And I think if you have data and we start to really get the data working, you're able to make these predictions.
Carla Browne (09:31):
Now just keep in mind that I really want to make a disclosure here. You just can't take data and start manipulating and doing a bunch of things and sending it to other people. You need permission to do some of these things that I'm referencing. But don't you just talk about buying a new tie, and all of a sudden, there's tie advertisements in front of you wherever you go?
Adrian Schulz (09:52):
Yeah. I am actually wearing a new tie, but I've had it forever. It's from Washington and my wife picked it. That's why it's a little bit more liberal. Anyway, not politically, just in style. So you bring up a wonderful point. This is probably my favorite thing about the power of data, and that is the complete circle or cycle that the average person will go to that we as property managers can play a role in. So they're now living in your unit. You see their income going up based on their application, or you see that they've got a spouse now. You see that they've got children.
Adrian Schulz (10:33):
Chances are you are going to witness critical points in that tenancy where they may... Chances are they're going to want to buy a house. And the power of a property management company that has relationships with a power team, with a mortgage brokerage, with a real estate firm, et cetera, we can actually say to a tenant, "Hey. I noticed that you're married now and you've got some kids. You're probably starting to think about buying a home. We have a great relationship with a mortgage broker that gets you preapproved for a home. We even have some preferred real estate firms that we work with that can help you look for a home."
Adrian Schulz (11:14):
And you're thinking, "Well, doesn't that mean we're losing the tenant?" Not really. There's a couple of things. Number one, they're going to refer other people because of how we're helping them. But they're also going to come back to us at the end of the cycle when they decide... And this depends where you are in your life cycle. But if you go and sell your home and you now want to go back to renting, you're just coming in at a different part of the cycle. So by knowing and understanding the analytics behind the data that you have in your possession, the more the tenant can benefit from you helping them and the more the rental owner will benefit, because the bottom line is that the more mutually beneficial the relationship is between the tenant, the property manager, and the rental property owner, the better everybody will do.
Carla Browne (12:09):
100%. So I would say just as important as in a business, you analyze your data all the time, if you are a athlete, you analyze your data. People analyze data in all different ways. No one has really, I don't think, has really come out with the power of what property management could be doing in that data. So people need to start to collect it. They need technology to start to put it in. This is where I think we already have this part figured out. We're already gaining momentum on this part. So I'm going to end it because I think this one really you and I could talk data, data, data. And I'm not sure if we're boring anyone because I find it fascinating myself, but you know what? That's real property management.
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