Top 3 Trends in Single-Family Home Property Management
March 27, 2017
President, National Association of Residential Property Managers
On my path to becoming the 2017 President of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®), I have had the unique opportunity to see first-hand developing property management trends from across the country. Over the last several years, I noticed some common patterns in this field regardless of geography. The following are three top trends in the residential, single- family home property management industry at this time:
WALL STREET INTEREST IN SINGLE-FAMILY HOME PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
The interest Wall Street now has in the business of managing single-family homes has disrupted the property management market. In the not so distant past, renting single-family homes was a mom-and-pop industry. The market continues to predominately be a mom-and-pop business, but the landscape is changing rapidly in many areas of the country. Approximately 8 years ago, investors were spending a great deal of money in select U.S. cities on distressed single-family homes – purchased at rock bottom prices. These investors included companies like Blackrock, Colony American, American Homes 4 Rent and many more. Some of these companies were buying hundreds of homes per month and hiring local property managers to oversee their new single-family home portfolios. In some cities, there were not enough property managers available to take on the rapid growth of investor properties, which led to many investor companies adding an in-house property management component to their business. As a result, many of these companies became proficient at managing their own portfolios and started to market for property management opportunities outside of their business. This evolution has created a great amount of pressure for today’s local property managers in many cities, to compete with these massive companies that benefit from large amounts of economies of scale.
PROSPECTIVE TENANTS SELF SHOWINGS
There is a movement toward prospective tenants conducting self-showings of available rental properties — this has become possible through technology advancements. Various software providers have made it very convenient for prospective tenants to see vacant houses without an agent or property manager present. The scheduling process is entirely automated through the management company’s website. A prospective tenant can now provide a specific form of identification (credit card, driver’s license, etc.) to obtain a one-time code to a lock box to gain access to the property. There is no need for a prospective tenant to wait for a call back, schedule a time with a live person or wait to see a property. With these new software solutions, the prospective tenant can see a property and schedule a time for a showing in a matter of minutes. My prediction is that within the next five years, this technology will saturate the single-family home rental market and will be the preferred choice to view vacant, rental homes.
Outsourcing virtual assistants is becoming more common even within small property management companies. “offshore outsourcing” is no longer available to large U.S. based corporations only. Due to technology, even solopreneurs can outsource resources to get work done more affordably. However, “outsourcing” doesn’t have to happen overseas. There are many property management company owners that have virtual assistants working throughout the U.S. Virtual assistants are taking on any role where help is needed. The “assistant” only needs a computer and/or a phone to complete tasks remotely. Companies delegate certain responsibilities to someone in another state or another country that can be completed just as easily.
These are the top three trends I am seeing in the property management market at this time. However, the one constant in this market is change. I am sure I will have a whole new top three list next year.
In addition to Steve’s president role in the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®), he is also the designated broker and owner of Blue Fox Properties, LLC in Tucson, Arizona. Blue Fox focuses 100 percent on property management. NARPM® is a membership organization that specializes in the management of single-family homes. A large part of Steve’s responsibility to serve NARPM® is to attend various functions that include local chapter meetings, state conferences, and national conventions. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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