Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020
In an industry where change is always around the corner, we look to see what lies ahead for property managers in the UK. Researching future predictions can leave you feeling no better off than when you started reading - so we’ve compiled some of our own thoughts with UK researchers to give you an overview of where we think the market is going to head.
Here’s what we believe every great managing agent will be doing in 2020.
There will need to be a focus on improved business operations to supply the customer with the most efficient experience and streamline admin functions such as payments. The trend will be towards automation without losing sight of the need for personal contact with residents and RMC Directors. Customers will always want more, as 2019 showed, their expectations are increasingly for quicker response times across the board, from initial query to simply getting the job done.
As property management companies up and down the UK continue to strive for speedier results, demands for new software and tech solutions will drive how property management works. We will see a big shift in 2020 towards online and digital but getting the balance right will be essential. Whilst millennial property owners and developers will expect nothing less than the latest technology, we cannot ignore the demographic who won’t embrace it so it will still be important to listen to the needs of our customers and provide a flexible range of options for communication and operational functions.
Energy conservation will remain a hot topic for many years to come, but with many break-out activist groups generating more of a storm than a trickle of interest in 2019, it seems bad now, but it’s only going to get worse in 2020 and will leave no industry untouched (read our series on Climate Crisis). Property management can make changes. Going paperless is the most obvious, but to gain carbon neutral status (which the Fexco Property Services Group achieved in 2019) takes a few minor adjustments, such as banning colour printing as standard (making it optional isn’t enough - and your staff will think twice about it but always opt for the prettier version). If you think you need to use colour to differentiate or denote different areas in charts and graphs, think again because there is always another way.
There is an ever-strengthening connection between living and technology, and growing climate and social awareness. It is vital for investors and developers to embrace these opportunities and allow the UK housing market to fulfill its predicted momentum over the next five years (JLL, 2019)
Beware the rookies
In 2020 we will undoubtedly see a rise in Property Management start-ups, but as we say - "there is no substitute for experience!" Beware of rookies who over-promise, with no substantiated evidence of having achieved anything. Those who cannot provide proof of client relationships, happy residents and robust management systems that will take them into the new century should be treated with caution. After all, it’s someone’s investment that we’re looking after.
Given growing complexity in PM licensing requirements, government legislation, lender regulations, insurance requirements, environmental constraints, and accounting and taxation property management professionals have begun to specialise. Will expertise in any area give you business advantage? What training and licensing must you obtain?
Changes in legal liability mean more renters should have their own renters insurance, and they will. Similarly, landlords will also need to be sure of their own landlord insurance. Is insurance coverage for them a value add for your company?
Digital Amenities including Free Wifi
Here’s benefits tenants love. It’s for large multifamily buildings or large portfolio managers to either provide free wifi or create it as an affordable option for tenants. Wifi may be the coin-operated washing machine of 2019.
We’re in the era of Amazon, who’s growing share of retail shopping is shocking. Tenants will need some way of accepting packages at their apartments, many of which don’t have suitable storage. Smartlockers allow them to pick up parcels when they can. The tenant receives a digital message and unlocks code on their smartphone. Yes, another app.
Boris Johnson pledges to reopen the starter scheme coined by David Cameron - called “First Homes”, with 30% discounts applied to properties. Shared ownership will be pushed, and a review of the Help-to-Buy scheme suggests that it will be extended beyond the current 2023 cut-off (Homes and Property, 2019).
London will remain one of the fastest-growing, dynamic and innovative cities in the world. It’s predicted to experience annual GDP growth of 2.3-2.5% pa. between 2021-2024. Regardless of Brexit, the London economy will attract renewed business investment and confidence. Nick Whitten - director of Living Research and Strategy at JLL - says that “2020 marks a key moment in time for all of us to reassess and firm up the infrastructure and economies that support the UK’s future success.
So, in a nutshell – YES we will change, but what’s steering the property sector in 2020?
In Part 2 of our ‘looking ahead’ series our sister company, Remus asks “What will be demanded of the property sector in 2020?”
To see how we can help you navigate your way through 2020, get in touch below;