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Inside Business | 2 min read

Embracing the D word

Cathie Crampton

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Cathie Crampton

It’s threatening. It’s something to be feared. It’s the boogeyman that’s coming for us. Yes, it’s the dreaded D word – disruption.

We’ve been hearing about disruption and the supposed negative impact it’s going to have on the real estate industry for what seems like years. But is disruption something as undesirable and damaging as some would have us believe?

Absolutely not.

Part of the problem is that the word itself conjures negative connotations. The mere mention of the D word is enough to see some property managers break into a cold sweat.

We need to take a different view, because disruption is anything but negative.

In truth, it’s an enabler and something property managers should be embracing because it provides us with an invaluable opportunity. It’s not something that’s taking us off course. Rather, it’s a force that’s enabling us to create clarity around the best course for our industry to take.

We’re changing our transactional mindset

Disruption is helping us to better understand what our clients are looking for from us. No longer is it enough for a property manager to simply transact. Our clients want – and expect – us to be advisors who provide a value-add service.

For far too long we’ve allowed ourselves to remain stuck in our old-school, transactional style of thinking: “I’m a property manager and because I need to do everything for everyone myself, I can only manage X number of properties.”

But the influx of technology into our space has – thankfully! – disrupted us. It’s forced us to turn this transactional model on it’s head and we’ve had to recreate our offering. Now a property manager can manage far more properties, because technology has created efficiencies by automating and executing what were previously labour intensive tasks.

Stepping out of a transactional mindset and embracing the opportunities technology affords is allowing us to be the kind of property managers our clients want – and need. By allowing ourselves to be disrupted, we’ve become smarter about the value we’re adding to the service we provide.

We’re maturing as an industry

How we view property management has definitely grown up – our outlook has matured. All you need to do is look around and see how many agencies there now are specialising in property management and how many business coaches there are in the space.

Five or ten years ago, no one viewed property management as a ‘business’. Very few people understood the true value of it in its own right.

But that’s all changed. There’s now a respect for property management that wasn’t there before. Savvy business owners are treating property management as a business, rather than an afterthought. They appreciate the value it brings to the agency. And they understand how they can enhance their profitability by using technology effectively. But rather than seeing technology as a disruptor, they know it’s an enabler.

We need to embrace disruption

Disruption isn’t threatening. It’s not something we should be fearful of. But in a challenging and competitive environment, real estate businesses need to always be looking for new opportunities to add value.

Technology plays a key role in adding this value. While not a replacement for a property manager, it’s a tool that can help them to respond to their client’s needs. And today’s property manager must use technology to enhance the quality of advice they give and the services they provide.

In this age of disruption, the winners will be those who fundamentally rethink traditional approaches to property management and embrace the opportunities that disruption enables.

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