Whether you’ve been using traditional pen-and-paper or you’re already used to using real estate management software, moving to something new can be daunting. You want to do it as quickly as possible to get your money’s worth, but you don’t want to risk the interruption of current operations or the loss of important data.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help the transition go as smoothly as possible.
Step #1: Get to Know Your New Real Estate Management Software
Before you can really start the transition, you should play around with the software a lot to get a feel for it. What kind of features does it have? How can you get it to do X or Y for you? When you file something away- such as a tenant contract- where does it go?
There are generally two ways to understand how the software works. The first is to start with the manuals and guides that came with it. Hopefully these include a lot of videos, as it’s generally easier to show someone how to use software with short videos than tons of text. The second is to just start fiddling around with it. This is often the best first step, because if you discover something yourself you’re more likely to remember it.
But the best way is to do both. Start by loading up the software and tinkering around. Try to upload documents, set up the online rent payment system, etc. Once you’ve played around, then load up the videos to help you with things you don’t understand. Not only does this prevent you from wasting time watching videos on things you could teach yourself, but it helps remove the roadblocks that show up before they can frustrate you too much.
Step #2: Prepare and Sort Everything to be Easily Loaded into the Software
Real estate management software works best if you know what documents go where. In other words, go ahead and put all of your property’s maintenance paperwork together, the finance documents in another folder, etc. By grouping everything together, you’ll make it easier to load the respective documents into the new software.
This may also be a good time to screen old documents to remove what isn’t necessary anymore. Even though it’s tempting to hold onto everything we can, it may not make sense logistically. That said, the beauty of using software is that it doesn’t cause physical clutter like all of that paperwork does. If you’re unsure about a document, simply scan it and load it into the software. If you realize you’ll never need it later, just delete it.
Step #3: Teach the Real Estate Management Software to Your Team
At my last job, we had a training manager that helped everyone when new software or hardware came down the pipe. I know many businesses don’t have the luxury of a full-time training manager, but you can fill in for one! By learning the software yourself, you can then help everyone else on the team get used to it. This helps build your credibility, plus because you’ll be teaching the software, you’ll come to know it better than everyone else.
Keep in mind that some people will likely struggle with it. Even if it’s very intuitive, you’ll have people come up with wacky questions that seem very straightforward to you. When that happens, just be patient!
Remember that this doesn’t just apply to your employees, either. Your parent company, the landlords you manage properties for, and even tenants may come to you with questions. By being the go-to person, you’ll gain respect from everyone.
Step #4: Transition Everything But Don’t Switch Until You’ve Used it Exclusively
It’s tempting to just dive straight in, but that’s not the best idea. Instead, use your new real estate management software exclusively, but have your old system ready to go just in case. That way you can quickly switch back If something happens and you need to revert back to your old system (which is very unlikely, but still possible.)