Founder and CEO of Rentec Direct, property management software for real estate professionals.
Traditionally, real estate has been a slower adopter of technology than other industries, but that is quickly changing. “Proptech” is now a thing, as those in the real estate space embrace technology to create efficiencies in everything from the home sales process to property management tasks. (Full disclosure: My company offers property management software solutions, as do many others.) The bottom line: Technology, especially automation, can help cut costs, streamline workflows and free people up to use their skills for more than mind-numbing manual tasks.
Many businesses—in the real estate industry and beyond—have been hesitant to adopt new technology due to a number of factors: economic uncertainty, possible downtime while onboarding, leadership that is resistant to change and, especially in the last couple of years, a generalized feeling of already being overwhelmed. But the truth is that taking advantage of the right solutions will help future-proof your business and keep it competitive. There are several questions you should ask yourself before implementing new technology to help you make the best decisions for your unique business. Here are three.
1. Which tasks take up most of my/my staff’s time?
Some tasks, like one-on-one relationship management or developing creative outreach campaigns, probably can’t be managed well by technology. But, if you spend a lot of time doing data entry for things like accounting, this is an area where technology (especially automation) can really shine. For property managers, bookkeeping tasks like preparing invoices and statements or tracking receivables, then pulling all this information together for tax season, can be a huge time suck. This is an area that has seen major advancements recently, with fit-for-purpose solutions to help streamline the entire accounting continuum. Take a close look at your daily work, interview your staff and find out where the sticking points are. This will give you a good place to start when looking at the type of technology you might need to Excellerate your business. Who knows—maybe you’ll have more time for nurturing your current landlord-tenant relationships, expanding your portfolio and growing your business, or maybe you'll even be able to take that vacation you’ve been meaning to get around to.
2. How can I better serve my customers with technology?
As a landlord or property manager, one of our external audiences consists of tenants themselves. When you offer cleaner, easier ways for them to do activities like pay rent, you both benefit. In fact, data collected by my company shows that renters who pay rent online and are enrolled in automatic payments are more likely to pay rent in full and on time. If you employ a system that is specifically made for communicating with tenants, conversations like maintenance requests, inspection notifications and tenant reminders can all be automated at different intervals, whether that’s daily, monthly or yearly. Your tenants can receive notifications via text message or email, or both. The more rental units you oversee, the more responsibility you have. Automating your tenant communication as much as possible can be an easy way to remove a step from your daily workflow—and make sure your tenants are up to date.
3. How can technology positively impact my bottom line?
There is always some hard cost associated with implementing new solutions, so you’ll have to examine what the long-term impacts will be for your business if you choose to upgrade your processes with technology. However, the return on investment almost always outweighs the upfront expense, as you’ll save on labor costs and management fees almost immediately. Some of the things I’ve seen companies achieve upon implementing technology include increased accuracy, as automation reduces human error; more flexibility, with time to do things like build stronger relationships; and the ability to scale, providing a consistent platform for future growth. Automating certain functions can boost on-time rental payments and get vacant properties leased faster—a clear positive impact on any real estate business’ bottom line. Look at your own business to evaluate the true cost versus benefit of new technology implementation.
Incorporating automated processes and new technology into your workflow won’t completely eliminate the personal element property management requires, but it will certainly allow you to spend more time on the high-value, important tasks that require your direct attention. Every business is unique, with different requirements when it comes to technology solutions. Take the time to step back and look closely at your current workflows, and ask the right questions of yourself, your staff and other stakeholders, so you can make the best decision. If you are already using a software platform, make sure you are taking advantage of all the tools it has to offer.
Work smarter by letting the tools available to you do more for you. With an intentional strategy, automation and new technology might be the key to taking your rental business from good to great.
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?
The U.S. Treasury Department last week issued regulations for a new corporate ownership database, following long-running debate over the types of businesses that should be required to report and what information they would need to provide.
The rule, which will go into effect in January 2024, settles some of the basic questions around the database, which lawmakers hope will help prevent the use of anonymous shell companies. But with years to go before the registry is fully functional, questions are likely to linger over how the reporting system will work in practice, financial experts say.
Congress passed legislation called the Corporate Transparency Act in January 2021 to create the ownership registry, but implementation of the law falls to Treasury’s anti-money-laundering bureau, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. FinCEN last year issued a draft proposal of the rule that received more than 250 comment letters, some recommending that officials make extensive revisions to the proposal.
The version finalized last week adopts some changes but largely hews to FinCEN’s initial proposal, which caused some business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to criticize the rule for being overly burdensome on small businesses.
The new regulations require limited liability companies and other corporate entities that fall under FinCEN’s reporting requirement to submit identifying information about their beneficial owners.
FinCEN’s rule broadly defines a beneficial owner as an individual who directly or indirectly exercises substantial control or who controls at least 25% of the ownership interests of a corporate entity.
“Substantial control” is itself broadly defined, which could create compliance challenges for companies, said Nikhil Gore, a partner at law firm Covington & Burling LLP, whose practice includes advising financial institutions on anti-money-laundering laws.
Since the definition is subjective, “the universe of people you have to identify isn’t as clearly bounded as might have been possible,” Mr. Gore said.
The rule requires reporting companies to submit the name, birth date, address and a unique identifying number from an acceptable identification document, such as a passport, along with an image of the document, for each beneficial owner.
Another key issue addressed by FinCEN’s rule relates to which companies will have to submit beneficial ownership information.
Companies covered by the rule include corporations, limited liability companies and other legal entities created by filing with one of the 50 U.S. states or a tribal government. Certain foreign companies that are registered to do business in the U.S. also will be required to file.
But there are 23 exemptions that were written into the legislation, including ones that carve out many companies. The largest exemptions are for publicly listed and large operating companies. Congress defined the latter as any company with more than 20 full-time employees, $5 million in revenue and operations in the U.S.
Lawmakers reasoned that ownership information for such companies already would be readily available, but the large carve-outs have sparked questions from some quarters.
“One thing to look out for is the extent that companies in that range become potential vehicles for illicit actors,” said Jamal El-Hindi, a counsel at law firm Clifford Chance LLP. Bad actors down the road could try to use the exemption as a loophole, he said.
FinCEN in its final rule did relax the deadlines it set for companies to file beneficial ownership information.
There are about 32 million existing companies that will be required to report ownership information once FinCEN’s rule becomes effective in 2024, according to the Treasury bureau’s estimates. Those companies will have a full year to file a report with the Treasury.
FinCEN expects another 5 million newly created companies to file annually. They will be given 30 days to report beneficial ownership information.
After making an initial report, both existing and newly created companies will have 30 days to file any updates to their beneficial ownership information.
FinCEN’s work establishing the beneficial ownership database is far from done. The Treasury bureau has two more rules to complete related to the ownership registry, one of which will focus on who can access the nonpublic database, and how. It is also racing to build the underlying infrastructure for the massive database.
The new registry will cost an estimated $82 million during the 2023 fiscal year and $35.6 million annually to maintain, according to FinCEN.
Questions that continue to linger around the database include if, and how, FinCEN would verify that information submitted by companies is accurate. The beneficial ownership law requires companies to certify their reports are accurate and imposes penalties for people who willfully provide false information. But it is unclear if FinCEN will take proactive steps to validate information submitted.
Write to Dylan Tokar at email@example.com
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
HP has put forward a small robot it says can dramatically speed up construction work, by autonomously printing guidelines straight from the blueprints onto the floor. Rugged, roadworthy and extremely accurate, Siteprint is a super-quick layout tool.
The robot replaces the time-consuming manual process of site layout, using a variety of different inks to place precise lines, exact curves and faithful reproductions of complex shapes on all kinds of floors, from porous surfaces like concrete and plywood to terrazzo, vinyl or epoxy.
It doesn't require a perfectly smooth or clean floor – indeed, it can handle a certain degree of surface irregularity and obstacles up to 2 cm (0.8 in) high. It runs built-in obstacle and cliff drop sensors for fully autonomous operation, and will work around barriers even if they're not in the plans.
As well as layout lines, it's capable of printing more or less whatever else you need on the floor too, including text notes. Operators set it up using cloud-based tools for job preparation, fleet management and tracking, and can run it on site with a touch-screen tablet and a tripod-mounted "totalstation."
“The existing manual layout process can be slow and labor intensive,” said Albert Zulps, Director of Emerging Technology at Skanska - a global construction and development company currently using the SitePrint system for two of its US projects. "Despite being done by specialists, there is always the risk of human error, which can result in costly reworks. Layout experts are a scarce resource who add a lot of value in terms of planning and strategy, but often end up dedicating most of their time to manual execution. HP SitePrint lets us do more with less, helping reduce schedules thanks to a much faster layout process, and allowing senior operators to focus on other critical activities like quality control.”
While HP hasn't announced pricing, we assume the printer robot itself will be surprisingly cheap, but the ink's gonna be a killer. Yuk yuk.
Check out Siteprint in the video below.
HP SitePrint Skanska testimonial | HP
HP laptops offer something for you, whether you're a creative looking to edit photos, a gamer in search of aor a student in need of a small, lightweight laptop.
Many of the best HP laptops have features designed for remote or hybrid work such asand microphones, , longer battery life, and the .
Like other PC makers such as Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asus, HP is in the midst of updating the processors in its laptops and two-in-ones. That means Intel-based models are moving from 11th-gen to 12th-gen CPUs, while AMD Ryzen systems are switching from 5000-series chips to 6000-series. It also means it's generally a good time to look for deals on older models of the best HP laptops. However, we've also seen big performance improvements with the new processors. An updated model might cost a little more but will add to the overall longevity.
Spectre is HP's top consumer laptop line so you're getting the best of the best with this 16-inch two-in-one.
Of course, a premium two-in-one like the Spectre x360 comes at a relatively high price; it starts at around $1,200. The top-end configuration we reviewed was good but not great considering its $2,030 price. This is definitely one we recommend getting with the 12th-gen Intel processors and Intel Arc graphics if you're going to go all-in. Read our HP Spectre x360 16 review.
HP's Victus 16 is a surprisingly robust and powerful gaming laptop that keeps up with the latest games at a more affordable price. Compared to HP's high-end Omen gaming laptop line, the Victus is more of an all-purpose laptop but still configured for gaming with a price starting at less than $1,000. HP offers several configurations with graphics chip options ranging from Nvidia's entry-level GeForce GTX 1650 up to a midrange RTX 3060 or AMD Radeon RX 6500M. We like almost everything about it except for its flimsy display hinge and underwhelming speakers. Read our HP Victus 16 review.
There are plenty of convertible Chromebooks, where the screen flips around to the back of the keyboard so you can use it as a tablet. But Chrome tablets with removable keyboards like the HP Chromebook x2 11 are still a rarity. It offers long battery life and performance that rises (slightly) above the competition. The main downside is that it's expensive; the model we reviewed is $599. However, that price did include both the keyboard cover and USI pen and it's regularly on sale for $200. If you're interested make sure to wait for one of those deals. Read our HP Chromebook x2 11 review.
If you're making a laptop aimed at creatives, it's not enough to just put discrete graphics and a strong processor in a slim body. The extra performance really should be paired with a good screen, and that's what you get with the HP Envy 14. The laptop's 16:10 14-inch 1,920x1,200-pixel display not only gives you more vertical room to work, but is color-calibrated at the factory and covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. The result: a well-rounded option for creatives looking for on-the-go performance at a reasonable price. This model is due for a refresh, though, so keep an eye out for updated models. Read our HP Envy 14 review.
GREENWICH — The legislative candidates in Greenwich found much to agree on during a forum Friday morning at the Greenwich Water Club organized by the Greenwich Association of Realtors — especially when it comes to affordable housing.
The forum is the final scheduled appearance for the candidates to appear together before the Nov. 8 election. It focused on issues of importance to Greenwich’s Realtors, with the state’s 8-30g housing law, taxes and economic development among the top syllabus in the nearly two-hour event.
Head coach Dan Campbell spoke to the media Monday following Sunday's 48-45 loss to Seattle at home. It's going to be an interesting week in Allen Park as the Lions delve deeper into their defensive struggles in an attempt to find some answers moving forward.
Here are the key questions from Campbell's Monday press conference:
What are the earliest fixes or foundational fixes on defense Campbell needs to make to rebuild the defense the right way?
Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn are still working through some of those things, but Campbell did say Monday one of their first orders of business is to move some defensive personnel around, though he opted not to give details.
He also talked about calming things down and simplifying the scheme and play calls.
"Those will be two of the biggest changes that I think we're going to need to make," he said.
Campbell believes there's enough talent currently on the roster to make some personnel changes that will usher in some immediate results.
"We just have to get some players we can rely on and who we trust," he said.
Campbell said the defense is in a vicious cycle right now of missed assignments and missed trust between players that one of his suggestions is to pull things back and try to get their confidence back.
Is Campbell 100 percent behind Glenn to continue running the defense?
The defense is on pace to give up the most points in a season in NFL history, and also ranks last in total defense, third-down efficiency and red zone defense.
"I'm not afraid to make a hard decision if I really believed that was the cause of it," Campbell said. "I don't believe it is. I believe that Aaron Glenn is the right man for the job and he gives us our best hope. Our best option to run this defense. I just do."
There are a number of players eligible to return to practice this week off the NFI, PUP and injured reserve lists. Can we expect any to return?
Campbell said they are talking about starting the practice window clock of cornerback Jerry Jacobs and rookie defensive lineman Josh Paschal. Both players are currently on the Reserve/PUP list. When they practice for the first time, which could be as early as Wednesday, the team will then have 21 days to decide if they want to activate them to the roster or keep them on injured reserve for the rest of the season. They can activate them any time after the practice window starts.
Jacobs, who proved to be a valuable cornerback last year as a rookie, tore his ACL last December. Paschal, Detroit's second-round pick out of Kentucky, missed all of training camp after having core muscle surgery in the offseason. Both players could give Detroit's defense a boost.
Is there any update on defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike?
Detroit's second-round pick last season has been on injured reserve to begin the year while dealing with a back injury. He was limited by a back injury most of last season. It's not looking good for a return to the field anytime soon.
"It's not moving," Campbell said. "That meter is not moving. We're just kind of seeing where it goes."
That one doesn't sound good. Second-round draft picks are expected to be key players on the roster. Onwuzurike's absence has had an adverse effect on the defense.
Are there any injury updates from Sunday's game?
Cornerback Amani Oruwariye left the game with a neck injury, but Campbell said he'll be OK.
Guard Evan Brown left with an ankle injury. Campbell said he doesn't think it's a long-term deal. He categorized him as day to day.
Rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez suffered a stinger and appeared to be OK Monday, per Campbell.
Wide receiver Quintez Cephus left early in the second half with a foot injury and Campbell is not as optimistic about that one. Cephus is getting an MRI on Monday.
Will the Lions add a kicker to roster this week?
Austin Seibert missed Sunday's game with a groin injury after missing two field goals in the Minnesota loss the week prior.
Dominik Eberle filled in Sunday for Seibert vs. Seattle and missed two extra points, kicked a ball out of bounds on a kickoff and made a 49-yard field goal.
Campbell said the Lions will work out kickers this week and give themselves options. Campbell's hopeful Seibert can return to practice on Wednesday.
What does Campbell think of rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson's performance through the first quarter of the season?
"I think he's come a long way," Campbell said. "I think every week he's getting a little better."
Hutchinson has 12 tackles, two tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and six quarterback hits through his first four games of the season. But all three sacks, six tackles, both tackles for loss and three quarterbacks hit came for Hutchinson in Detroit's Week 2 win over Washington. In their three losses, he has a combined six tackles, no tackles for loss, no sacks and three quarterback hits.
Campbell said Hutchinson is one of the players on defense they might look to move around to get into some different spots and see if they can give him an opportunity to be more successful.
Hutchinson rushed a lot from a two-point stance in college at Michigan. They might look to do some of that, but it also depends if he's on the open edge or closed edge. If he's down over the tackle or tight end, Campbell said it's hard to be in a two-point stance to play the run. It's a little easier on the other edge, and Campbell is open to whatever is most comfortable for Hutchinson. If Hutchinson feels like he can get his job done standing up, Campbell's got no problem with trying it.