Real Estate Resiliency

By on May 5, 2020 in Global

Note: the following originally appeared in Gulf Property and is reprinted here with permission.

Rapid advances in technology continue to reshape how the real estate industry operates, and how quickly one adapts to change is critical for success. Yardi continues to see growth in the adoption of its digital platforms by clients wishing to improve their business models and respond to challenges.

Aditya Shah

Catering to nearly every real estate vertical, Yardi has also now expanded its support resources for clients with free webinars and other online resources. While digitisation has been a steady movement in real estate, its adoption has only really accelerated in these recent weeks with every segment of the industry having to cope with work-from-home regulations not just in the UAE, but around the world.

Contactless property management enabled by RENTCafé

A tool that has become extremely valuable due to current events is Yardi’s RENTCafé app for residential real estate. With more than six million residential units using the app, RENTCafé benefits tenants at various levels: it helps to check the unit listings or available inventory in the market, facilitates online application and encourages tenant self-service.

“A tenant can log on to the app and search for properties, shortlists the units they like and do a 360-degree viewing of the property, similar to a walk-through,” explains Aditya Shah, head of operations, Middle East at Yardi. “When they decides on a unit, they can submit an online application and then subsequently the property management firm can generate a lease contract. The entire process is contactless and this has helped our customers greatly during the stay-home period.”

Available on Apple and Android mobile devices, the RENTCafé app also has tenant self-service features whereby a tenant can use the apps for paying fees, service charges, and other utilities.

Improved vendor management facilitated by VendorCafe

Yardi’s VendorCafe has also picked up demand. A one-stop shop for vendor management, VendorCafe centralises product and service vendor information in a single system of record, with a 360-degree view of vendors and property associations. Optimised for better results with online vendor management, VendorCafe is part of the Yardi Procure to Pay Suite.

The app can send maintenance requests from tenants straight to the vendor. “The flow of operations is quite smooth in this case where tenants can submit their maintenance requests on the RENTCafé app, which are then sent to the call centre back office,” says Shah. “The call centre reviews the requests and forwards it to the vendor, who is the FM service provider. The vendor picks up the request on his VendorCafe app and then schedules a meeting with the tenant to address the problem.”

The app also facilitates tenant requests for major repair. “The landlord can then raise the purchase order, and the vendor can raise his invoice entirely through the app,” says Shah.

Introduced in 2016, both the RENTCafé and VendorCafe apps provide complete contactless interactions to help in seamless operations. For property managers and the landlords, Yardi also offers personalized dashboards where landlords have full access to their portfolio of properties and key performance indicators and insights.

“The feedback from our clients for all these apps has been extremely positive,” says Shah. “We are in the process of introducing the process whereby tenants can also do their tenancy renewals online and this will be operational in the next four to six weeks.”

Social responsibility

Along with its proactive efforts to support the proptech needs of real estate stakeholders, Yardi has also committed $2 million (Dh7.34 million) in support of various non-profit global initiatives. The funds will go to food banks and non-profits assisting those in need.

“Our team is navigating the COVID-19 crisis with the same philosophy that has guided us for more than three decades: take care of our clients, our employees and our communities. We are confident that all of us will unite to subdue COVID-19, and we’ll emerge from this challenge stronger than ever,” said Anant Yardi, the company’s president and founder.