What are the relationship and digital pain points and mindsets for clients of real estate firms? Please focus on residential tenants.

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What are the relationship and digital pain points and mindsets for clients of real estate firms? Please focus on residential tenants.

10 relationship and digital pain points and mindsets for clients of real estate firms are as follows: outdated technology, lack of communication, fear of getting scammed, lack of structured data and meaningful comparisons, lack of social media presence, self-dealing, poor customer query handling, lack of professional conduct, lack of courtesy and inexperienced agents. A deep dive can be found below.

METHODOLOGY

After a thorough search, a pre-compiled list of pains and mindsets was not identified which lead us to search through industry reports, research and survey articles and consumer rating forums to find the requested info and make a list based on what pain points and mindsets were mentioned the most often. To search for relationship pain points we used customer reviews for top three property management companies in the US (RE/MAX, Century 21 and Keller Williams Realty, Inc.). Based on the user reviews, we were able to identify the four most common issues/pain points for those companies. We've completed the list by using statistics and explanations of the pain points to describe the motivations behind the customers and why the particular case was thought of as an issue.

FINDINGS

10 relationship and digital pain points and mindsets for clients of real estate firms:

1. OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY
Even though digital payment is considered the norm in almost all areas of life and digital payments are easier than ever to process, there still exist a number of property management companies that don’t accept online rental payments. Instead, they require tenants to pay by checks or money orders. The American Renter Survey for 2017 revealed that while only 29% of tenants are paying rent online, 59% would like to have the technology for online payments available. Additionally, 53% admitted that their most likely use for a mobile app would be to pay their rent. Other responses included renters wanting to "find their rentals online (60%). Almost as many people (59%) also want to be able to pay fees and rent online;49% would like to get text messages and emails."

2. LACK OF COMMUNICATION
A big issue renters face on a daily basis is the lack of communication with their property management company after they’ve signed the lease. The most common issues include difficulties getting repairs done and not getting responses to complaints. According to the American Renter Survey for 2017, 47% of renters want to be able to file and track maintenance requests electronically.

3. FEAR OF GETTING SCAMMED
While internet searches enabled both apartment marketers and renters tremendously to do business more easily, it also created a lot of room for scammers to take advantage of people. As a result, renters are careful when trusting what's written online and are wary of rental scams: "70% of Americans seek the opinion of others before making buying decisions. When people can’t find any information about the property, it immediately turns them off". NMHC and Kingsley Associates published a study about renters for 2017 where they quote how when deciding upon whether to rent apartments, 4 out of 5 respondents admitted that he leased decision was influenced by apartment opinion sites.

4. LACK OF STRUCTURED DATA AND MEANINGFUL COMPARISONS
Go To My Apartment, an agency serving as a medium between marketers and renters, published their most-often received complaints about apartment searches. The lack of structured data and a non-existence of a tool that would compare all apartments for a certain neighborhood is a large pain point: "The lack of structured data and meaningful comparisons. If there was an ILS that had every property on a neighborhood map, all the reviews from all the review sites, real photos, real lists of comparable amenities, etc., I would have made that ILS the primary tool of my search. As it is, there’s no way to create a definitive list of all the apartment buildings in the neighborhood where you want to live".

5. LACK OF SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Another major pain point listed by Go To My Apartment is the lack of presence when it comes to real estate management firms on social media: "My apartment community has a Facebook page but it’s not active at all. They post once every few months so I didn’t really depend on it much. None of the other communities I looked at had Facebook or social pages and most of them have pretty basic/not so great websites. There was nothing to be found about the surrounding area on any the property’s site. A few of the bigger, newer, more expensive properties had a meaningful social presence, but for the most part, not really."

6. SELF-DEALING
Corner Property Management openly talks about the issues clients most often raise upon talking to them, and self-dealing is one of the top three issues: "Self-dealing can occur when a property management company provides maintenance or contracting services to tenants using their own personnel, or personnel from an allied company. When service providers deliver low-quality services, or charge noncompetitive rates, and the property manager is profiting by using these vendors, it becomes an issue for the tenant".

7. POOR CUSTOMER QUERIES HANDLING
Top three property management companies in the US (RE/MAX, Century 21 and Keller Williams Realty, Inc.) we examined all had similar sore points. For Century21 a customer wrote: "We also dealt with two other employees before her and they were either let go or quit without informing us that their emails and voicemails were not being checked".+
Poor Customer queries handling is also an issue when it comes to RE/MAX:"The first agent quit and the 2nd agent never responds to emails or phone calls from me", and Keller Williams Realty: "If you tried to call her she would never answer, she would reply to emails barely, and if you tried to text her you more than likely would not get a response or a rude response".

8. LACK OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Reviewers often complain about the lack of professional conduct when it comes to real estate companies. A customer expressed his disappointment with RE/MAX: "Misrepresenting property, the broker intentionally misleading people. The appliances, the things and furniture do not belong to owner". When it comes to Century 21, a customer wrote: "They have involved 3rd parties in our sales transaction that are not parties to the sale, escrow, signers, deed holders, etc". Keller Williams customers have similar complaints: "Again when going back and forth you cannot reach her to discuss anything and if you do you are met with rudeness and unprofessionalism".

9. LACK OF COURTESY
RE/MAX customers often complain about lack of courtesy when it comes to RE/MAX agents: "She has been the most arrogant agent I've ever had to deal with. Her responses to any of my questions are derogatory. I have had such a hard time communicating with her." Similar complaints can be found for Century 21 agents: "He was very nasty when we tried to contact him about the issue of him having prior knowledge". Lack of courtesy is a common issue with agents at Keller Williams as well: "Beside being pushy to come and help us sell the house she was extremely rude".

10. INEXPERIENCED AGENTS
RE/MAX is in the top three real estate companies in the US. However, there are complaints about agents not being knowledgeable or experienced enough: "She lacks knowledge about the property, presumptuous, and is not available in town". The same can be read for Century 21: "I am deeply saddened by the poor quality of the real estate agents at Century 21," and Keller Williams: "She is a bully and honestly appears to have no clue about real estate or how purchase agreements and amendments work."

CONCLUSION

The top ten relationship and digital pain points and mindsets for clients of real estate firms that span across the whole field of real estate management are outdated technology, lack of communication, fear of getting scammed, lack of structured data and meaningful comparisons, lack of social media presence, self-dealing, poor customer queries handling, lack of professional conduct, lack of courtesy and inexperienced agents.
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