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Dear Property Managers: Are You Ready For The Future?


When it comes to communication between tenants and landlords, it could be time for an upgrade. 

Landlords and property managers have long struggled to communicate with their tenants. To bridge the gap, landlords are adopting new technology that connects them with the next generation of people who live in their buildings. Integrated, data-driven technology will fuel the future of property management, and landlords have begun to leverage platforms that improve communication with tenants. 

“Property management is still very much an old-school system,” Bixby CEO Mark Smukler said. “While we see a lot of emerging technologies that are really great for newer, Class-A developments, the majority of the market is so far away from being able to adapt. We need to do more to make it easier to communicate across a building's many stakeholders.”

That is what Smukler and co-founder Alex Ohebshalom aimed to achieve when they founded Bixby, a platform that bridges the communication gap between landlords and tenants. The app provides a message board that enables a multichannel communication strategy, triggering emails, texts, push notifications and phone calls. This creates several forms of engagement with tenants.

The app also enables tenants to submit and track maintenance requests and communicate with the landlord or management team about the specific issue. The app decreases the number of phone calls between tenants and landlords, and allows the management team more visibility into what is going on inside the building. Bixby’s goal is to increase tenant retention by improving the quality of life in the building. 

As tenant expectations continue to evolve, the Bixby team is updating the app to support a tech-driven future. More tenants will expect technology to seamlessly integrate with their homes. Instead of relying on a set of smart home devices and several different apps to meet apartment needs, many modern tenants prefer a unified platform.  

“Offering four different apps for a building does not add value to a tenant or a management team,” Smukler said. “If a management team uses one app to open or unlock the door, another app for concierge services and then yet another app to manage packages and maintenance requests, this creates friction in the adoption of those apps and the benefits they provide. Bringing it all into one platform is where the value lies.”


Bixby is also adapting to a systemic change in the traditional management structure. Millennials are beginning to look toward income-generating real estate as a safe, yet profitable investment, Smukler said. Soon, many may own shares of property value through fractional ownership acquired through a blockchain-based transaction. 

“Many of these new property owners, particularly fractional owners, will lack a certain level of facility management experience and expertise,” Smukler said. “This new generation of property owners and their tenants will rely more on on-demand services for maintenance work, like putting together furniture or installing air conditioners during the summer months.”

PropTech will begin to serve as a gateway to several of these one-off services by providing a marketplace of contractors and service providers. Smukler and his team have integrated this offering into the Bixby app, which now offers a list of on-demand services, including dry cleaning and housekeeping services for tenants. As tenant needs continue to grow, the team at Bixby is updating its offerings to create a new generation of property management efficiency. The app, which is currently used in 50 cities, now offers over 25 services types, from moving and storage to housesitting and pet-grooming. 

As trends and behaviors continue to change, platforms like Bixby are finding creative ways to meet tenant expectations. The future of property management is not entirely clear, but one thing is certain: It will always be evolving. 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Bixby. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.