Highlights from PM Nation, our first-ever property management conference

Jake Belding
Jake Belding | 8 min. read

Published on December 21, 2021

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On November 15 and 16, the property management community came together to share their expertise and explore how technology can solve some of the most pressing challenges facing individual businesses and the entire industry in Buildium’s first-ever PM Nation user conference.

More than 350 attendees—including property managers, investors, HOA leaders, and sponsors from 46 states and internationally—converged in Boston to network face-to-face, get filled in on the latest industry research, and sharpen their strategies for succeeding in 2022.

From investment opportunities and top renter priorities to Buildium and Propertyware’s latest product roadmaps, we covered a lot. And we wouldn’t want you to miss out on any of it.

That’s why—in case you weren’t able to join us in person—we’ve put together some of the biggest takeaways from the event:

Today’s Challenges and Opportunities

PM Nation Mike Mauseth keynote
Mike Mauseth, Senior Vice President of RealPage presents the findings from the 2022 Property Management Industry Report on Day 1 of PM Nation. (Photo credit: Austin Wilder, South End Digital)

Mike Mauseth, Senior Vice President of RealPage, kicked off Day 1 by sharing the latest research from our 2022 Property Management Industry Report, conducted in partnership with the National Association of Residential Property Management (NARPM).

Mike’s outlook for the industry was both clear and optimistic, a sentiment shared by those gathered in the room and the wider community of property managers we surveyed. He revealed that 86% of respondents are forecasting revenue growth in 2022 and 73% plan to grow their portfolios, the highest percentage we’ve seen since 2017. Investors continue to see tremendous potential in residential rentals.

The keynote laid the groundwork for how smaller investors can compete with larger companies zeroing in on the residential market, sharing how personalized service—a hallmark of property management businesses—can give them an advantage.

On that same note, Mike shared feedback from rental owners and renters on what they value most from property managers. Rental owners are increasingly looking to PMs for their expertise on local market conditions, regulatory changes, and investing advice. The technology they’re most often looking for is digital payment options, followed by lease signing technology and maintenance request and tracking capabilities.

Residents have similar priorities. They now expect more digital-first interactions throughout their rental experience. The data reveal that, in many cases, PMs aren’t delivering these digital interactions to the degree that residents want. In fact, if residents had their way, the use of electronic payments would be 23 percentage points higher than where it currently stands.

All this led up to Mike’s biggest takeaway: Changing habits and resident expectations, largely influenced by the pandemic, have made technology an essential part of the renting experience. In light of the pandemic, new technologies are now central to doing business in the industry. They’re helping property management companies of all sizes play to their strengths and exceed both residents’ and property owners’ expectations.

“First, you start off and you’re building your accounts. 25, 50 accounts. Then, you realize you need help and you have to hire people and institute software and systems to do it. It takes a lot… [Technology] has been a big part of our growth being able to leverage and build the company up. It’s a great partnership.” – Jason Born, Born Property Management

The PM Nation Experience

And that’s what attendees pointed to as a defining benefit of coming to PM Nation. For many, it was a first-of-its-kind experience, one that combined the breadth of possibility that technology can bring to the industry with a deeper look at the personalized service and distinct value each property management offers; that special “x-factor” that defines successful relationships with customers.

We weren’t alone in championing the benefits of that combination. A dozen partners joined us at PM Nation, each with their own approach to improving the nuts and bolts of property management through technology.

PM Nation Discovery Lounge
Attendees explore partner solutions and get their questions answered at the Discovery Lounge. (Photo credit: Austin Wilder, South End Digital)

The Discovery Lounge quickly became a hub of activity at the event, serving as a space for attendees to have one-on-one conversations with partners, share their specific challenges, and build plans to help them integrate the right technology in the right way for their business.

“[Our software] helps us look back and understand how and why we got here. Whether it be a first-time investor or a seasoned management company, it is the tools that will help build a young business and it’s the tools that will help a mature business perfect itself. [The technology] is invaluable.” -Aram Gosdanian, Abbeyhill Realty and Management

At PM Labs, attendees were also able to speak directly with product experts from Propertyware and Buildium who helped them learn how to get the most out of new, relevant features and strengthen their skills with the tools they use every day.

“The biggest and best improvement we made was using the e-lease feature…..When we we’re doing leases in Word, it probably took 20-30 minutes to get a lease done. Now, we can approve an applicant, start an e-lease, and email the e-lease out in 5 minutes. It’s such a time saver.” -Jeannie Connors, Realty Solutions NJ

Breakout sessions during the first day served as an opportunity to dig into the details of some of those features. Speakers from Buildium, Propertyware, and third-party partners shared their experience on how to make the most of new processes, service offerings, and tech in every part of a business, from accounting efficiency to communicating with residents.

PM Nation Breakout Session
Barbara Kaplan, Industry Principal, RealPage, David Do, Propertyware Consultant, APM Help, and Paul Rozelle, Senior Vice President, GOAL Property Services talk accounting efficiency during a Day 1 breakout session (Photo credit: Austin Wilder, South End Digital)

Customers like Logical Property Management’s Drew Sygit and PRANDI Property Management’s Shirley Lopez-Cano joined in on the discussion to reveal how they put these features into practice to not only work more effectively, but also market new capabilities as a competitive advantage that attracts prospective clients.

PM Nation Partner Breakout
Attendees gather to learn about the latest Buildium and Propertyware partner solutions (Photo credit: Austin Wilder, South End Digital)

The resident experience was another big focus during many discussions. Partners like Tenant Turner spoke to packed rooms about the opportunities for digital experiences that surfaced during the pandemic and how to cut through the noise to find technologies that truly matter to residents. Presenters highlighted solutions like automated lockboxes, maintenance and viewing scheduling, and tools that cut down on response times. All these conveniences simplify the everyday aspects of finding and renting properties, which, in the eyes of renters, ultimately adds value.

Looking Ahead

PM Nation wasn’t just about what works now. Attendees also got insight into how to prepare their businesses for 2022 and beyond.

PM Nation Crystal Washington keynote
Attendees take their seats ahead of futurist Crystal Washington’s, Day 2 keynote (Photo credit: Austin Wilder, South End Digital)

In her Day 2 keynote, futurist Crystal Washington, CSP, used the context of our always online, hyper-connected lifestyles to share advice for delivering distinctive experiences for customers. She walked attendees through how to focus on changing customer needs, find gaps where expectations outpace existing services, and then seize those opportunities so that they’re the first companies to offer what customers truly want.

Her strategies set the stage for sessions on Propertyware and Buildium’s product roadmaps, where a variety of new features were announced to help property managers make the most of the digital-first interactions both residents and homeowners have come to expect.

PM Nation was a first-of-its kind experience, but it won’t be the last. Stay tuned in 2022 for details on what’s coming up next.

The event may be over, but it’s not too late to get the insight you need to be successful in the new year. Check out the 2022 Property Management Industry Report, featuring the experiences and preferences of thousands of property managers, renters, and rental owners.

Our partner on the Industry Report, NARPM, will also be hosting their annual convention and trade show on October 17-20, 2022, where they’ll take a closer look at the major trends affecting property management.

The response from this year’s attendees and sponsors showed that PM Nation is more than just a conference—it’s a community. By connecting and sharing experiences we are able to learn from each other, lift each other up through challenging times, and elevate the way business is done. We hope you join us at future events as we build the future of property management, together.

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Jake Belding

Jake is a Content Marketing Specialist at Buildium, based in San Francisco, California. With a background in enterprise SaaS and startup communications, Jake writes about technology's impact on daily life.

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