A key element of North Nor’West property management’s role is to maintain up-to-date records on the conditions of all the properties.
Until recently, this process involved property managers recording property conditions on a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), a device that was popular in the nineties for managing contact details, calendar appointments, and sometimes email.
“While in its day it was a great leap forward from carrying clipboards and paper, by last year we were being held captive by the frustrations and complications of out-dated technology. The system was breaking and we couldn’t even replace the PDAs, as they were no longer being sold!” said Cheryl King, who manages IT at real estate agency North Nor'West.
Late in November 2011, Cheryl decided that the system needed to be replaced, but didn’t want to spend a considerable amount of her budget on a new system. The team at North Nor’West investigated how they could extend their investment in FileMaker Pro, which at that time was solely used to manage the property sales database, to include the work of the property management group.
“The solution was incredibly simple and is extremely effective,” said Cheryl. “I know we’ve saved ourselves a heap of money by using FileMaker Go.”
North Nor’West’s property managers now inspect their properties with an iPad, logging the condition details of properties on interactive forms with FileMaker Go. The forms are compliant with legislation set by the Office of Fair Trading, if information is required at tribunal.
Databuzz, a FileMaker consultancy, assisted North Nor’West with integrating the iPad forms with the company’s database.
“It was a breeze to make the forms intuitive, which ensures that every property manager captures their property inspections in the same manner. It negates the need for specialist training,” commented Andrew Duncan, from Databuzz.
The information the agents recorded is downloaded wirelessly from the iPads to the property inspection database created in FileMaker Pro. With a few simple clicks, regular property inspection reports can be output for landlords.
Cheryl concludes, “This simple solution using FileMaker Go on iPad is the kind of technology that puts us way ahead of the competition.”