Financial Technology Benefits Our Boards and Owners

By Harris Bornstein, Chief Financial Officer, Douglas Elliman Property Management Harris Bornstein

It’s a very exciting time to be involved in Financial Technology here at Douglas Elliman Property Management. We deliver a variety of online services to our residents, Board Members and property vendors to make their financial transactions easier, faster and more secure than ever. These technology improvements have also reduced waste, by moving from paper to digital delivery.

We are well on our way to transitioning all of our 45,000 apartment residents from mailed invoices and check payments to online billing and e-payments. This digital system eliminates the processing, printing and mailing of monthly bills and also allows residents to pay their monthly fees instantly from anywhere, with no mailing fees, at any time of the day. As a result of these measures, we have reduced the waste stream by over 20,000 pieces of paper per building per year.

In addition, board members and owners can view financial statements and activity online anytime, anywhere, from their own computers. This offers the benefit of optimizing cash flow by being able to see income and expenses in real time. When it comes to approving and authorizing payments on building invoices, board members can do it all by using our online portal with redundant levels of authorizations and security. We maintain bank protocol systems to ensure that your property’s financial data will always remain secure.

Our suite of online financial systems offers an increased level of control and transparency to our residents and boards, while helping them save time, reduce waste and avoid costs. Instant digital information sharing allows board members to securely review financial information on their own schedule, while residents have more flexible options for payments and account maintenance.

Web Updates Provide More Info for Users

In our continuing efforts to provide helpful and user-friendly online information through our website EllimanPM.com, we have added some new features to improve your experience. Our new Properties section lists all 350 properties in our management portfolio, featuring photos and links to complete background and contact information to each one of them. Just click on the building and you will be taken to an information page with names, phone numbers and email addresses of everyone who works with that property.

We also have a new Mortgage service association with Citizens Bank, which streamlines the process for mortgage applications, and also offers an application discount. Click the DE Mortgage link at the bottom of any page of our website for more information.

In addition, we have updated our Pay Online portal, and encourage all residents to sign up for online payments and e-billing. As an extra incentive to choose this easy payment option, everyone who is signed up for online pay and e-billing will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift card, as our New Year’s Thanks.

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Our new PROPERTIES page provides complete description, contact info and application forms for all the buildings in our portfolio.

Online Payments Improve Property Cash Flow and Help Budget Planning

It has been over two years since DEPM has implemented our online resident payment portal and the response has been dramatic and positive. Over 99% of our buildings have enrolled and are using the system, and we have achieved an overall usage rate of close to 30% of all residents with a monthly dollar volume of over $27 million.

To recap the specifics of the program, residents who enroll in this optional plan can easily pay their rent, maintenance, common charges or any outstanding balance with an electronic check or a credit card payment through a secure website. Residents can set up
recurring payments as well as make onetime payments at any time. If payment is made by credit card, the 2.5% service fee charged by and paid directly to the credit card company is paid by the resident. In addition, residents are able to view their account balance and payment history online. If a resident’s transaction is unable to be processed due to insufficient funds, they will be charged a $5 fee. The standard fee to your property for this service is $50 per month.

Going forward we would like to partner with our Boards to encourage and increase the usage and adoption rate and feel that increased penetration would benefit all parties. The certainty and expediency of online collection not only improves your building’s cash flow but also allows residents to plan accordingly for their monthly obligations. If you would like
specific usage and payment rates for your property please reach out to your Account Executive for that confidential information. Over the next few months we will be communicating with residents through email, bill insertion pamphlets and flyers that can be displayed in building lobbies to encourage participation. If you feel that your building needs a more personal touch, please reach out to us at rentpayment@ellimanpm.com and inquire about a possible lobby event that could be hosted by DEPM to help new users sign up or to answer any questions.