Scouting a multifamily property before purchasing it is no doubt a labor-intensive process. But the process is even more difficult if you use a manual paper-based system.

“Historically this is all done via spreadsheets that are riddled through errors, and then they need to be inputted into a system,” says Ed Wolff, COO at Atlanta-based Cortland Partners.

Cortland Partners knew it needed a faster, more efficient way to capture critical information after doing due diligence on a dozen properties at once. As active buyers, Cortland typically used third-party sources for assessments, but it needed a swifter way to make its information actionable.

And doing it quickly via paper, manually, would have been physically impossible. From printing a checklist of items before visiting the property and taking notes, to preparing a report explaining whether or not the property is worth buying, the process can take about a week. So, Cortland Partners signed on to use an asset management platform from Atlanta-based Info Tycoon.

In the past, deploying three people throughout the property to walk the units and share information adequately by paper could take anywhere from five to seven to days.

“[Now] we can knock out a property of less than 300 units in less than a day,” Wolff says.

Info Tycoon’s system, launched two years ago, allows users to capture information throughout the entire asset management life cycle. Data from daily inspections can be inputted onto a mobile device during the walk-through, whether or not Wi-Fi is present. Once that device accesses Wi-Fi, that information is automatically linked to the cloud, which immediately becomes a large data repository for an entire team to access simultaneously, without hard servers.

“We’re seeing clients that are traditionally in a 30-day cycle from when you sign  a contingency contract, to when you have the due diligence complete,” says James Davis, CEO of the locally-based Info Tycoon asset management platform.

By cutting the time in half, he says, you get better pickings on the table. And the information is more timely, accurate, and comprehensive.

“We capture serial numbers, we capture visual photos,” Wolff adds. “We wouldn’t have had access to this if we were using paper-based systems.”

The platform works in conjunction with property management systems, beyond the first steps of the asset management life cycle. The system is able to capture information more intelligently to better manage and service a property, Davis says, and the method of using cloud-based, real-time systems is slowly catching on in the industry.

As the industry is embracing technology, companies are using it to get a competitive edge, to compete and get better deals in shorter times, Davis says. And this is only a starting point for the industry–such critical information and analytics could help roll out more business intelligence solutions, as the industry finally figures out what to do with big data.

—Linsey Isaacs is an assistant editor with Multifamily Executive magazine. Follow her on twitter @LinseyI  to continue this conversation.