How to Automate Your Property Management
Property management is a huge undertaking. There are literally hundreds of different tasks that need to be handled every week, and even if you only have one property, you’re still juggling a lot when you have to manage rent, tenants, maintenance, repairs, and other issues. The better solution, thanks to modern technology is to automate property management.
There are software solutions available today that can automate every aspect of property management, including single-use tools and full-service platforms that integrate everything into a single suite. The first step will come in getting to know the options available and choosing the types of automation that you have in mind. Besides making things easier in general, though, what does automation offer?
Before we tell you the how, let’s talk about the why: why will you benefit from automation? For starters, the automation of tedious and repetitive tasks can free up your time and even save you valuable money on payroll and other expenses. Property managers report that workload is often a stressor that leads to major issues, so being able to lighten that is a major perk.
Automated online rent collection also means that no one ever misses a payment, and if they do, everyone is on the same page about it. You can automatically assess late fees after a certain date and even set a lockout on the tenant payment portal if they pay too late or otherwise violate their agreement and need to contact you directly. This kind of trial is helpful in the case of problem tenants.
You’ll also automate a ton of paperwork, from applications to renewal agreements, utilities that you pay for your tenants, and more. You can automate reporting and financial reports to ensure that your data is always on point and available when you need it, too.
Where to Start Automating Property Management
Now that you have a better understanding of everything that you have to gain from automation, here’s what you can do to get started. First, get to know the available platforms that you can use to assist with this process and find the one that best suits your needs. The leading property management automation tools offer things like:
· Listing your property
· Application processing
· Tenant screening
· Deposit collection
· Rental agreement signing (e-signing)
· Maintenance requests
· Online Rent collection
· Tenant profiles
· Accounting tools
· Compliance tools
Listing Your Property
Rental listing software enables property managers and landlords to automatically publish listings to a number of popular platforms such as Zillow Rental Manager, Craigslist, Apartments.com, and many others with just the click of a button. By templatizing your listings, you can seamlessly re-use past postings, repost as needed, and save a huge sums of time.
Application software allows you to maintain a database of applicants and review them as properties become available. It also makes it easy for people to apply online in minutes and saves a lot of paper and potential lost paperwork. It can even be integrated as part of a total tenant solution that includes applications, screenings, deposits and rent collection, and e-signing the lease.
Tenant screening tools include things like automated background checks and income verification. You’ll be able to send information electronically, share results with tenants, and make sure that everyone considered for your property isn’t going to have any kind of issue related to their background or rental history.
Another important part of your job as a property manager or owner is collecting deposits from tenants, and holding onto them for the duration of their lease. As a law, you must be capable of furnishing someone’s deposit at any time and therefore you can’t just spend the money. If you have software in place, you can put it away electronically and even track who’s paid what so that you know what is still owed or how much you will have to refund.
People are busy and in a post-COVID world, even more people are becoming a fan of digital document signing because it’s just easier. People are completing entire real estate deals via email, thanks to document signing software and electronic bank transfers. Rental properties are no different. Being able to offer e-lease signing to people shows them that you are up-to-date with modern tools and makes things easier for everyone. Plus, then it’s all digitized for easier record keeping.
Maintenance is often one of the biggest hassles for many property owners. Fortunately, it’s also an easy area to automate with property management software. You can set up a system for tenants to submit maintenance requests and then have those requests answered by your team at their soonest availability. You can even set urgency levels and allow people to tell you exactly what’s going on in detail to help speed up the repair process. People who might not call you about something broken might submit an electronic request because it’s simpler, so that’s a perk, too.
Collecting rent will never be a hassle again. Automating it with software is one of the best ways to put these tools to use. You can set up a tenant portal where people can see what they owe, make payments, and even notify you of payments or be charged late fees when necessary. There’s never a worry of checks getting lost in the mail or someone being argumentative about whether they owe a late fee or not. It’s all there, and it’s all digitized for everyone to see.
Automation is changing the way you manage tenant information. No longer do you need a filing cabinet full of labeled files that are filled with stacks of paper work. You can now keep entire tenant profiles, including electronic versions of all of their documents, online and in a secure cloud storage facility for easy access by everyone. You’ll be able to access information in minutes and you’ll find everything in the same place so that you never have to worry about keeping your tenants organized.
In addition to deposit and rent collection, your property management software will come with a host of accounting tools that can streamline a lot more than you think. You’ll be able to handle almost all of your accounting tasks and streamline several different processes and procedures with this software, from billing and invoicing vendors to compiling tenant reports, rent reports, and more. It’s a great way to save the hassle of installing a separate accounting tool so that you can keep things simple.
Of course, you can’t rely on any software if it isn’t compliant, and going to help you become more compliant as a landlord. All of the platforms out there have top-level security to ensure that you are protected from any potential threats and that your tenants are safe, as well. You’ll also find other compliance and reporting tools that are required of property managers and owners, helping you to learn more about your role when you’re less familiar.
Who Doesn’t Want More Time?
It’s really a simple concept: automation saves time and hassle. Why wouldn’t you do it? Of course, there are some things that you should automate, like online rent collection, and others that you shouldn’t, like customer service. It’s all about managing your business most effectively and that’s exactly the point of automation. Take a look at the property management solutions available today and see what you can find.
If you don’t need an all-inclusive solution that’s fine. You can also find a host of property management tools that are more focused, reducing your workload while still giving you the tasks that you like to do or prefer to take care of yourself. Property management automation can make your job easier, make tenants happier, reduce your expenses, and increase your profits. You’re busy. So are your tenants and contractors. Give everyone the gift of more time with automation and watch your business thrive.