If you’re a landlord, you know that landlording can be a full-time job. With technology, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. You can improve a lot of your work processes or even automate them using modern apps and websites. Here are five tech tips for making your job as a landlord easier:
1. Modernize your Maintenance and Repair Scheduling.
Don’t wait for something to break before you fix it. Regularly inspect your property and make sure that everything is in good working order. For more thoroughness, use checklists. Consider what items break most frequently in your property, and include it in your regular inspection. Some issues may require specialized tools to even diagnose, such as digital multimeters, air quality monitors, and wood moisture meters — do not hesitate to get these tools, as you will be using them frequently. They will make inspection faster, too. This will save you time and money in the long run.
As for repairs and other tenant requests, you can use online survey forms such as Google Forms and send the link to tenants. This requires a bit of spreadsheet and Google know-how, but you can look for guides on YouTube or ask for help from someone who knows how to do it. You can also connect the Google Form to a Google Sheet so that responses can be automatically placed on a sheet. Google Sheets also has commands that can automatically sort the entries for you, such as by their preferred date of visit. That way, after your tenants fill in the form to request a non-urgent repair, you only need to confirm it with them. The sheet can include whether repair visits are confirmed, too, but you will have to update this manually. This system eliminates the need of having to answer your phone immediately, especially when you are out on another repair visit. It also makes scheduling easier — just check the sheet in the morning to know what repair visits you need to go on, then confirm and update the sheet at the end of the day. This ties together with the next tip, too!
2. Keep good records.
This includes everything from maintaining accurate financial records to keeping records of all communication with tenants. Good record-keeping will help you stay organized and on top of things.
The best way to stay organized is to digitize your current records and then shift to digital communication. To begin with, you might need to devote a day up to a week to digitize everything, or you can pay for a professional’s services. You will need to make digital copies of all your paperwork, too, and this requires a scanner or digitization services. If you plan to use spreadsheets to keep track of things, you will need some time to encode data in them. After that, you will only need to devote an hour or two each day to update anything that needs updating. You’ll be surprised just how much automation can make your life easy!
In addition, there are now several online rent payment services that you can use to keep track of payments. Rentec Direct has a very user-friendly interface, making it the best for newbies. Apartments.com also offers a free-forever account option, and it helps in screening and signing leases. There are also options for monthly rent payment services that help both tenants and landlords stay on top of their transactions. Monthly rent payment makes payment easier for tenants, too, since it breaks down a yearly check into 12 monthly payments on the tenants’ end — using this service also makes your property more attractive for prospective tenants.
3. Communicate clearly and effectively with your tenants.
Make sure that your expectations are clear from the outset and that you communicate any changes in a timely manner. Good communication will help avoid misunderstandings and conflict down the road. Confirm any scheduled visits, and if anything is unclear, do not hesitate to discuss it with your tenants. Be assertive without being mean — remember that you are talking to people, too! For effective communication, you should try to keep things digital so that you can pull up records easily and update your sheets at the same time. If you are using your phone to text your tenants, you can use computer apps to pull up messages from your phone, such as iMessage for iOS and Google Messages for Android. As for calls, ask for an email or send one yourself after calls with important discussions. This is to make sure that you have records of everything.
Be firm but fair with your regulations, too. Your tenants should know what is expected of them, but they should also feel like they can approach you with any problems or concerns they may have. Let them know what your rules and regulations are before signing, and you can create your own group on Facebook for rules, frequently asked questions, reminders, and announcements. Similarly, you can use GoReminders to send out a text blast to tenants when you have an important announcement.
4. Hire a professional property management company.
If you don’t have the time or energy to devote to landlording, consider hiring a professional property management company to take care of things for you. This will take a cut out of your earnings, but ultimately, it will save you a lot of time and energy. This can be a big help, especially if you own multiple properties. Similarly, try to keep your interactions with the property management company digital so that you have records. They’ll probably be using premium versions of the apps and websites suggested earlier, too! They also have experts in laws and compliance, which takes a heavy load off your shoulders.
Landlording doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. By being proactive about maintenance and repairs, keeping good records, communicating effectively with your tenants, and even hiring a professional property management company if necessary, you can being a landlord much easier.