Property management software allows landlords to work more efficiently, managing their properties better and frequently increasing the value of their investment. Modern software platforms offer a wide variety of tools tailored to landlords of an equally wide variety of styles. And while the quality of the software available to landlords is going up, the cost to use it is going down. Like many industries, property management software has experienced a revolution of sorts in the past five-to-ten years and has become an incredibly effective and affordable resource to all landlords.
Below are six key reasons you need to use property management software when managing your rental property investments.
Collect Rent Online
This is the big one so we’ll start with it first – online property management software almost always includes some form of online payments, whether it’s integration with another provider or an in-house offering. The convenience of online payments will increase collection and add a layer of professionalism and ease-of-use for your tenants.
Offering multiple ways to pay rent like ACH, Credit Card, Debit Card, etc. can help encourage your tenant’s to pay and to do it on-time. What’s more, you can stop running to the bank a few times a week at the beginning of the month.
Effective communication is the back-bone of a healthy tenant-landlord relationship. Fortunately, property management software makes this incredibly easy. Rental reminders, notifications that a document needs to be signed, late fee notifications, and reminders of an expiring lease are all sent automatically without you, the landlord, needing to lift a finger. If you do need to send out a message to your tenants to let them know about some maintenance work or a community announcement, most property management software will let you easily send an email, text, or notification through an app.
And these notifications are tracked, which can be incredibly useful in the case of a dispute or, in a worst-case scenario, if you’re engaged in an eviction proceeding.
You’ll notice automation is a bit of a theme with property management software. Finding ways to take work off your plate frees you up to focus on growing your business or enjoying your free time. And one of the most menial tasks you have to perform again and again as a landlord is bookkeeping: tracking rent, recording expenses, generating your income report.
These are all easily automated by good software. If a tenant pays online, it’s recorded. If you’re out buying some supplies at Home Depot, you can take a quick picture of your receipt and record it in your software. Some property management software will even allow you to connect your bank account directly so that expenses are recorded just as easily as income. Come tax season, your CPA will find you more organized than ever.
Find Better Renters
Bad tenants are bad, like, really bad. They quickly become a steep expense both on your time and on your bottom line. Finding better tenants is incredibly important and, fortunately, property management software can help. Most property management software comes with it tools to both easily advertise your properties to a wide variety of listing platforms (like Zillow, Apartments.com, and Craigslist). This ensures you receive inquiries from the most high-quality applicants possible.
What’s more, these property management software platforms usually also contain screening services. If you’re not already screening your tenants, you absolutely should be. A credit, criminal, and eviction report can tell you a great deal about a candidate for your property and help you steer clear of those that will only bring headaches. Listing, screening, and renting from a single platform makes the entire leasing process that much easier and results in better tenants.
Track Maintenance More Easily
Maintenance can be a huge hassle. No one wants to give their personal phone number to their tenants, but if you’re not diligent in checking your email inbox, you are more prone to miss requests when they come in. And if you manage maintenance personnel, sharing maintenance tickets with them can be a huge nuisance. Property management software solves both these problems as it almost always includes some form of a maintenance portal.
Tenants can usually submit descriptions, pictures, videos, and any other required information to share their maintenance problem. This info is stored in your software for you to review whenever needed. You’ll receive a notification through email, or directly to your phone from the software rather than the tenant – no need to share your personal info. You can also often forward these tickets to your maintenance team or even add them as sub-users in whatever rental software you’re using. This will give them direct access and the ability to setup notifications of their own.
You may have picked up on this from some of our earlier points, but cloud storage and the ability to access your information and documents from anywhere is incredibly powerful. If you’ve been in the rental property management business for long enough, you’ve surely heard horror stories of landlords whose hard-drives crashed, resulting in a total loss of years of rental and business history. This is an absolute nightmare, particularly if you receive a dreaded piece of mail from the IRS (we barely dare to say the word “audit”).
Property management software completely eliminates this risk. Even beyond just storing your information safely, it gives you access from anywhere. If you’re out on the job and a tenant asks you what they owe, you don’t have to go home to check it, just pull out your phone, pull up your property management software account, and find the answer right then and there.
Like many industries, modern software development has been a huge boon to the rental management space. Tools are becoming more effective and less expensive. In fact, there are quite a few free property management software offerings with the same feature rich platforms as the more expensive, older options. Whichever you choose, taking the leap to property management software can be a huge help to your rental management business.
Anuj has been in real estate for 4 years. He works in marketing at Innago, a rental management platform for small to mid-size landlords and often writes about various aspects of the industry. He loves learning and talking about real estate with other passionate individuals!