It goes without saying that technology has done amazing things for our lives; we can connect with people all over the world in an instant, order medication that’s shipped directly to our doors, and send our friends and family messages as soon as something amazing happens.
Technology is everywhere. So, how is it helping landlords?
Let’s take a look at some of the way’s technology can help improve your rental business.
1. Cloud Storage
Forget cluttered offices with mountains of paperwork that hide the most important pieces of information you’re trying to find. This is the age of cloud storage. When used correctly, you can easily access anything you need, anywhere. If you’re visiting a tenant, you can quickly pull up the lease if something is in dispute. If you’re unsure what type of insurance a renter has, you have a go-to way of finding it without spending hours searching through boxes.
Cloud storage is a win for everybody. It enables you to be more efficient while reducing in-office clutter.
2. Online Payments
Forget the days of being told the check was lost in the mail. In today’s world, tenants expect to be able to pay in a convenient fashion that works on their timelines. That’s where online payments come in. Not only are they convenient for your tenants but they also give you easy access to payment records.
With online payments, your renters can pay whenever it’s convenient for them, and you can easily run reports to see whose bills are outstanding whenever you’d like. As a bonus, you don’t have to spend unnecessary time going to the bank if your tenants are paying online.
3. Maintenance Requests
If you’ve ever tried to keep track of a stack of sticky notes, you already know how important a proper maintenance request system can be. Thanks to technology, your tenants can easily log into their accounts online and let you know what needs to be fixed. If they mark their requests urgent, you know you need to get out there as soon as possible, but anything that can wait can be put into the maintenance queue.
Online tracking enables you to see what’s been requested, which items are being worked on, and which items are recurring. This can help you in the long run, too, because you’ll easily be able to see when seemingly innocent requests might lend themselves to more significant maintenance issues. Once you can see the big picture, you can plan replacements or major repairs in a way that works better with your budget, rather than being hit with large bills all at the same time.
Chatbots tend to be a little controversial, but they exist for a good reason: they work. If you employ chatbots on your website, you can answer many of your tenants’ questions without taking time away from whatever you’re doing during the day. Chatbots can be configured to tell people when their rent is due, how they can pay rent, where they can go to file maintenance issues, and other frequently asked questions. They can also greet potential renters in real time, helping to facilitate a positive landlord-tenant relationship from the very beginning. Maybe someone asks when they can see a particular space you’ve advertised. If you’re not available, the chatbot will respond and take that person’s information. You can get back to them on your own time, but when you do, you’ll already be able to answer some of their questions because the chatbot did some pre-screening.
5. Smart-Home Security Systems
Higher-end clients are looking for ways to keep their families safe, and they rely on their landlords to take care of many of the details. With smart-home systems, you can include helpful gadgets that add safety and security measures to your rental properties.
- Remote security cameras help you and your tenants feel protected.
- Smart smoke detectors send alerts to tenants’ and landlords’ phones if a fire is detected. This is important whether people are home or not.
- Smart burglar alarms will notify you and your tenants immediately if someone breaks into the property.
Even landlords who hire property management companies can benefit from the tools that smart-home security systems provide because the immediate nature in which everyone is notified helps keep people and their property safe.
6. Task Tracking
In an office environment, project management tends to be overseen by a team of people who are specifically responsible for keeping tabs on individual tasks. As a landlord, you’re operating an entire business without that extra team of eyes to help you.
This is where technology comes into play.
Tools like Asana and toggl can help landlords keep track of their maintenance appointments, showings, tenant meetings, and anything else that may find its way onto their calendars.
7. Accounting Software
Running a small business isn’t easy, and there’s a lot to keep track of, especially when it comes to money. With today’s accounting software programs, you can easily import rental payments, pay vendors, and know where your money is going at all times.
When it comes to being a landlord, you’ve got a lot on your plate. With constantly-changing compliance regulations to meet and tenants who need your attention, it only makes sense to leverage the powers that technology affords you.
Patrick Freeze is the President of Bay Management Group, which manages about 4,000 units in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The company is overseeing more than $700 million worth of real estate as of October 1st, 2018.