You probably won’t find anyone who claims being a landlord is inherently easy, but there are things landlords can do to make their lives easier. Streamlining property management has never been easier, thanks to the ever-evolving landscape of tech tools.
In this guide, discover seven indispensable tech tools that every forward-thinking landlord should embrace. You’ll be able to enhance tenant experiences and make your landlord duties easier with these tech tools:
1. Smart Home Technology
Smart home tech in or around your tenants’ homes can make your life easier by automating routine maintenance tasks and protecting your property. It can also make your tenants’ lives easier for the same reasons. For example, implementing smart lock systems in your rental properties can significantly enhance security and convenience for both parties. By integrating high-tech locks, you ensure controlled access while eliminating the need for physical keys and the inherent risks of loss or duplication.
Should a situation arise where access needs to be granted remotely or revoked swiftly, smart locks empower you to do so from anywhere. Additionally, in cases of tenant turnover, resetting access is as simple as a few clicks. This not only improves the property’s security — meaning your tenants can feel safe — but it also streamlines administrative tasks.
Cameras are another popular smart home tech often worth the investment because they can alert you to things that might be amiss. If anything happens on the property, you’ll also be able to review the incident on the camera. If you do install cameras, make sure the cameras don’t point anywhere that would violate your tenants’ privacy. Most of today’s security systems are wireless, but if you’re worried about the system being hacked, you can opt for wired security cameras. Both work just the same and provide many benefits to landlords.
2. A Property Management App
If you’re going to manage your own properties, you need an app that covers everything from tenant screening to rent collection. Centralizing tasks like rent collection, maintenance requests, and communication with tenants in one platform saves you time and makes the renting process more accessible to tenants.
An app can help you stay organized because it’ll keep track of all lease agreements, important documents, and financial records. If a tenant misses a payment, you’ll have evidence and they’ll likely be notified. Keeping these records in a place that’s easily accessible for you and your renters means difficult conversations can be a bit easier. If a tenant is consistently missing payments, the app can send notifications and reminders about consequences, if applicable.
Another benefit of a property management app is that it can allow you to manage your properties remotely — if you use it correctly. Sometimes, though, it is best to have someone on location. If you don’t want to manage the properties yourself, you can pass off your property management duties to a professional property management team instead, like the property management experts at Green Residential. When you have a property management team working for you, they’ll have a software suite of their own, so you won’t have to do any of the work.
3. Airplane Mode or ‘Do Not Disturb’>
This isn’t a tool you’ll have to buy or install. Luckily, it’s something you likely already have in your pocket! If you’re a busy landlord, or you just like keeping your personal life quiet, airplane mode or ‘do not disturb’ will be your best friend. It’s simple technology, and it’s not new, but it’s extremely powerful, especially when you want to relax and not be bothered by your phone.
When you have tenants, you might get calls both day and night. Hopefully, you have someone else to take these calls for you and manage the situations as they arise. If not, and it’s all on you, start using airplane mode to set boundaries for when you’re available. Use it during the day to go on breaks and enjoy your hobbies — at least for a few hours.
Make sure to set up an emergency number for when you’re not available. Whether it’s a trusted property manager, maintenance service, or an emergency hotline, having a dedicated line for urgent matters ensures that critical issues can still be addressed promptly. You should also set up your voicemail message, so callers know you’ll return their call as soon as possible. Remember, it’s unreasonable for anyone to expect you to answer the phone 24/7 around the clock, day after day. So, don’t have that expectation for yourself.
4. Pet Management Software
Just when you thought nobody could invent an entirely new type of software, here come pet management applications. For landlords who need to keep track of tenants who have pets, this software can be a game-changer. A simple pet management platform helps landlords stay in control of their pet policies and stay on top of the related paperwork.
You can keep track of what tenants have what types of animals, along with information about complaints, damage, or anything else. Having this information in a database makes it easier to verify when it looks like someone might have brought a new animal into their unit. Some platforms even offer ESA verification, which aims to recognize fraudulent letters that don’t meet state or federal requirements. If you’re frustrated from dealing with ESAs because people claim their pets qualify when they don’t, there are a few things you should know about ESAs.
ESAs are exempt from pet-related fees under the Federal Fair Housing laws, like pet rent, but you can still charge a security deposit. However, keep in mind that not all housing is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act. Exemptions include:
Dwellings with four or fewer units where one unit is owner-occupied
Single-family homes rented by the owner without a broker
Housing owned by private clubs or religious organizations that only rent to members
While pet tracking software can be helpful, if you don’t need to allow pets or ESAs, you can make your life a whole lot easier by not allowing them at all if you qualify for an exemption.
5. A ‘Real’ Computer
While it’s certainly possible to conduct all of your business from a mobile smartphone, it’s not the most efficient way to work. If you didn’t grow up using a full-sized desktop computer monitor, or at least a laptop, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Studies have shown that reading on a smartphone increases prefrontal cortex activity, which is associated with lower reading comprehension. This means if you’re doing all your business activity on your smartphone, you might not be comprehending everything you’re reading or researching. It’s much easier to make mistakes on a small screen.
When you use a full-sized monitor or laptop to manage your business, you’ll be able to see more, concentrate better, and get your tasks done faster. There’s more screen real estate to open several different applications at once, move them around, and even browse the internet simultaneously.
It’s also easier to save your files to your local hard drive instead of relying on cloud accounts for everything. There’s nothing wrong with using the cloud, but it’s faster to access files when you don’t have to log into an account or open an app. You also don’t need an internet connection to access your files on a laptop or desktop computer.
6. Self-Showing Tech
Nothing kills your profits faster than vacancies. Self-showing tech can help you combat this by removing the need for you or a real estate agent to be present when someone looks at your properties. You can make it possible for tenants to view your properties on their own by using locks that require a digital code to enter.
Another option would be providing virtual tours online. Virtual tours are immersive, digital experiences that allow potential tenants to virtually explore a property from anywhere with an internet connection. They offer a comprehensive view of the property, showcasing its layout, design, and features through a series of images, videos, or interactive 3D models. There are many specialized services and apps designed for creating and hosting virtual property tours
Some tenants actually prefer to look at properties on their own because they can move through the unit at their own pace and don’t have to listen to anyone try to narrate their tour. This helps to increase your chances of renting a unit. It’s also cheaper and easier for you. If you don’t want to run down your properties all the time just to give a tour, self-showing tech will eliminate that burden for you.
7. Online Applications
Accepting your applications online will streamline everything you do. Sifting through applications is time-consuming and monotonous, and if you’re sitting there reading physical pieces of paper, you’re going to eventually skip over something important. Do yourself a favor and move your application process entirely online.
When you do, you’ll notice many benefits right away. For example, you can filter applications based on input in order to move unqualified applicants into a separate folder that you never have to check. Another benefit to online applications is that it forces prospective tenants to fill the application out completely. Sometimes, people leave certain areas blank on purpose, hoping it won’t be noticed. That won’t fly with an online application.
When you move this process online, you can also require the application fee payment before they can click submit. If they don’t want to pay, it won’t go through. This prevents you from having to manage physical payments that may or may not bounce.
Tech is Constantly Improving Landlords’ Lives
These are just some of the tech tools you can use to make your life and job as a landlord easier. As tech continues to evolve, so will the ways landlords can use technology to lighten their load and increase their profits.
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