Upgrading Your Systems: 22 Best Digital Tools to Make Landlording Easier
Digital advancements are supposed to make our lives easier. But if you don’t know which of the many tools out there are the best ones to use, it’ll only complicate things instead of simplifying your already-complex job as a landlord.
No, you want to have functional, valuable tools that’ll give you more time. Then you can spend your downtown with your kids, start that side hustle you’ve wanted to get into, or just relax by the beach with a couple of cold ones.
So, we’ve compiled a list of all the available digital tools we recommend landlords use. These are 6 tools for landlords that our team of property managers has confirmed are necessary for all landlords to use today.
Why Do Landlords Need Technology?
Landlords do a lot of things daily. That’s why once their portfolio grows beyond their control, many of them opt to hire property management companies like us to handle the scale of their business.
But this doesn’t mean there aren’t any tools out there to help you along the way. Using technology for your rental investments is essential because of the following factors:
- Data is Key. Aggregated, real-time data is the source of competitive advantage, as you can only optimize your business if you can measure it. Landlords need to track their number of leads by available tenant space to identify marketing strategies and generate the most tenant demand.
- Technology Boosts Retention. Today, tenants are used to digital and non-contact procedures, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. You don’t want to spend time on manual tasks that can be automated when your tenants are also expecting efficiency on their end.
- Agility Improves Business. If your tenants are satisfied with your well-oiled rental business, they will likely renew their leases, comply with the lease agreement, and strengthen your profits. Both thoughtful tenant relationship management and seamless property management are crucial to your investment success.
It’s not enough to analyze and commit to the best real estate investment opportunities. You also need to ensure that you have a system that keeps it afloat and profitable for the long run.
Digital Tools That Make a Landlord’s Job Easier
There are plenty of areas where you can use technology to your advantage. These cover the main tasks of property management, but they also help you give the best tenant experience for your renters, boosting your investment returns.
1. Collecting Rent Online
Tenants are already paying their bills through online apps and platforms, so why not offer the option to pay rent through their mobile devices too? Accepting online rent payments also means that:
- You don’t have to wait on rent checks and deposit them manually.
- You’ll have fewer late and missing rent payments, especially with automatic deductions.
- You’ll also encourage tenants to pay rent by offering multiple payment methods.
- You’ll have a record of all your tenants’ payment status and integrate a bookkeeping software to manage all that information as well.
There are a couple of online rent collection platforms out there, but we recommend the following:
- Avail: Best for comprehensive management systems.
- Cozy (Apartments.com): Best if you’re on a tight budget and want something free.
- Buildium: Best if you have a lot of units to manage.
- TenantCloud: Best if you want to work with Dwolla or Stripe.
- PayYourRent: Best if you’re prioritizing same-day rent payment processing.
Any one of these tools will allow tenants to pay rent online, giving you less of a headache chasing them up for payments and keeping track of all the monetary movements.
2. Managing Your Finances
If you’re like most landlords, you probably don’t have a background or any interest in accounting and handling finances. Consider automating income and expense tracking, so you won’t have to worry about any revenue loss.
You want to find a digital solution to handle the following:
- Recording daily bookkeeping items
- Tracking and organizing receipts
- Creating progress reports
- Prepare for tax season
- Alert you of late payments
- Account for rental property depreciation
Here are a few digital platforms to consider using:
- AppFolio: Best if you only want selected services and advanced features.
- Rentec Direct: Best if there is more than one of you managing the properties.
- Buildium: Best if you have a large portfolio of rental properties.
- Property Matrix: Best if you are an experienced accountant.
- Stessa: Best if you want to have a little bit of everything.
- Rent Manager: Best if you want to have a lot of extra features.
- MRI Software: Best if you want to integrate it with other systems.
Some of these have free trials, so you can try them out before subscribing. You’ll want to compare their functions, features, pricing, customer service, and overall convenience to see which one fits you best.
3. Electronically Signing Documents
Nowadays, electronic signatures are just as legal as any handwritten, inked signature. So it makes the most sense for you to email documents to tenants and has them sign through digital platforms, eliminating the need to meet them in person.
Here are the benefits in a nutshell:
- You and your tenants can sign documents on various devices and operating systems
- You can encrypt and secure communications and shared documents
- You can track the document status and notify the tenants if their action is required
- You can define access rights for contractors, partners, etc.
- You can automate document creation and storage, integrating it with other solutions
This may seem like a small thing, but it can improve efficiency by a long mile. You’ll also have soft copies of all the paperwork, making it easier for you to compile, organize, store, and access at any time.
These are our recommendations for e-signature software:
- DocuSign: Best for comprehensive solutions.
- HelloSign: Best for beginners with user-friendly features.
- PandaDoc: Best for growing portfolios.
- signNOW: Best for convenience.
- Foxit PDF Editor: Best for cost-effectivity.
There are others like Eversign and AdobeAcrobat Sign, but they all do the same job of allowing electronic signatures for your rental properties.
4. Managing Repair Requests
It’s never fun to deal with repair requests, especially as it’s usually unpredictable and messes up your schedule. Instead of having your tenants call or leave a message, you can have them:
- Submit a repair request digitally
- Have the software notify you immediately (and perhaps with categorization, too)
- Have the tenants explain the situation with attached photos and videos
- Inform the tenants of new information or once the maintenance work is completed
This way, the digital solution can help you handle and address all the issues promptly, no matter how many units you have in your portfolio.
Here are some of the best tools we’ve found that allow you to manage repair requests:
- nnago: Best for small to mid-sized property portfolios.
- Rentler: Best for open communication with the tenants.
- RentPost: Best for an all-in-one property management solution.
- Property Manager Cloud: Best for a range of property sizes.
- Property Matrix: Best for apartment complexes and multi-family properties.
- Property Meld: Best if you want an easy-to-use software to reduce manual tasks.
Once you have the details, you can then coordinate with your list of repair providers to quickly take care of the problem. After all, you don’t want any issues to escalate into irreversible, expensive problems that’ll certainly chip a big chunk of investment returns.
Digitize to Optimize Your Investment Properties
These tools will likely come with more than one service, so you won’t have to use multiple platforms for comprehensive property management. We suggest you try one of them out and see what other services it provides, so you won’t have to keep an eye on too many tools simultaneously.
Our world is becoming increasingly digital, which means landlords nowadays have to adapt and improve their businesses with technological means. Besides, it’ll contribute to your bottom line investment returns in the long run, so it’s a win-win solution for you and your tenants.
Our team of property managers has decades of experience handling the biggest and most complex rental property portfolios. Contact us to see how we can help your investments scale efficiently.