The Simple Tech Tools That Have Saved Me The Most Time As A Landlord
They say time is money, which means time is our most valuable resource as landlords. In addition to being a real estate investor and landlord myself, I’m a CEO, an entrepreneur, a husband and a father. I am always, always, always looking for tools and technology that can help me streamline my workflow and give me more time to focus on the bigger picture.
When I first started out investing in rental properties and managing them myself, nothing drove me crazier than fumbling through stacks of receipts every month and using spreadsheet after spreadsheet to try and keep track of each property. The problem was only exacerbated as my portfolio continued to grow. While property management software is certainly the ultimate technology tool, I find that many of my colleagues aren’t taking advantage of some of the simplest tools out there. Some of the most basic technology can have the biggest impact when it comes to taking back your time.
- Email templates: You’re already using email, but are you using your platform to its full potential? It will take a bit of effort on the front end to get things set up, but using email templates and automated email responses is an easy way to quickly respond to frequently asked questions. You can use an auto response to provide key information that potential tenants can review while they wait for a formal response, or use templates for common correspondences that you can easily access to reuse over and over. If you find yourself writing the same email or copying and pasting the same message, there’s an easier option.
- E-signatures: If you still find yourself waiting for mailed documents or meeting in person to sign lease agreements, you’re wasting your own time. If you are currently using a property management software platform be sure you are taking advantage of this feature, but programs like Adobe, Docusign or even your local landlord association also typically offer the ability to send documents out for electronic signatures. This can speed up the lease signing process significantly.
- Online payments: Waiting for a check for rental income should be a thing of the past, but it’s still more common than you might think. Having tenants make rent payments in an online format not only saves time, but tends to increase the chances your tenants will pay rent in full and on time due to ease of access. Between credit card payments, ACH payments, electronic cash payments, etc., you have a variety of options depending on what works best for your business. There may be a small fee associated with collecting online payments, but it’s likely worth the investment for how much time you’ll save in the long run.
- Automatic reminders: Setting up emails or text messages to remind your tenants to pay rent or notify both parties of a one-time charge will take another mundane task off of your plate as a landlord. You could even consider customizing reminders for routine tasks like inspections or regular maintenance duties. Your job will be much easier after eliminating the need to remember hundreds of routine tasks throughout the year.
- Syndicated rental listings: Create one great rental listing for a vacancy and save time by listing it to multiple rental sites simultaneously. The more the better in this case, but do a bit of research on which sites are most popular for your target market. Be sure to list out frequently asked questions in the ad and go into detail about the application process to avoid phone calls and emails from unqualified tenants – your future self will thank you.
- Tenant portal: Typically setting up a tenant portal requires some sort of property management software, but you’re guaranteed to save a substantial amount of time by creating a place where tenants can self-manage important information. Instead of a phone call, email or text from each tenant, your renters will be able to put in maintenance requests, set up automatic payments, check their account details and payment history – all without a single interaction with you directly.
When we’re busy, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and avoid doing the research required to change things up. I promise if you take the time to reevaluate your workflow and look into what tools, programs and software are available to you (often for free!), you’ll regain control of your time and overall find greater success in your rental business.