Being a landlord can be very time-consuming, but thankfully, technology has made it easier. There are many apps and websites that can automate or improve your work processes. Here are five tech tips to help make your job as a landlord easier:
Bring Your Maintenance and Repair Scheduling to the Modern Age
Don’t wait for a disaster to spring upon you before fixing the damage. Inspect your property frequently and make sure that everything is running smoothly. To avoid forgetting anything, create a checklist of items that regularly need fixing in your experience — this will vary depending on where you live. Some issues may require specialty tools such as digital multimeters or air quality monitors; don’t be afraid to get these, because they’ll save you time and money down the line when inspectors come by.
You can use online survey forms, such as Google Forms, for repairs and other tenant requests. To do this, you’ll need to fill out a spreadsheet and have some knowledge of Google tools. If you don’t know how to do this, look for guides on YouTube or ask someone who does for help. You can also connect the Google Form to a Google Sheet so that responses are automatically placed in the sheet. With Google Sheets, you can simply use commands to sort form entries by date so that after tenants fill out a request for non-urgent repairs, all you need to do is confirm with them. The sheet can also include if repair visits are confirmed or not; however, this will require manual updates.
This system makes it so you don’t have to answer your phone immediately, which is great when you’re out on a repair job. It also makes scheduling much easier since you can just check the sheet in the morning to see what repair jobs you need to do for the day, and then confirm and update the sheet at night. Plus, this ties in with our next tip!
Keep Clean Records
Good organization starts with maintaining accurate records, both financial and otherwise. This way, you can always refer back to important conversations and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
If you want to stay organized, digitize your records and use digital communication. You might need a day or two to digitize everything (or you can hire someone), but it’s worth it because being disorganized is so stressful. Plus, once your stuff is digital, you’ll save scanning or storage fees.
If you plan on using spreadsheets to maintain organization, you will need some time to input data. Updating anything that needs updating will only require an hour or two out of your day afterward. Automation makes life much simpler than one would think!
Further, various online rent payment services exist to help monitor payments; some of these even offer monthly rental payment options that can benefit both tenants and landlords. Some rent guarantee services cater to agents, too, making the whole process of dealing with agents and tenants painless.
Talk to Your Tenants Clearly
Always be clear about your expectations, and update tenants on any changes as soon as possible. Good communication establishes a positive relationship between landlord and tenant, helps avoid conflict later down the road, ensures that everyone is on the same page. If you have scheduled visits or anything else coming up, reconfirm with your tenants beforehand so that there are no misunderstandings. Lastly, while it’s important to assert yourself and maintain authority in this situation — remember they are people too!
For truly streamlined and cohesive communication, digital exchange is key. This way, you can access records painlessly and update your documents in real-time. If you are texting tenants from your phone, use computer apps to retrieve the messages — like iMessage for iOS or Google Messages for Android. Important conversations initiated over calls should be followed up with an email so that a clear record exists about the discussion points.
Create a set of firm but fair rules and regulations that your tenants can reference back to. They should feel comfortable coming to you with any problems or concerns they may have, so letting them know what your expectations are beforehand is important. You can do this by laying out the rules before signing, and also creating a Facebook group for announcements, reminders, FAQs, etc. Another option is using GoReminders to send out text blasts to all tenants when you have an announcement or something important to share. This works great among teenagers and young adults who are always on their phones!
Get Professionals to Manage Your Property
If you find that landlording is too time-consuming, look into hiring a professional property management company. Although this costs money, it will save you time and energy in the long run. This can be beneficial if you own multiple properties.
Try to manage all your interactions with the property management company online so you have access to records. Most likely, they’ll be using digital versions of apps and websites so it will make communication between us easier. They also are legally bound which takes a load off of your stress.
While some assume that being a landlord is strenuous, it doesn’t have to be with the proper preparation. By staying on top of maintenance and repairs, keeping good records, having open communication with your tenants, and even hiring outside help through a property management company; landlording can easily become second nature.