Are you leveraging all the technology that’s available to you as a Cleveland landlord?
By now, you’re likely aware of what’s possible. Hopefully, you’re collecting rent online and using accounting software to track your income and expenses.
There’s more to property management technology than that, however, and if you choose the platforms and programs that help you automate what you do on a daily basis for your rental property and your tenants, you’ll find you can save yourself a lot of time and a lot of money.
Accessing the technology is usually the greatest challenge for independent landlords. Working with a Cleveland property management team can help you harness some of the best tech available in our industry. We get more of it for cheaper, and when you partner with a professional property manager, you can leverage all those resources and tools without investing in expensive software yourself.
Let’s take a look at how technology can benefit rental property landlords and why you might want to rely on it more when it comes to your own investment properties.
Technology Creates Online Portals for Cleveland Tenants and Owners
An online portal is something you can expect any Cleveland property manager to provide. All of us use similar systems, and one of the main selling points of those systems is the online portal. They provide a lot of benefits – not only to us, but also to our owners and tenants.
Online systems and portals provide more accountability and transparency. We’re able to respond to tenants and owners with questions, and we can provide more information to more people. We keep the options for communication open. We won’t bother you when we don’t have to, but we’re always available and easily accessible if you have a question or need to check in on something.
- Portals Help Tenants Stay Accountable and Responsible
Our tenants use their portals to pay rent on time, schedule maintenance requests, and send us messages. The value of collecting rent online really cannot be overstated. We’ve found that there are fewer late payments and no missed payments at all. When tenants can log on through their phone, tablet, or laptop, and easily schedule a payment or make a rental payment, it’s easier for everyone. The technology is secure and convenient. It cuts down on their late fees and it saves us the time of having to chase down late payments.
With most online payment systems, tenants can schedule recurring payments for the first of every month. They can set reminders for themselves and they can store their bank account information. They can even use a debit or credit card to pay. It’s the most popular payment method for our tenants, and it keeps the entire process simple and clear.
As a landlord, you may not have access to an entire tenant portal. That’s okay. You can still use technology to collect rent electronically. Download a payment app, and talk to your tenants about how they prefer to pay. You won’t have to wait for those paper checks to clear and your tenants will appreciate the modern, tech-driven payment option.
- Owner Portals and Fast Rent Payments
Owners also benefit from our online portals because it gives you a window into all of the information we also have about your property. You can see all of the accounting associated with your property, including those rental payments. Your own deposit will clear faster because we’ll do it by ACH. You can also access inspection reports and ask us to run detailed statements or print off tax forms. You can review correspondence we send to tenants, including renewal offers and rental receipts.
Setting up an online portal is easy when you begin working with a property manager. You’ll get instructions for logging on, and you’ll find it to be very user-friendly. Take advantage of everything that’s offered in your owner portal. It contains resources, information, and an easy way to get in touch with your management team. All the documentation you might need for the effective running of your rental property will be found in that one place.
Property Management Technology Improves the Leasing Process
It’s easy to see technology’s value when we’re talking about leasing.
The leasing process is full of details. Leasing includes:
- Proper property pricing
- Preparing the property for the rental market
- Move-in Inspections
- Security deposit collection
A lot of documentation is involved in the leasing process. Ever since the early days of the pandemic, tenants have overwhelmingly preferred a contactless leasing process. Technology facilitates that. We’re able to collect signatures on lease agreements digitally. We’re still available to discuss the lease in detail and to answer any questions, but instead of meeting together in the office, we can share information with tenants and collect all the necessary signatures and supporting documentation.
The process moves faster. Technology enables a more efficient leasing process, which means less vacancy and better tenants. Those are two important benefits to owners. Here are a few other benefits:
- Establishing the Right Rental Price
The rental value attached to your property has a huge impact on how long it’s vacant and what types of tenants you attract. The data we collect is reliable, and you can use online sites as an independent landlord to get a range for comparable properties in your neighborhood.
You’re using technology to compare prices of homes that are very similar to yours. If you’re renting out a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Cleveland, you don’t want to waste time looking at rental prices for a three-bedroom home in the suburbs. Technology helps us gather good data and make accurate pricing recommendations.
- Marketing and Online Advertising
Marketing your rental property requires technology. Online advertising is where it’s all happening, and to rent your home quickly, you need to reach a large pool of tenants. That requires the ability to syndicate your listings across all the most popular rental sites in and around Cleveland. Our marketing system allows us to post your vacant home on our own website as well as all the sites that potential tenants are using to find their next home.
Technology allows you to be more responsive when it comes to scheduling showings and following up with prospective tenants and answering their questions. You can make it easy for tenants to see your property on their own schedule. They’re more likely to fill out an application, and a leasing process supported by the best technology can lead to less vacancy and better tenants.
Do you prefer to be present when someone is looking at your house? Some owners do.
If, however, your schedule makes it difficult to be at the home when a prospective tenant is looking at it, you can invest in self-showing technology to save you time and move the process along faster. You can install a lockbox or a digital keypad, making it easy for approved tenants to access your house and take a look around.
- Applications and Screenings
Use technology to improve your screening process. It should start with an online application.
When you use automated screening systems, you can be sure that you’re compliant with fair housing laws and fair credit reporting standards. That means less risk for you because your screening process will be more objective. You won’t make unintentional mistakes. With an automated, consistent online application process, there’s no danger that one application will be treated differently than another.
Screening with technology results in everything being well-documented. You’ll also be able to screen a lot faster when you can easily access eviction records, criminal histories, financial information, and rental histories. Instead of waiting for a week to find out if they’re approved, your tenants should know in a day or two. This gets the entire process moving a lot faster, which is better for you financially and better for your tenants as they make their moving plans.
If you don’t have the kind of technology that can help you screen more efficiently, consider working with a Cleveland property manager or a third-party screening service that can deliver all of this to you.
Property Management Technology and Maintenance
As property managers, we collect routine maintenance requests online.
This allows us to track all the things that happen with your property. We also use software to track invoices, communicate with vendors, and manage inspections and inspection reports.
You can use technology to improve your maintenance process as an individual landlord as well. Ask for written repair requests from tenants so you can create your own written account of when things break and how you responded. This will help you decide when replacements might be more cost-effective than repairs. Online inspection software can help you better document the condition of your property before a tenant moves in and after they move out.
These are only a few of the ways that good technology can help you have a better rental experience. If you’d like to hear more about what you can do with property management technology, please contact us at IIP Management. We work with owners in Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Parma, Solon, and South Euclid (Cuyahoga County).