As a landlord, you have many duties. Rental properties are complex structures that require significant involvement and effort to maintain. It is frequently challenging to handle everything on your own.
Therefore, effective management requires consistent and reliable data to guide decision-making. Knowing where or how to get the most useful information can make the difference between a successful rental business and one that will inevitably fail.
This post is a collection of valuable tools and landlord resources designed to help you achieve the best results with your properties.
There are specific tools designed for landlords to help them manage their properties efficiently. Some offer practical ways to collect rent, guide in setting the correct rent price, or predict the renovations costs for a unit before renting. Other tools help find the best tenants or arrange completely secure property showings in the absence of the landlord.
Overall, using one or more of the following tools can make your everyday landlord tasks much more manageable:
Online Rent Payment Tools
1. ClearNow - A secure, cost-effective solution for landlords and property managers who want to collect rent electronically from their tenants. With this tool, landlords can confirm that tenants are paying the rent on time. Landlords can then control their monthly income and focus on their core tasks rather than handling the rent collection.
The app deducts the rent from your tenant's bank account and deposits the money directly into your account three business days later, and does not process partial payments, so if 100% of the payment isn't in the tenant's account, nothing is collected. This means there's no more frustration waiting for rent checks to come through and no more missed payments.
2. PayYourRent - This platform offers rent payment history reporting to TransUnion and Experian RentBureau, to help tenants improve their credit history. As for the landlords, it is an excellent tool for them to manage their finances by eliminating the complexity of traditional rental payments.
The system automatically creates a payment history for each tenant, showing each payment method's outstanding balance and previous payment history. It also allows tenants to schedule regular payments or make a one-time payment for the rent, provides an overview of your account balance, expenses, and available credit. In addition, it sends an email confirmation of payments to both parties. Compared to other tools, this one gives landlords control over payments, allows them to choose how fees are applied, and manages their finances in an organized manner.
3. eRentPayment - This tool eliminates the need for physical cash payments for rent, whether once a month or every three months, by allowing tenants to electronically pay the rent using their credit card. This service is perfect for people who don't have access to a computer or a banking account but still have rent or other bills to pay. It also gives automated reminder notices to keep tenants on track. Unlike the other rent collection tools, it offers the possibility of one-time charges that can also be used to collect miscellaneous payments as well, such as:
- Utility payments
- Pet fees
- Application fees, and more.
Property Management Notification System
DialMyCalls - This property management notification system solution is an excellent tool for landlords to send neighborhood alerts, rent reminders, and tenant notifications via voice and text message. The service is entirely web-based. You can set up and send your call/text to your tenants in just a few minutes.
Rental property calculator
It is vital to know how much a rental property investment will cost you. This Calculator was made to help investors determine all the costs involved and analyze if their investment will be profitable.
Moreover, it has other features like the Average Return Calculator, which will estimate the annual return and the cumulative return for different investments with different holding periods. There is also the Mortgage Calculator, which helps to find out how much you will pay for a particular kind of mortgage loan.
There are also other online alternatives that you can use to set a rental price or calculate your operating expenses.
If you need repair or maintenance of your property, here is another calculator that can help you. Using this tool, you can determine how much money you would need to put toward repairs or renovations and what costs would come up on your schedule if you proceed with a project.
Search foreclosed properties
If you want to invest in a foreclosed property, Realtytrac.com can help you find the perfect one. The tool is an excellent resource for foreclosure data for investors, realtors, and home buyers. It helps beginner landlords to unlock their investment opportunities, providing an extensive database of:
- Bank-owned properties.
- MLS listings.
- Short sales.
Tenant screening tools
Zumper.com - This website offers free renter screening tools for landlords. You can request to screen a prospective tenant with one click, and receive their completed application in minutes, provided by TransUnion. Using Zumper, you have the opportunity to reach over 13 million high-quality renters, screen them with credit reports, background checks, and applications, and collect rent online for quick and secure payments.
RentSpree.com - Use this tool to screen your tenants without even having to create an account and receive a verified credit report with TransUnion SmartMove. You can screen prospective renters with a comprehensive 45-state background check and access the screening reports whenever and wherever you want with 24/7 access on a mobile-friendly app. The scores provided by RentSpree are confidential and are only available to the applicant.
E-renter.com - Although this tool involves a monthly subscription, its three tenant screening packages offer several advantages for landlords compared to other free screening tools. The tenant screening and credit check reports are available in all 50 states, making it the ideal tool if your portfolio consists of units for rent all over the United States. If you choose the ultimate package, you can benefit from a very detailed screening process, which includes:
- Verifying the identity of the tenant through SSN Validation Social Security and Death Index Check.
- A background check that focuses on OFAC / Patriot Act Search.
- Criminal records.
- Credit checks.
- Name history and more.
Property keys management tool
Keyzapp.com - This is software designed for landlords to give them stress-free control in tracking and managing keys. In brief, it is a key management solution that utilizes the latest technology for tracking and managing property keys. It quickly identifies keys by tapping smart fobs, tracks all your key info in the app, and manages automated reminders and reports. This is particularly useful for landlords managing several short-time rental properties.
Deposit management outsourcing
Roost – Enables you to outsource the hassle and compliance of refundable deposit management including security, pet, storage, and more. The basic platform is free for landlords and residents, with a small processing fee for refunds. A real advantage of this platform is that it enables deposit compliance by jurisdiction, incentivizes residents to take better care of their units, and provides a modern, transparent experience.
For example, residents can split pay deposits with roommates, see interest earned (if applicable), borrow/repay from themselves if short on rent, get helpful tips on how to get more of their deposit back, plus get fast electronic refunds with damage itemization details. Roost integrates with most property management systems.
Refunds are processed within 2-3 business days based on your damages reported.
Rental inspection tool
Zinspector.com - This tool documents your properties with photos and videos that are securely stamped with date and time, geographically located, and other details for easy reference. The tool has a fast and easy inspection mode for documenting photo-centric inspection, maintenance, leasing, and due diligence activities and tasks. It can also be used on smartphones, tablets, and computers, with everything available, searchable, organized, and backed up.
VTS - If you are thinking of building a prosperous career as a landlord, this application has been specially created to help you at every step by giving valuable and unique insights to make better decisions faster, increasing your revenue and portfolio performance.
In essence, VTS is a multi-tool that will help reinvent your investment strategy using real-time verified data. You can optimize your strategy, digitize your space with virtual tours, find qualitative tenants and reduce friction to get the deal closed.
Rently/Oaks Smart Locks. The Rently app allows landlords to conduct a property showing without being present. This self-touring technology facilitates tours using:
- Smart lockboxes.
- Rently/Oaks Smart Locks.
- Rently Keyless Smart Home.
Landlords can control their locks remotely and send a unique access code to prospective tenants interested in viewing the property.
The significant advantages offered by this tool are less wasted time, more security, and maximum control over property showings from anywhere.
A landlord can acquire many valuable tips by learning from posts on various websites dedicated to the subject of real estate. The internet is filled with tenant forums, blogs, and media focused on providing practical information on everything from property management and maintenance to financial aid and legal services.
However, while some websites claim to be 'specialized sources,' they just offer recycled content - which is why it's vital to know which websites you should follow to get reliable information.
Inman.com provides real estate news and analysis, market changes, expert analysis on trends, industry forecasts, professional advice, and how-to's from a big community.
Inman is a valuable source for landlords because it offers accurate, innovative, and timely information about the real estate field. Its cutting-edge technology coverage, award-winning journalism, in-depth educational opportunities, and forward-thinking events are well-known.
HousingWire - The leading independent source for news and analysis covering the entire mortgage, real estate, and housing economy. HousingWire provides information about the U.S. mortgage and housing markets, with a readership that spans lending, servicing, investments, and real estate market members as well as financial market professionals. With over 10 million annual unique visitors, the website is considered the leading community of mortgage and housing professionals to engage and connect.
Nolo - Knowledge and resources of legal matters can be complicated, hard to find, and intimidating for many landlords. Fortunately, Nolo is a website that makes legal advice accessible to everyone through its content. Specializing in real estate based on legal and business topics, with over 50 web properties, the Nolo Network is one of the web's most extensive archives of legal information – all available for free.
The website provides detailed information on Landlord-Tenant Laws in each state, Security Deposits, Eviction laws, and just about everything a landlord needs to know.
Investopedia - For the most part, Investopedia provides:
- Investment dictionaries.
- Professional advice.
- Comparisons of financial products such as securities accounts.
Although it offers content revolving around many industries, it is also an incredible information resource for real estate in terms of financial advice and investing opportunities, trends, and news. On Investopedia, you can find business-wise data about real estate investing basics, alternative real estate investments, investing strategies, tax implications, pros and cons of real estate investing, and more.
The Balance - This one does not specialize in real estate in particular. However, it is an excellent resource for first-time landlords, and it is a great start to learn how to manage the financial part of your real estate business. The articles cover topics such as:
- Credit score.
- Interest rates.
- Taxes by state.
- Insurance Mortgages & Home Loans.
- Credit Reports & Scores U.S. Economy.
- News from the real estate industry.
HUD.gov - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was designed for rental assistance. It administers Federal aid to local housing agencies that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford.
Landlords can learn more about HUD's housing programs and the benefits they can get if they accept tenants with housing vouchers. They can also learn about Housing Discrimination laws, homeownership legal requirements and be constantly informed about local news.
Benefits.gov offers access to benefit information and provides data on government benefits and assistance programs while reducing the time and hurdles of interacting with the government.
Benefits.gov is entirely free to use and can be used by landlords to learn about housing assistance programs. The Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program provides loans and grants to very-low-income homeowners to repair and improve their properties, Disaster Legal Services, and more.
Rental Listing Platforms
There are two main reasons landlords should focus on Rental Listing websites: they have more efficiency than traditional methods and increased user trust. Landlords can quickly and easily list their properties for rent on these trusted platforms:
Zillow - This is the most reliable, user-friendly platform in the U.S. that delivers accurate data in an easy-to-understand format. It offers a complete listing service that takes your property search to the next level, being the most popular listings website and mobile app in the United States. Whether you're buying, selling, or renting, Zillow will make your work much easier. It can also help you find:
- Real estate agents.
- Property managers.
- Home inspectors.
- Home improvement specialists.
- Real estate photographers.
- Other professionals that help in your renting process and property management.
Trulia - Although Trulia is owned by Zillow and has the same real estate listings, costs, and offerings, it provides users with a different online experience.
Its search results display a map on the right-hand side and listings on the left. Once you click on a particular listing, it provides key information such as:
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Square footage
- An estimate of the monthly mortgage payment.
Therefore, it can be said that Trulia has a more straightforward interface.
However, the differences do not resume to the design part. Trulia features a lot more data about individual neighborhoods with verified reviews from people who live there, making it a more helpful resource for investors and tenants moving to an unknown area.
TurboTenant - As their motto says, 'built for landlords, by landlords,' this website was specially created to make the rental property process easier for individual landlords.
This website is not exactly one for listings but rather a tool to promote your property to other listing websites such as Apartments.com and Rent Jungle.
It can also help with the overall process of property management, including screening tenants, collecting rent, drafting a state-specific lease agreement, and more.
Realtor.com - Administered by the National Association of Realtors, it is one of the most trusted rental resources for landlords and an excellent listing platform. It only accepts listings from owners and property managers. It also has a wide range of filters that help the search process regarding pricing, neighborhoods, and amenities.
Its listing page gives you scores of information about different areas, such as price comparisons, schools data, and other points of interest. You can also find here tools like a Mortgage calculator and Refinance Calculator, financial advice, news and insights, and housing market predictions.
Avail- As part of the Realtor.com Network, Avail is an intuitive property management website that helps landlords to advertise vacant units, request rental applications and credit reports, sign leases and collect rent online.
The website is designed for landlords who typically own fewer than 10 properties and want to grow their business, save time, and maximize returns. It includes listing syndication, credit reports, lease signatures, rent payment, and more.
The Unlimited plan is free, and it comes with syndicating listings, state-specific leases, online payment, and maintenance tracking.
Apartments.com - A huge rental portal that includes a rental management system. It implies listing to all Apartments.com website properties, tenant screening, leases, and payment collection. When you list on Apartments.com, your property is advertised for other websites on their network: ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder.com, Apartmenthomeliving.com, and Apartamentos.com.
If you choose the premium plan, your property will be listed on more than 7 websites in their network, including realtor.com and doorsteps.com.
With over 320,000 listings of condos, office spaces, duplexes, townhomes, and houses, tenants can find the right property type for their needs, and landlords can list their property, covering a large audience through more websites at once.
The Resources on This Website For Landlords
We also provide in-depth articles on being a landlord, from the basics to more advanced topics. We offer many resources on landlord insurance as well. Our goal is to become the best landlord insurance company and provide extra value to our readers (Landlords) with the most up-to-date information. Here is a mini directory of our resources:
We have a "FAQ" section that will answer all of your questions about landlord insurance. Here are the main topics:
Costs: Here, we cover the costs of Landlord Insurance and tax information
Basics: If you don't know anything about landlord insurance, we suggest starting with our Ultimate Guide. Everything you need to know about landlord insurance at a basic level is covered in our "Basics," from doing background checks to understanding the difference between renters & landlord insurance.
Coverage: Here, we cover all the topics on landlord insurance coverage. These topics range from water damage, vandalism to what landlord insurance will not cover.
New Landlords: If you are a new landlord, then this page is for you. We start at the basics of being a landlord and provide tips. The topics covered are what rental income is and how much to charge landlord responsibilities, and the best property management companies.
In our blog, we cover more in-depth about becoming a landlord and being a landlord. We also cover topics about who we are, and this is an excellent place for other interesting articles that indirectly impact landlords.
We recommend that you would start with our guide on becoming a landlord.
We have many articles that range from retirement, being a successful landlord, starting Airbnb businesses, and becoming landlords in different states.
We also have an insurance glossary that breaks down each term in detail.
- Tenant Welcome Letter - Welcoming your tenants is an ideal opportunity to develop a good relationship. A welcome letter is a significant step to start that relationship. Your welcome letter will also remind tenants of the rules and requirements of your lease agreement.
- Lease renewal paperwork - If the landlord and tenants have had a good relationship and are happy with the current lease terms, both may decide to renew their lease. They can use a lease renewal agreement (also called lease extension or extension agreement), which is an agreement signed by both parties to extend the duration of a lease for an additional term. The time to renew a lease comes at the end of a current lease term.
- Rental Checklist - This document is used to help landlords evaluate every room in their property and the outside area (if it's the case). It will also serve as a check-out verification to check the condition of all items after a tenant leaves the rental unit.
- The Lease Agreement - The legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of your lease. Each rental agreement is different depending on the state, but there are similarities in how all renters handle their lease during the upfront payments process. It is essential to read and follow the lease agreement carefully during the actual renting process not to break any terms or conditions stated in it when you take possession of the property or after it has been rented for a certain period.
- Rental application - A form that landlords and property managers use to request detailed information from potential tenants. As the name suggests, the application is used to screen for qualified applicants to ensure fairness by providing a standard process for prospective renters.
- Eviction notice - This is an administrative process by which a property owner in the U.S. may legally remove (or seek removal by court order) the tenant from their property. Each state has its specific rules regarding the eviction notice. So remember to take those into account before using a template.
- Pet Policy Agreement - A pet addendum (or pet agreement) to a lease agreement is a legal and binding contract between landlords and tenants. In return, the tenant agrees to be responsible for their pets and any damage caused by these on the landlord's property.
- Rent Payment Agreement - The RPA is a legal document that outlines how the rent will be paid and the amount that should be paid to the landlord on a weekly, monthly, or any other basis. Both parties must sign the RPA before any rent is payable to the landlord and/or occupier. The kind of rent that can be payable and the payment method depend upon the type of tenancy agreement between both parties.
- Security Deposit Payment Agreement - Security deposits are not required by law in every state. Most rental properties — whether small and privately held or large and commercial — ask tenants to sign a security deposit agreement. While mostly refundable after a tenancy, the landlord may use the deposit in the event of damage to the unit or failure of rent payment.
- Termination of Tenancy by Mutual Agreement - Landlords and their tenants can mutually agree to end the lease at any point by using a document called the mutual termination agreement. Once this document is signed, both parties' responsibilities end, as their lease will no longer be valid.
All Things Considered
Being a landlord is not an easy task. It takes time, effort, and dedication, and sometimes it can feel as if one person cannot complete all these responsibilities successfully. Luckily, landlords have many resources to outsource much of that work.
A landlord's job can get much easier by using the right tools, being up to date with the most reliable websites in the industry, and having access to the essential documents regularly required in this job. Fortunately, these are often free and just a few clicks away.
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