Self-managing your rental properties has its disadvantages, mainly that it can be time-consuming. However, it’s also one of the best ways to minimize overheads, increase cash flow and grow your business. With your finger on the pulse, you can accurately track the performance of your portfolio and identify weaknesses and opportunities for growth.
Thankfully, there are numerous tools on the market designed to help you establish and manage a professional operation and minimize the time input required. Below we’ve assembled a list of top tools to help you run your rental property business.
Set the rent amount
In order to ensure your rentals operate at a profit, you need to ensure you are charging enough in rent. However, you can’t simply charge what you want. Charge too much and you’ll put off prospective renters who will look elsewhere for better rent rates (leading to high vacancy rates). Instead, you need to determine a fair market rate through market research and price comparisons.
This can be done manually by researching similar rentals on a site like Zillow or Zumper. Or you can employ tools like Rentometer or Rentrange to quickly get a market report so that you can make decisions fast and save time.
Find great tenants
Vacancies that drag on can become costly, to find great tenants as fast as possible, you will want to get your property listing in front of as many people as possible. The most effective way to do this is to use online rental listings platforms such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Zillow, and Hotpads.
Each of these sites gets tens of thousands of views a day or more and by syndicating across each platform you are sure to get a high number of inquiries and fill your vacancy fast. You can also create a rental listing with Landlord Studio which enables you to easily prescreen and manage all your applicants in one place.
Run tenant screenings
After you’ve shown the property, collected and prescreened applicants you need to narrow down your choices and ensure that the tenants you do select are suitable. To do this is advisable to run a tenant screening report on your top candidates. Tenant screening reports allow you to check your tenant’s credit, income, and criminal, eviction, and rental history.
Ultimately you want to determine that the applicants can and will pay rent on time and in full every month. Landlord Studio has a tenant screening service built into the software. Get a full SmartMove tenant screening report with a credit check, criminal background check, rental history, and more.
Digital lease signing
As we adopt more digital technology into our day-to-day lives to save time and reduce unnecessary in-person interaction, especially in the light of the recent pandemic, digital document signing has become increasingly popular.
Once you’ve settled on a tenant, simply email them the lease, have them sign them digitally, and send it back. There are numerous tools for digital document signing such as HelloSign and Adobe Acrobat, both of which have limited free versions.
Collect and manage rent
If you want to grow your rental business you need to ensure that you have an effective and efficient way to collect the rent. The time for cash and check rent payments has passed. Instead, it’s time to explore online rent collection tools. Landlord Studio, for example, allows tenants to view upcoming and historical payments and set up recurring payments. Payments are deposited directly into your bank account and automatically tracked. Online rent collection makes it easier for both landlords and tenants and dramatically reduces the chance of missed or late rent payments.
Track rental property income and expenses
It’s important to keep meticulous records of your income and expenses for each of your rental properties throughout the tax year. However, traditionally, this has been complex and required extensive spreadsheets and time-consuming admin work at the end of each month.
With a financial tracking tool like Landlord Studio, however, this is no longer the case. With Landlord Studio you can manage your finances from any device, connect your bank accounts to view and reconcile transactions in real-time, digitize receipts at the point of sale, and even automate income tracking.
Landlording requires a commitment of time, and it can be quite daunting, especially for newer landlords. However, it is one of the best and most assured ways to build wealth. For individuals with small to mid-sized portfolios, it makes a great deal of sense to self-manage the day-to-day running of your properties. It allows you to cut costs and with the right tools, you can gain detailed and nuanced insights into the performance of your portfolio. This makes it not only possible to self-manage your properties but to do so efficiently and professionally. The rental management tools outlined above are just a few of the key solutions that landlords are using already to save time and minimize overheads to create a cash flow positive business they can rely on.