When it comes to high-tech industries, real estate investing and landlording probably don’t come to the top of your mind. But if you peek behind the curtain, you’ll discover that there are plenty of tools, gadgets, and advanced technology being used in this space. As a landlord, adopting them into your own systems and processes can transform the way you manage your own properties.
6 Ways to Automate Your Landlording Duties
Automating doesn’t mean getting lazy or letting things slide. It means streamlining time-consuming and mundane tasks so that you can focus on the important duties that require personal input. It’s about managing your time well, in order that you can create a scalable business that’s more efficient and profitable.
Whether you have one property or an entire portfolio, you’ll find many or all of these automation options useful:
1. Use Online Rent Collection
Kiss the days of collecting rent in-person or by mail goodbye. These inefficient methods of rent collection – which are prone to abuse – are no longer considered a best practice. Instead, we recommend using an online rent collection platform that allows you to process payments safely and instantaneously through the cloud.
In addition to standalone rent collection platforms, many leading rental property management companies will offer online rent collection portals as part of their services. Be sure to inquire about this when vetting companies.
2. Try an Online Rent Calculator
Your real estate investing success is dependent on cash flow. A positive monthly cash flow indicates you’re making money, while a negative monthly cash flow means you’re losing money. And one of the most important elements in the cash flow equation is revenue – i.e. rent. Thus, setting the proper rent is integral to your success.
While you should always use multiple methods when calculating rent, one of the best places to start is with an online tool like Rentomter. This free tool lets you plug in any address and instantly get a recommended rental rate based on the property type, number of bedrooms, number of baths, and other current listings in your area.
3. Join an Online Community
There’s more information available online than ever before. But you have to be intentional about where you spend your time and attention. One of the best options is to join an online community – such as an active message board or Facebook group – and participate in the discussions there. You’ll learn a lot more by interacting with people who are on the front lines than by reading books that are several years old. (Though there’s a time and place for both.)
4. Use Templates
There’s no reason to continually draft up your own legal documents and agreements when you can find valid and proven templates online. Many services offer things like rental applications, lease agreements, and eviction notices that can be customized to fit your needs. This is a scalable way to protect yourself without having to consult with a real estate attorney every time there’s a change with one of your properties.
5. Screen Tenants Online
Did you know that you can conduct much of the tenant screening process online? From running credit reports to browsing an applicant’s social media profiles, there’s a lot of information that can be gleaned directly from an internet browser. You’ll want to supplement this information with other types of verification, but this is a good place to start.
6. Stay Organized With the Cloud
It’s time to upgrade your document storage system and move physical documents into the cloud. With cloud drives – like Google Drive and Box – you can store every lease agreement, property tax receipt, and loan document in a safe and accessible location where you can access it on-demand. Many of these platforms are free – so there’s no reason to continue putting this transition off any longer.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Your time is your most precious asset. It’s the only thing that you can’t create more of. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. Automation allows you to streamline otherwise time-consuming processes and reclaim hours of your time. This time can then be leveraged to invest in more properties, start additional businesses, attend to your health, spend time with family, or anything else you deem valuable.