In today’s digital climate, many real estate solutions are possible that weren’t prior to computers.
This includes managing a rental business remotely.
With digital management tools and technology upgrades, it is entirely possible to maintain a successful rental business without being physically present on your properties.
This may mean hiring team members to be on the ground with your properties, but it doesn’t have to. Although your team members can perform inspections or field tenant questions, they can’t give you the interactive experience you need with your rentals and tenants.
Technology can help you sustain an immersive presence in your rentals while living and working hundreds or thousands of miles away.
If you’re looking to manage your rental business remotely, here’s what you’ll need to get started.
Property Management Software
The first thing you’ll need to manage your business remotely is property management software. Property management software is your central hub for managing all aspects of your business, including rent collection, screening, maintenance, and more. Here are some key features you’ll need before attempting remote management.
Online Rent Collection
Online rent collection is essential for any landlord, regardless of whether you’re managing your business remotely. This feature allows tenants to make payments via credit, debit, or ACH transfer instead of the traditional cash and check methods.
Online rent collection is especially important when you’re managing remotely. You don’t want to risk rent payments getting lost in the mail over long distances, and tenants certainly won’t appreciate that risk either.
Instead, use a feature that facilitates convenient payments and automatic record generation.
Communication is also critical when you’re far away from your properties. If you don’t communicate effectively with your tenants, they could feel neglected or disconnected and may break your rules or fail to renew their lease.
Instead, use the chat feature on your property management software platform. This feature is a central hub for all your conversations with tenants, so you’ll never lose a message or piece of information.
In supplement to traditional phone or video calls, the chat feature is the next best substitute for face-to-face conversations.
Maintenance Management Tool
You’ll also need a top maintenance management tool to manage your business remotely. When you’re not in-person at your properties, you can’t observe and evaluate problems or check that they’re functioning properly.
Even if you’ve hired a team member to be on the ground at your rentals, you still can’t see the maintenance problems you’ll be spending lots of money on with your own eyes.
A maintenance management tool allows tenants to submit pictures and videos of the problem, so you always know exactly what’s going on. You can also track the progress of any repairs and monitor the status of various projects.
Virtual Tours and Inspections
Besides property management software, you’ll also need some sort of virtual tour and inspection infrastructure. While some landlords find pre-recorded or digital 3D tours to be effective, many applicants will want to ask you questions specifically.
If you establish practices for virtual tours, prospective tenants will get to view the property and speak with you at the same time. You can utilize virtual tours even if you also offer in-person tours with a team member at your properties.
For an effective virtual tour, choose a versatile platform like Zoom. Also, incorporate time for Q & A, and let prospective tenants lead tours as much as possible.
These tips are equally applicable for virtual inspections. While it’s best to have someone at the property for these, you can always have tenants video-call you to ensure amenities and utilities are in proper working order.
Smart Home Technology
A final necessity for remote landlords is smart home technology, especially smart security. Smart locks are Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled and allow you or your tenants to lock doors from your smart device, anywhere you happen to be.
Smart locks and video cameras allow you to keep an eye on the premises as well as any shared spaces to monitor for suspicious activity. They also help deter porch pirates and generally make tenants feel safer in their units.
In some cases, smart home technology can be integrated with your property management software. If you’re interested, check out Appfolio’s integration with SmartRent, a smart home tech company.
Master Remote Rental Management
Despite its unique challenges, remote rental management is possible. If you use the digital tools outlined above, it can even be just as effective as in-person management. Embrace rental technology advances and you can productively manage your business, no matter where you are.
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