We live in a digital age, and let’s face it—there’s almost nothing you can’t do online. The chances are that you shop online, read the news on a mobile app, connect with friends on social media, and stream music. And so, the savvy renter also wants to organize their rent payments, maintenance requests, and sign rental leases online.
But when it comes to running a rental business, many landlords are still using outdated methods. There’s even a section of tenants who still prefer paying rent by check. Even though almost everyone has gone digital, a large part of the rental market is still stuck on paper.
Successful landlords realize the benefits of using digital rental applications. Not only do they make rent collection more manageable, but they also streamline a whole list of other tasks. The more time you can free up, the more you can concentrate on your core business.
If you’re a landlord, why should you think about switching to one of the many rental apps on the market? This article examines the nine reasons why your landlord business should go digital.
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Embracing digital rental apps
There’s an adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So, you may be thinking that your way of running your business has worked for years. And maybe it has. But profitable landlords know the many advantages of using digital solutions to run a rental company.
Also, think about it from the tenant’s perspective. More millennials and Gen Zers are renting than ever before. According to a study by Pew Research, millennials make up the largest majority of the nation’s renters. Additionally, millennials are less likely to own a home than previous generations.
News reports also indicate that millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to use mobile apps for banking, shopping, connecting with friends, ordering a taxi or food.
But what happens when it comes to renting an apartment? They must meet you in person, sign a paper lease agreement, send you a rent check, and call you if something needs fixing. Compared to how these generations conduct their other business, a “paper-based” rental company seems antiquated.
Let’s look at the many benefits to you and your tenants if you use a rental app for managing your rental units.
1. Collecting rent online is easier
Online rent collection is the most significant benefit of using a rental app. The best property management apps allow your tenants to set up automatic rent payments. You can also offer various methods of paying rent—ACH bank transfers, eChecks, debit cards, or credit cards.
The benefit to you as a landlord is that your tenants hardly ever miss a rent payment. Also, because the transaction is digital, the money is in your bank account faster. So, no more checking the mail for rent checks, driving to the bank to deposit them, and waiting for the check to clear. Additionally, the best rental apps also collect security deposits and calculate late fees.
2. Online rental applications and leases
Many digital property management solutions allow tenants to complete applications online. Doing this saves a lot of time because you don’t have to meet the tenant in person to collect the signed application or lease.
This digital copy is more straightforward for tenants to complete, and they make fewer mistakes. Also, the online application can include a tenant screening request—saving you even more time. Another benefit of completing a digital rental application is that information can automatically be included in the lease.
3. Digitally sign documents
Digital documents with an electronic signature are just as legal as a paper copy with an ink signature. eSigning documents saves time, money, and is more convenient than paper leases. The whole process of completing an application and lease can be done in one property management app. Because you have a digital copy, it means you will never lose it.
4. Handle maintenance and repair requests
An advantage of using a rental app to manage properties is that tenants can send repair requests. Using an app for these requests is the No. 1 way to stay on top of maintenance. You can track requests, communicate with tenants, and even connect with contractors.
Additionally, the tenant can send you pictures of the maintenance or repair issue. This puts you in a better position to prioritize the task.
5. List vacancies online with a digital app
Using a digital rental app can make it easier to list vacant properties online. For example, when you know that a property will become empty, you can syndicate the information to rental listing websites. So, you no longer have to spend time manually listing a vacant rental unit on multiple sites. The speed at which you can syndicate the unit’s details means that you usually can fill vacancies faster.
6. Digital apps can accept flexible rent payments
One of the best uses of some rental apps is to accept flexible rent payments. Flex rent is a way of allowing tenants to pay rent in installments during the month. For example, you could arrange for rent collection on the first and 15th. Or, you could work out a payment schedule with individual tenants.
Of course, managing multiple units with varying payment schedules is tricky. But because the digital mobile app takes care of the payments and any late fees, you don’t have to worry about it.
7. Chat messaging makes life easier for tenants and landlords
Instant chat messaging is also a tremendous benefit if you’re running a successful landlord business. No more phone calls from tenants with an issue bothering you at inconvenient times. They can send a direct message through the app, and you can deal with it when you have the time. Or you could assign the task to an employee.
Besides, you also have a permanent record of the chat. Checking chat history is a great way to resolve any misunderstandings about who said what.
But there’s another benefit to chat messaging—you can send instant messages to all your tenants if necessary.
8. Report to credit bureaus
More and more landlords are using rental apps to report rent payments to credit bureaus. There are many benefits of doing this. First, tenants can build their credit history by making on-time payments. Second, you also do a service to the landlord industry. When screening tenants, landlords can check for late payments when getting the credit report.
9. Virtual rental tours
Some digital rental apps allow landlords to offer virtual tours of a rental unit. The tour can include excellent photos and also a video walkthrough. This will enable you to showcase the best features of the unit without taking up too much time.
Additionally, you don’t waste time with potential tenants who may not be serious about the apartment. You could even arrange a live face-to-face video showing and create an interactive experience for the tenant.
There are many benefits of using digital apps to run a successful landlord business. Rental apps are so much more than just collecting rent online. You can provide a top-class service to your tenants. Additionally, property management apps can streamline many of the day-to-day tasks of being a landlord.