Thoughts on the Tellus app?

18 Replies

Hey BP! I have been looking for a good system for getting rent money and sending bills to tenants. I came across the Tellus app and was wonder what the communities thoughts were about it.

It seems like it would be pretty nice to use, but I'm guessing some of you have used it before and have some thoughts about it from both the tenant and owner prospective.

@Chance Stein I've been using Tellus for my properties for a while and loving all their features! At the beginning, they help post my property listing on 16 websites and offer free tenant screening reports, which is very comprehensive and thorough. After my tenants got on board, I started using the rent collection feature which charges no fee and other financial tracking features they offer. My tenants pay rent on time each month as the app will send them reminder before payday comes and I can use home chat feature when they have any issues. Both my tenants and I are saving time on rental issues by using all their cool features!  

Promotion
BiggerPockets
The one-stop-shop for REI
Find Local Home Improvement Pros!
Check out our network of trusted, local contractors for all of your home improvement projects.
Find a Contractor

One of the things I'm curious about is the property listing feature.  It seems like it posts to all of the major platforms (Zillow, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, etc).  How easy is it to use, and how do the listings look?  Do all of the responses redirect back to Tellus?  I'll be doing my first listing soon and I want to make sure I don't make a rookie mistake.

@Chance Stein , I'm a user. So is my mom and husband, we use it to co-manage rentals which is probably my favorite aspect (the ability to support multiple users/roles). You can set co-owners and property managers and manage the homes together -- sort of like Google Docs for rentals. My mom can go to Home Depot to rekey something, then take a photo of that receipt and attach it to one of my rentals and I can see it on my dashboard and financial reports. 

My tenants have been happy with it. Some of them turn on AutoPay when they pay rent which I prefer, and some prefer to pay by tapping the payment button each month. For those users the rent notifications are helpful and I also get a notification when someone is late. I haven't used the late fee feature but I know it's there. Also you can refuse partial payments and have a different bank account per property.

The financial reports are good and professional. I can download the PDF's and it slices the finances by property or unit and also includes photos of the receipts, it did save me time during tax season this year. I have not used the listing and screening features yet. I had asked them for a sample screening report and it looked more comprehensive than what I used in the past. The listing feature shows a bunch of all the top rental sites so I will definetly give it a try the next time I have a vacancy. 

The other feature I use a lot is the chat. I used to manage things by email but one of my tenants started texting and adding me on Whatsapp etc. and it just became a mess to communicate with her and her husband especially when trying to coordinate a repair. Sometimes they'd email my husband instead of me, sometimes they don't use the same email thread, etc. Now I just type the messages in the chat part of Tellus and everyone who is part of that lease can see the message and chat history and I also have a record of what was said with read receipts. I haven't had particularly bad tenant experiences yet (knock on wood!) but I appreciate having easily accessible records of past communication. 

Some things I hope they'll address. In addition to letting you input existing lease details they also have a digital lease template where you can just sign it online. But their current lease template doesn't cover all 50 states yet. I asked their customer service about it and they said it'll come soon but I don't know when. By the way the customer service is good too. It's nice to talk to a human instead of a bot! 

Overall I really like it, it's modern (which I care about for tenants) and saves me time and stress. Plus it's free with no maximum units so it can grow as you grow your portfolio! 

Just started using the tellus app as well.  I chose it for it's features but we've run into a couple of quirks.  I notified their support and they were pretty responsive.  We'll see if my issue gets ironed out.

@Doug M. I think our issue might have been a combination of timing and how we're managing the single property I have.  Tellus gives you the option of adding a bank account to route all of your payments through or have the payment converted to tellus cash, which you can then transfer to your bank account.  We have 3 people managing the property with the ability to take payments.  My property manager had accepted the payment (which I as the owner did not get a notification that payment was made) and at the time the bank account had not been set up yet.  I think what needs to happen is that all management parties need to have the bank account set up in the app or have a bank account set up prior to taking a payment so that all payments route through the bank account.


I had to engage tellus support and they were able to fix the problem and payments finally cleared today (about 7 business days).  While the tellus support was pretty attentive, it seems as though I had a different person every time with different answers.  Eventually my case got elevated and taken care of, I just wish there was a little bit more transparency on what was going on with the payments.  Overall not terrible but a little bit more information would be helpful and then I can make sure I know what's going on if I had to explain the issue with payments to the tenant.

TL;DR - Set up bank account first before accepting first payment, support is pretty fast and eventually solved my problem of having payment in limbo.

Have y'all spoken to anyone abut the terms of service?  There's a clause that states they get to take every contact in your phone.  That seems sleezy to me...

6. You provide us the phone numbers of Tellus users and your other contacts in your mobile phone address book on a regular basis. You confirm you are authorized to provide us such numbers to allow us to provide our Services.