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Tellus Property Management App: BiggerPockets Review

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Tellus is best suited for beginning or smaller-scale property investors who spend a lot of time on mobile and want to see what a designated property manager app can do for them without having to build their entire business first.

Tellus is a mobile app available for both iOS and Android. The app has three main prongs: Invest, Save, and Manage. The Invest and Save functions offer high-yield cash accounts, investment options, and loan applications. For purposes of this review, we’re going to focus on the Manage system. 


Quick facts

LISTINGS
Create a listing for vacant properties within Tellus and the app will push it to 16 rental listing sites, including Zillow and Trulia.

SCREENING
Once tenants have applied, Tellus offers screening paid for by the tenant—via a partnership via Naborly—generating a report that includes background checks, rental and eviction history, credit reports, criminal records, and employment and ID verification.

RENT COLLECTION
After you’ve obtained a tenant, Tellus can collect rent via ACH. There are options for autopay and rent splitting between roommates on the tenant end, and the ability to block incomplete payments and designate different bank accounts for different properties on the landlord end. 

NOTIFICATIONS
You can have multiple admin users on your account and set up notifications for things like rent reminders or late payments.

EXPENSE TRACKING
An expense-tracking feature allows users to take photos of receipts and upload them to cloud storage while also integrating them into expenses calculations.

REPORTS
Tellus can also generate financial reports and work orders—which tenants can also contribute by submitting maintenance requests. Since it is mobile, you do have to review the reports on your phone or send yourself the PDF files. The reports can present expenses by property or unit and include receipt photos uploaded into the app.

CO-MANAGEMENT
Forum user Connie Chan refers to its co-managing capabilities as “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.”

IN-APP CHAT
There’s also a chat function for documented discussions with tenants, property managers, and work providers, with the ability to create multiple separate group chats. Chan also recommends the chat feature, saying, “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 appreciate having easily accessible records of past communication.”


Pricing

Tellus is almost completely free. There are no fees associated with use and no separate paid tiers. The only aspect of the system that requires an additional payment is the tenant screening service, which is paid for by the tenant.





PROS

  • Did we mention it’s free?
  • Can have multiple users.
  • No unit minimum.
  • Forum users like the ability for tenants to set up autopay for rent.
  • Mobile interface means you can access it anywhere.
  • Customer service receives praise in forums, and newer software usually means faster changes and adaptations.

CONS

  • Since it’s relatively new, forum users are reporting that the software is still on the buggy side.
  • Forum users have reported some frustrations with the interface.
  • To maximize the features, your tenants also need to download and use the app, which may be an issue for lower-income, older, or less tech-savvy tenants.
  • One forum user raised some concerns about their terms of service requiring access to your phone contacts.


Tellus and real estate investors

With no initial cost outlay or unit minimum required, Tellus is definitely beginner-friendly. The interface appears to be fairly user-friendly and most of what it handles is fairly basic property owner material. 

One of the biggest components of using Tellus is the mobile interface. There is no desktop solution for the software, so users need to be comfortable (and ideally even prefer) using mobile. That does mean users on both ends—if you want to get the most of the app’s features, your tenants will also need to be on it. If your tenants don’t have or just prefer not to spend much time on smartphones, you won’t get full benefits, though you will still be able to use the app for your end of the business. 

It doesn’t dig too deeply into accounting, automation, and reports generation, so if you want to really get under the hood, it may not be the solution for you. Most of the input is also manual, so if you’re dealing with a large portfolio it may become time-consuming and not have as many functions as you’d like.



Tellus not for you? Read more property management reviews.



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