Not long ago—probably within just the past five years—the business of managing single family rental properties reached a critical tipping point. Until then, being a great manager had to do with experience, intuition, market knowledge, attention to detail, people skills and financial savvy.
And while all these are still crucial, one element of success has steadily risen to the point where it now commands the top spot: the software you choose to run your business.
Why? Because no amount of industriousness and professionalism can match the near-miraculous things today’s software brings to many of the practices and processes at the center of managing properties. From marketing and leasing, to resident management and financial transactions, to inspections, maintenance and beyond.
Today, it takes a combination of human skills and superb software to stay on top of your game and gain an edge over those competing for new business.
More leads, more leases
Over 75% of renters begin their search for a home online. This means you need a systematic way to ensure your properties appear on as many websites, listing services and search engines as possible, with accurate and up-to-date information. Today’s software automates the entire process for you, automatically posting ads to the top Internet Listing Services, Craigslist, Facebook and other important marketing venues. This helps renters find you first and access accurate information about pricing and availability.
Websites that work harder
At the core of your marketing is your website, and a “DIY” approach won’t cut it any longer. Today, experienced designers can help you add the calls-to-action, design elements and offers that are field-proven to convert better. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) experts can aid in in getting more prospects to your site and filling your vacancies faster.
Making every lead count
Every prospect should be automatically fed into your lead stream, then followed from lead to lease—so nobody falls through the cracks. New software also lets you easily determine the return-on-investment of your marketing campaigns, so you can re-allocate resources to the most cost-effective activities.
Reducing risk through superior screening
Most managers have recognized the huge advantage of online applicant screening services and chosen one or another. But they’re not all created equal. Propertyware screening, for example, taps into the largest online criminal and sex offender databases available. And it taps into the only national rental payment history record, the best indicator of whether someone will pay their rent or not. A single report combines credit, criminal, eviction, income and rental payment history. You can easily customize approval criteria to your standards.
Management made easy
Good software streamlines and automates tasks that occupy a large part of your staff’s day right now—saving them precious hours they can devote towards more productive activities, like leasing and customer service. Tenant and owner self-service features not only provide convenience, but save your people even more time.
The power of portals
Solutions that include a tenant portal let your tenants pay rent, submit service requests and communicate with your staff online—not only more convenient for them, but for your people as well. Built-in letters, templates, notices and alerts make communication easy. And dedicated owner portals allow them to view owner statements and reports, as well as make deposits and payments online.
Accounting, your way
For accounting, it pays to use software that was designed from the ground up for rental property management rather than a broad accounting solution. It should support fee management rules, cash/accrual accounting and other unique aspects of the business, while providing a clear audit trail, real-time data and detailed records for compliance.
Inspections take place at your properties, not at your office. That’s why you need a mobile inspection app that puts everything your people need at their fingertips, on their mobile devices. Mobile apps sync with the desktop software, so everything is updated and available in one place: checklists, documentation, reports, photos and more.
Reports: the measure of your success
In addition to standard reports, you should be able to easily generate custom reports with the real-time information you need for effective and profitable decision-making. Owners should be able to get the information they need, too—without placing a burden on management staff to pull it together.
The reporting module should be able to extract information from every important aspect of your business: vacancies, collections, maintenance, marketing and beyond. Make sure you can specify exactly what data you want to see, presented the way you want it. These reports will help you ensure you’re running a tight ship, and alert you to areas that need attention.
The vitals, at a glance
The best software features customizable dashboards that let managers and owners view the data most important to them in an easy-to-read graphic format. The information most critical to their responsibilities and concerns should be conveniently arranged on one screen. And it should be easy to drill down for more detail.
The Cloud advantage
Cloud-based rental property management software features lower cost-of-ownership, since the software is hosted and maintained for you. It provides anytime, anywhere access, and should include a fully mobile version with features such as mobile leasing and mobile inspections for your people on the go.
We’ve listed some of the most important features to look for in the software you use to manage your properties. If you’re not reaping their benefits, be sure to talk to your Propertyware representative about addressing these areas of your business. Good managers will always be of critical importance in managing single family properties. But today, good software is just as crucial.