From Listing to End of Lease: How Landlords Can Do Everything Electronically

The life of a landlord once involved doing everything in person. From putting up "For Rent" signs to speaking with contractors, handling property management was a time-consuming process. While being a landlord still requires a ton of work, almost everything can now be done electronically. In fact, using just the following tools can simplify a property manager's work immensely.

Listing the Property
The first part of renting out a property involves getting the home or apartment on the market. Fortunately, this can all be done online or with smartphone apps. Many landlords now quickly list their properties on websites such as Craigslist and Realtor. This ensures that anyone, from life-long locals to individuals across the country, can easily find a listed property.
It's not only websites, though, that can make listing properties easier. Some smartphone apps allow landlords to list their properties right from their mobile device. While "For Rent" signs are still a good choice, these technologies undoubtedly increase the likelihood of a property getting rented quickly.

Tenant Relations
Property management software is also available that can simplify, and even automate, certain aspects of tenant relations. Some property management programs will perform credit and criminal background checks for all prospective tenants. Many also make finding appropriate legal documents a cinch.
On top of this, some of these programs also allow for online rental payments. By making these tasks electronic, it saves property managers a wealth of time filling out paperwork and making repeat visits to the bank.

Handling Property Issues
One of the few things guaranteed in the life of a landlord is that things will go wrong at a property. Whether it's the usual wear and tear that appliances in a home experience or a plumbing issue caused by a tenant's child flushing down a pillow case, there are times when work orders must be called in.
Amazingly enough, though, even this process can now be handled electronically. Many contractors allow individuals to place work orders directly on their websites, but some property management softwares  also allow this to be done via one's smartphone.

Closing Out the Property
There will come a time when every tenant, unless rent-to-own options are made available, will move on to a new home. There are a variety of issues that every landlord will have to handle at this point, but one of the most important will be the property inspection. Amazingly enough, even this essential process has been made easy by new technology.
There are at least two apps, SnapInspect and Happy Inspector, which make the process of property inspection as simple as possible. Both provide industry-standard checklists which make recording problems, or the lack thereof, as simple as clicking on the screen of a smartphone. They also allow for in-app picture taking. SnapInspect even offers video capabilities.
Once an inspection is complete, the apps will gather all of the provided information in a useful and visually-appealing report. For those who manage several properties, the apps will keep each unit separate, and once an inspection is done, the apps can be used to send the inspection forms right back to the office.
Continuously evolving technology has changed the world for most individuals, and this holds true for landlords and property managers as well. There's no doubt that some aspects of managing a property, such as showing it to potential tenants, are still best left for face-to-face interactions. When it comes to the majority of landlord duties, however, it never hurts to take advantage of newer technologies.

POSTED March 30 2015 12:05 PM

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