Managing rental and investment properties is easier with technology, but it’s not easy choosing which applications to use. There are so many software applications on the market that it’s hard to know which ones are the most helpful. Also, software alone won’t necessarily be enough. If you’re not following certain best practices, you won’t get the full benefits from your technology.
If you’re a property manager using technology to assist with your duties, here are four best practices that will make your efforts more fruitful.
1. Work with a property management company
The easiest way to get the most out of technology is to hand your responsibilities over to a professional property management company. They’ll have all the latest and greatest applications already, and will know what is currently standard in the industry. For instance, they’ll have apps for managing rent payments, applications, tenant issues, and even tracking profitability.
Using property management services will achieve several things:
- You won’t need to figure out what apps to use
- You won’t need to learn new applications
- You won’t have to fuss with logging into multiple software accounts every day
- You won’t have monthly bills for multiple apps
- You won’t have to worry about data privacy – a professional company will have that covered
You’ll pay one easy monthly fee for property management services, and it will be much easier than trying to manage and keep track of a handful of applications.
2. Condense your software applications
If you’re going to manage your own properties, it’s important to condense the number of apps you use. The more apps you need to use, the harder your job will be.
Consolidate your apps by first making a list of all the features you need. Then, make a list of all the apps you currently use and document which features each app provides.
Identify feature overlaps
Look at your list for overlaps. For instance, if you have three apps that have four of the same features, see if you can eliminate all but one and use only the app that has all of those shared features.
Do you really need unique features?
If you use apps with unique features, ask yourself if you really need those features. Are they necessary or just convenient? Convenience is nice but it can come at a price. For instance, if your apps aren’t connected by a single database, you’ll be dealing with two separate databases.
If an app with a convenient feature requires copying over large amounts of information from other apps on a regular basis, it may not be worth keeping. You don’t want to have to update multiple apps when information changes or you may forget to make updates in every database.
Identify missing features
Check your feature list to see what features aren’t supported by your existing apps. This will tell you what to look for in additional apps. However, your best bet will be to look for a single app that offers all the features you need.
3. Do not pay for software you can get for free
You can find paid software to perform just about any task, but there are also free options floating around. If you can get free software to meet your needs, make that your first choice. However, free software isn’t always better than paid.
For example, most free applications are extremely basic and sometimes don’t come with support. If you need support and more than basic features, go with the paid app. However, if your needs are simple and you don’t need support for certain features, you’ll be fine using the free application.
4. Do not use software when it is not needed
Software is great, but it’s not always needed. It’s easy to complicate things by using an application when it’s not necessary. For instance, some people can’t live without receipt tracking software, but if you don’t have many receipts to track, it’s cumbersome to scan everything and verify each entry.
Make sure every app you use is needed. Does it make your life easier? Does it free up your time? Does it help you access information more easily? If so, keep using that application. If not, consider ditching the app.
Use technology to your advantage
No matter what apps you use to manage your properties, use technology to your advantage whenever possible. If you’re still collecting rent manually, start using software to accept rent payments online. Little by little, technology can help you better manage your properties.