Managing Rental Properties in the Digital Age

managing rental propertiesTechnology has changed the way every industry does business. And managing rental properties is no different—especially when it comes to working with Millennials, who want to be able to search properties, learn a great deal about them, and schedule a viewing all from their smartphones. If you’ve been managing rental properties for a while, no doubt you’ve noticed the change. And hopefully, you’ve adapted.

If you’re new to the property management industry, keep the following in mind to help you succeed as a property manager in the digital age.

Quicker is almost always better when managing rental properties

Technology makes everything move so much faster, and you have to keep up. People want instant gratification. You can’t let those emails about a property issue linger in your inbox or force people to wait too long to receive a response to an online inquiry. It’s just the way it is. If you want to keep property owners, tenants, and potential renters happy, you need to be quick—quick to respond, quick to act, and quick to resolve issues.

Make sure, however, that you are using technology well. Not doing so can actually do more harm than good.

Pretty much everything can—and should—be done online

While you will absolutely spend your fair share of time on the phone and out in the field, you must be comfortable communicating via email, text, and even instant messaging. For some old-school folks who place a premium on in-person and phone conversations, this adjustment can be hard. But it’s necessary.

You’ll also need to test, download, and learn new software applications that make managing rental properties easier and more efficient for you, your clients, and the tenants. For the most part, that is a huge plus and a change you shouldn’t resist.

Take, for instance, the process for conducting background checks and screenings. In the past, it was time-consuming and inefficient, and too many bad tenants slipped through because of faulty practices. Now, literally with the click of a button, you can evaluate credit reports, criminal background checks, employment documentation, and more. This allows you to make better decisions about the tenants you let into the property. (Find out more about keeping the good tenants you have.)

And the software options don’t stop with screening. A program exists for just about every function you need to cover, including marketing properties, receiving online applications, collecting rent, sending late fee notifications, processing payments, and more. Look for user-friendly programs and apps that will make your job easier and bring value to your customers.

You can’t feed today’s renters enough information

People today want 24/7 access to information on properties. So when managing rental properties, be prepared to become an encyclopedia of information on those properties. Take a copywriting class so that you can write detailed copy that sells. Learn to take and post outstanding digital photos and 360° videos so potential renters see a full view of the property. Learn all about the neighborhood and units so that you can talk knowledgeably about them. Take full advantage of the MLS listing—using all the features, bells, and whistles—so that you can capture prospective renters’ attention and encourage them to schedule a showing.

Mix old-school and new-school marketing methods

You can still rely on word-of-mouth marketing and traditional advertising, such as newspaper ads, to a point. But you also need to market for today’s tech-savvy client. Post ads on local and national MLS listing sites, and tap the power of social media. Remember, it’s wise to not just focus on the local market. You also want to make sure your listing can be found by people who are relocating from across the country.

Learn more about managing rental properties

There is a whole new generation of renters who are changing how you play the game. To learn more about managing rental properties, take our online course on Property Management – The Next Generation.

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