The availability and accessibility of innovative property management technology has really improved in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us managing Boston rental properties realized just how critical technology is to the continued operation of our businesses. Thanks to our own investment in good technology, we were able to continue leasing, managing, and maintaining homes even while quarantine orders were in place and in-person showings were impossible.
Our team has always looked for the best and most efficient ways to deliver our services. We embrace new technology that helps us automate our processes and keep costs down for our owners. The software and systems we use contribute to the better management of your investment, whether it’s one rental home or an entire portfolio.
Technology saves us time and it saves you money. We think it’s important to show you exactly what we mean.
Better Communication with Tenants and Owners
Technology makes our communication with owners, tenants, vendors, and other professional partners a lot more streamlined. We’re more accessible and responsive thanks to the tools we use to communicate.
We always welcome phone calls, and we do our best to answer promptly and make return calls when necessary. But, it’s not the only option when someone has a question or a concern. Instead of calling on the phone and waiting to talk to us, we’re more than happy to receive a quick text with a question or read an email that comes in outside of general business hours. It gives us time to organize a response and do whatever research may be necessary to provide the required information.
Our investment in technology has opened the doors for many different methods of communication, and we’re present and available on all of them. We work with a large population of tenants who prefer texts and emails to phone calls or in-person meetings. We use our online system to track and document all correspondence, keeping us organized and compliant with all state, local, and federal laws.
You can even find us on social media.
Our ability to communicate with advanced technology is especially beneficial to our investors who live out of the state or even out of the country. We can respond to questions and get in touch without worrying about time zones, cell signals, and schedules.
Online Portals for Boston Tenants and Owners
Just about everyone is comfortable conducting business online. It’s how we do a lot of our shopping. We even buy groceries online and order food to be delivered. There’s no reason not to adopt online technology when it comes to renting out a home.
Online systems and portals provide more accountability and transparency. We’re able to respond to tenants and owners with questions, and we can provide more information to more people.
One of the most popular technologies we have is an online portal. You shouldn’t work with a Boston property management company that doesn’t offer this basic service. Nearly all reputable property managers are providing tenant and owner portals to conduct basic business.
Our tenants use their portals to pay rent on time, schedule maintenance requests, and send us messages. We are able to collect rent more efficiently, and tenants are less likely to pay late when they can schedule payments in advance or set up recurring withdrawals from their bank accounts. It’s secure and convenient. They don’t have to worry about mailing a paper check and they can even set up reminders so they’re never late. It’s the most popular payment method for our tenants, and it keeps the entire process simple and clear.
Owners also benefit from our portals because you can see all of the accounting associated with your property. You’ll see income and expenses and you can follow maintenance invoices and see when rent was paid. You can also access inspection reports and ask us to run detailed statements or print off tax forms. You can use your portal to see when rent has been paid. You can review correspondence we send to tenants, including renewal offers and rental receipts.
Setting up an online portal is easy and it starts with our team. When you begin working with us or a new tenant is approved for your property, we send out instructions for how to log into the tenant and maintain your account. You can access your portal from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone.
Property Management Technology and Leasing
When it comes to the leasing process, technology is crucial in sharing information and collecting documentation. With more and more tenants preferring a contactless leasing process, we’re able to collect signatures on lease agreements digitally. We’re still available to discuss the lease in detail and to answer any questions, but instead of meeting together in the office, we can share information with tenants and collect all the necessary signatures and supporting documentation.
The benefits of technology in the leasing process are evident long before the lease is signed. It helps us to price your property more accurately and to market it more effectively.
The rental value attached to your property has a huge impact on how long it’s vacant and what types of tenants you attract. You can go online and see what other homes are renting for; sites like Zillow and Zumper might give you a general idea. But, you’ll be far more successful with reliable data that’s based on what properties actually rented for, and not what they were listed for.
Our systems and technology provide that data.
It’s also important to compare prices with homes that are very similar to yours. If you’re renting out a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Boston, you don’t want to waste time looking at rental prices for a three-bedroom home in the suburbs. Technology helps us gather good data and make accurate pricing recommendations.
Marketing your rental property is a lot easier with online advertising and the ability to syndicate your listings across all the most popular rental sites in and around Boston. Our marketing system allows us to post your vacant home on our own website as well as all the sites that potential tenants are using to find their next home.
With technology, we are also more responsive when it comes to scheduling showings and following up with prospective tenants and answering their questions. We make it easy for tenants to see your property on their own schedule. They’re more likely to fill out an application, and our efficient process leads to less vacancy and better tenants.
Documented Screening and Application Processes
The process of screening applicants is far more complex than it once was. It requires a lot of paperwork, a lot of background checking, and strict adherence to laws such as the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Our technology, which is predominately delivered through Appfolio, allows us to reduce risk and liability by staying compliant with all state and federal laws. The screening process requires us to collect a lot of financial and personal information – even on tenants we won’t ultimately approve. Knowing how to proceed is essential, and our property management software keeps everything in compliance.
With an automated, consistent online application process, there’s no danger that one application will be treated differently than another. Our screening process is well-documented and requires us to treat every application equally. It would be very difficult to discriminate for any reason, and that keeps you and your properties fair housing compliant. The online system we use helps us remain objective.
We can screen a lot faster with the tech-driven systems we use. Instead of waiting for a week to find out if they’re approved, most of our tenants hear back from us within a day or two. This gets the entire process moving a lot faster, which is better for you financially and better for your tenants as they make their moving plans.
Efficient Maintenance Requests and Inspection Reports
Tenants use their online portals to submit routine maintenance or repair requests. This allows us to respond quickly and easily. We evaluate the issue, assign the repair to a qualified vendor, and follow up when the work is complete. It also provides a documented list of what occurred during the reporting and repairing process. We have a record of when the request was made and what we did about it.
Inspection reports are much easier to share with our technology. As an owner, you’ll receive detailed reports with photos and videos so you know exactly how your property looks.
Transparent and Accurate Accounting Statements
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of property management technology is the ability to see your money and exactly where it’s going.
Tracking the income and expenses associated with your Boston rental property is a lot easier with good technology. We can provide reports, statements, tax forms, and anything you may need to get an idea of how your investment is performing. Use your online owner’s portal to track maintenance invoices, see if rent has been paid, and check your expenses.
These are just a few of the ways that technology helps us manage your property better. If you’d like to hear more about the work we’re doing on behalf of you and other Boston real estate investors, please contact us at Platinum Realty Group.