Remote Property Management
As a property manager, it can be stressful trying to stay on top of everything when you're managing properties remotely. I used to constantly worry that things were falling through the cracks whenever I stepped away from the office. But with the right systems and software, you can feel fully in control no matter where you are.
Let me share my own journey to finding the solutions that gave me peace of mind.
My Early Struggles with Remote Property Management
When I first started my property management company, I had no systems for managing my rental portfolio remotely. I tried using spreadsheets and paper files, but it was impossible to get a clear picture of what was happening day-to-day when I was out meeting contractors or touring properties.
I'd come back to chaos in my office – expired leases I didn't know about, maintenance requests that fell through the cracks, and vendors were difficult to manage. I was stressed out and overwhelmed, feeling like I was failing my tenants and my clients.
BiggerPockets says, "You may think you can be your own Property Manager (PM), but it’s worth taking the time to find the right PM. Otherwise, you may spend as much time managing your property manager as you would managing your property. The PM is arguably the most important person on an investment team. Without one, it’s incredibly difficult to scale a real estate investing business."
The Turning Point – Adopting Property Management Software
When tenants had issues in one of my properties while I was on vacation, I realized I couldn't keep managing my business through voicemails and texts. When I returned, I started researching property management software and management companies.
I implemented a software system called Stessa and some additional software that centralized all my rental data – tenant info, lease terms, maintenance requests, and accounting – into one secure dashboard I could access from my phone or laptop. I also realized that employing a professional management firm made sense. The software synced with my bank account and billing software so that I had financial oversight no matter where I was.
The software took a bit of learning, but after I got it set up properly for my business, it was a total game changer.
Achieving True Peace of Mind
With Stessa keeping me connected to what was happening across my entire portfolio, I finally achieved true peace of mind.
Now, when an emergency happens, I have full visibility. I can pull up a unit, access all the critical info, and take action. My tenants, vendors, and owners can reach me through the portal, and I can coordinate the next steps quickly.
I can also better prevent issues before they occur by keeping tabs on critical dates like lease expirations, inspection reminders, tenant screening updates, etc. The system sends me alerts, helping me stay several steps ahead.
Key Benefits That Gave Me Control
Here are just a few of the ways that switching to software transformed my ability to manage my business remotely:
I can instantly access data on all my properties and units no matter where I am – vacancy status, tenant details, maintenance needs, financial snapshots, lease expirations, and more.
Improved tenant experience
Tenants can easily submit maintenance requests and payments through an online portal 24/7. Issues never fall through the cracks.
The software automates tedious manual tasks like sending late notices, tracking work orders, reconciling bank feeds, generating tenant statements, enforcing tenant policies, and more.
Secure cloud access
I can manage business functions from my smartphone or laptop through a secure encrypted portal since all the data lives in the cloud.
I receive alerts on important events like new applicant inquiries, maintenance requests, and overdue payments/fines so I can take timely action.
I can generate real-time reports on all aspects of my business – financial snapshots, tenant/unit status, maintenance costs, lease tracking, and more to identify issues and opportunities. This will help when tax time rolls around, and you must create accurate reporting.
Making the Switch: What to Look For
If the headaches of remote property management sound familiar, it's probably time to look into leasing software or property management for your business. They understand and deal with the common headaches of managing property, from raising rents legally to screening and managing tenants. Here are some key features to look for in a software solution:
- Cloud-based access
- Mobile Optimization
- Centralized tenant/ unit data
- Online portals for tenants, vendors, owners
- Configurable workflows like tenant onboarding, maintenance requests, etc.
- Accounting automation
- Robust reporting capabilities
- Customizable features to suit your specific business needs
The right software should adapt to your unique workflows and needs while providing complete visibility and oversight 24/7. It's a game changer for managing properties remotely.
Take Control Today
If “out of sight, out of mind” describes your current rental business, it's time to change that by leveraging property management software. Regain peace of mind, improve efficiencies, delight tenants, and position your business for scalability.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I'm happy to provide guidance about the solutions that helped me turn the corner. You don't have to let your rental portfolio become a black box when you leave. The right tools will help you maintain control and oversight wherever you are.
With the right property management software as your foundation, you can manage every aspect of your rental portfolio with complete visibility and control, no matter where business takes you. Key capabilities like centralized data, configurable workflows, real-time notifications and reporting, and mobile access are must-haves.
Implementing software removes the chaotic feeling of “flying blind” as you balance onsite and offsite management. You (and your clients) can rest assured that nothing is falling through the cracks. It's the best investment you can make to operate an efficiently run, transparent, and scalable rental business from anywhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the risks of managing my property's “old school”?
Relying on paper files, spreadsheets, and basic software while trying to manage your business remotely can quickly lead to chaos – important lease dates or maintenance requests get missed, financial data is scattered, or out of date, vendors and tenants don't get paid on time. You end up scrambling to triage issues that software could have helped prevent.
What maintenance features should I look for?
Look for a system that includes online portals where tenants can submit requests 24/7 and upload photos. It should automatically notify you and any designated maintenance staff while tracking the status through completion. It should also generate any associated charges or fees and add them to the tenant's account.
How can software help me with leasing/tenant management?
You want a centralized system that includes tenant screening, e-signatures for paperwork, automated policy enforcement, a tenant portal for payments/requests, and robust reporting on critical dates like lease expirations. This prevents tenants from falling through the cracks and gives you a snapshot of your entire tenant base.
What accounting automation features are most important?
Key features include syncing with bank/credit card feeds to track income and expenses in real-time, automated reconciliation, generation of financial statements and custom reports, reminders/tracking for owner distributions, and the ability to accept and track different payment types like ACH and credit cards from an integrated payment processor.
What factors should I consider when choosing software for my business?
Look at the size of your operation, types of properties, business workflows and procedures, special requirements like franchise affiliation, accounting needs, budget, tech-savviness of your team, and scalability goals. Make sure the software has the features, integrations, and customizations to align to your current and future needs as well as the level of support and training to ensure successful adoption. Trying before you buy is wise to confirm it's an ideal fit.