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How do you classify yourself as a landlord or real estate investor? Are you a rookie emerging on the scene? Do you identify as an independent or small landlord? Or are you perhaps a property manager with a few rentals under your belt?
How you see yourself in relation to the real estate world can depend largely on how others like you classify themselves. And this can include anywhere from a mom-and-pop landlord to a large multifamily corporation. However, with the advent of modern technology, there’s a new type of landlord on the scene — the digital landlord.
Previously being a real estate investor or landlord came with a lot of manual tasks. Things like collecting rent, sorting through paper applications, and even navigating maintenance issues were time-consuming and tedious. But with technological advances in the real estate landscape, tech is transforming historically manual pain points of the renting process into seamless, simple, and digital.
What Is A Digital Landlord?
A digital landlord is someone who uses technology to manage their properties. This can include anything from property management software to keyless tech to remote security measures.
Now, you might not even consider yourself a digital landlord, but I bet if you look around and examine your business operations, you’re more tech efficient than you think.
For example, most of us use spreadsheets of some kind to track and organize certain aspects of managing rentals. This can be anything from noting who’s paid rent and for what property, which leases are ending soon, who’s completed an application, and accounting.
So, even something as simple as a spreadsheet indicates that you’re likely more of a digital landlord than you might initially think. After all, even using your phone to check a text from a tenant can start to create this image of what a digital landlord is and how it can help define your business.
How Is Tech Creating Digital Landlords?
Tech is creating digital landlords with a wide range of offerings (everything from automated rent collection to accounting software) and use cases (landlords communicating with tenants or tenants electronically submitting rent payments) for landlords and real estate investors to adopt.
As widespread as digital technology is these days, it’s almost impossible not to be a digital landlord to some degree. As noted earlier, even using your phone or a spreadsheet has its technological advantages. These mechanisms make calculating, communications, and management easier with the tech they offer. It would be a different story just 10-15 years ago! Most communications likely weren’t done on a cellphone yet, and you might still have been using paper and pen to track rent payments!
However, the increase in technology has almost inadvertently created a digital landlord. After all, isn’t it much easier to get ahold of a tenant or teammate with email and text messages than it is trying to track someone down or pinpoint a mutually available time to meet? Firing off a quick text can easily resolve negotiating meeting times and efficiently communicates a message.
You can even get ideas or research the tech other real estate investors are using on TikTok! Yes, that’s right. Even social media apps where investors are offering content can be a great addition to your tech toolbelt and bring you one step closer to being a digital landlord.
In addition to phones, spreadsheets, and TikTok, property management software has increasingly become a way for digital landlords to manage their properties.
What Features To Look For In Digital Real Estate?
Property management software offers a lot of features that can make the digital landlord feel like managing investment properties is a breeze. When it comes to determining which parts of your business you can enhance using digital tech, examine where in your business you’re doing tasks manually, which pain points are holding you back from leading a rewarding real estate experience, and what tasks you’d like to make simpler.
Below, we’ve listed out some common pain points in real estate that can be simplified or strengthened with tech:
- Rent collection
- Tenant payments
- Tenant screening
- Late fees
- Tenant communication
- Maintenance requests
Property management software is a tech option that you can use to tackle all of these traditional pain points. For example, rent collection can be automated with customized charges that are auto-populated for tenants, automatically scheduled, and even automatically generate late fees.
Doesn’t that sound a whole lot easier than crunching numbers or picking up checks?
Tenant communication is another aspect of managing rentals that can be strengthened with digital technology. You can use property management software to send an email and push notifications to a tenant’s phone so that they’re reminded of upcoming rent payments, maintenance repairs, trash pickup, or any other notification you require!
Benefits Of Being A Digital Landlord
There are many benefits of being a digital landlord — the first being the ability to manage your rentals from anywhere. Because digital tech is so mobile and versatile these days, you’re likely to be able to manage most aspects of your business right from your smartphone.
And, because you’re able to manage your rentals using digital technology, this can free up more of your time by eliminating manual tasks. With more of your time back, you’re able to spend it doing what you love.
You can also increase the value of your rentals by offering tenants options like signing up for credit boosting to submit on-time rent payments to bureaus like TransUnion. Historically, if you’re collecting rent via check or cash, it isn’t possible for tenants to build their credit using rent payments.
To recap, the main benefits of being a digital landlord are:
- You can manage your rentals from anywhere
- You can spend more time doing what you love
- You can increase the value of your rentals
How To Become A Digital Landlord
Finally, we’ve come to the question: “How do I become a digital landlord?”
As mentioned earlier, there are several aspects of technology you can adopt that will cement your image as a digital landlord.
Looking to become a digital landlord and adopt these features? RentRedi’s property management apps can help! Automating your rent collection, tenant screening, late fees, e-lease signing, and electronic applications are key aspects of going digital and managing your entire real estate portfolio from an app.
RentRedi was developed to help landlords go digital and manage their properties from wherever, whenever. Easily collect rent, screen tenants, fill vacancies, sign leases, and manage maintenance with the tech you need to manage your rentals.
This article is presented by RentRedi
RentRedi is a modern, end-to-end property management software transforming the real estate and rental property industry.
RentRedi provides over 15,000+ landlords with simple and effortless web and mobile apps for online rent collection, tenant screening, listings to Zillow and Realtor.com, signing leases, maintenance & accounting management, and unlimited properties, tenants, and teammates
For tenants, RentRedi’s easy-to-use mobile app allows them to pay rent, set up auto-pay, report rent payments to TransUnion, prequalify & sign leases, and submit maintenance requests.
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.