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In our fast-developing digital world, there’s little we can’t automate with a few lines of code.
The same is true in the property management industry. The property management software market will be worth $2.7 billion by 2023, according to Strategic Market Research. The reason for its growth is easily apparent — software makes it possible to automate many tasks that traditionally belong to property managers.
As landlords race to implement affordable software tools in their rental businesses, automation is one feature you should be on the lookout for. The more tasks that can be automated, the fewer you must take on yourself, and the less money you’ll spend paying other people to do them.
Here are five property management tasks to automate in 2023, if you haven’t done so already:
1. Rent reminders
Basic rent reminders are an essential part of your digital toolkit as a landlord.
Even the least tech-savvy landlords can set up a recurring email to remind tenants about upcoming rent payments before the first of each month.
However, there are much more sophisticated ways to automate rent reminders in 2023. On most property management software platforms that offer online rent collection, you can automate a monthly message that includes a link to the payment portal.
Your software tool also knows which tenants have already paid and which haven’t, so it can target additional reminders to tenants who still have outstanding balances closer to the due date.
Plus, for most tenants, a simple reminder is all they need to regularly pay on time. Rent reminders are the simplest kind of automated communication you can set up in your rentals with the highest rewards.
2. Applicant pipeline
Your rental applicant pipeline can also be largely automated. From responding to a listing to signing a lease, much of the process can proceed without your direct supervision.
If you use a listing syndication service, you can often compose message templates to be emailed to a prospective renter at specific points in the pipeline — for example, immediately after they respond to a listing or even a few days after they might have forgotten about the listing to follow up.
Automated messages can also include your current availability, so you don’t waste time communicating personally with tenants who ultimately won’t be interested in renting your properties.
Lastly, tour scheduling can also be automated. By setting up a platform for prospective renters to schedule tours of your properties on their own, you minimize the time you both spend attempting to coordinate schedules. Your availability is already on the calendar, so the tenant simply needs to choose a time that works for them, too.
The lease renewal process varies from state to state and property to property. Sometimes, leases automatically renew after the original lease term is up. In other states, the tenancy switches to month-to-month by default unless a new agreement is signed.
To make the renewal process easier on your tenants (and yourself), you can automate renewals in your rental business. For instance, if tenants need to sign a new lease each year to continue living in the property, you can automate reminders with links to information about renewals or an offer to schedule a time to meet and negotiate any details.
If the tenancy switches to month-to-month by default, you can automate a reminder message that this will happen if the tenant doesn’t respond by a certain date.
Automating renewals can eliminate much stress at the end of the lease term.
4. Financial reports
There are a variety of financial reporting tools available for landlords currently on the market. In addition to the reporting tools included in your property management software subscription or account, you can also opt to use a general business accounting tool like QuickBooks.
A good financial reporting tool will allow you to automatically generate income statements, profit/loss (P/L) reports, year-end summaries and bank reconciliation. Many platforms also generate certain tax documents to help you prepare for tax season.
While you can certainly (and often should) hire an accountant for this job, any person you hire will still appreciate tools that automate their work. Rental accounting is no different, and there is a myriad of ways available to do so.
5. Late fees
Late fee enforcement is one of the most practical ways to leverage automation in your rentals.
With property management software, you can easily schedule late fee reminders and apply late fee charges to the accounts of tenants who haven’t paid by the due date (or after a designated grace period).
This way, your tenants can’t claim that they “didn’t know” or “forgot” about the late fee — the charge automatically appears alongside all late rent payments.
Automatic record generation is also useful should you ever need to evict a tenant. During an eviction hearing, you are required to provide proof that the tenant violated the lease agreement. With automated records, you won’t have to worry about whether you remembered to record that the tenant didn’t pay on time. You’ll already have dated and time-stamped records of all payments and late fee charges.
There’s no shortage of responsibilities when you’re running a rental business, and everything that simplifies the process is an asset. Automating components of your property management is a massive step you can take to embrace the digitalization of the industry.
Instead of juggling tedious, everyday rental tasks, leverage automation to pursue bigger and better goals.