New technology is often a blessing and a curse. It can make tasks that once took lots of time and effort as easy as pressing a button. It can also make things far more complicated, as our high-tech modern lives reveal. The march of progress also brings new tools that promise to automate many everyday property manager tasks. As with any newly developing software, the possibilities are tantalizing: but so are the potential drawbacks. Let’s explore the details of these exciting new possibilities and whether it’s wise to embrace automated property management tools.
A New Pioneer for Property Rental
Making a monthly rent payment or submitting a maintenance request online is hardly new. However, some aspects of property management have become completely automated over the last few years. Startups like DoorLoop promise to automate central property management tasks, including maintenance requests, rent collection, listings, and tenant screenings. That’s a significant promise for overworked small landlords and property managers trying to save time and money.
But how effective are these automated property management tools in practice? Can they save time and effort, or do they create more problems than they solve?
The Pros of Automated Property Management Tools
The potential benefits of automated property management tools are apparent. Here are a few basic tasks that are currently possible to automate in your business.
Many landlords already use forms of automatic rent collection. Rather than sending your tenants reminders and set up a place for them to drop off checks, online rent payment tools make things vastly easier for both you and your tenants. They can even set up automatic payments so they won’t accidentally miss a payment if they’re out of town or busy at the beginning of the month.
Screening potential residents is time-consuming and tedious. Not to mention that the time you spend screening applicants is time standing between you and continuing to collect income. Automated tools can quickly run credit and background checks. Both of which can help you determine whether a tenant will be a good fit for your property without any work on your end.
Tours can be frustrating, time-consuming, and tiring. You have to set aside a chunk of your day to be physically present at a unit. Often multiple times a day for different prospective tenants. Many people will probably ask the same basic questions, meaning you’ll end up repeating yourself. After all that work, some tenants might not even decide to apply for your unit. Automated online tours let tenants get their first look at the property and answer all their questions while saving considerable time and effort.
Automating maintenance requests and visits is helpful for both landlords and tenants. By streamlining the process, tenants can resolve their issues faster and landlords can save time and effort. Automated tools enable tenants to submit maintenance requests and automatically dispatch vendors to address their problems as quickly as possible.
Aside from taking care of these pressing tasks, another benefit of automated property management tools is they can prevent errors. You’ll never need to worry about double-checking your math or missing an email from a tenant when you have a computer program to take care of everything. But as with any system that covers such a wide variety of tasks, there are also some drawbacks.
The Cons of Automated Property Management Tools
We’ve all heard the adage that if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Mom-and-pop landlords might especially cite this philosophy, as they tend to handle maintenance, tenant communications, and listings all on their own. But does that idea stand up in the face of automated tools?
The answer can be complicated. While automated tools can remove the possibility of human error, they introduce an entirely new issue of machine error, such as glitches and bugs. When your depend on automated tools, you rely on software to take care of all the tasks which keep your rental business on its feet. In the same way that hiring an employee to take care of these essential tasks might change your business, an automated property management tool can introduce an element of risk and dependence. And like a new employee, these tools cost additional money that can impact your ROI.
The critical thing to realize about these automated tools is that, even in a best-case scenario, they are not designed to take over your job as a landlord completely. While they can help handle many of the most repetitive property management tasks, the technology still faces many limitations.
Find Property Management Solutions You Can Rely On
For many landlords, finding a balance between automation and a personal touch is the best option. After all, managing a property can be a rewarding and beneficial experience: many landlords still want to have a hand in how their property is run rather than leaving it up to a machine. For property owners looking to save time in their busy schedules and interested in a balance of automation and hands-on management, working with a property management company like Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew can offer the best of both worlds.
Our automated tools for rent payment and maintenance help ensure our tenants have the best possible experience when renting one of our properties. However, Darla built this business to give owners and tenants a people-first experience, and we have continued to stand by that through the years. We believe in keeping the soul in the business of property management, which is why we encourage our owners to continue to engage with their property management as much (or as little) as they want. Our dedicated team of experts ensures that your property is professionally marketed and kept in the best condition, with the kind of excellent service and communication that an automatic system just can’t provide. If you’d like to learn more about our services, give us a call at (503) 515-3170 or by reaching us through the contact page on our website.