What is your definition of a landlord or real estate investor? Are you a newcomer to the scene? Do you consider yourself an independent or small landlord? Or maybe you’re a property manager who has a few rentals under your belt.
How you perceive yourself in the real estate world is heavily influenced by how others perceive themselves. This can range from a small-time landlord to a massive multifamily enterprise. However, with the advancement of modern technology, a new type of landlord has emerged – the digital landlord.
Being a real estate investor or landlord used to include a lot of hard labor. Collecting rent, going through paper applications, and even negotiating maintenance concerns took time and effort. However, technology advancements in the real estate industry are transforming previously manual pain points of the rental process into seamless, straightforward, and digital processes.
What Is A Digital Landlord?
A digital landlord is someone who manages their properties using technology. This might range from property management software to keyless entry systems to remote security measures.
You may not consider yourself a digital landlord, but I’m sure if you look around and evaluate your company operations, you’re more tech savvy than you realize.
Most of us, for example, utilize spreadsheets of some type to track and arrange various parts of rental management. This might include everything from keeping track of who has paid rent and for what property, which leases are coming to an end, who has completed an application, and accounting.
So, even something as simple as a spreadsheet suggests that you’re probably more of a digital landlord than you realize. After all, simply checking your phone for a text from a tenant can contribute to the perception of what a digital landlord is and how it might help define your brand.
How Is Tech Creating Digital Landlords?
Tech is enabling landlords and real estate investors to adopt digital landlords with a wide range of solutions (anything from automated rent collection to accounting software) and use cases (landlords engaging with tenants or tenants electronically submitting rent payments).
With the prevalence of digital technology these days, it’s nearly hard not to be a digital landlord to some extent. As previously said, even using your phone or a spreadsheet has technological advantages. With the technology they provide, these mechanisms make calculating, communicating, and managing easier. It would have been a completely different situation just 10-15 years ago! Most communications were most likely not done on a cellphone at the time, and you may still have been tracking rent payments with paper and ink!
However, technological advancements have almost unwittingly created a digital landlord. After all, isn’t it much faster to contact a tenant or teammate via email and text messaging than it is to track someone down or find a mutually convenient time to meet? A brief text message can quickly resolve negotiating meeting times and efficiently transmit a message.
You can even obtain ideas or explore the technology used by other real estate investors on TikTok! That’s correct. Even social networking sites where investors provide content can be a valuable addition to your tech toolkit, bringing you one step closer to becoming a digital landlord.
Property management software, in addition to phones, spreadsheets, and TikTok, has rapidly become a tool for digital landlords to manage their properties.
What Features To Look For In Digital Real Estate?
Property management software includes numerous features that can make the digital landlord believe that maintaining investment properties is a snap. When it comes to choosing which elements of your business you can improve with digital technology, look at where you’re completing chores manually, what pain points are keeping you from leading a joyful real estate experience, and what tasks you’d like to simplify.
We’ve highlighted several common real estate pain points that can be simplified or strengthened with technology below:
- Receipt of rent
- Rental payments
- Screening of tenants
- Fees for late payments
- Communication between tenants
- Requests for repairs
Property management software is a technological solution that may be used to address all of these conventional pain points. Rent collection, for example, can be automated with specific charges that are auto-populated for tenants, automatically scheduled, and even create late fees.
Isn’t that much easier than crunching numbers or picking up checks?
Another component of rental management that can be improved with digital technology is tenant communication. You may utilize property management software to send an email and push notifications to a tenant’s phone to remind them of forthcoming rent payments, maintenance fixes, trash pickup, or any other reminder!
Benefits Of Being A Digital Landlord
The flexibility to manage your rents from anywhere is one of the numerous advantages of being a digital landlord. Because digital technology is so accessible and versatile these days, you should be able to run the majority of your business from your smartphone.
And, because you can manage your rentals using digital technology, you may save time by eliminating manual activities. With extra time on your hands, you can devote it to activities that you enjoy.
You can also raise the value of your rentals by providing tenants with options such as signing up for credit boosting in exchange for making on-time rent payments to agencies such as TransUnion. Historically, tenants could not build credit through rent payments if rent was collected by check or cash.
To summarize, the key advantages of being a digital landlord are:
- You may manage your rentals from any location.
- You can devote more time to what you enjoy.
- You can raise the worth of your rentals.
Read more: How to Start a Real Estate Investment Group