Rental property management is a potentially lucrative strategy – one that can supply you with a steady stream of passive income and, if you do things right, set you up for long-term accumulation of wealth.
But at the same time, the day-to-day process of managing properties can be a headache. You’ll be responsible for overseeing the property, responding to maintenance requests, collecting rent, and dealing with problematic tenants.
Is it worth designing an automation system to handle some of these tasks on your behalf? How much value do you stand to gain?
Why Automation Is So Valuable
Let's start by talking about some of the reasons why automation is so valuable.
Many property owners choose to hire a property manager to take care of the property management side of things, from screening tenants to managing evictions. That's because most people want their rental properties to be a passive income source, requiring little to no effort on their part. Automation allows you to take this to the next level, reducing your manual effort even further and possibly allowing you to forgo the necessity of hiring a property manager to begin with.
Another benefit of automation is process consistency. If you automate messages and follow-ups, you'll never have to worry about forgetting a message. Your tenants will know exactly what to expect, and you'll be much more successful in navigating this financial strategy.
Accurate and consistent record keeping is an absolute must in the world of rental property management. Not only is it important for your personal accounting, but it's also important for tax planning. Automating the process of activities like accepting rent payments and producing reports can make it much easier to maintain accurate and consistent records.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Automation?
Are there any drawbacks to attempting to automate your rental property management?
Initial time investment:
Creating an automation algorithm is faster now than it’s ever been. But it still might be an uphill battle if you're designing your own automated systems from scratch. If you only have one rental property, or if this is only a temporary pursuit for you, it may not be worth that initial time investment.
Initial money investment:
If you're not designing your own solution, you'll be required to buy one that's already in existence. Most rental property automation platforms are relatively inexpensive, but you'll still have an upfront monetary expenditure to plan for.
Potential mistakes and inaccuracies:
Lazy coding and overlooked variables can lead to potential mistakes and inaccuracies. Your automated systems will run exactly the way you tell them to – but sometimes, that can work against you.
If you're using automated messages to handle most of the communications with your tenants, they may perceive these communications as impersonal. Relationship management isn't your primary responsibility, but this is still a variable worth considering.
Finding a Market Solution
For most rental property managers, the ideal solution is to find an existing product on the market that can handle your automation needs.
If you're shopping for a solution, be sure to consider:
Think about all the core features you're going to need and make sure every solution you seriously consider contains them. Do you want to automate the process of collecting tenant applications? What about collecting rent? Should the system also handle maintenance and repair requests? What features should be available to you, as the property manager?
History and reputation:
Always take a look at the history of this product, including the reviews and testimonials left behind by people who have used it in the past. Do people find this product to be reliable? Does it solve their needs efficiently?
The easier the tool is to use, the better – both for you and your tenants.
Accounting for taxes is often a major pain for rental property owners. If you want to make it easier on yourself, you need to have a solution with organized, automated, and efficient recordkeeping.
Finally, consider the pricing. This is especially important if you're also debating whether or not you should build your own tool. Could you build something similar for less?
Building Your Own Solution
Of course, it's also possible to design and build your own automated solution to rental property management. This can be time-consuming, and there are some risks involved, but the finished product can be extremely valuable and you'll probably have fun building it in the process.
Automation is the right move for most rental property managers, but it doesn't always take the same form. Think carefully about the automation solutions you incorporate into your financial strategies and always plan with the future in mind.