The Best Property Management Tools for Landlords

    Seeff recommends some of the best property management tools you can use to navigate and streamline your responsibilities as a landlord

    Property management tools can make all the difference between failure and success when you are a landlord and trying to manage multiple properties. Without proper guidance and the efficient use of property management tools to mitigate errors, the situation can become unmanageable and chaotic quickly, and result in you losing valuable tenants.

    Here are some of the most effective property management tools we advise you to use if you want to make your life as a landlord significantly easier:

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    Screen Tenants 

    Tenants who do not pay their rent on time are a prominent issue for many landlords; screening potential tenants using property management tools is vital to prevent this from occurring. Websites like TPN allow you to vet tenants using their basic personal information and thus secure the right tenant.

    With the written consent of your potential tenant, you can request the following documents:

    • A valid ID/Passport and tax number
    • Proof of Income
    • A minimum of three month’s bank statements
    • Contact information for their current employer
    • References from previous landlords

    Keep in mind that an ideal tenant should earn three times the cost of their monthly rental amount to ensure they can comfortably cover their rent; this aligns with the current industry standard. Without a consistent income, your tenant may not pay their rent timeously, and you could find yourself in an awkward situation - caught between evicting them and giving them additional time to pay, which hurts your income. 

    Rent Calculation 

    As a landlord, you can use a rent-to-income ratio calculator to determine whether your applicant qualifies for your rental. An assortment of online property management tools and apps can assist with screenings, risk ratings, payment histories and background checks. Many of these property management tools are available for free or offer free trials. 

    AFHCO is one of many online property management tools for calculating rent in relation to a tenant’s income. In addition, you can use Seeff’s calculator to draw comparisons between the value of your investment and your yearly rental income, ensuring that your asset is working for you.

    Apps are some of the more advanced property management tools. They scan receipts and invoices and utilise machine learning (ML) technology to organise information and resolve conflicting facts. Storing all transaction details using cloud-based storage provides landlords with easy access at any point; this remains useful for tax and auditing purposes. However, several of these solutions may not be available to the South African market. 

    Rent Payment Platforms 

    Collecting rent is a tedious process for landlords. Gathering and depositing checks, handing out reminders and following up on late payments is an unpleasant process, but it’s made easier by various property management tools such as rent payment platforms. Online payment platforms ensure quick rental deposits, late fees are automatically applied, and tenants receive notifications when their rent is due. 

    PayProp is a reputable, automated rental payment platform available online, and it offers these features and more. 

    Property Inspection Apps

    Thorough inspections of the property before your tenant moves in or out can prevent unforeseen repair costs. It is not enough to only have your property inspected upon purchase. 

    Property management tools like Property Inspect’s app can make the process of conducting regular inspections. With an app for creating checklists, writing inspection reports, cutting costs, and preventing unnecessary losses, property inspection becomes straightforward. You can digitise your building inspections and complete reports on-site; no internet connection is required. 

    Before conducting an inspection, acquire as much knowledge about the process as possible to optimise the use of your property management tools. There are certain things landlords should know about inspections in advance, including particular responsibilities and legalities. Do your research and prepare for a successful home inspection before entering your tenant’s space.  

    Document Management 

    Instead of relying on hardcopy documents and filing systems which take up space, why not consider switching to digital leases? Find property management tools with digital archiving features to optimise your admin process, such as Rentec Direct’s software. Now you’ll have easy access to your inspection checklists, tenant correspondence, and eviction notices, and you can stay organised.

    Iron Mountain offers secure cloud-based document scanning and digital storage services in South Africa if you’re looking for an alternative.

    Legal Agreements

    If you don’t have the budget for a lawyer, draft a contract using Legalwise and other rental property tools. Various contracts are available for download on reliable websites and can be tailored to your specific needs. However, for peace of mind, consider consulting a qualified professional before making your documentation a legally binding agreement.

    Legal document templates available through these websites include lease agreements, cohabitation and rent-to-own contracts (among others). 

    Prepaid Utility Meters

    It’s stressful to follow up on utility bills every month, especially when dealing with an uncooperative tenant who refuses to pay. But prepaid electricity and water meters eliminate the need for concern, as tenants must pay upfront. These tangible property management tools lower the risk of unpaid bills and reduce the potential for tension between landlord and tenant. Although installing prepaid meters may be costly initially, it will save you time and energy in the long term. 

    Prepaid meters are available online for anywhere between R100 and R2000 in South Africa. Meter devices are easy to install in any type of building, but you cannot install them yourself. You need a qualified electrician to ensure proper wiring. 

    You can also purchase water meters online, but these are considerably more expensive and usually cost around several thousand rands each. Once again, a licensed individual should install your water meter if you want to avoid complications.  

    Property Maintenance Software 

    In any rental situation, difficulties will arise, and it’s key to maintain good communication with your tenants. The happier a tenant is, the longer they will stay. Some property management tools, such as Kizeo Forms, allow tenants to log faults and other issues so that you can respond timeously with a solution. Tracking maintenance requests and costs is essential for taxation and other legalities. 

    Any property maintenance software worth your time should do the following:

    • Order requests according to their urgency.
    • Show the status of logged issues.
    • Display accurate updates and time stamps.
    • Allow you and your tenant to upload documents and photographs.

    Solving and tracking urgent issues becomes manageable with apps that update and notify landlords and tenants in real time. With Kizeo Forms, you can take photographs of property damage during an inspection and have your tenant sign and verify these digitally. 

    Advertising and Marketing 

    Market your property using online listings and advertise as widely as possible. Classifieds and property websites are good places to start. Print advertising is equally impactful. Try using multiple forms of advertising, such as AirBnB or property print publications, such as reputable estate magazines. 

    List your property on Seeff’s website for maximum exposure. We have a reputation that precedes us and can connect you to your ideal tenant in no time. 

    landlord and tenant in conversation

    At Seeff, we understand the time and dedication that it takes for you to be a landlord. We are here to make the process as simple and hassle-free as possible. Contact one of our capable property practitioners and find your ideal tenant today. 

    If you enjoyed reading this blog on property management tools, explore Seeff’s blog, where we share advice for landlords.

    Author: Seeff Property Group
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