This article is presented by RentRedi. Read our editorial guidelines for more information.
When it comes to investing in real estate, you may be tempted to stay close to home, and this is understandable. You’re more likely to understand the market and feel more comfortable being nearby while looking for tenants or collecting rent. It may seem daunting, but several real estate investors find it lucrative to seek out markets in other cities or states in order to secure more affordable investment properties.
Now, there are several options available to you when it comes to the management of real estate investments: managing yourself, hiring a property manager, or hiring a property management company. Regardless of what you choose, chances are in our tech-driven world that some type of software will be employed to conduct business operations.
Setting up software or tech to manage your properties ensures that when it’s time to place a tenant in your rental and deal with finding tenants and collecting rent, you’re able to present yourself as a capable and professional landlord—even from miles away.
Tenants Can Apply to Your Rental Online
One of the first steps you’ll need to take after securing your long-distance rental property is to actually find tenants. Naturally, the easiest way to do this is to list your investment property on syndication sites like Zillow, Hotpads, Trulia, Realtor.com, or Doorsteps. People searching for apartments or rental properties frequent these popular sites. You can use property management software to syndicate listings with the push of a button. Keep in mind if you use sites like Zillow to post your rental, you will incur a posting fee. This has been rolled out by Zillow for all 50 states.
From these sites, applicants can request to apply to your rentals. Typically applicants will fill out a form with their name, phone number, email address, and a message. After you’ve collected this information, you can use property management software to generate an invitation to a formal application if you’re interested in the applicant.
Additionally, you might consider exploring using Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, as potential tenants often use these sites as well to search for rentals. If you’re using sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, potential renters will likely direct message you, but you can gather their contact information to send out an application.
Screen Tenants from Miles Away
When it comes to screening tenants from long distances, there are several steps you can take. The most obvious is the rental application. Landlords will typically create or download an application they can use to collect more information about the tenant. Typically, this application will host tenant information such as personal information, employment history, financial information, and anything else that might be relevant to determining whether or not the tenant will be good for your rental.
Along with an application, landlords will typically run a background check on the tenant. If you’re unsure of how to run a background check, most property management software will have a built-in background check process you can use to easily screen tenants. You can also use sites like TransUnion to screen tenants as well.
All of these—rental applications and tenant screenings can be conducted online if you’re long-distance, so you don’t necessarily have to be on-site to hand out paper applications.
Collect Rent in Another City or State
Importantly, collecting rent is a key process in managing rental properties and one where tech can be the most beneficial if you’re long distance. After all, you won’t be able to use the traditional methods of plain old paper checks or physical cash.
However, as technology is becoming more prevalent in the real estate investing world, you can easily collect rent online without having to physically be near your investment properties. And, property management software is a great way to collect rent (versus apps like Venmo or PayPal) because it offers much more features for landlords than money transfer apps do (e.g., completing the listing and application process described above.)
Property management software can be used to generate rent charges for the duration of your lease, have tenants set up automatic transfers of money, track all your payments in one place, and even supplies accounting features that help you during tax time. Your tenants can typically pay with their bank account or card, so rent is submitted electronically and doesn’t require any hand-offs or driving around to pick up checks or cash.
Software to Help You Manage Investment Properties Long-Distance
If you’re interested in adopting tech into your long-distance property management process, one software that can help you manage all aspects of your investment properties is RentRedi.
When it comes to listing your unit and collecting applications, you can use RentRedi’s software to list to Realtor.com and Zillow. From these sites, applicants can express interest in your property. After you have potential tenants with interest in your rental, you can then use RentRedi’s software to invite the tenant to formally apply to your unit using RentRedi’s in-house application. (This makes it easier to not have to dig up or create an application of your own.)
Importantly, after your potential tenant has completed the application, they can complete a TransUnion background check from RentRedi that provides you with a credit, criminal, and eviction check. When you’ve chosen a tenant to fill your unit, then you can use RentRedi’s software to send, sign, and store leases. Then, collect rent with automatically populated rent charges to the tenant app and tenant auto-pay. You can even set up maintenance personnel with free teammate accounts or sign up for maintenance coordination that enables you to outsource maintenance requests altogether, so you don’t have to worry about being on-site for maintenance issues as well.
All of these aspects of managing investment properties can be done online with property management software like RentRedi.
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This article is presented by RentRedi
RentRedi is a modern, end-to-end property management software transforming the real estate and rental property industry.
RentRedi provides over 15,000+ landlords with simple and effortless web and mobile apps for online rent collection, tenant screening, listings to Zillow and Realtor.com, signing leases, maintenance & accounting management, and unlimited properties, tenants, and teammates
For tenants, RentRedi’s easy-to-use mobile app allows them to pay rent, set up auto-pay, report rent payments to TransUnion, prequalify & sign leases, and submit maintenance requests.
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.