Stop Chasing Checks!

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No more chasing checks; no more faxes; and no more mailing documents!

Last week, I attended the Georgia chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and met a number of great people, most all of whom were full-time property managers. My heart was warmed to hear that these property managers are adopting technology to manage their businesses – particularly for online payments, tenant management, and lease management.

I met a gentleman that impressed me with his efficient approach to operating his 300-unit property management business. We instantly bonded when he claimed, “90% of my tenants pay their rent online.”

Let me repeat that: 90% of his tenants pay their rent online! Can you see the tears of joy streaming down my face?

How does one get an acceptance rate up to 90%? Simply put, he changes the way his tenants think about paying rent. He does not charge a trumped-up Convenience Fee, but instead, he charges a $5 Handling Fee to any tenant paying by check.

Property managers of scale clearly understand the convenience of collecting rent online and our goal is to make that convenience accessible to any landlord, regardless of size. One unit or one thousand, please stop chasing checks!

 

Burden of the Handy Landlord

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Last Sunday I was excited to squeeze in some father-son time with my seven year old boy, Stewart. We planned to play golf but were distracted by a call from one of my tenants about a leak in their utility room. Are you kidding me? On a Sunday? So, two boys in their best Sunday golfing attire schlepped themselves to my rental home with the appropriate tools to assess and tackle the job. Did we get to play golf? No. Fortunately, Stewart is equally excited to be helping his father with clogged PVC drains as he is with driving a golf cart. This was not how I envisioned spending this nice Sunday.

Of course, Stewart intelligently asks why we don’t call a plumber to repair the leak. I explain the cost of a plumber to him and he quickly asks, “well, then maybe we should get paid for all of this work?” Umm, I’m not sure that’s how it works, but he is obviously smart enough to understand the value of his time.

This brings back memories of my childhood as the son of a property manager. I vividly recall days spent mowing lawns, cleaning homes, fixing leaks, and simply keeping homes in good renting condition. I was never as clever as Stewart and never understood the value of my time.

So, what is the value of my time? That is a tough question to answer. Why? Perhaps because I am stubborn. If I know I can fix an issue, I think about cost of the repair and I typically shutter. The smarter person assesses the value of their own time and compares that with the cost of the repair. For better or worse, my upbringing is my burden – I am handy, stubborn, and sometimes stupid. Just let me fix it!

Am I the only person with the burden of being handy enough that I often neglect the value of my own time? How do you assess the value of your time?

Apple, rental management, and RenterUp.

AppleWatch

It is well known that Apple has a penchant for showmanship at their Apple Live events. Apple fans can easily recall Steve Jobs and his introduction of the first Macintosh. I think Tim Cook and Jony Ive have lived up to Steve Jobs’ vision – if that’s possible.

The biggest takeaway from yesterday’s Apple Live event, and every one before it, is that Apple obsesses over their product details unlike any other company. They also obsess about the usage of their products and how they fit into our daily lives.

At RenterUp, we admire Apple’s constant attention to detail. Providing a bunch of whiz-bang features in the property management space is great, but making sure it fits squarely into the lives of tenants and landlords is what we focus on the most. We ask our beta-testers for feedback and meet internally several times per week to focus on and prioritize this feedback. Every bit of feedback is addressed and scrutinized: How does it make our product better and does it fit our mantra to simplify rental management?

“Simplify rental management” underscores RenterUp’s vision of providing a product that fits the busy lifestyles of both tenants and landlords. Keeping this mantra in mind, we will continue to develop features based on our users’ feedback. We aspire to build a product that is Apple-simple, and in order to achieve this, we will obsess on the details, just as the Apple team does. Then, maybe one day you will be part of the RenterUp Fan Club!

Top 5 Tips for Marketing Your Rental Property.

This week I discovered a smart real estate blogger, Gavin Welch from The Real Estate Loop. His podcast for the week was titled Marketing Secrets for Investors and does a great job of quickly running through tips for acquiring and marketing real estate. Of greatest interest to landlords were some of his comments about listing your home for rent. A few of his bullet points are here with my quick thoughts on each:

  • Craigslist – Let’s be honest, this is where today’s tenants are looking for their rental homes.
  • Postlets – The greatest tool for syndicating your listing across a multitude of online channels.
  • Zillow and Trulia – Both of these sites make home searching fun, in my opinion. Who doesn’t love looking at maps?
  • Bandit Sign or For Rent Sign – Old-school, tried-and-true marketing 101. Go to your corner Ace Hardware and drive that sign in the ground….you will be surprised at the traffic it generates.
  • YouTube – I had never thought of this one. Brilliant! Slowly and thoughtfully walk through your rental home with your smart phone giving viewers a tour of the home. Pan around slowly, speak clearly, and tell a good story. When you have interested people wanting more information about the house, drive them to your YouTube page to check out the house. I love this tip.
  • GoogleVoice – I have been using this trick for years and it has saved me so much time. Setup a free Google Voice account with a local number for your area. Simply record your greeting with a solid description of the home. Ask that the interested parties leave a message for a call back then you can receive the voice message transcribed in your email inbox. The more information you provide in the greeting filters the tire-kickers. Give this one a try.

What do you use for your marketing? What has worked and not worked for you?

Thank you for the great podcast, Gavin. Keep up the great tips.