COVID-19 has not only disrupted the housing market, it has exposed weaknesses in property management and ownership processes. To be an effective landlord and property manager and to avoid future business interruption, it is important to understand the technologies that can be used to automate and create an entirely virtual ownership and management experience.

The Property Ownership Lifecycle

While Awning is here to help you purchase investment properties and understand the property ownership experience, automation of the property management lifecycle is a pressing need for both small and large properties.

The Property Management Lifecycle

In-person and onsite marketing and the traditional lease application process were caught flat-footed by the new social distancing norms. In response, rental property owners have ramped up their adoption of technology to meet the needs of a shifting marketplace. Changes are happening at an accelerated pace that has never before been seen in the industry.

As one example, on our Masters of Real Estate Podcast, Joanna Zabriskie, President of BH Management, the ninth largest property manager in the country with more than 89,000 apartment units, said that adoption of their online payment tool grew from 85% to 98% almost overnight. Across the industry, virtual platforms for every stage of the property ownership and management lifecycle are playing a central role in facilitating new leases, managing properties and helping the investment sales process.

We looked at a variety of platforms designed to facilitate every stage of the property management process for small and independent landlords and put together a quick primer on a few that you should consider.

The All-in-one Solutions

Most companies in the property technology (proptech) space are trying to gain more market share of the property management lifecycle by offering multiple products to address landlord needs. While there is not a true all-in-one solution, there are several technology companies that offer a full suite of leasing and tenant management functions.

Companies like Hemlane and Nestegg are newer, fast-growing property management software companies that also offer rental advertising syndication, applicant tracking, and maintenance coordination. More mature companies like Appfolio and Buildium offer a suite of products to facilitate property management, as well. Even companies that started in the marketing space, like Zillow and Zumper, now offer applicant screening and tracking products to help automate the leasing process.

Virtual Viewing & Touring

While all-in-one solutions can solve a lot of landlord pains during this period, none of them offer virtual or self-touring. Realnyc and Rently are two innovative companies helping landlords show both individual properties.

Realnyc is a video leasing and engagement solution that helps landlords increase conversion on site-unseen leasing. Adoption in Realnyc has grown by nearly 200% since the COVID crisis started in early March. Rently provides safe and secure self-touring for both single-family and multifamily properties. By better facilitating contact-free property viewing while maintaining property security, Rently helps owners and property managers fill units while remaining in compliance with local orders and ordinances. Of course, if you want to get the same feel for lower cost, you can always get a Latch lock installed on your vacant units and post an iPhone tour video on YouTube.

Financial Products For Greater Security

The COVID-19 pandemic comes at a time when affordable housing has reached crisis proportions in metropolitan areas all across the US. The high cost of security deposits are among the top barriers to housing for many potential renters. Landlords who offer a more flexible security deposit plan for their residents will be able to attract more potential tenants.

Rhino is a company that offers a security deposit insurance program, guaranteeing the full security deposit to landlords while renters pay Rhino a small monthly fee. This arrangement allows the tenant to avoid the big one-time security deposit payment while still giving the landlord peace of mind.

Additionally with unemployment rates now above 15%, tenants’ ability to pay rent will continue to be strained. Till offers landlords a guaranteed rent product by engaging directly with the building residents. Residents have a choice of flexible payment and emergency loan options designed to help them get past short-term financial hiccups and stay in their homes.

By facilitating more consistent payments, Till provides landlords with more reliable on-time revenue and tenants with more financial stability. This saves time and improves cash flow for landlords while reducing losses from empty units and costly and time-consuming eviction processes. In a time of COVID-related job interruptions, this service is especially useful and relevant.

At Awning, we feel passionate about using technology to streamline, virtualize, and automate previously rigorous and time-consuming processes. Before COVID, the need to adopt new technologies was pressing, but now in the time of COVID, it has become mandatory.

Let us know how we can help you find your next investment property.