Deciding to switch to online rental management is a significant change. If you’ve been managing your business manually, you know how strenuous it can be to file payment records, screen tenants, and manage maintenance requests by hand.
Property management software is a game-changer for landlords. Software handles the monotonous tasks of record-keeping, organization, and more, freeing you to pursue other goals.
If you’re new to property management software, you might be wondering how and where to start. After you’ve selected your platform and paid the necessary fees, how do you start making the transition to digital management?
To help get you started, here are six tips for making the transition to free property management software.
- Gather Tenant Information
The first step for transitioning to property management software is to set up your account. This means not only entering your information, but also indicating which units and tenants you currently manage.
You can’t start charging rent online until your tenants have set up their own accounts. Before you get started, gather all the tenant information you need: names, emails, phone numbers, and the addresses of the units each tenant is renting.
Whether you currently keep this data on paper or your computer, make sure you enter these details correctly. Tenant emails are especially important because your software will send account setup instructions to the addresses you enter.
- Link Your Bank Account
Linking your bank account is the next step to set up your software. This should only take a few moments and requires both your bank account and routing numbers.
Once you’ve linked your account, you are ready to receive rent payments from your tenants. Tenant debit, credit, or ACH transfer payments will automatically be deposited into your bank account each month when rent is due.
- Use Application and Lease Templates
If you need to create a tenant application or lease document from scratch, templates are your friend. Many property management software companies come with built-in templates.
Templates can provide insight into some of the key questions or components you should include in each document. They also have autofill capacities. When you designate several repeated lease fields, your software will copy the response you enter in one to all the appropriate fields.
A detailed template can save you hours of time and trouble when creating documents. Of course, if you already have documents you’d like to upload, you can do that too. Property management software is a flexible tool, allowing you to carry over the organizational strategies that already work for your rental business.
- Sign Leases Online
When your leases are ready, it’s time to sign them. Property management software makes it straightforward to share and sign leases online directly on the platform—just enter the corresponding tenant emails for each unit’s lease and select the option to share it.
Each tenant will receive a signable copy of the lease in their email inboxes. They can ask questions or negotiate terms via phone (if you provide it) or email, and then sign the finalized copy online.
Seems too easy? There’s more—eSignatures (and online leases in general) are also much safer than traditional signatures. eSignatures retain verifiable information like the email, IP address, and timestamp, which help to verify the signer’s identity.
- Automate Messages
Now that your tenants have accounts and can make payments on the software, you can dedicate your time to exploring some other features. One such feature is tenant communication. With property management software, it’s possible to chat live with tenants and automate messages you send regularly.
For instance, let’s say your tenants get monthly rent reminders the day before payments are due. Your software can be configured to send this message automatically, without your involvement at all. You can also automate late fee notices, utility charges, reminders about property rules or inspections, and regular office closings.
- Use Customer Support
Finally, when the transition to property management software seems tough or confusing, don’t be afraid to reach out to customer support. Responsive support is one characteristic of a high-quality platform, so if you’ve done your research, you should have access to excellent IT support.
It’s also a good idea to keep a support representative’s phone and email address on hand just in case any tenants run into problems in the future.
Successfully Transition to Digital Management
Transitioning from manual to digital management can feel like a massive project. You know how your business operates best, and it can be tough to let technology take over. However, property management software is the best way to optimize and professionalize your business in the 21st century. If you follow these tips, you are already well on your way to software success.