The more units you have, the more complicated your job is.
Owning one piece of real estate with two or three units is relatively easy to handle, as long as you have good tenants that abide by the rules and pay the rent.
But for landlords and property managers that own and operate multiple apartment complexes, there’s a lot more work on your plate.
And that work can be even harder when you’re trying to manage your properties from a distance.
Fortunately, there is an effective way to manage your rental units, even if you live several hours or states away:
It’s called virtual property management.
Here is our complete guide to virtual property management. From finding new tenants to collecting rents to handling maintenance requests.
There’s More to Property Management Than Collecting Rent
Collecting rent is just one small part of a property manager’s job. You're also responsible for handling everything that goes on in your rental properties. That includes showing apartments when a tenant moves out and finding and vetting new tenants to take their place.
On top of all that, you have to:
Field tenant complaints
Take note of maintenance issues
Hire and schedule vendors to address any issues
Ensure the overall property is safe, secure, and maintained to the property owner’s standards
Here’s the good news:
Virtual property management allows you to do all of those things (and more) with ease, whether you’re at the property or not.
Find Your Tenants Virtually
One of the most important jobs of any virtual property manager is making sure that every unit is under a lease. Virtual property management can help you do that in several different ways.
Generate Online Leads
With virtual lead generation, finding prospective tenants is easier than ever.
We're not just talking about advertising your apartment on social media, though that can be a part of your marketing plan. There are many other ways to generate online interest and find potential tenants looking for what your complex has to offer.
For example, you can generate online leads by posting your complex on sites like Apartments.com. Many renters may find you on there and then click over to your website to gather even more information.
To build a lead stream, your website should provide visitors with information that'll coax them into renting. That includes pricing, amenities, and floor plans.
Provide Floor Plans and a List of Amenities
The trick to successfully managing a property virtually is to have as little contact with a tenant as possible.
One way to do that is to provide them with as much detailed information as you possibly can. That way, they're well-informed before they contact you, and you won't have to answer the same basic questions over and over (ex: what's the rent?).
Your website should include floor plan layouts and a list of all amenities your building has to offer. Also, attach an online form where tenants can reveal which floor plans pique their interests (and budget!).
Having this information will make it easier to organize tours and focus on tenants looking for units that are already available.
Fortunately for property managers, more and more tenants are open to the idea of taking a virtual tour, and there are a few ways to conduct one.
One way is to record a video walkthrough and send it to all interested tenants. Be extremely detailed and point out every single feature, like:
New appliances (in-unit washer/dryer, stainless steel refrigerator)
On-site amenities (pools, playground, etc.)
An eat-in kitchen
And any other perks that could be selling points!
It’s also best to take photos beforehand. You can send them either right before your virtual tour or immediately afterward as a way to follow up.
For tenants that are still interested, arrange a Skype call or FaceTime chat to answer any questions they may have.
Create a Virtual Leasing Agent
Whether potential tenants are searching for your apartments in the middle of the afternoon or late at night, your virtual leasing agent can handle much of the preliminary contact for you.
No matter where you are or how busy you may be.
Here’s how these nifty tools can change virtual property management forever:
Schedule In-Person Tours & Virtual Walkthroughs
A virtual leasing agent can schedule in-person tours or virtual walkthroughs. They can explain different layouts and floor plans and point out the building's perks and amenities. All without eating into your precious time as a PM.
Accept Rental Applications From Prospective Tenants
These 24/7 agents can also accept rental applications. That way, you can start vetting tenants and performing credit checks and background checks before they step foot on the property. There’s no sense in offering showings to visitors who can’t afford the monthly rent!
A 24/7 On-Hand Assistant
A virtual leasing agent is more than just a virtual assistant that can handle general questions. A virtual agent can also handle a large majority of the work you don’t want to do and be available to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hand-off those tedious, behind-the-scenes tasks to the machines.
Integrate With Current Property Management Software
Some virtual leasing agents can integrate collected data with your current virtual property marketing software (Entrata, Yardi, RentCafe).
As leads come in via your virtual leasing agent, those leads will go directly to your portal. Not some default email that requires you to upload leads into your system manually.
LeaseLeads goes one step further in helping you build an apartment marketing plan by making a 24/7 leasing agent available on your website, matching every single one of these benefits (and more!).
Set Up an Online System for Existing Tenants, Contractors, and Yourself
Okay, so we’ve covered the ways virtual property management can help you get tenants in the door. Now, it’s time to get into how you can virtually manage the tenants you already have.
The best way to conduct hands-off property management is to create an online portal that you, your tenants, your staff, and your contractors can access.
Sign & Send Forms Digitally
As part of that system, provide your tenants with DocuSign or other e-signature software. That way, they can sign new leases or renew old ones virtually without meeting with you in person to do so.
Create Online Maintenance Request Forms
It's also important to create online forms so that tenants can submit maintenance requests. You can then use these forms for staffing contractors to solve issues.
An online tenant system can also help you reduce the amount of time you spend on data entry. By creating basic templates for requests and setting up a safe way to submit rent payments, you’ll have an easy online log that you can review.
Plus, your landlord or other management members can access that system to see exactly what is going on without having to contact you.
If your building has HOA meetings, your online system can also serve as the host for tenants who want to attend those meetings virtually. This is ideal for large complexes with multiple tenants that don’t necessarily have the physical space to host them all in one location.
Offer a Foolproof Security System
Another benefit of having an online system is the ability to provide your tenants with better security.
With a live feed of your security cameras, tenants can have better peace of mind knowing that the building is being monitored properly at all times. This is also great for managers and landlords who want to watch the comings and goings within the building.
The Benefits of Virtual Property Management
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that you can make people feel safer by allowing them to take care of business virtually.
But the reasons to make the switch to virtual property management go way beyond COVID.
Here are a few examples:
Virtual Management Can Save You Time and Money
The younger your target audience is, the more important it is to have a virtual management system.
Younger tenants appreciate the convenience and ease of virtual communication. Older tenants may prefer in-person contact. But renters in their twenties and thirties are more likely to enjoy the option to communicate with you online.
And every minute that you don’t spend on an in-person meeting can save you time — time that you can use to focus on other things.
By spending less time on in-person tenant interactions, you can pay more attention to things that can grow your property management business, such as:
Keeping up with pricing changes in your region
Studying what the competitors in your rental market are up to
Responding to emergency requests and meetings
Speaking with investors about renovations
Just think about all the time you'd save by collecting auto rent payments and sending automated reminders to notify tenants that rent is due. Think about how much easier it would be to schedule maintenance issues if you didn’t have to spend ten minutes on the phone fielding every complaint.
Most of the little things that are part of your day-to-day responsibilities can all be handled virtually.
You Can Manage Your Property From Any Location
But the biggest advantage of virtual property management?
The fact that you can handle those responsibilities regardless of your physical location.
You can reduce the time spent on traveling to and from your apartments to conduct in-person tours. You can generate leads and accumulate more potential tenants in a shorter amount of time.
Set up a virtual property management system online, and you can do your job (and do it more efficiently) from anywhere in the world.
A Better Opportunity to Expand
Virtual property management also offers the opportunity to expand your business nationally.
For property management companies that work with two or three landlords, this is a game-changer. You no longer need to focus only on the landlords/clients in your city or region. With a virtual system in place, you can manage apartments all across the country or globally.
Virtual property management is also key for portfolio companies that own multiple apartments.
Just imagine how much more successful your business could be if you could rely on your one or two best regional managers to handle your properties. With a virtual system, you can put your best people in charge and rest assured that all tenant needs and landlord needs are met.
Here’s the bottom line:
The old, traditional way of finding tenants and managing rental properties is over. Virtual property management is the future, and unless you want to be left behind, it’s time to get on board.
With a strong online presence, an online portal for tenants, and a 24/7 leasing agent from LeaseLeads, you can work around the clock. All without actually having to work around the clock.
From finding tenants to handling plumbing issues, virtual property management makes everyday tasks easier to manage.
Don’t let your competitors take the lead in the race to become the most coveted apartment complex in town. Contact LeaseLeads now to integrate your current systems with a complete virtual property management plan.