By: Laurie Mega
This is the second in a series of posts to help single-family property managers make their leasing processes more efficient, reduce costs, and increase profits. This article will highlight the top lessons taught by Propertyware’s training team and focus on move-in process enhancements by way of technology.
Property managers are always looking for efficiencies and cost-saving measures in every corner of their business that will benefit their owners, while delighting their renters—and you’re no different.
A good place to examine in your leasing cycle is your move-in process. Why? It sets the tone for how you do things with your residents and can kick off healthy, long-term relationships that solidify your retention rates. Not to mention individually coordinating every detail of move-ins across multiple properties leaves you vulnerable to measures that take up precious time and resources.
Finding room for improvement in your move-in process has some quick-hit benefits:
- It finds those efficiencies and cost savings you’re looking for.
- You can do more with fewer team members.
- It will save your existing team time.
- A smoother move-in process will leave a good impression with tenants, who will be more likely to recommend you and become long-term tenants.
- A faster move-in process reduces vacancy time and turnover complications, which makes owners happy.
To get you started, here are six pro tips to increase efficiency and reduce costs at every stage of your move-in process.
1. Automate, Centralize, Monitor Your Payments
According to 2021 Rental Owners’ Report from Propertyware and Buildium, payments are the number one process that rental owners want their property managers to handle digitally. In fact, 73% of single-family rental owners would like the option of making and receiving payments electronically.
You may have found yourself in a situation where your team is spending far too much time collecting your rent payments, and physical checks. Allowing renters more options to pay doesn’t have to complicate the rent-collection process. You can automate and centralize your rent collection using property management software and a tenant portal.
In general, property management software allows you to accept rent payments in three ways: ACH (electronic check), credit card, or cash payments through approved payment centers. And the more types of payment options are available, the more convenient paying rent becomes for tenants, reducing the number of late or missing payments and getting those funds to your owners even faster—especially with features like recurring payments.
If you want to give tenants the flexibility of cash payments, but you don’t want to handle the cash yourself, you can offer a service such as Propertyware Cash Payments, which syncs you up with bill pay services through retail locations like Walmart.
Even if you already have multiple options set up, you should still be monitoring each payment channel across your portfolio to determine which are the most effective—and where there might be some adoption gaps. Usually, education takes clear and concise communication with tenants at all the right points in their tenancy. Consider where you might be able to set payment expectations from the start along with where to communicate their options on a regular clip.
2. Go Mobile With Your Inspections
When you have multiple move-in and move-out inspections happening at once, it’s hard to sync up all that information. Between the tenant reports, damage logs, and repair tickets, there are just so many moving parts.
Consider using a mobile app to help conduct and record inspections, and then create reports and repair tickets on the go.
An app with camera mode will also allow your inspectors to take pictures of damage, tag it, and log it in your reporting system. Once the inspection is completed and the mobile device is connected to the internet, everything will synch automatically. Later, you can compare previous inspection reports with current ones, and create repair and maintenance tickets based on what your inspectors found.
3. Stay on Top of Your Turnover Maintenance and Repairs
Before a move-in happens, you’ll want to closely manage your maintenance expenses during the vacancy period. While you never want an extended vacancy, making sure your routine maintenance is appropriately transitioned can save you money.
First, you’ll want to make sure you pause any unnecessary routine maintenance. This might include lawn or pool service, for example. Second, you’ll want to make sure you prepare for any special agreements that were outlined as part of the impending tenancy.
You can also manage your vendors for repairs, maintenance, landscaping, and other work all in one place.
Look for ways to standardize costs, make work orders easier to generate, and create recurring tasks across properties.
4. Lean Into Your Delivery of Possession Experience
Communication with your tenants will always be a central part of your move-in regimen to make a smooth handoff of the property happen. Setting the tone from the moment a new tenant signs a lease is key to starting the relationship off with the right expectations in place and everything they’ll need to know for a solid move-in experience.
You’ll want to create orientation content and welcome communications to provide next-level service and save your staff from answering the same questions on repeat.
You can include information such as trash pick-up, utility services (if you’re not using a centralized bill-paying system), area schools, and even local restaurants. Think about the information that tenants should receive at the different stages leading up to move-in. Next, build an outline of a series of emails that supports the intended experience—emphasizing the most important information. You’ll want to get them logged into their tenant portal right away so they can find all the same information 24/7.
You can also take this time to introduce opt-in services like the AssetProtect Insurance Program as an added bonus that heightens the tenant experience, safeguards all parties, and gives your business an additional revenue stream.
When it comes to running a successful property management business, you’re always looking for ways to make processes more efficient, improve services for tenants and owners, and create new revenue streams that improve your bottom line.
We’ve already talked about the lead-to-lease process in the previous article. Now, take a look at your move-in process. Where is there room for improvement? How can you leverage software to standardize tasks and pull everything into one central location, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks? With customizable technology (and your imagination), you’ll be surprised with the process efficiencies that you can make happen.