In February 2015, we had just hired our first assistant a couple weeks prior to help us with incoming communication (phone calls, texts, and emails) from potential and current tenants as well as marketing vacant properties.
Her impact was great from the beginning. My time was freed up and I could spend more time working “on” the business rather than “in” the business (Michael Gerber’s E-Myth).
The first major issue we targeted was our property management platform, eRentPayment. I still recommend it to landlords who manage a small portfolios of units, but I felt like we were ready for a full-featured solution that would work well even when we had substantially more units.
After looking around for a week or so, we settled on Appfolio. It’s expensive for small landlords at $200 per month (increases by $1 per unit per month once you reach 200 units), but the increased features justified the increased cost for us in moving from eRentPayment, such as:
One-day ACH – When a tenant makes a payment, the money reaches our account within 1 business day instead of the typical 4 to 5 business days. Low-income tenants bounce payments so it’s nice to get the notification quicker so that we can start or continue the eviction. It’s also an obvious help with cash flow.
More payment options – tenants can pay by checking account, credit or debit card, or cash at various retail locations. More payment options have meant less excuses from tenants.
Tenant ledger – It’s easy to keep track of how much each tenant owes as well as charging them for various expenses such as filing evictions or utilities.
The cost of it is an obvious downside and I don’t care for their current accounting system for keeping track of expenses (we’re still using Quicken’s Rental Property Manager), but other than that, I’m glad we’ve switched to it. It has saved a lot of time in managing tenants.
What property management platform do you recommend?