Investing in rental property can be highly profitable. Assuming you’re able to charge a reasonable rental price and keep the property occupied, you should be able to make more money than you spend on regular upkeep, resulting in a monthly profit. On top of that, your property could appreciate in value (given the right neighborhood), eventually allowing you to make an even bigger profit.
But much of your profitability depends on the relationship you have with your tenants. If your tenants are unhappy, or if they feel neglected, they’re going to leave – resulting in vacancies. And if they don’t report damage or structural issues soon enough, your property could suffer major losses.
Fortunately, with the help of modern technology, you can streamline your communication with tenants – and keep your property as profitable as possible.
The Value of Streamlined Communication
Streamlining tenant communication offers several distinct benefits, including:
· Time savings. Both you and your tenants will spend less time communicating. You’ll waste less time trying to find the right channel, you’ll spend less time drafting messages, and your back-and-forth conversations will be faster.
· Faster reporting. Some types of property issues tend to get worse over time; for example, if there’s a roof leak, it could cause a cascade of other problems in a matter of days, if not hours. Facilitating faster and easier communication means you’ll hear about these problems sooner, mitigating the damage they cause.
· Documentation. Streamlined communication also incidentally results in better documentation. With the right tech system, you’ll automatically and permanently log all interactions between you and your tenants – easing your legal burdens and making it easier to demonstrate historical actions.
· Tenant retention. Tenants appreciate good communication. With the right system in place, your tenants will be happier – and likely to stay with you for longer. That means lower vacancy rates, and of course, higher profitability.
How to Streamline Tenant Communication
So how do you do it?
These strategies are a great way to start:
· Work with a property management company. One of the best things you can do is work with a property management company. Property managers will take over most of the communication responsibilities on your behalf, onboarding new tenants and talking to tenants when issues arise. They will also likely have access to a host of high-tech tools that make communication with tenants faster and easier.
· Invest in an online portal. If you’re not going to hire a property management company, you should at least invest in an online portal where your tenants can pay rent, open tickets for repair and maintenance issues, and possibly even communicate with you directly. It’s a centralized hub where all your interactions can (and should) take place, making it fast and simple to resolve issues and handle basic tasks like rent collections.
· Set expectations for communication. Early in your tenant-landlord relationship, you should set proactive expectations for communication. What are the appropriate channels to use when a tenant needs to get in touch with you? How often should you expect to interact? What types of issues do you need to hear about, and what qualifies as an urgent or emergency issue?
· Make rent payments easy (or even better, automatic). One of the most common touchpoints for landlords and tenants is the payment of rent. Ideally, you’ll have a system in place that makes rent payments easy and seamless for your tenants, incentivizing fast and hassle-free payments. Even better, allow your tenants to set up automatic rent payments.
· Issue automated reminders. Automation is your best friend when it comes to eliminating manual tasks and saving time. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up automated reminders for your tenants; reminding them that rent is due, or that maintenance is scheduled can help clarify key points and lead to fewer conflicts.
· Be proactive. Communication is much easier and more amenable when it’s proactive. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your tenants occasionally and see if they have any standing issues.
· Get feedback and continue improving. Finally, make it a point to collect feedback from your tenants – and be willing to improve based on that feedback. Ask them what they think about your online communication portal and if they’re truly satisfied with your communication up until this point. You might be surprised to hear some of their suggestions and recommendations.
There are many one-time upgrades and improvements you can make to streamline tenant communication, but if you want to see the best possible results, you have to adopt a mentality of ongoing improvement. This is an iterative and gradual process – and not one you can master overnight. Still, every improvement you make will have an impact, even if it’s a minor one, putting you in a better and better position as a property manager.