In the past, when it came to property investing, there were strings attached. In order to profit off of a rental property, it needed to be maintained, and you had to keep tenants happy. The term landlord used to be synonymous with real estate investor. They invested and owned the property, and they were profiting off of their purchase through maintaining it and renting it out to tenants.
That system has since shifted. Through REITs and other investing models, investor and landlord typically fill two separate roles. Distinguishing the two is important because people often want to take a more hands-off or hassle-free approach to investing, whereas acting as a landlord or property manager often becomes the opposite. Now, technology also changes what property management entails since the evolution of real estate tech has opened the door for automation in many of the tasks a landlord previously handled.
As Landlord Station says, “Modern technology makes it possible for landlords to accomplish tasks in a fraction of the time it took in the past, leaving them with more time to do other things,” so technology can either make investors money, by lightening the workload should they choose to fill the role of landlord or save money by lessening the amount of work needed to be outsourced to a property manager. As Linda Liberatore explains, “Most landlords are now set up in a software solution and can fill a calendar with the dates of the cycle specific to just the payment processing phase.” These systems make it easier to account for payments and also charge renters easily and efficiently.
In addition to alleviating some tasks, technology also creates greater accountability for landlords. Nowadays there are sites like WhoseYourLandlord.com that rate and monitor how a property is handled. As Sandy Smith describes, “The aim of WhoseYourLandlord now is to enable both tenants and landlords to have the best possible experience renting and living in an apartment. Ezeugwu likens the model now to sharing services like Uber and Airbnb, where both the customer and the provider rate each other in order to maximize the quality of the experience for both parties to the transaction.” Tenants use these sites to vet potential listings and decide whether the locale works for them. No one wants someone controlling their home when they don’t get along with them. That being said, investors and managers alike can use these tools to gauge the satisfaction of their tenants as well as source opportunities to improve the overall experience.
Aside from the benefits of automation, technology also opens the door for improving the tenant experience while maintaining a level of transparency and accountability for all parties involved. From security cameras, implementing smart devices and creates unique branding opportunities to position properties as the businesses they are. You can expect us to cover this more in our next Tech Impact post.