Managing your rental real estate portfolio can seem like a daunting task. Historically, things like tenant screening, bookkeeping, and managing rent payments have been complicated processes that made running your investment properties a frustrating chore. The property-management software of just a few years ago was prohibitively expensive and really only available to larger property management firms, so it wasn’t an option for most investors.
Fortunately, the game has changed considerably. The development of cloud-based, software-as-service platforms in recent years has placed many valuable tools within reach of the individual property investor. Countless helpful tools for efficiently managing your IRA or 401(k) rental properties are available at the click of your mouse, and the list is growing all the time.
Resources like these can be indispensable because if you aren’t managing your rental properties effectively, it can wind up costing you a lot of your hard-earned retirement capital, not to mention valuable time and effort. In this post, we’ve highlighted some of the tools we recommend to investors, and we encourage you to take advantage of them.
BiggerPockets is a valuable resource for real estate investors of every financial range and level of experience. They offer access to a community where investors can connect and exchange help, ideas, and other information; as well as a marketplace for real estate listings. Their services include tenant screening software, a series of free guides and resources covering every aspect of real estate investment, educational blogs and podcasts for real estate investors, and an array of free online calculators for everything from calculating monthly mortgage payments to analyzing the investment potential of a rental property. They also have an array of free forms and files available, as well as a curated list of useful tools and resources for real estate investing.
The Landlord Toolbox
The Landlordology website from Cozy Services offers a number of useful tools for real estate investors who want help streamlining their property-management process. Their Landlord Toolbox is an excellent source of property-management information and support. It is broken down into six sections: State Laws & Regulations, which contains information regarding state-specific laws and regulations for landlords; the Landlord Lifecycle, which guides readers through the phases of buying and renting out a property; the Landlord Guides, which are a series of step-by-step guides available as free downloadable PDFs and cover topics such as tenant screening, rent collection, and marketing; Services Directory, a directory of offline tools for managing rental properties; Ask Lucas, in which their resident expert answers reader-submitted questions; and Landlord Software, which contains free rental management software for independent landlords.
In addition to their Landlordology website, Cozy Services operates Cozy.co, an online platform that allows you to easily manage almost every aspect of your rental property. It includes sections for property mangers where you can post property listings, create rental applications, screen tenants, get credit reports perform background checks, and even collect rent online; and a section where tenants can create profiles and pay rent online. The platform also allows you to configure your property to accept applications and invite tenants to apply online, as well as post direct links to your rental application on sites like Craigslist and Zillow.
Tenantcloud.com is a free service which provides cloud-based property-management software for landlords, as well as rental information management for tenants. Their services include free software for property management, tenant management, marketing, accounting, and rent payments, including a unique feature that allows your tenants to create and send you visual maintenance requests. Their software for tenants allows users to create profiles that contain their rental history, employment history, references, and other information; track maintenance requests, see their account balances, store rental agreements and move-in/out photos, pay rent online, and keep track of rent receipts.