Using Technology to Improve Efficiency, Saving You Time and Money
With a still-hot housing market and an ongoing pandemic, securing and managing properties is more stressful than ever.
You find a perfect two-bedroom to add to your portfolio, but you are outbid a minute too soon. Or you send inspectors out, but they forget crucial photos—pulling operations off-schedule.
Increasingly, single-family rental companies are employing technology to streamline and automate processes. Tech can now make it easier to find homes, manage existing properties, and grow your portfolio.
But it is important to find just the right tools—the ones that will genuinely make your life easier and increase your return on investment.
Here are three tech tools sure to improve operational efficiency for SFR companies:
Exploration and Acquisition: HouseCanary
Fintech company HouseCanary simplifies the process of finding and buying residential real estate.
One challenge of navigating a hot real estate market is locating potential properties—and then making a fast-yet-informed decision to buy.
You may already be familiar with the HouseCanary name due to its home valuation and forecasting algorithms.
What you might not know is that these algorithms fuel three exploration tools to help investors find new properties: the Property Explorer, Rental Explorer, and the new Acquisition Explorer.
- Property Explorer (PE) provides a strong jumping-off point for your SFR search. This data-mapping tool allows you to research and visualize potential properties. Then you can view sales and rental comps and predict home values with HouseCanary’s precise property valuation and analytics. Bonus: The PE tool even allows you to adjust for a home’s condition, predicting its after-repair sales price and helping you minimize risk.
- Rental Explorer (RE) is perfect for finding and selecting SFRs. This tool lets you discover more about a potential property’s neighborhood, which is useful if you are expanding your portfolio into a new area. It also pinpoints the monthly rental price for a specific house, reducing your guesswork and stress.
- Acquisition Explorer (AE) is a brand-new and ultra-useful way to find homes to add to your portfolio. Looking for 2-3 bedroom SFRs in desirable neighborhoods? Customize a Buy Box with your criteria. Then, as listings become available across the country, you can review them, compare them, and make real-time investment decisions.
With HouseCanary, you can find the best investments and make data-driven, real-time decisions to purchase. And since HouseCanary is also a 50-state (plus D.C.) brokerage, resulting transactions are smooth and painless too.
Forms and Service Management: FotoNotes
Once you decide you want to add a property to your SFR portfolio, there is a flurry of forms to fill out and a multitude of management tasks to check off a list. Multiply this activity by the number of properties you own, and it can all get pretty overwhelming pretty fast.
That’s where FotoNotes jumps in to help.
FotoNotes’s cloud software is custom-made for the SFR space, so it can help you efficiently organize and complete your day-to-day tasks. FotoNotes lets you manage:
- Acquisitions: When making buying decisions you often want to gather your own data and photos on the property and do a quick renovation scope to understand what the costs will be to make it rent-ready. With FotoNotes you can do quick pre-acquisition inspections and scopes, get that information instantly and use it to make informed buying decisions.
- Renovations: These are often tricky to juggle, especially with many properties undergoing projects at one time. FotoNotes allows you to keep careful tabs on renovations. You can create forms for your contractors and vendors to complete at job sites, and they can use the app to upload photos during each step of the process. Daily or weekly progress reports can be shared with a click of a button.
- Inspections: The quicker you can get a home site inspected, the quicker you can turn it over to tenants. With FotoNotes, you can create customized forms for inspectors to follow, fill out, and sign off on. Inspectors can take, annotate, and upload high-resolution photos. That way the original state of the property is clearly documented before new tenants move in. Bonus: With the COVID pandemic, you can even use pre-made templates to allow tenants to conduct their own contactless move-out inspections, complete with photos.
- Marketing: FotoNotes can also reduce the length of time your properties are on the market. You can create and organize turn reports in a snap. If you take photos using a traditional camera app, you risk forgetting some important angles or shots. Plus, your photos could get disorganized or lost. With FotoNotes, you can create templates that make it easy to take and label high-res photos. You can then use them to develop and share reports or other marketing materials.
One final advantage of FotoNotes is how well it works with your existing productivity tools. It integrates seamlessly with other common apps you use, such as Salesforce, Zapier, and ServiceMax.
Self-Guided Touring: Rently
Rently is a self-guided app that allows prospective renters to tour vacant properties on their own.
Prospects love it for its convenience, allowing them to see houses even after work at night. Plus, they can view homes at their own pace without an agent to guide them.
SFR companies love Rently because it saves them time and money. No more rushing across town to show a property. No more waiting around for no-shows.
Plus, virtual tours mean increased opportunities for showings, meaning each property spends less time on the market.
The process is easy. You sign up. Rently ships you your access devices, such as a smart lockbox, a Bluetooth-enabled keyless lock, or a smart home suite.
After you install the access devices, Rently syndicates your listing on all the major online rental sites.
The best part? You don’t even have to stress about responding to inquiries. Rently has an auto-responder tool that will reply for you and let prospects know how to sign up for their self-guided tour.
Worried about prospects damaging the property you work so hard to maintain? Don’t be. Rently verifies all prospects in a multi-step authentication process that requires a government ID, a credit card, and AI-enhanced screening.
Once the prospects are verified, they will receive a one-time code to enter the property. And with the Rently app, they can view maps and property details to learn all about can’t-be-missed features.
If you have many properties in your portfolio, Rently makes it easier to keep track of them. You just open your Manager Portal, and then you can monitor and manage tours for all of your SFRs from there.
Bottom line: By offering self-guided tours, you can turn properties over faster and grow your portfolio.
Simplifying the process
The single-family rental industry comes with its own unique obstacles. Unlike apartment buildings, SFRs are often spread out geographically. And you don’t have the luxury of having an on-site property manager.
The next best thing?
Adding technology-based tools to your operations. Tech saves you time. And as the old adage goes, time is money.
Software and apps like HouseCanary, FotoNotes, and Rently automate many of your daily tasks and to-dos.
It is easier than ever to streamline the process of buying, marketing, maintaining, and selling investment properties.
Instead of worrying about organizing listing photos or finding a new tenant, you can focus on expanding your portfolio and upping your ROI.