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Property Management Software 101: Getting Setup

March 15, 2022

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As a landlord in 2022, you know that property management software is a game changer. 

It streamlines the most important aspects of your business and saves you precious time. 

Even better, there are free platforms with the same capabilities as many paid ones. 

So, you’ve adopted the technology, but now what? 

In this article, we will walk through how to get set up and some key things to keep in mind when you’re starting out with property management software.  

Setting up Rental Applications 

Many platforms also make it easy to create different application templates. This is extremely useful if you have different kinds of properties to manage (i.e., student houses, regular residential properties).  

Once a prospective tenant fills out an application, property management software can help screen them. Most platforms integrate with services like TransUnion to provide seamless background and credit checks. Great tenants are invaluable to the success of your business (not to mention your mental well-being). 

Setting up Lease Agreements 

After taking care of the applications, the next thing you’ll want to do with property management software is set up online lease agreements. There are generally four steps to setting up these agreements on property management software: 

Step 1: Upload the Lease 

First off, you may upload any lease you’ve used previously, so that might make things easier. You can upload documents right from your computer or cloud-based storage (OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.). Many formats and file types work, but leases saved as PDF and Word documents tend to be the best options. The reason is that those file types are the most likely to retain the exact space and sizing of the original document. 

Step 2: Assign Roles 

Once your document is uploaded, you’ll need to figure out who’s signing the lease. If you’re leasing a house to two tenants, for example, then you need three roles. You can assign the “Landlord” role to yourself and have an additional role for each tenant. Also, you can assign a specific signing order to have more control of the process. 

Step 3: Identify Lease Fields 

You have a lot of options when it comes to formatting your lease. Beyond initial and signature fields, you need to identify the text box, checkbox, and date fields. After these fields are set on your uploaded lease (just drag and drop where appropriate), you can fill them in and add your tenants. Save your work throughout the process (just in case). 

It may also be useful to include data validation in your lease fields. This ensures that the relevant criteria for each specific text box is met. For instance, if you select an “email” validation, the information in that text box won’t be valid unless it matches an email format. Likewise for “numeric” or “date” validations. This is an effective way to check that the information is formatted properly. 

Step 4: Share Your Online Lease 

You can share leases right after setting up. So, once everything is in place, make sure you save your document, and then you’re good to go. Generally, the platform sends an email notifying tenants once the lease is ready. From then on, barring the original contents of the lease agreement needing to be altered, you won’t have to format the document ever again. 

Lastly, something that can help streamline the work is to save leases as templates. Obviously, not every lease will be identical, but most leases are similar enough that templates can save time. Templates are also great because you can set up auto-fill fields for portions where only amounts change. Make sure you add relevant information and have a lawyer check them if you feel unsure of anything. 

Adding Properties and Tenants 

Adding properties is easy with most property management software platforms. First, navigate to the page that prompts you to enter data about your properties. Then, input the relevant information and set up the property as prompted by the software. This will allow you to quickly click into each specific property and enter new details or extract needed information. 

Next, you need to add tenants. Most platforms will have a button or obvious navigation to lead you to add a tenant. Once you click through, enter all the relevant information about each tenant. Adding rental terms and renter’s insurance details is typically a part of this process.  

Important Note: It may be in your best interest to add a maintenance lead as a user as well. That way, they have insight directly into what’s going on from the start. Managing maintenance requests is a great benefit within most property management software platforms.  

Setting up Online Payments 

Setting up online rent collection is straightforward with property management software. When it comes to most platforms, you simply add your tenants to the system, customize their rent requirements, set due dates, enter your account information, and then sit back and let the payments roll in. The funds are transferred from your tenant’s bank account (through either ACH or credit card payment), processed by the software, and then credited to your account. 

Your software should do the heavy lifting in terms of payments. Once you input late fees and dates, your software should send out automatic reminders and apply late fees if they become necessary. The set-up is quite simple for payments with most platforms. 

Syndicate Your Listing to Key Sites 

Last but not least, you want to start your marketing efforts. Certain platforms allow you to get your listings sent straight to key websites across the internet. This provides much-needed exposure for your properties. As a result, you can start attracting potential renters right away! 

Do your research regarding your software’s options when it comes to marketing. You may be surprised at the different options you can leverage. Many platforms now have various marketing tools within their software. 

Conclusion 

Property management software doesn’t have to be complicated. Platforms like Innago are built intuitively to make your life easier. Setting everything up through property management software should be simple. 

By following the directions above, you’ll create a foundation for success. Setting up applications, setting up lease agreements, adding properties and tenants, setting up online payments, and syndicating your listings to key sites are the basics that give you a great foundation for moving forward. 

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