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Launceston newspaper, The Examiner, recently reported the story of a local property investor whose property was left in tatters by her out-of control tenants.
Windows were smashed, drug paraphernalia, condoms and alcohol bottles were scattered throughout the property and human faeces were found in the neighbour's letterbox.
Worst of all, the property investor was working interstate at the time and had to learn about these issues from a friend living nearby. The total clean-up bill... $8,000.
How often do you drive by your property?
It used to be that many investors got started simply by trading up the family home and renting out the old one. That meant that in most cases, they ended up living no more than a couple of suburbs away from their tenants.
Now many factors mean investors can’t be watching their property all the time (and have better things to do anyway).
Luckily, advances in technology have allowed property investors to maintain oversight and control over their property - regardless of where they are at the time.
Now property investors can monitor routine inspections, rental payments and invoice payments and flag potential issues before they turn into a full-blown crisis like the example above.
Using technology to bridge the gap
Right from the outset at Rental Express, we saw the potential of technology to add value to property investors, increase peace of mind and prevent costly problems.
Here are some of the ways we use technology to enhance your experience as a property investor:
Online Owner's Portal
Our online owner’s portal allows you to access all things related to the management of your property portfolio, quickly and easily. Here you can see where your tenants are paid to, view inspection photos and reports, check statements and rental disbursement history, maintenance invoices and any other documents you might need. This technology allows full transparency so you can be across everything that’s happening with your property in real time.
Now you can also access your investment property details using our new smart phone app for Apple and Android.
It's like Internet banking, and it's revolutionising the way property investors keep up to date with their portfolio. Adjust your settings to receive instant alerts when rent is paid, statements are issued or new inspection reports are completed.
Instant Rental Disbursements
Most agencies deposit your rent payments monthly, which means you have to wait before you can pay down loan balances. With Rental Express, we’ve invested in technology that disburses your rent as soon as it clears in our trust account. This potentially allows you to make more regular loan payments or use an offset account to reduce your average loan balance and save on interest.
The difference this can make is not trivial. Suppose you had a loan of $320,000 with monthly repayments of $1,833 over 25 years.
When your rent is received weekly instead of monthly, you could save $62,013 over the life of the loan. You'd also cut 6 years off your repayment schedule.
Online Tenant Booking System
Our online inspection booking system allows tenants to book in to inspect your property quickly and easily and on a day and time that suits them. Because tenants don't have to waste time calling to arrange inspections or dismiss a property because the advertised inspection time doesn’t suit them, we're able to capture more tenant enquiry.
By channelling more tenants into schedule inspections, we able to create a sense of competition and field more quality applications in a shorter period of time.
We believe that the property investment landscape in Australia is undoubtedly changing for the better.
It's the role of property management companies like Rental Express to support this change and provide investors with on-demand information for greater accountability and peace of mind.
By Simon Waide, Rental Express