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How Providing Online Services Can Benefit Your Portfolio

How Providing Online Services Can Benefit Your Portfolio Multi-Housing News (07/26/17) Fuhr, Meeghan

For years, many apartment owners and operators with small portfolios have gotten by without providing online services for residents. However, as online portals have become increasingly common, they have also become less expensive and much easier to customize for any size portfolio. As a result, residents have come to expect this when searching for a rental unit. They now view the ability to complete tasks online as a given and not a bonus. The ability to pay rent online is key. Ray Szabo, a property manager with Santa Barbara Real Estate & Investment, says providing this service is beneficial to owners. "Having an online payment system eliminates the opportunity for a myriad of excuses that residents have for why they weren't able to pay their rent on time, such as issues with the mail, running out of checks, and so on," he explains. "It's much more convenient from a landlord's perspective to know that you will get paid on time." In turn, most residents have come to prefer making their payments online, as well. Doing so is a lot safer and more convenient.

According to the article's author, there are many different online payment services that can provide extra convenience, such as recurring payments, automatic reminders, and e-mailed receipts. Aside from monthly rent payments, other services can be streamlined online, too, including: resident applications, approvals and denials, maintenance request submissions, and copies of leases. Residents want to have as much knowledge at their fingertips as possible. So the more an owner/operator can provide them, the more value they typically see. Of course, there can be some downsides to removing the interaction between residents and management. One issue that frequently comes up among apartment residents is that they feel their maintenance requests aren't being handled as quickly when submitted online. With regards to technology, it's best to start small and take it from there.