The tech platforms most helpful for first-time apartment landlords

Logan Nagel
March 16, 2022
Real Estate

When we were planning our first blog posts for Yieldeasy’s launch, we wanted to focus on providing the sort of content that beginning multifamily landlords could most easily implement when acquiring their first apartment properties. With that in mind, our first article covered areas for apartment investors to consider when planning their first multifamily investment, whether they were completely new to real estate or had a background in single-family homes. Our second article focused on giving the same investors strategies to boost the value of their multifamily investors.

This time around, we’re talking about the critical PropTech platforms early-stage apartment investors need to think about to enhance their effectiveness and boost their efficiency. As a sector, PropTech has exploded with $32 billion in venture capital funding last year alone. While this adds variety, it can make it harder to choose the most impactful platforms, especially for beginning multifamily investors. With that in mind, here are several PropTech categories that are worth considering right away.

Multifamily property management platform

The most fundamental platform of all has to be your property management tool. A good property management platform will allow you to collect rent, handle maintenance tickets, manage expenses, and more, all from one application, frequently with helpful dashboards that give you insight into your performance. There are numerous property management tools out there, but good options for smaller, starting multifamily investors could include Buildium, Doorloop, and Avail.

While the management platform is the single most important tech choice a new landlord could make, there are other important areas to consider as well. One of the most important is a leasing tool.

Leasing tools

There are many different types of leasing tools available for apartment investors to choose from, and picking the right ones will come down to the automation goals - and comfort - of the investor. 3D tour technology is one particularly noteworthy option here, with popular choices like Matterport allowing prospective renters to virtually walk through a building and gain a better sense of the space than pictures or even videos alone. Self tour options, like Rently, are another choice to consider. These give prospective renters the ability to take self-guided tours of your property, guided by a smartphone app. This reduces the workload for property management staff but requires you also have an access control solution in place (more on that later).

Investment management tools

Multifamily investment management tools help investors track their pipelines and bring on more capital. Some, like Dealpath, give investors greater insight into their transactions and deal progress (and so make the most sense once you have an established deal pipeline), and others, like Juniper Square, provide tools like document management, fund administration, and reporting automation for deals in progress.

Beyond these real estate specific tools, a good CRM is absolutely necessary for growing apartment investors. A CRM will help track investors, property opportunities, and brokers, and allow you to set up cadences of contact and even automations to make outreach and deal prospecting more effective. Major names here include the ubiquitous Salesforce, which might be overkill for beginning investors, Pipedrive, and Copper.

Smart building tech

Smart building tech is often discussed but for very small portfolios it may not make sense to make too many investments here. However, access control solutions that replace physical keys and allow residents to grant guest access to friends or family are a cornerstone solution. They are useful for reducing property management burdens while adding a desirable perk for renters. Notable platforms include ButterflyMX and Latch.

Leak detection tools are another useful choice in this space. These sensors help landlords respond rapidly to water leaks before they begin to turn into major expenses or flooding problems for residents. These tools work in various different ways, including options that detect the spread of water onto a sensor material placed near plumbing fixtures, and ones that connect to water meters to measure changes in flow over time. In addition to cost, landlords should consider how they will power their sensors, and whether they need to be connected to the internet to function properly. The more units you take on, particularly if you are investing remote or self-managing, the more likely you should deploy at least meter-level leak sensors to give insight into trends and prevent flooding.

Tenant experience apps

Tenant experience apps are another useful tool particularly applicable to scaling apartment landlords. These systems give residents a platform to interact with each other and management staff, frequently include event creation and registration functionality, and often include tools meant to help residents reserve amenities and services, such as an onsite conference room. Platforms with strong multifamily capabilities in the space include Sugar, Livly and Spaceflow. But since tenant experience tools become more effective with scale, they aren’t the best idea for apartment investors with just a few units under management.

These are just a few tech tools that represent big efficiency boosts for beginning and scaling apartment investors. There is a wide world of PropTech solutions out there, and in many cases it may take trial and error to determine the best fit. Just be sure that your contract allows for cancellation or refund, and doesn’t lock you into a 12-month agreement for a service you won’t use.

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