Last month saw a great increase in the number of people working from home, including landlords. While it can be a new experience managing your properties from home, here are a few tips you can use to set up a structured environment.
Set office hours
Typically with working from home mindsets, you want to try and set boundaries between home and work life. And while this is difficult even under regular working from home contexts, it may be especially more difficult if you have partners and kids who are also working/learning from home. With this in mind, set up a general range of office hours during which it’s okay for teammates, partners, property managers, or tenants to contact you with rental-related inquiries that aren’t emergencies. This way, you can dedicate time during your day to focus on home life.
Have a dedicated workspace
If you’re not naturally a remote worker, set up a makeshift office space that lets your mind, body, and living space co-habitants know you’re working. If you’re looking to use what you have and not go all-in for a desk, chair, or overhauling a room to be entirely dedicated to an office, use what you have! Many of us are currently working from the kitchen table, coffee table, or basements. Importantly, whatever spot you choose to work from, make sure it’s a place where you can get comfy (i.e., throw a blanket or seat support on that hard dining room chair) and can focus.
Remember to get up and move around
Listen, you don’t have to run 5 miles a day, but it is important for your mental and physical health to take a break from your phone or laptop and move around. Give your eyes a break from staring at a screen all day, walk or move around your house if going outside isn’t an option, gently stretch your shoulders and neck, which may be stiff from hunching over a laptop.
Create a viewable Calendly that teammates or tenants can use to schedule time with you
Calendly is a popular service that syncs with your Google Calendar and gives you the ability to set available hours so you don’t have to worry about constantly checking your phone or inbox to see if somebody needs you. It also eliminates the emailing or texting back and forth to see who is available and when. Instead, creating a Calendly enables people to schedule appointments with you based on your preset availability so teammates or tenants know exactly when you’re available to talk and you can adequately prepare yourself for the meeting.
Invest in a landlord software / property management dashboard
If you’re newly working from home, you may find it hard to keep track of an email here, a text there, a scribbled stick note there. Especially if you’re setting up partial payment plans with tenants, backlogging low-priority repair requests for later, or wanting to send out communications by unit or property and finding it difficult to collect emails/numbers and organize them accordingly. Then, you have to relay all this information to a teammate or partner.
Whew, that’s a lot to stay on top of, and it can feel overwhelming.
A property management dashboard helps you set up a structured system that enables you to manage your properties from one place, keep your information up to date and organized, and is critical for managing your rentals remotely and in-person (when it is safe to do so).
RentRedi, for instance, offers several key features for managing your rental properties from home:
- Set up mobile-submitted rent payments (meaning tenants can pay rent from their phones instead of in-person or rent checks)
- Prioritize and track repair requests
- Screen tenants (with online prescreening, applications, and background checks)
- Sync your Google calendar so you can see all your upcoming appointments
- Create and manage a to-do list so you can keep track of what you need to do
- See all your tenants + upcoming lease expirations
- Send in-app notifications about important updates or information tenants need to know about
Importantly, remember that this time can be difficult to navigate, and it’s okay to not have a perfect system in place immediately. It often takes a period of trial-and-error for people to figure out what works best for their remote workstyle. And, in the end, there may be no perfect system. However, using a software for landlords that helps you manage your properties can at least make up for the fact that sometimes you have to take a call hiding in your bedroom closet to escape a herd of screaming children, your partner eating the LOUDEST LUNCH IN THE WORLD, or your 30-pound dog who suddenly thinks he’s a lap dog.
(We’re just conjecturing…definitely not based on actual, true events or anything…)
If you’re looking for more information on how you can optimize your landlord process for pandemic times, you can read more of our COVID-related content here:
- Landlord Discussion: How to Handle Rent During the Pandemic
- How to Manage Your Rentals Remotely
- 4 Ways Landlords Can Stay Connected with Tenants While Socially Distant
- How to Set up Virtual Viewings
- What Should I Do about Trying to Fill Vacant Units During This Time?
- Why You Should Set Up Mobile Rent Payments
- How to Create a Mobile Tenant Screening Process