Post Series: Real Estate Investing
middle-aged man using a smart mobile phone

As a landlord, you know the time and hard work it takes to purchase an investment property, perform maintenance, find a renter, manage payments and file taxes. But many of these tasks can be done with the help of a landlord app. Take a look at these four landlord apps for Android and iPhone to help you with your investment property endeavors.

Property Buddy

This is the perfect example of a DIY landlord app, and it’s specifically for those who have multiple properties. It allows you to upload details for each home (valuation, taxes, etc.) and then track payments and lease information in an intuitive dashboard. Even if you’re working with a property management company – and if you’re renting out several properties, I recommend that you do – it’s nice to keep track of the money coming in and out of your pocket. You can look at your units from a high-level view, or you can dive in and see how each property is performing individually.

There’s also an option to quickly track tax-deductible expenses and travel costs. If you’re anything like me, those receipts from the Home Depot usually end up in the garbage or between the seats in the car long before tax season. With the Property Buddy app, you can input the information immediately after each expense and take a quick photo. Then the receipt images and information are uploaded to your account.

Zillow Rental Manager

Listing a rental property can be a pain. There are several online real estate websites for prospective tenants to look for rentals – Zillow, Craigslist, RentHub, etc. – and you want to get in front of as many of these people as you can. The Zillow Rental Manager app allows you to simultaneously post an ad on several sites, meaning you can cast a wider and more efficient net. With Zillow Rental Manager, you can have your ad on Zillow, Trulia, HotPads and other top rental sites. And unlike some real estate apps, Zillow Rental Manager is free.

When creating an ad, you can simply enter details for the property, insert a few photos (don’t be that person who doesn’t add photos to their ad!) and then send it off into the world.

However, this landlord app doesn’t (yet) have a solution for the placement issue of your advertisements. I’m referring to the problem where you upload your ad on Monday, but then seemingly hundreds of people upload ads for similar houses on Tuesday, and suddenly you’re on the bottom of the viewing list. Typically, landlords and management companies get around this by resubmitting ads on a daily basis. This is especially common on Craigslist. But this is a time-consuming process, so I recommend you hire a virtual assistant to optimize this work.

Homestyler

While the other landlord apps listed here are more about the business side of being a landlord, this one helps make your rentals more aesthetically pleasing. Homestyler is a wonderful landlord app that takes the guesswork out of renovation. It allows you to take pictures of your property’s interior and then see how it would look with a variety of design elements. For example, you could take a quick pic of your floors, upload it into Homestyler, and see how it would look with hardwood or tile. You can select a wall and see how different paint samples would look throughout the house, and you can even insert furniture, perhaps to show recommendations for prospective tenants.

To see how this looks in action, take a look at this video from Homestyler.

A word of warning: If you decide to use Homestyler to virtually furnish your home for online ads, it can potentially look fake or cheesy. This is especially true for furniture. If you’re going to use this landlord app for advertisements, consider sticking with changing the wall colors, the floors and maybe the lights. Less is usually more.

Thumbtack

As you well know, landlords have to expect the unexpected. Between leaky roofs, broken water heaters and less-than-responsible tenants, you’re sure to get an emergency phone call now and again. This is where Thumbtack comes in. You can easily search for contractors in almost any field on Thumbtack. The beauty of this landlord app is that it sends out your request to multiple professionals, and then they put in a bid to do your project. This allows you to get a great deal and look at the credentials of several contractors at the same time.

In most situations, it’s best to choose a single person to do general maintenance (or you can do it yourself). This allows you to have some consistency in an otherwise random and often chaotic line of work. But in the event that your regular person can’t get there at the drop of a hat, you’ll need to have a backup plan in place. Keep Thumbtack at the ready in the event that you need to call in a quick and reliable substitute.

Smarter Landlording

As you continue your journey as a landlord, use technology to work smarter instead of harder. These landlord apps are an excellent place to start.

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