President and GM at Zegoa proptech company modernizing resident experience management to drive retention, productivity and NOI.
Rent payment is one of the most important aspects of property management as it is therefore generally responsible for a property’s income that affect net operating income, cash flow and overall community satisfaction. Despite this reality, property owners and operators still face hurdles in the collection process that ultimately harm the health of their properties.
Thanks to innovation in real estate technology, digital payment processes are now a reality providing a long-term respite from the trials and tribulations of old-fashioned paper checks.
Compared to traditional collection methods such as checks, digital processes save time for staff by removing the many steps audit processing takes, as well as the often forgotten costs and the associated risks. Having said all that, letting go of the familiar and diving into the digital world can be difficult for property owners, staff and residents alike, especially when hard-earned money is at stake.
Here are some tips for navigating digital rental payments with ease.
1. Be considerate when selecting your rental payment service.
There are several aspects to consider when deciding which rental payment service to use, the first being whether income protection is provided through a platform. The National Apartment Association (NAA) reports that 64% of property managers do not use a fraud prevention service—a surprisingly high percentage as it is no secret that fraud is harmful to businesses. In addition, the number of fraud attempts has increased by 25% in recent years, further exacerbating the problem. Property managers can avoid this scary reality by taking precautions with a rental payment service that offers balance verification, secure bank account connection, and chargeback protection.
Then determine whether the platform in question offers an up-to-date experience that is smooth and convenient for all users. Just as a well-oiled machine does what it’s supposed to do for a long period of time, so does a rental payment service. Friction can be daunting, so it’s critical to ensure that this important service is easily accessible, for example via a mobile app or website, and has no cumbersome steps and hidden costs that can cause frustrating crashes. Some platforms also offer flexible payment models to alleviate the stress tenants can experience when they have to pay several large bills at the beginning of each month. These models can vary, but typically allow tenants to pay their rent in smaller increments, while property managers are paid the full amount owed upfront by the provider, creating a win-win situation for everyone.
2. Real estate workers are an invaluable resource, so train them!
Chances are you’ve had some sort of guidance learning to ride a bike. The same approach can be applied to introducing new software processes to real estate personnel. Instead of signing up with a rent payment service and expecting the staff to be masters from the start, use training tools to get everyone off to a good start.
A powerful tool offered to new customers by many service providers is a series of training videos. Not only do 73% of consumers prefer new products over videos, according to Wyzowl’s 2022 video marketing research report, but this training tool can also be easily shared far and wide via email attachments or website links and can be accessed at different times. Onboarding new employees? Training videos await. Do you have an employee who needs a little more time to master the steps, or someone who is just looking for a refresher course? The same videos are there to help.
3. Communicate expectations and processes to residents, new and old.
From the outset, be candid with potential residents about expectations about how rent should be paid each month. Including a clause in every lease and reviewing this clause when signing the lease is an effective way to ensure that residents are not taken by surprise when it comes time to pay the rent digitally. This practice also provides an opportunity to discuss the benefits of digital rental payments with potential residents and discuss any questions or concerns.
Regardless of where someone stands in the resident’s life cycle, training videos can be a powerful tool to teach them about the ins and outs of digital collection processes. By giving residents the tools they need to get things done on their own, coupled with access to a well-trained, knowledgeable workforce, property managers can set everyone up for success. The bottom line: By adopting digital rent payment processes, multi-family communities can save on two of the most valuable resources available: time and money.