How AppFolio makes lives easier for owners and renters

Posted on December 5, 2018

Everyone wants a place to call home. Our houses are symbolic of ourselves. We move into homes and we painstakingly fill it with things that bring us convenience, security, comfort, and joy. We pepper it with our personality. Leaving all of that is a hard situation to be in.

While most people would want to stay in one place to grow roots in the community, not everyone has that luxury. Life changes can compel people to move around.

All of us have moved around at one point in our lives, and for a number of reasons – studies, work, marriage, among some. But it’s not the “moving to another place” that we dread. It’s the major life disruption that moving brings about. It means sifting through all the things we’ve accumulated over the years and choosing whether to keep them or to let them go. It means saying goodbye to old familiar faces and places and looking forward to finding new ones.

The USA has always been a nation of homeowners. A single-family home has always been the American dream and one of the tops goals of newlyweds. But that is slowly changing. The idea of owning a house is suddenly losing its appeal probably due, in no small part, to the housing crisis of 2000. Here are a few fun facts according to data from the U.S. Census:

● Up until 2016, homeowners outnumber renters two-to-one.
● The number of renters has increased by more than 23 million, and that of homeowners by less than 700K.
● Right now, the growth of renters outpaces the growth homeownership, which has remained virtually unchanged.
● Renters now dominate 42 out of 100 of the most populous cities in the US.

In this big old world, there’s lots of space to move around. And a lot of people are now embracing that. The market for rental properties is booming…and steadily growing. The real estate market needs all the help it can get.

What do renters want?

A renters goal is to make moving in and staying as efficient and as comfortable as possible.

Moving has gained notoriety for being one of life’s most stressful events. It’s right there on the list of top life stressors, along with career changes, divorce, and illness. So, it makes perfect sense that renters would want to make the moving process as easy and efficient as possible. They want to find the best fit rental home in the least amount of time and effort.

The old way
The old way involves a lot of legwork. It involves sorting through dozens of residential properties and finding one within their budget, travelling to the area, and setting up meetings with property managers in order to visit the listed sites. It involves a lot of interviews. It involves looking over policies, insurance, documents, and contracts. It involves a lot of negotiating. All of which require a lot of time, resources, and coffee. And that’s just the beginning.

Once the lease is signed, staying at the apartment is another story altogether. Tenants would now have to navigate rent payments, maintenance requests, insurances, and contracts.

Sixty per cent of renters move in, knowing fully well that they would be relocating again in the next 12 months. If there was an easier way of doing this process all over again without having to go through the whole thing step by step, wouldn’t they take it?

What do owners want?

A property owner’s goal is to ensure that their properties are filled as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

For property owners, seeing their investment property vacant can be a painful experience. Each day of vacancy equates to a loss. Owners still have to pay for property management, marketing, tax, and maintenance of idle properties even if these properties are unoccupied. If they see their properties vacant for long, it could result in a financial hit that is hard enough to contemplate selling the property. That’s why owners don’t want to see their properties idle. They want to see a fairly regular return on their investment.

The old way
The old way involves a lot of meetings, interviews, and negotiations. These steps are essential in order to save owners from a host of headaches in the long run. However, his process takes a lot of paperwork and time away from being able to successfully market vacancies and carefully manage rented ones.

How can we make lives easier for both owners and renters? We find them a happy place – a place where both parties can keep track of their assets without having to go through the trouble of double entries, repeat submissions and applications, screenings, and interviews. That happy place is a cloud-based software called Appfolio.

The new way
Prospective residents and property owners can complete the entire process of leasing from their mobile devices with the help of Appfolio. Appfolio automates the whole process from application to leasing to renting for both would be renters and property owners. From any high-quality third-party listing sites, renters can view and virtually visit property listings with just a touch of the screen. Once they find a listing they like, they can send in an application and pay application fees straight from Appfolio. They can also submit themselves to a credit and background check from the comfort of their homes.

Appfolio has built-in screening features that publish results instantly. This step saves time and money for both renter and owner as it does away with forms and incidental fees. There’s no need to wait long for results. Approved renters can sign the lease agreement right away. The information provided by the would-be renter is automatically merged into the lease agreement. Everything is available in the cloud and can be easily accessed for future reference. It’s a seamless start to a solid relationship between both parties.

With Appfolio, everything is mobile – applications, leasing, payments, and inspections. Both renters and owners can do away with paperwork since they have access to an online portal. Renters can access lease renewals, addenda, payment history, policies, and maintenance requests immediately. Owners can get access to pertinent documents, reports, and financial statements. They also get a summary of the state of all their property listings, including which ones are occupied, vacant, and in need of repairs. By having this information at a glance, owners get to maximize their investment by being able to plan ahead.

Both parties have access to Appfolio’s built-in two-way texting feature to send personalized messages. It’s easy and convenient. It’s one of those things that’ll make you say “thank God for technology!”