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Tip #259: Underutilized?

 Smartphones have become one of the most widely used gadgets. To some, a smartphone is just an overly confusing communications device, but to savvy property managers, it’s a multi-function tool. Are you making the most of your smartphone?

This technology is not just helpful for keeping in touch with your tenants. There are a variety of useful apps that cater to the landlord on the go:

Property Inspections

Your phone can be used to aid during inspections. You can take photos and even videos of surprises you find at the property and email them to yourself to keep as a record. A tenant won’t be able to deny damage they left behind if you have a “before and after” photo of the rental. You will want to experiment with the video and photo functions ahead of time.

Caught in the Dark

Do you have a flashlight app on your phone? This can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in a property with no lights! It’s good to practice so you  know how that operates before you need it.

Answering Service

Have you heard of Google Voice? This app is a great way to handle phone calls. You can select one number and have all your tenant calls forwarded to multiple phones — like home, office and cell phone — or, shut down the forward during times when you don’t want the phone to find you. For example, you could program your home phone to ring as an office phone but only until 6 p.m. This is helpful if you don’t want to give out your personal number to tenants. Voice provides a simple way to screen calls and allows the user to block unwanted numbers. Both incoming and outgoing calls can by routed through your Google Voice number giving you anonymity without being totally invisible. This app allows you to receive phone messages as texts or emails.

There are a growing variety of property management apps available. Some landlords may find it a convenient way to keep tenants records close at hand. Obviously, it’s important the apps you choose have the right functions for the right price. Most of the “free” apps only allow you to add a couple tenants, and then charge for additional renters. The upfront cost of more sophisticated apps may be worth the price as your business grows.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at

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