If you have a rental property, or a fleet of rental properties under your ownership, you’ve likely considered the possibility of creating a website to help manage them. With a website in place, you can keep tabs on your tenants more easily, manage your finances in one spot, and even do more to market and advertise your property.
But are the benefits of creating a rental-specific website worth the time and monetary costs of making it in the first place?
Let’s start by taking a look at the benefits of having a website for your properties:
First, your tenants will have a more convenient option for everything they need to do. For example, when they’re ready to submit a rent payment, they can use your website as a portal, rather than writing and mailing a check. When something goes wrong with the building and they need someone to make a repair, they can submit a request for help through the site. When things are easier to manage, you’ll reduce tenant turnover and improve your tenant relationships at the same time.
Organization and personal convenience
If you’re planning on turning property management into a full-time business, a website will help you keep all your information more organized. You’ll have everything in one place, including a list of all your properties, detailed descriptions of your tenants, a record of rental payments made, a record of all your expenses, and even a list of tenant complaints and maintenance requests. When you need to look something up, you’ll be glad it’s there.
Marketing and advertising
You can also use your website as a platform for marketing and advertising your rental properties. You can use the site to upload pictures of the interior and exterior of each property, and make an appeal to prospective tenants. You can also use it as the “home base” for your SEO, social media marketing, and other marketing strategies, forwarding more traffic to it as a central location.
There are some downsides to keep in mind as well:
Though there are free website builders that can help you set up a site for free (or nearly free), setting up a site still demands a significant time investment. You can expect to spend several hours setting up your website to start, and in some cases, you may need to spend some money on a template or on hosting—especially if you plan on scaling your operations, or if you have a large operation already.
Performance and effectiveness
Your site may not work exactly the way you want it to at first. For example, you may need to make tweaks to ensure it performs optimally and looks good on all devices, operating systems, and browsers. You may need to redesign your layout so tenants can more easily find the features they’re looking for. You may even need to change your images and descriptions to maximize your appeal.
Though most of the work on your website will come in one chunk at the beginning, you’ll still be responsible for some ongoing management for your site, including updating the design, correcting any bugs or errors that crop up, adding new content (including images), and optimizing your site for search to attract more traffic.
Should You Proceed?
Overall, the benefits of a website for your rental property far outweigh the downsides, though it may not be the best decision for all landlords in all situations. If you only have one property, for example, you may be able to keep things pretty organized without the need for assistance. If you have multiple properties, though, it’s certainly an option worth exploring, and since today’s website builders make website creation simple, not to mention free or cheap, there aren’t many downsides to deter you.