When I first started managing my properties, I did what most landlords do. Every aspect was all manual and quite a lot of effort. I collected rent by checks sent to me in the mail, had applicants fill out a paper form, manually ran background checks, etc.
A few months into it I thought “there has to something that can do this better”. The truth is you don’t have to look very hard to find a service that will automate most aspects of the land lording experience.
Cozy is one of those companies.
Cozy is a new company, with many changes forthcoming around pricing, design, and services offered. Here’s (mainly) what they currently do:
- Automatic debiting of the resident’s bank account and subsequent credit of the landlord’s account.
- Background checks
- Online applications and tenant profiles
- Opportunities for landlords to add properties in a convenient format
- Creating and managing online leases
- E-mail reminders and updates
The best part? The money transfer service is free! That is a difficult thing to find, but is becoming more commonplace. The company makes money by charging tenants or landlords a fee for running a background check, which involves a soft credit inquiry. Here’s the key, the landlord can elect to pay the fee themselves, or, have prospective tenants pay it. Why would a landlord elect to pay the fee themselves? If demand is not high enough for the unit being rented, a landlord may not want to discourage applicants with a fee.
I have been using Cozy for roughly a year, and their services run extremely well. Their customer service is excellent and extremely responsive, their transfer service is quick and easy to set up (very intuitive), and tenants seem to like the service very much. Aside from the convenience of the rent payment automatic transfers, the information storage and online applications have been the most beneficial. At any time, I can review all of the resident’s information and update profiles. I can see who was late when, if any balances are owed, etc.
This is a screenshot of some of my listings. The layout is very appealing:
As much as it is beneficial for property owners, it is also useful for tenants because they can elect to have their payments reported to the credit bureaus. That means that they can build credit by paying their rent. It also saves them the time and effort of writing a check every month, buying stamps, envelopes, and everything else.
There are a number of sites popping up like cozy, check out the article on the 5 top property management tool picks. Whether it is Cozy, or some other site, I highly recommend the use of a service like it. The whole point of real estate investing should be to create passive income. Property management tools make it more passive!
Just a disclosure: I am not in any way compensated by Cozy or any of its affiliates. I am not endorsing their company.