| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

mobile app for landlords

We are human because we have dreams.

Many people dream about building up sufficient investments and passive income to be able to leave their jobs and ‘live happily ever after’. Others want simply to be able to retire.

We are human because we chase our dreams.

People chase their dream of financial independence in many ways; one is by building real estate portfolios and creating considerable rental income.

We are not following this route. We believe that for us:

a)      it is a bit too late to start,

b)     it is the wrong time in the economic cycle to start;

c)      it is too much bother to manage rental properties; and

d)     there are so many other exciting opportunities and these don’t tie up so much capital.

So, we are not actively investing in real estate.

Still, we dabbled in investing in The House Crowd and we have an apartment that we rent out.

This is why, and of course we are the owners of a personal finance blog where we write about property, we jumped at the opportunity to review the Direct Line Mobile App for Landlords (you can access the app here). Anything that can make our readers’ lives easier in all things ‘money’ gets us really excited.

Let me tell you about the Mobile App for Landlord without further ado.

What does it do?

Mobile App for Landlords by the Direct Line offers three main functional features. These are:

One: It maintains records of rented properties:

  • the current period of tenancy, the rent (weekly or monthly), the date or day that the rent is due, with an ability to add a reminder to your phone calendar;
  • the tenants’ names, phone details and email addresses;
  • the estate or managing agent, phone number and email address;
  • the property insurer with policy number and renewal date.
  • electrical safety, boiler checks;
  • smoke and carbon monoxide alarms;
  • take photographs before the tenants move in and check them within a month.
  • take meter readings;

Two: It includes a reminder of the issues that you need to check or inspect, for example:

  • electrical safety, boiler checks;
  • smoke and carbon monoxide alarms;
  • take photographs before the tenants move in and check them within a month.
  • take meter readings;
  • advise tenants of their rights and ensure that any deposit is protected; and
  • provide the necessary documentation.

Three: It includes financial details such as:

  • purchase price and any mortgage you pay together with the payment date, start and finish dates;
  • the rent you expect or receive, along with the frequency and date;
  • regular expenses like professional fees, maintenance and taxes;
  • it calculates the annual yield as a percentage of the purchase price.

You can diarise reminders so that it will tell you when something needs checking, renewing or visiting. It also includes an extensive list of information on such diverse areas as financing, commercial properties, investing in student accommodation, minimising costs and maximising profits, rental trends and generally staying in control.

How does it make your life as a landlord easier?

This app will make your life as a landlord easier and less stressful mainly by allowing you to:

  • Keep records of all important aspect of managing a property;
  • Have access to your records anywhere and anytime;
  • Schedule automatic reminders that connect with your diary and minimising the probability of forgetting something important;
  • Have access to all financial information you need to manage the property(ies), including information you need for your tax returns, anywhere and anytime.

There are many other applications that also do these, you may think. What is the thing that makes it different?

I believe, that what makes this app different from many that are on the market is the Knowledge Centre where you can find wealth of information you need to be a competent landlord.

What works well?

After playing around with the app (yep, both John and I did it) we think that the following work well:

  • It is free;
  • You can keep all your details in one place while on the move – being available on your phone or tablet is a great advantage;
  • It can synchronise names and phone numbers with an address book;
  • You can store notes that may include key tradesmen etc. in one place;
  • You can see what the profit should be so decide whether it is worthwhile investing for example;
  • It’s easy to use and navigate.
  • The up-to-date knowledge base will save you time ploughing through legislation yourself.

This last point is particularly important as legislation is changing all the time – being a landlord is no longer a simple task!

What can be better?

Finally, here are several points on what we thought could do with some improvement:

  • I had a bit of a problem finding the app on the App Store (then again, I’m a self-confessed Luddite).
  • It displays in portrait mode on iPad and doesn’t auto-rotate. This is a problem with keyboards: the on-screen one is small and people with thick fingers will have hard time entering the data; people using outside keyboards for iPad will have a problem securing the iPad. Definitely something that needs looking into.
  • A version compatible with PC and Mac will be useful. Also, features allowing the importing/exporting of information from other sources and software is something that may improve its functionality. A PC or Mac version will enable landlords to view and print the information more concisely when they are back in the office as well as link into their finance or tax package;
  • I couldn’t amend a tenant/contact – there is no obvious ‘edit’ mode; I solved the problem by deleting the entry and adding it again;
  • The app requires internet connection as the data is stored on a cloud – you can’t login without a connection. If you lose connection while entering data, the new data will be lost;
  • A number of the fields where you enter data (e.g. name, address, telephone number etc.) need to be checked when entering – for example you can put any gobbledegook in the email address or postcode. This may seem trivial but typos when using tiny keyboards are a frequent cause of error;

Our verdict:

I give the Mobile App for Landlords three stars:

***

This is a very useful tool that can make landlords’ lives much easier and stress free. Useful as it is, the app can do with some minor changes and a bit of further development.

Why settle for great when this app can be excellent?

photo credit: Storm Crypt via photopin cc