Rentec Direct recently hosted an educational webinar with the company’s founder and president, Nathan Miller and the Director of Client Experience, Janell. Webinar attendees had the opportunity to ask Nathan questions about the software, upcoming releases, and the state of the rental market.
Nathan and Janell received so many awesome questions during the webinar it was challenging to address all of them during the event, so answers were sent directly to our clients after the webinar.
We value everyone taking the time to provide feedback and engage with Nathan during the webinar. We wanted to share the great questions and Nathan’s responses with everyone. Continue reading to discover the answers to some of your burning questions that were not addressed during the live webinar.
For those of you who would like to watch the webinar recording, check out the Webinar Recap here – Update From the President of Rentec Direct.
Q&A with Rentec Direct President Nathan Miller
Can you distribute release notes so we know what is being introduced to the platform and coordinate training sessions with demos of the new features? -Dario
Absolutely. Check out our product-updates blog at https://www.rentecdirect.com/blog/category/product-update/. Once a month we outline all the updates we’ve done the previous month, and major features get their own announcement. I really like the idea of regular training on new features as well and Janell has a goal to coordinate this as well. I see that there is an upcoming feature release webinar on the schedule for March, which you can check out here.
I’ve been asking for a mobile app for 5 years. It can be done fairly easily if the site is using responsive design. -Dario
Agreed. That’s why we’re beginning the process of making sure everything is responsive first. Once that is done, we’ll add in the mobile app.
Is the cash payment feature available to all clients or just to ones with a certain number of tenants? -Jerry
We use PayNearMe for this feature, and PayNearMe requires a minimum of 10 cash payments per month from a property manager. We equate this to roughly 50 units, but if you have less than 50 units, but more than 10 cash payers, let us know and we’ll get you on the program.
Any states or cities you feel are good to invest in at this time? -Jenna
Southern Oregon is an amazing place to invest! It’s a great place for property owners. I also hear great things about Nevada and Arizona. I’m sure there are many really terrific places to invest right now. I would advise investors to steer clear of places that have unfriendly landlord laws like Portland, Seattle, and SF though.
Will there be a landlord app or mobile-friendly site in the future? – Steve
You betcha! That’s one of the major endeavors we’re working on in 2020.
Any time during this year could we be expecting the addition of HOA management? -Cynthia
Right now the system works really well with HOAs. One of the major drawbacks in the past was the word “tenant” and we fixed that. As an HOA manager, you can change the system so it no longer calls your residents tenants. You can call them residents, owners, HOA Members, etc.. If you are looking for something specific that I didn’t address, please email us and let us know.
On work orders, the contact field has ‘home, cell, work” numbers. Can we get user-defined fields, as most clients have two cells, no home number, and don’t want calls at home? When we email the WO, it would then show the tenant’s first name/cell and number, which almost always is a cell. Vendors can then text too. – David
Seems like a good idea David. We’re adding more custom field options all the time to the tenants and properties. Porting those custom fields over to the work orders is a good idea.
Is there going to be a way for owners to submit payments for property management agreements fees? -Deidre
That’s definitely in the realm of possibility. It’s not directly on our roadmap but I believe that would be like adding a payment option in the owner portal.
Do you plan to add a mobile app for the landlord, to be able to enter rent right on spot and send a receipt to the tenant as a text quick? -Nik
Yes, once we finish the re-design this year and make the entire application responsive, that opens up the possibility of releasing an app with all the tools you are used to on the desktop.
Are the Rentec Direct provided websites ADA compliant? – Timothy
ADA is a new topic among websites,which we are pleased to be investigating. We’ve already done an initial look and the property management websites provided to Rentec Direct clients are about 70% compliant. We’re looking into ways to re-design them and adjust the websites to get them up to 100%. It’s something we’ll be making progress on this year.
What is the timeframe or plan to implement lease agreement forms? -Cloud
Currently, in your program, you can bring in your own custom rental forms or use/edit some of the templated forms pre-loaded in your account. We are going to release a new feature that ties into Blue Moons forms, if you are a client of theirs. Basically it will allow you to track the status of forms you’ve sent out of your Blue Moon account right in your Rentec Direct account.
Is Rentec still working on integrating with Blue Moon? – Susan
Yes, we are going to release a feature that ties into Blue Moons forms and it looks like it will roll out this quarter, so that’s great news! Basically it will allow you to track the status of forms you’ve sent out of your Blue Moon account directly from your Rentec account.
I do property management for student housing, what’s the best way to stay organized using your software with renting to bedrooms and not units. -Yossi
If I were doing this I would create a property with a number of subunits equal to the number of bedrooms. Then you move each student into a subunit of the main property. That keeps their rents separate, and if you wish the finances separate, but you can still easily report on the entire property as well.
Will you add the ability for owners to pay for repairs via ach? -Garrett
I believe that would involve adding a payment option in the owner portal. It’s definitely a feature enhancement we can explore.
Can email notifications can go to specific property managers when a payment is received? -Mia
For every credit posted, you can have the system email the tenant as well as copy yourself; however, I believe the “copy yourself” portion sends the email to the primary account email only at this point. Whomever receives that email, could potentially setup a filter to automatically forward to the appropriate property manager; however, that will require a little email wizardry on your side.
I’m kinda new to Rentec, but I have a couple of agents that work for me and they desire to manage separate portfolios under the company umbrella. Is it possible to give them separate access for their portfolios, yet only allows me as the BIC to manage the trust account information. -Deidre
Yes absolutely. You would want to set up each agent as their own user. Then set the permissions so those users have access only to the properties under their umbrella. That will limit their access to just the applicable properties. Then you can fine tune the other financial permissions so they have access only to the specific functions they need, like receiving rent payments.
Are there any updates on the Blue Moon integration? – Bruce
It’s almost ready for release. I am expecting to see this roll out in Q1, keep an eye out on the blog for an announcement.
When will we be able to pull a report for income/expenses that will allow us to print all of the properties and not just one at a time? -Mia
I wish I had a better answer for you, as I don’t currently have a timeframe on developing this feature. I do know that it’s not as simple as it sounds to accomplish, especially being as once we do it for one report we’ll get a flood of requests for it to be on every report. It is something I’d like to see someday though as it would be a time saver.
Any possibility of increasing the number of pictures we use for marketing from six to 12-15? -Norbert
The good news is you can right now! I just tested uploading 20 and it worked just fine. 🙂
Can we add the ability to put all tenant names on Security Deposit Refund Check? -DeeAnn
I’m not sure what this would take, but we can definitely add it in as a feature request.
When will there be an option to make ACH payments to vendors? -DeeAnn
This has been asked by a few. I do expect we’ll do this someday, I just don’t have an ETA on it.
The Muliple accounts login feature has been long on my list as we lost a large client as we could not provide that service. When do you expect the launch? -David
The development of the multi-account login for users feature is done and it’s in testing right now. It’s a REALLY HUGE feature that touches almost every part of our codebase, so it’s a bear to test. But we’re getting through it and I hope to see it released in Q1 or Q2. I imagine the groundwork needed for multi-account logins will be the groundwork necessary for multi-owner login, but I don’t have an eta on when that will happen.
Can we process owner distributions for multiple owners for one property? -Isabel
At this time, multiple owners are not supported per property. I will log your request with our tracking system and reach out to you if it is going to happen in the future.
Will there be an option to upload a CSV file for rent payments received? -Amy
Yes! Attachments (including CSV file) can be made right now when you post a transaction and the batch input tool will also support this. You are able to export your account ledgers in a CSV format as well. If you were wondering if the option to upload a CSV to auto-populate tenant payments, no, that functionality is not on the radar.
May I suggest the following possible changes to the reconciliation process?
1) carry closing balance to opening balance the next month.
2) date sort
3) check number sort
4) dollar amount sort
These are great feature requests and our current interface for reconciliation does not support the various sorting methods, but the next one just might. For carrying closing balance forward, I think that’s a great idea!
Why can’t I make a payment towards my company credit card and have a credit to my credit card account? Instead I have to post an expense to my checking account and then post a negative expense to my credit card. I have used Quickbooks for many years and I’ve never had to do that. -Martin
The good news is that a new batch payment feature is getting prepared for release. With the option for batch payments to bank accounts, we added in the ability to post income to an account, so this will take care of this for you. Keep an eye out on the blog or your Summary page announcements on new features.
What is the charge for tenant screening? -Toy
There are a number of tenant screening options available to Rentec Direct clients, ranging from $7 up to $15. The $15 package provides you nationwide credit, criminal, and eviction reports and is really the way to go. These reports generally cost about $30-50 through other services, but due to the massive quantities, we do we are able to pass along our wholesale rates on to all of our Pro and PM clients.
What is the genesis of the name, Rentec Direct? -Timothy
I probably thought of this around 3am one morning, maybe even before my first cup of coffee. But the concept behind the name is Rentals + Technology = Rentec. What I wanted to do with the application was use technology to make managing rentals easier. And Direct is because we make the software directly available to our clients, no middle man or retailers upping the price. It was always a goal to keep the software affordable, and we’ve done a better job at that than our competitors, so that’s a cool win to look at 10 years later. 🙂
Will there be an option to have statements automatically generated and emailed to owners each month and an annual recap for taxes that shows fees, deductions, repairs, etc…?
It’s not on the immediate radar, however, we do hear requests for automated emails to owners with their statement and I’ll let you know if that option does roll out in the future. Are you utilizing the Owner Portal to share information with the property owners you manage for? Because there are instant report options for them, many find it a great time saver.
Zillow is going fee-based as you had mentioned. Will there be an option to opt-in or opt-out, by listing, when we are posting a property for rent? I’m hopeful I can opt-out and have the property not sent to Zillow and if the property is generating no leads, then re-list and opt-in. -Dave
Right now we include all listings in the feed, but if you aren’t a paying Zillow member they get disregarded by Zillow. So all you have to do, if you want to have any of those listings active, is start an account with Zillow.
Thanks again to everyone who attended the webinar and submitted questions for Nathan to address. You are always invited to reach out to your Client Success team if you need us. We’re here for you!
And don’t forget about our upcoming Educational Webinars – Find the schedule here. We update this page quarterly so feel free to bookmark it to find those that interest you. You can register for historical webinars or simply watch the replay on our Youtube Channel.
*Questions and responses have been minorly edited for clarity.