3 Free PropTech Tools to Help You Work Like a Pro: #3

The Silicon Valley Investors Club is excited to have Nicole Sarrate join us for a talk about how real estate investors can use PropTech to increase their efficiency and their productiveness. She’s a real estate investor and professional from New Jersey.

 

Here we are, PropTech tool #3, and the final segment of our 3-part series of tools that can help you grow like a pro.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I got you! Here’s part #1 and #2.

I know, I’m also sad for this to be coming to an end; but if it’s any consolation, I saved the best for last.

Related Article: How Investors Can Find The Perfect Real Estate Agent

 

PropTech Tool # 3: Cozy

I’ll be honest, I was attracted to Cozy because the name makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Ironically, marketing isn’t Cozy’s forte (more on that later). While I can’t expect a free property management tool to be perfect at everything, I must say I am overall happy with Cozy. 

So, what property management needs does Cozy cover?

  • Marketing
  • Applications and Tenant Screening
  • Sharing/Communicating with Tenants
  • Maintenance Requests and Documentation
  • Tracking Expenses
  • Rent Collection

Marketing 

As mentioned, this is not Cozy’s best feature.

If you’re using Zillow, great – you already have this covered! If not, a free competitor of Cozy, which I personally prefer for marketing, screening, and the application process, is TurboTenant. I could debate Cozy vs. TurboTenant all day. Ultimately, Cozy serves more of my free needs. However, you could always pick and choose features of both to use.

Applications and Tenant Screening

Cozy is pretty comparable to its competitors when it comes to its application, screening features, and reliability.

One feature I specifically like is that it allows co-applicants, which I have found is less confusing when leads apply. However, Cozy currently doesn’t permit you to customize or add questions to the application. I hope to see this added in the future.

Related Article: Getting Over the “Market Crash” Hurdle

Sharing/Communicating with Tenants

Cozy allows you and your tenant to upload documents to share with each other, such as a lease, addendums, rules, renter’s insurance, etc.

However, it does not currently offer lease or e-signing features, which some of its competitors do. Although Cozy says that feature will soon be added.

It’s also not a great tool for communicating directly with tenants. One newer app that is known for its landlord/tenant communication feature is Tellus. Features like this and the ability to coordinate with team members on the go makes this tool seem promising, but there have been some privacy concerns to be wary of and some other kinks still being worked on.  

Maintenance Requests and Documentation

Here’s where Cozy really begins to shine – all your maintenance requests can be tracked through Cozy. This includes the ability to attach photos/videos/files to document the work in case things ever go sour.

While you can’t have a separate login for other team members, you can share maintenance requests through the system with others, including external vendors like a contractor.

Tracking Expenses

This is another feature where Cozy provides a lot of time-saving (and cost-saving!) value.

On Cozy you can:

  • Add receipts
  • Categorize
  • Add multiple items at once
  • Export into CSV file for your end of year accounting/taxes
    • A CSV file can be imported into many other programs, including QuickBooks
    • This feature is available for rent payments as well

Here’s another easy way to utilize a VA, while keeping banking info private. You and your tenant’s bank details are veiled, even if someone is logged on under your credentials.

Related Article: How Investors Can Save Thousands by Following These 4 Simple Rules

Rent Collection

I love Cozy’s rent collection feature! Talk about being efficient – my money just shows up without me having to lift a finger!

However, there are some things you should be aware of that are not necessarily specific to Cozy, but about certain general rent collection considerations.

Here are some pros and cons to Cozy’s various rent collecting attributes:

 

Pros

  • You receive email notification of payments made or past due payments.
  • You can add different deposit accounts if you have different accounts per property.
  • You can set-up automatic late charges.
  • It allows tenants, if they wish, to request their payment history to be reported on their credit.

 

Cons – rather, let’s call this section “Potential Cons” because most of these have pros and cons:

  • Cozy takes 3-5 days to deposit, which is comparable to some of its competitors, but Cozy also allows the option to expedite the transfer for a fee.
  • Accepts CC (credit card) payments for a % fee to the tenant, but the CC option cannot be turned off.
    • This would be a pro IF Cozy allowed a landlord the option to turn it off. Here’s why:
      • IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER on taking CC payments – a tenant may have up to 90 days to dispute CC charges, which means you can end up 3 months in the hole. While ACH and checks also have a dispute period that ranges from 30-90 days, CC charges are generally the easiest type of charge to dispute for the client (in this case, tenant).
      • Please keep in mind though, even cash has risks (i.e. losing it); but, as long as you know the risk, you can make an educated decision on whether you’re willing to take that risk and, if so, what you can do in that event. This is why I’m listing this feature as a con. Cozy doesn’t allow the landlord that choice.
  • Cozy permits partial payments, which is positive in some situations and negative in others. Partial/split payments give better flexibility with some types of leases, such as roommates, but this can be negative in certain eviction situations.
  • You cannot refund tenants through Cozy, but you can apply a credit to their account.

 

Ah, but as is the constantly changing world of tech, Cozy will be automatically transitioned to Apartments.com by mid-2021. The system is said to be the same (only “brighter”), so we’ll just have to wait and see how that story plays out. 

 

As someone who is trying to build a real estate future, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. When you’re here, please remember no one does it alone. Even the pros use tools and teams to help them grow. I hope these PropTech tools prove helpful to you and that you now feel empowered to be a productive real estate professional!

 

Please share this with anyone who you think might be able to benefit from its contents, and let’s get everyone to a more financially secure world.

Want to become a better investor? Visit our library for the best books on investing.

 

The content here is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as investment advice. All views contained herein are my own and do not represent the views of any other organization.

Silicon Valley Investors Club (SVIC) is a global community of STEM professionals interested in making smarter investment and career decisions.

 

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Thanks for the re-add! Jordan Thibodeau

Great initiative! The website is full of great info, seconded.

Thanks for sharing!! These blogs are so relatable!

Been debating starting to blog... I keep being asked especially since leaving goog (and potentially big tech). I'll ping you once I'm set on it 🙂

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