I’ve always been interested in property investing. I purchased my first property when I was 19 years old and got the property investing bug. In the years following I acquired additional rental properties. There is something about land and housing that makes perfect sense as a long term investment.
My passion for property led to the founding of initio in 2009, a digital insurance provider that specialises in landlord insurance.
I started off self-managing my properties. This helped me get a handle on what a self managing investor and property manager goes through. Being able to practically work through the landlord obligations, in order to meet the requirements of an insurance policy, are invaluable to us as an insurer of rental properties.
What I found from self-managing properties
With good tenants, there is little work in managing the property. The rents are paid on time, and an easy inspection would take place every few months. This might sound familiar to most landlords. What will also be familiar is the bed egg tenant that makes you question why you invest in property.
Some tenancies require far more work than others. Chopping and changing tenants, with less reliable rent payments meant I was spending more time monitoring and managing them.
Between this, a growing family, and businesses, I no longer had the time and I wondered whether engaging a property manager was the solution.
Traditional property managers
I noticed a crucial thing with the traditional approach of property managers, where they take a set percentage of the rent (between 7-10%) irrespective of the amount of work involved (i.e. regardless of whether the tenant is easy going or just plain hard work). I get this approach – it’s very similar to insurance in that everyone contributes a similar amount and some people use the resource more than others.
What I really wanted was a ‘user pays’ approach, that was heavy on technology, so that I could understand where the costs were being applied. I also wanted to be able to manage some things myself. I didn’t necessarily require the full services of a manager and I wanted transparency. I wanted more flexibility.
…… Enter KITT Property Management
This is when I came across KITT. They take a unique approach to pricing of property management, and like initio, they use technology to automate processes, provide transparency, and save my time.
KITT has a unique and very fair pricing model. Rather than a percentage of the rent, KITT charge a flat $35 monthly fee which gives me access to a personalised KITT dashboard and KITT handle the rent payments, and (importantly) any arrears.
As for finding a new tenant, and inspecting the property KITT do that too (if you don’t want to do it yourself that is). It’s a pay as you go approach that means you pay $500 for a new tenant, and $100 for an inspection.
For my property in Beerescourt Hamilton, which rents for $500 per week, over the next 12 months I’ll save over $1,500 compared to traditional property management services. That’s really important to me for this property where the gross yield is already sub 5%.
So it’s really as much or as little as you want, and it works for me perfectly.
The traditional one-size-fits-all pricing structure may work for some investors but I really think you have to consider your property as you would a business and ensure that the input of funds is commensurate with the output of service.
Property management meets technology
So KITT’s combination of fair pricing and use of technology is what I love the most. Like initio, they have developed a custom member log-in where I can see what’s happening, including some very cool reporting showing the financial performance of a property.
Having your records in one place and a built in accounting system is more important than ever for property investors. I need on-demand access to leases documents, insurance certificates, insulation certificates, tenant details, upcoming inspections, rents, invoices, and more. And soon tenants will be able to report maintenance on the KITT Tenant’s App.
It’s horses for courses
I have really enjoyed my experience so far on the KITT platform. I suppose you could say I am half-in when it comes to the management of my residential property, and the KITT system gives me the flexibility to do this. If you are completely hands-off with your property investments and just want KITT to manage it and leave you alone, you can do this too.
I am super excited to see what KITT has in store for the future. While they are only ‘on the ground’ in Dunedin at present, they have big plans to bring their fair, and automated property management approach to the entire country.
Check KITT out for yourself.