Finding good tenants, collecting rent, and staying on top of maintenance is stressful and tedious for many property investors. Many of us are bogged-down by (or just plain tired of) self managing our rental properties. Marble (rentmarble.com), a leader in the emerging #proptech field, has stepped in to offer landlords a simple, secure, and cost-effective way to strike a happy medium between DIY management and hiring a professional property manager. For a reasonable fee Marble fills vacant units, executes leasing, coordinates maintenance, and facilitates electronic rent collection. We’ve looked at the leading products in property management software, however this is the first flat fee remote property management tool we’ve seen.
Self-Manage or Hire a Property Manager?
There are good reasons to manage your own rental property, and good reasons to hire a professional property manager. The answer will be different for landlords with different goals, portfolios, expertise, and free time. Here are the points we suggest you consider when making this choice:
- Select your own tenants
- Maintain control over operations
- Control over the cost and quality of maintenance work
- Building a relationship with tenants can lead them to be more responsible and helpful.
- Save management fees:
- Typically 8-10% of rent per month. Generally the fewer units you have the higher the percentage.
- 50-100% of one month’s rent charged each time a vacancy is filled.
- Additional fees, which could include: inspections, maintenance service charges, & mark-up on services.
Professional Property Management Pros
- Marketing and leasing of vacancies is done for you. No advertising, communicating with prospective tenants, showing, & executing lease agreements.
- Save the time (and stress!) spent fielding tenant maintenance requests, and coordinating vendors to do the work.
- Landlord freedom & flexibility: Individual owner-managers are effectively always on call!
- Someone else chases down and bills tenants when payments are late
- Property managers are usually up-to-date on current laws and have access to appropriate lease documents.
- Income vs expense reports are generally provided.
Marble Property Management: A Hybrid of Tech and Concierge
Wherever technology can automate and streamline the work of managing rental property Marble has built tools to bring efficiency to the process. Where knowledge of the building or nuance is involved, Marble builds-in human customer service so that important decisions and details are handled intelligently. As a flat fee remote property management system, Marble strikes a nice balance between self-managing and outsourcing.
- Software, and human support enabling self-guided touring and applications.
- Multi-layer security vetting before anyone sees your unit.
- Thorough screening reports, paid-for by applicants
- Landlord receives applications, screening, reports, and chooses a tenant.
- Lawyer-reviewed leases for all 50 states, executed through the Marble system.
- Rent transferred directly from tenant’s bank account to landlord’s
- Marble fields maintenance requests from tenants and dispatches appropriate vendors.
- Income vs Expense reports at tax time.
Marble Features and Processes
In the approximate sequence you’d follow, here are the steps to starting with and using Marble’s service:
- Install the Smart Lock
- Create a Listing
- 6-Step Vetting Process
- Self-Guided Touring
- Background Check and Screening
- Approving a Tenant
- Lease Documents & E-Signing
- Collect Rent Electronically
- Handling Maintenance Requests
- Financial Reports
- Move-In / Move-Out Inspection Reports
The first step is to contact a Marble representative. They’ll fill you in on the benefits you’ll receive by signing up, and discuss the specifics of your property with you. Onboarding typically costs $150 but that fee is currently waived.
Marble sends you bluetooth smart locks for each of your units. The locks are included in your subscription price, so getting setup is free. You can choose to install them yourself, have your handyman do it, or have Marble coordinate a handyman for you. In the latter scenario Marble passes the installation costs (with no markup) on to you.
Create a Listing
As the property owner you’ll create a profile for each rental unit, just as you would for on any other online listing site or property management software platform. You’ll write the descriptive text and upload photos and videos, and you’ll have the opportunity to document your selection criteria so that prospective renters have a good idea whether they’ll be accepted. From there Marble syndicates your listing to up to 100 sites, with that list customized based on your property’s location.
Also Read: Should You List a Rental on Zillow?
6-Step Vetting Process
Before touring your rental interested parties walk-through a six step process designed to verify their identity and ensure security.
- Upload Photo of Government ID
- Upload “Selfie”
- Marble’s AI combs national databases, matching an applicant’s selfie with ID records.
- Where there is uncertainty about the identity or background of a prospective tenant, Marble’s staff conducts a manual review and makes a final call on whether access to your rental should be granted.
- Prospective tenant provides a credit card number.
- Marble sends a unique door code once their system detects that the prospective tenant is close to the unit. The code is good for a single entry, and is only good for a limited time.
Once identify verification and security measures are cleared, prospective tenants sign up for a self-guided tour through Marble’s automated scheduling system. A unique and temporary door code is sent to the rental shopper once Marble’s system detects that they’re close to the unit. This eliminates the risk of having someone send the code to a third party who hasn’t been vetted.
During the touring process Marble customer service is on call to handle any questions that come up. After the showing has been conducted the prospective tenant fills out a survey, which is designed to assess their experience and also give them the opportunity to document any damage or issues they noticed upon arrival.
Secure self-guided touring is a game changer while we’re social-distancing due to COVID-19, and we believe Marble has built a system that’ll valuable even after the pandemic is over. Flat fee remote property management is new, but the winds seem to be blowing this way.
Once a rental shopper has toured the unit and decided they’d like to apply it’s quick and easy to do so using Marble’s app or website. As the landlord you immediately receive the application and screening reports, so that you can approve or deny the prospective tenant.
As part of the application process the prospective tenant pays for screening reports, which are sent directly to the landlord. Marble uses RentPrep to deliver credit, identity, criminal background, and past eviction records. We’ve written about RentPrep and believe their reports are very thorough and accurate.
Approving a Tenant
With identity verification, an application, and screening reports in hand the landlord is prompted to approve a tenant. Since they created the property listing this is the first time the landlord has a task to complete – every other step in the process of finding a new tenant has been handled by Marble.
Lease Documents & E-signing.
With the help of legal experts Marble has developed 50-state leases such that are up-to-date with local regulations. Agreements are reviewed and updated by lawyers regularly. As we’ve written in the past, the regulatory landscape for landlords is changing quickly and it is vital to be in compliance with all current laws in order to avoid costly legal mistakes. Marble prepares the lease documents, including addenda selected by the landlord, and both the landlord and the new tenant sign them electronically.
Collect Rent Electronically
Using EFT (electronic funds transfer) processing the Marble platform lets landlords receive rent directly into their bank account without any fees to themselves or their tenants. Residents simply enter routing and bank account numbers and their bank account is automatically linked and setup for transfers. Security deposits and fees are transferred by EFT as well. Marble will automatically charge late fees, so you don’t have to track delinquent payments or chase down tenants for a check.
Handling Maintenance Requests
Once a tenant has moved in, they submit requests for any maintenance issues through Marble’s online portal, app, or by phone. Marble representatives field the requests and dispatch the appropriate service provider. Unless the expense is over $250, or higher if it’s deemed an emergency by Marble staff, the required work gets done without any engagement required on the part of the landlord.
Marble uses a national service provider network that gives them access to vendors across the country. When this network doesn’t yield an appropriate resource Marble conducts a search, paying particular attention to customer reviews. Marble does not charge a mark-up on any work performed, and all expenses for maintenance and repair work get deducted from the following month’s rent.
Marble tracks your rental income as well as maintenance expenses. When tax time comes all your records are in one place (not languishing in a shoe box!). Income and expense reports are generated by property, so you can assess how well each of your investments is performing.
Move-In / Move-Out Inspection Reports
Conducting regular reviews of your rentals is an important aspect of keeping properties in good shape, and holding tenants accountable when they cause damage. At each turnover a Marble employee or contractor conducts an inspection and coordinates cleaning and any minor repairs that need to be done. Both the landlord and outgoing tenant sign off on the inspection. Marble refunds the tenant’s security deposit, having deducted for cleaning, repairs, or any other fees due.
As a landlord you don’t start paying Marble until your first vacancy is filled. This means that you can subscribe and get setup without any expense up front. The onboarding process normally costs $150, however that charge is being waived at the moment. Once the first vacancy is filled, you are charged $50 per month, per unit. If you cancel within the first year you’ll be asked to send back the smart locks.
TakeAway: Marble Flat Fee Remote Property Management
Many landlords have “day jobs” too, or want freedom to do things other than manage their property and tenants. We’ve written lots about tools that help streamline property management for DIY owner-managers, and we’re really intrigued by the hybrid model Marble presents. Combining smart software tools with the judgement and resourcefulness of real humans when necessary lets landlords step away from the daily tasks of managing rental property. Marble is paving the way with their flat fee remote rental property management.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.