Start your membership account today...  Access to credit reports, 100's of rental specific forms, agreements, letters, checklists, how-to articles, guides, expert advice and much more!  Even a FREE, 3-day trial!

Not a Member?
Get a Free Trial Membership

  Get FREE Stuff! Run Credit Report Rental Forms  Shop & Buy Forms!  Advertise Your Rental Customer Care

Welcome to Landlord.com's Discussion Forum
Register Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
jtoth55

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #1 
I'm a web developer as well as a landlord, and I tried out the likely candidates for property management software, such as Quickbooks, Quicken Rental Property Manager, and LandlordMAX, and found all of them to be severely lacking.

For that reason, I created http://housters.com, a new property management web site for landlords that is aimed to be simple and intuitive with little to no learning curve required. I'm looking for beta testers to help me test it out and give me feedback on it. It's free for 2 months, so if any of you could please sign up and then try it out it'd be greatly appreciated. There are no contracts required and you can cancel at any time, so it won't cost a dime assuming you cancel your account within the first 2 months.

Some of the features:
- Manage your properties, tenants, lease agreements, and rental finances.
- Generate alerts when tenants are late on rent, when a tenant's lease is ending, etc...
- Run reports on things like net operating income, cash on cash invested, etc...
- Document sharing (lease agreements, eviction notices)
- Prospective tenant history search

Please check it out and give me some feedback in this thread. Thanks!!
Charmed

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #2 
It asks for credit card information on the sign up page, but the page is not secure.
jtoth55

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed
It asks for credit card information on the sign up page, but the page is not secure.


Sorry about that, try the https link here:

https://www.housters.com/SignUp
Charmed

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #4 
You have a nice logo and a favicon.ico file which is good -- makes the site look professional.  Are there any legal issues regarding sharing tenant info?
Charmed

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #5 
On your sign up page there are fields that are required but aren't marked as such.  (Like a red * which internet users are used to seeing.)
jtoth55

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed
You have a nice logo and a favicon.ico file which is good -- makes the site look professional.  Are there any legal issues regarding sharing tenant info?


Thanks!

There certainly are legal issues with that. For this reason all we provide is a way to contact the old landlord of the prospective tenant. We don't share information that we may have, such as the property they were in, if they were late on rent, etc... It's up to the user to contact the old landlord and can ask any questions through email or over the phone, which is legal.
Charmed

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #7 
Other notes:
- When adding a property, I notice that there is no way to choose a state from the drop down list; you must populate it manually.  It let me type XX for the state when that is not a valid state.  After I clicked Accept, I cannot see a way to edit the property address.
- So far the interface from what I see looks pretty clean.
- The projections page looks very clean and easy to use.  However, it does not allow you to enter a down payment amount, only a percentage.  I would like to see the ability to enter an amount and have it calculate the percentage, or vice versa. 
- There is no "save" button on the projections screen, so I left that screen and came back and it saved the purchase price amount but not the down payment percentage.  Everything else appeared to save.
- I see there is a place where a tenant can log in and pay rent, and view their lease, what about being able to submit a maintenance request?
- Is there a place to send email reminders to tenants of upcoming rent due since you are allowing the landlord/PM to collect their email?
- Why is the "description" a required field for adding a transaction?  I do like having it there to record notes especially about repairs but it really doesn't need to be "required".
- I like the calendar pop-up for adding transactions.
- When I added a "security deposit" transaction, it classified it as an "annual operating cost".  Technically a security deposit is not a "cost".
- How do you indicate how much monthly rent each tenant has?  It looks like there's a spot for it, but cannot see where it can be edited.

I suppose you may not have expected anyone who has done software testing to try this out ... I give a lot of feedback!
Charmed

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #8 
Regarding the pricing ... what you may want to do is for people with just one property, let them use the site for free.  The reasoning behind this, is that they will be more likely to use something for free than to pay for it, and when/if they get a second property then they can start paying for it.  Also, you are looking to generate a bunch of subscribers and the best way to lure someone in is to get them in for free.  You see all the big software companies doing this. For example Outlook Express is free, but if you want to go to full Outlook you need to pay for it.  Online income tax software is free, but if you want something more powerful you pay. These big companies aren't offering free stuff out of the goodness of their heart; they know that they need the users and referrals, etc.
jtoth55

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #9 
Hey, thanks for all of the great feedback! This is good stuff and will keep me busy coding for the next week.

I've been thinking about the free vs paid as well, I think you're right that we need to have a free route so that we can get users in there, whether it be free for 1 property forever or free for 2 months (and then you have to put in your billing information after that.) If we're confident that the product is good then we shouldn't have to fear people using the system and never being willing to pay.

Some responses to your notes:
- The projections page saves your figures when on textbox "blur", when you leave the field. But you're right, that means that the last textbox you change won't get updated if you then leave the page before clicking out of it.
- From the Tenants page, you would add or edit a tenant, which opens the Tenant Information popup. You can then click on the Leases tab up top and add a lease (start date, end date, and monthly rent amount.) It uses these leases to determine the expected amount of rent due, compared to what you actually enter on the accounting page.
jtoth55

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #10 
Hey I just wanted to say thanks again, I've made a lot of the changes already from your feedback, as shown below. Also, I've gone ahead and changed the billing to be much more "open". For users with 2 or less units, Housters will be completely free. For those with 3 or more units, the first 3 months will be free. Upon sign up, no credit card is required, the user just enters an email address and password. The user with 3+ units will be reminded (on the site and through email) as the 3 month trial winds down, asking them to enter in their billing info. If they don't do so then after the 3 months their account will be suspended.

- When adding a property, I notice that there is no way to choose a state from the drop down list; you must populate it manually.  It let me type XX for the state when that is not a valid state.
I changed the State textbox to a dropdown.
-   After I clicked Accept, I cannot see a way to edit the property address.
Added the ability to edit a property.
- The projections page looks very clean and easy to use.  However, it does not allow you to enter a down payment amount, only a percentage.  I would like to see the ability to enter an amount and have it calculate the percentage, or vice versa.  
Now you can edit the down payment amount, which will auto populate the down payment percentage.

- There is no "save" button on the projections screen, so I left that screen and came back and it saved the purchase price amount but not the down payment percentage.  Everything else appeared to save.
Now when you modify a field, a Save Changes button appears.

- Why is the "description" a required field for adding a transaction?  I do like having it there to record notes especially about repairs but it really doesn't need to be "required".
Transaction description is now optional.

- When I added a "security deposit" transaction, it classified it as an "annual operating cost".  Technically a security deposit is not a "cost".
Fixed security deposit categorization bug.
Charmed

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #11 
When I go to add a tenant lease, it only allows me to pick the month/year from the drop down; I can't type in a date.  And it only accepts full months/years.  There have been leases that started in a mid-month, so how would I have a lease start 9/15/12?

On the property area, I added a duplex.  This is a townhouse style duplex, so the units have their own addresses (not apartment numbers) but are one building (so one mortgage, shared expenses, etc.)  However, I add 2 units, which works, and I like how it dynamically adds "unit 1 label", and "unit 2 label", however the addresses are 4 digits long and I can only enter 3.  (Example:  1234 Main Street and 1236 Main Street -- I was going to label unit 1 as 1234 and unit 2 as 1236).

On the tenants, I like that you can assign each tenant to a unit.  How do you record all the members of a family as tenants?  For example, I want to track both the husband's name, the wife's name, and their children's names.  Can I store a "person" as an entity and a "tenant" as an entity with multiple "person" records -- some flagged as "on the lease" and others simply as "residents"?  (Trying to think of the best way to word this for this to be database-friendly.)  I can see someone taking the information from the application, such as driver's license #, birth dates, license plate number, car type, cell phone, home phone, email, etc. and storing all this information on a "person" entity for later use.  Just as long as this information is kept secure.  Having information digitally is so much better than on paper for me.

Overall all the changes you have made are in the right direction.  This site would be very useful for someone managing properties.
jtoth55

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #12 
I made the unit number field much longer now. I also created a new tab in the Tenant Popup called "People", where you can add individual people under the tenant entity. The person fields you can add are:

public string FirstName { get; set; }
                public string LastName { get; set; }
                public string EmailAddress { get; set; }
                public string HomePhoneNumber { get; set; }
                public string CellPhoneNumber { get; set; }
                public string WorkPhoneNumber { get; set; }
                public string DriversLicenseNumber { get; set; }
                public string LicensePlateNumber { get; set; }
                public string Car { get; set; }
                public DateTime? DateOfBirth { get; set; }
                public string Notes { get; set; }
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

Apartment Finders > > Member Log-in > Free Trial Offer > Free E-newsletter > Customer Service > Get Free Stuff! > Run Credit Report > Rental Forms > Vacancy Center > Do-it-yourself > Evicting Your Tenant > Foreclosure Resources > Landlord Discussion Board > Income Tax Resources > Information Center > Join Landlord.com > Landlord Law > Library > Multi-family > Professional Advice > Rental & Property Mgmt > Rent Collection > Repair & Maintenance > Security Deposit > Software Center > Tenant Screening > Vacation Homes > What's New > Rental Agreements > Free Leases > Inside Our E-store > > Security Deposits > > Landlord Daily News > Rental Agreements >
LandscapingSanJose.net Resources: Cleaner Sunshine coast