Learn. Improve. Succeed.

Property Management Mastermind Show

#160: The Value of zInspector Ft. Andy Wallace

Jan 03, 2023 by Brad Larsen

How much time do inspections really take property managers? Is there a more effective way to ensure your properties are in the best shape possible at any given moment? Enter zInspector – your property inspection solution. This episode features Andy Wallace, the founder of zInspector, as he discusses how his company infuses modern technology into their inspections to ensure your property always gets a passing grade. 

Connect with Andy and the rest of the zInspector team at https://www.zinspector.com/

Connect with Brad's team at www.rentwerx.com!

BRAD: Everybody. In today's episode, I've got Andy coming to us from zInspector, and we're going to be talking all about all the cool stuff they've got going on with this inspection module and their integration in new software. Really good stuff. You got to listen.

ANNCR: Welcome to the Property Management Mastermind show with your host, Brad Larsen. Brad owns one of the fastest-growing property management companies in San Antonio, Texas. This podcast is for property managers by property managers; you'll hear from industry-leading professionals on best practices, new ideas, success stories, and lessons learned. This is your opportunity to learn about the latest industry buzz surrounding property management, as well as tips and strategies to improve your business. 

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BRAD: Welcome, everybody, to another edition of the Property Management Mastermind podcast. I'm your host, Brad Larsen. Now, today's guest, I missed your Andy Wallace coming on, and he's been on the show before, and we've talked a lot about inspections, but there is nobody more in the industry I would consider as an inspection expert than Andy. And he's been around the industry, He's been around outside of the industry to see what else is going on out there and so, pre-show. We were talking about a couple of things, what we want to chat on today and to start off with, we want to give Andy the floor and tell us who he is and what he does. But a lot of us has heard of zInspector. You know, we use the inspector at Rent Werx, we fully endorse it. And now it's just a matter of conversing with Andy to see, okay, how else can we engage with the product, engage with the service to round out exactly what we're doing already. And so we've got lots to discuss on this. So Andy, if you could please introduce us and give us a few minutes of your time.

ANDY: Hey, thanks so much for having me today, Brad; and really appreciate you and your audience and all the education you're doing for people. You know, it's like so many in the property management space. I got into it. I had no idea. Like I thought I'd never manage a rental. Why would I want to do that? You know? And I was actually a NASA engineer, and I was designing kind of data algorithms, kind of like we got data from in one place and put it into another. And we were capturing data faster than than we could send it and things like that. And it ended up then kind of going to grad school and getting a master's in engineering and an MBA, and there were no jobs in my town. And it ended up kind of dating a gal who was working front end at a property management office. And before I knew it, we were buying rentals and opened a property management company. Right. And, and, and so then my, my biggest problem, well, how do I take, because we were turning 100 homes in a few days in a college town. How do we take 10,000 pictures, 30,000 pictures in a few days? How do you how do you do all that? And so that was my biggest problem and that's how the zInspector got started. And now we have over 30,000 property managers, over about a million units plus, and they're in over ten countries using it. And it's just designed for massive volume like in our our 360 pictures, we get over 300,000 a day are uploading. And so that's how we have designed things that I think it's unless you're really in this space, you have no idea how the high volume that property managers have to deal with. They've got a lot of data, and it's got to be fast, and it's got to be cheap, and it's got to be customizable. And so that's where that's where we're focused.

BRAD: Yeah, the zInspector platform. For those that dont know it, necessarily what it is, it's an inspection module. And so I'll probably butchered the explanation, but I've been using it for so long that it just kind of like second nature for us as far as what we do with it. And so we employ it with our in-house team. We have a what we call manager services. There are guys with vans and they run around and they do inspections and inspections are going to be your moving orientation. We use zInspector platform with that, your renewal inspections, right? So, the tenant wants to renew. You do a pre-inspection before the renewal is executed. And then, of course, you do a move-out inspection. So when they move out of the property, you do another Inspection there, and that's going to help you do the security deposit itemization. So, there's a platform for that. And we've looked at, you know, when we were first getting going, there were five or ten names we could drop, and Andy's heard of them all. Some of them aren't around any longer. You know, some of them have sold or moved on or shut down or whatever.

BRAD: But when you really go into it and started comparing from the user side and then comparing from the inside, like you're using it in person in a home, that's one way. And then, of course, you're looking at it at a computer a day later. That's another way to look at it as a user. And it was just the best experience for us. Now I'm giving you a big promo, and I'm rubbing your back, and I love you, Andy Okay, here you go. The people that always want to know about understanding the inspection stuff, but I want you to talk about some of the cool details that I really like, like the 360 camera. And then you got to dive into the integrations because it's one thing to take the pictures. It's the other thing to get this into your management software module that you may use. And there's, you know, we could name ten different management company softwares and, but I want you to talk about kind of the use of it with the 360 camera and of course, go right into that with integrations.

ANDY: You know and and it's I think in terms of like our philosophy as a company is that what we really try to listen to people because basically all the things that you came up with, none of them are our ideas. You know, it's they're all different things. There was Robert Gilstrap, and you need to do these 360 cameras, you know, or and so and that's what we're going to try and do is try and solve every problem because and it's it's funny like, you know, we'll do a like a talk and ask someone, you know, a move in inspection who does it for? Is it for the tenant or the landlord? You know, and it depends on what state you're in. It's a different answer depending on what you're trying to do, you know. And so, so we call it like move-ins your way where you could you could do the move-in. You can have tenants remotely sign it. You could have tenants do a move-in. So, there's all these like little different use cases. And and so we're going to try and come up with exactly what that every property manager needs. And so you know, so some of the things that like we've rolled out the last year, that's we'll keep getting better, but like you can take your iPhone and actually do dimension captions, which is it's like fun, you know, and it's also really useful.

ANDY: You don't need to carry something else. You can, you can just scan the room and get the dimensions. You can now use a barcode scanner, so you can do a, and we're we're thinking about it at a level you capture refrigerators like barcode. And in one operation, it's going to take a picture of it, put the picture on the report, take all the text of that, put that text right in there. And, like if you did that at, say, your renewal inspection, it'll automatically put that serial number right there for reference to move out. Right. And so like we're diving in at those types of details and, and then I think what we're really trying to get better on and then is just make all that as intuitive as we can. So, like we're always because there's so many different things and people think that, oh, everyone, every property manager does it like how I do it. And the reality is you're all different, you know? And so, we're trying to make it like work for how it works for your business, and it's all a little different.

BRAD: Yeah, that's a great point. What you want to do, let's put the integration off to the side for a minute because I asked you two questions.

ANDY: And didn't quite get there.

BRAD: I want to dive in a bit more. Yeah, we didn't quite know, but we got to dive into more because of the recent trend with the COVID. And so now we're going to this touchless move-in touchless renewal inspection, let's say, where you have the software to give the tenants the option of basically doing a self-assessment, like a self-inspection. So, I probably butchered that explanation. We really haven't got there yet with us because we do a moving orientation with the team, with our team members. They go do that move-in orientation. But in certain areas, you know, certain states, certain management companies, certain tenants, they demand a move-in orientation and or renewal inspection where they just do it themselves. Like, can I just send you some photos from my iPhone? And then you guys decide if you want to renew me or not. And, of course, there's arguments to be made if you want to allow that. But assuming you do like you do not want to go to the property tenant you moved in yesterday, you are now supposed to do this self-inspection. Here's how you do it. Go, please explain it to us.

ANDY: Yes. So, and I think the first thing to step back is to say, well. Why are you doing inspections? And and it's something that we did not appreciate prior to this. So well, where our Tenet inspection feature came out, we already had the ability for tenants to do move in. And one of our customers he had asked for he really wanted this is pre-COVID. Wanted tenants to be able to take a picture of a hose bed showing it was wrapped. He's in a cold climate, and that was like a huge part of him. He did his renewals in the winter, and so we thought, well, it's kind of interesting. And so, we started working on it, and we were coming up with a general solution where you could ask tenants to fill out everything, right? And so. And so, we almost had that all working were, and then COVID hit, and then all of a sudden you needed that for everything, right? And so, we're seeing tons of people doing that. And and now we've just kind of really refined it. But I think what's what I didn't appreciate before, because for me, inspections really were geared toward move and move out. Right? So, what is that? It's about security deposits, about liability, it's about documentation. It's all of those things where the the tenant renewal inspections and tenant periodic inspections. What it has ended up being is a service. For your responsible tenants, you know, and so like our default templates going to ask them to take a picture under their sink, take a picture of their HVAC filter, take, you know, and your responsible tenants, they don't want you there, right? Anyways. And so, they're going to go do all that. They're going to, like take it, take the filter out, take the picture, write down the filter size. They're going to go do all those things. And it helps them as much as it helps you as. As a property manager is the reality and right.

BRAD: Because they're going to do that. They're going to do that at 10:00 pm at night on their own time versus making an appointment with you for a 10:00 AM. They have to take off of work, they have to be there, and they have to hope you show up. They'd rather do it at their own time, and they'll be willing to spend and, you know, 30 minutes to an hour of their time or more just to avoid that whole, having to meet you there during business hours. And, of course, they may want repairs done, and that's a good way for them to document the repairs that they want specifically done. And then you have proof to go to the owner and get permission to do those repairs. So, the COVID thing really transformed it. And you guys have been working on this for years. And I mean, do you like what you have now as far as is it a really good solution that you would recommend to anybody as far as the self-assessment type of a scenario?

ANDY: Oh, it's very good. And we have all the default templates there already. You know, you're moving your periodic, your renewal, those are all there. It's going to keep getting better. We're always, you know, just three weeks ago, we did a big refinement on templates. We're getting ready. So, there's always improvements. But like I'm kind of a fun one we added, which I really love, is that the when the tenant is done doing the inspection. The that tenant app. It actually transforms to the property managers app, and so it'll have your logo on it, pay rent, maintenance ticket, all those things that whatever you want on there, it's going to be there. And so just another way to kind of engage with your tenants. And so, and it's kind of nice, we're trying to make that app sticky. And so that's the idea is we just basically added all of your links, and it can be really useful if you do something like maybe you pay rent through your tenant portal or you want them to, you've got a property meld link over here or whatever that may be, call us, text us whatever you have, and it's just on there.

ANDY: And so, and so it's just another way to connect with your tenants. And, and so the tenant inspections are not going away. I think they're just going to become more and more prominent in our our tenant app has over 4000, you know, 4.9-star reviews. I mean, so it's not like there's a lot of people that use it. And and I think more and more property managers are going to use it. But I think it's important to, like, think about it as that it's going to be 80% are going to do that for your periodic renewal and then you're still going to then that other now, now you know who your problem areas are, right? If they didn't go, take a bunch of pictures, or if they didn't do that, or that's probably not who you're going to renew to, and you probably should send somebody out to go look at that. And so, it's kind of a it just helps us a filter for you to kind of split that up right away. So.

BRAD: Yeah, one of the dilemmas I have in my in my employment as I'm thinking through this, one of our dilemmas right now in implementing this is, okay, let's talk about the move-in orientation first. Yep. And so, then we'll talk about the periodical and or renewal inspection. In the second vein of that, the first part is the move in orientation. So, our moving orientation, the tenant charges, we charge the tenant X x upfront, they pay for it, and then the burden is on them to schedule a move-in orientation with an in-person live technician. Of course, we use as the inspector module, but what if is there a way that we could offer that as a self-assessment, move in and incentivize the tenant to do that or just not? I mean, they're paying either way. So, are you paying x x for an in person? You know you can choose door number one, or you can choose door number two and do a self-assessment. What do you think in that regard?

ANDY: You know, I think it really there's so many different ways to do it. Now. I know Paul Koski, he does something like that where he still wanted people, someone to kind of talk them through it. And so now, like when you are doing inspections or the tents doing inspections, their data is streaming in and onto the website. So, you could actually be up on the website if you really wanted to talk them through it or be there. They're taking pictures. That's all getting uploaded as they're typing in stuff. You see, they're partially typed in stuff up on the report on the website. So, there are different ways to do that. I don't think there's anything wrong with that personal touch you're providing, like walking through people, and maybe that's still a really nice model, but you know, and we try to not be too specific on how we recommend those one models the other, because I think they're both legitimate. And I think you can make the case either way. It's almost a different sales model, you know, and and I don't know if that makes sense, but they both can work.

BRAD: It does. Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah, that's a good point because you're you're really not like trying to dictate a different. Yeah, I get it. You're, you're being very political, Andy. I'm going to give you a hard time now. You're being very like, you know, politician-like. So, I'm not honestly in the movement oriented. Yeah, in the movement orientation I get on that one because it really depends on the state-specific stuff, and we're trying to provide a really good service. But put that aside. Let's talk about the move-in. I'm sorry; let me start over. Let's talk about the periodical inspection and the renewal inspection. So, when you say periodical, you might have a five-year lease, a 50-year lease agreement. It's not really for renewal, it's just an annual or semi-biannual type inspection. You know, some people want to do inspections every quarter, which I'd never recommend. Some people want to do it twice a year, which is okay. We we advocate for an annual inspection, but we could incentivize the tenant to do an early renewal with a self selfself-assessed inspection through the inspector and the module and the app that you have. And if they did that by, let's say, 60 days prior to the deadline, you know, you could waive the renewal fee. Well, I'm just trying to think through this out loud. Have you seen any creative ideas on that for renewal inspections?

ANDY: Yeah, a ton of people are doing it exactly like that. And our. Kind of our our sample tenant that we have on our website is a renewal inspection and was the first one. We worked with a specific property manager as a beta customer, and it asks them these basic questions like, Yet are you interested in renewing your lease, and they pick from different options? No, I'm not interested. Yes, I'm interested. I'm thinking about it right. And you can, of course, make them be whatever you want. And then it said, take a picture of all your animals, you know, and she takes a picture of her dog and very well-behaved dogs sitting there and so forth. But there was no dog on the wings. I mean, that's the actual real first example, right? And then the next one was, you know, have you ever replaced an air filter? Right. And she said right on there, never. And takes a picture of the air filter, you know, and, you know, and this is it was actually a really responsible tenant. There was nothing. I mean, she's a good tenant taking care of the property, doing, you know, for the most part. Well, that's just a nice opportunity. Then you can whether you add a pet, pet rent or this or that or sign them up for second nature or, you know, it doesn't have to be necessarily adversarial. It's just more of an opportunity to work with them. And and I think that you're responsible. They're going to fill that out because it's really it's helping them. And I think that's how you should treat it for that. It's it's just a little bit different mindset. And so.

BRAD: Yeah, we may have to offer that as a like an option as well. I give them an option to do a self-assessment and, or a real live person can come out do the assessment, and that's some people like that service because they just want to point at the wall and grunt and say, fix it. Others are super tech savvy, and they can handle a phone and take ten pictures of it and say, I want this hole in the wall fixed, please. So, there's lots of ways to look at that. I got to figure out a way to do that with the team. So, I'm going to sit down here the next week or two and say, okay, let's let's talk about the periodical renewal inspection. Is there a way to incentivize the the tenants to do this and not charge them a renewal fee or not charge the full renewal fee or give them a discount because it saves us from having to go out there, which saves windshield time. And that's really expensive nowadays, of course, price of gas and of course the time it takes, but we may have to figure out that solution. So, I'm glad we're talking through this because, you know, Andy, it's basically a good chance to get you on the line, get you on the phone, and we can talk through all the best practices that that we sometimes forget. Because what people don't know, and this is what we've been doing this a long time, right? We've been doing this for ten plus years. We've seen things change significantly over the years; ten years to some listeners as a drop in the bucket.

BRAD: We probably have 30, 40, or plus-year property management company owners that listen to this stuff. And and I remember when we first talked about this as an inspection module years ago; this would have been seven or eight, maybe more years ago. We were talking about going into the courtrooms and fighting over security deposits and you pulling out your iPad and you showing them an inspection module like this. And the judge looks at it because I don't know why. I guess this JP's, they're just really weird, you know; why can't you look at this evidence stuff beforehand? But they want to look at it in court in the JP because it's small-time court, and they look at it on an iPad right in front of them, and I've been there, done that where they've ruled in my favor because of the report that was produced through the zInspector. And a lot of folks forget about that because we're busy talking about inspections. Right. Renewal, pre-inspection. But what is the end result? The end result of having this well documented is one, you're ready to go into a courtroom tomorrow. And that's what I tell people. I tell our managers this. When you're walking through a home, you're doing an inspection today of a home on a move out. Imagine you're going into court tomorrow to present this to a judge, and you don't want to say, oh, I forgot to take a picture of that.

BRAD: Oh, I didn't understand how to do that. I didn't take a picture. I don't have a picture of the the backyard at all. You know, you don't want to be that. So, this is the module that set us up for success, to be prepared to itemize out those security deposits successfully without getting into some sort of legal landmine litigation field that we all hate. And so that's the route of the inspections. And now it's morphed into a really cool service to allow the tenants to do some of these on their own behalf, to make the streamlined process of moving in and renewals even better. And so, I guess I'm going to this it's kind of changed. I mean, either either I'm not seeing it, or people aren't aren't flipping out over security deposits as they were before because they know these documented proof that we have is just so over the top. And I think I think the trend is there because when they see that we do a move-in orientation and we take pictures, and then they move out, and then they get the security deposit itemization, and they realize, well, I don't have really much of a case to make because I saw them take pictures on the move in and I saw the pictures of the marketing photos that were there. And this doesn't look like it did two years ago. Yep. They're just they're just not coming after it. So, it's almost like a preemptive strike, if you will. I mean, please comment from there.

ANDY: You're 100% correct. Right. Because with the best way to know if you're really prepared to go to court, you probably won't need to go, right? I mean, that's that's the reality, right? If you have all that right documents, it's when you have sloppy contracts, and bad inspections, and this and that is usually where things kind of blow up. And, you know, and I think it was a big part of it is that, you know, when when zInspector was started, I tried buying these like digital. I was a broker, and I tried buying these digital cameras that had like a wi-fi chip on them and would upload them. And this all the I tried all these different things first, you know, and, and literally, I'm, you know, prepping for court and was like, oh, you know, that camera was lost and, you know, or it's back here under a drawer, and you know, those type of things. And and then on the other side, I mean, I remember the first couple conferences that I went to with zInspector started kind of pitching it. I was yelled at very vocally by multiple property managers and who said, I. I was it. People were going to take too much liability for having too much photo documentation and.

ANDY: And my mindset is the opposite. Document everything. Have it all documented. Have it all out there and lay it out there. Right. And I think it's a totally different philosophy. And I think we're ten years ago. That might have worked. Now, if you don't document it, your tenants going to document it or somewhere else. So, you might as well get it all documented, all disclosed. Right. And then and how we did it from the beginning is like, you know, our reports are designed to be printable, which is like you may need to print it, and it has the time stamp, and it has the GH stamp, and it has those things on there. And so, like, it just provides us another level of this is what it is. And, you know, it's, and it's not something like the the property manager cannot change the time stamps on a report or the stamps. You know, there's special reasons why. Right. And it's really to protect you. You can't change it. And and it's those types of things that at the end of the day, you know when if you're prepping for legal documentation, you want to by having all that, I think you're less likely to go. I think that's what you're seeing there as well.

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BRAD: If you get into that, let's say, just an initial demand letter and you're responding to an attorney who's got an uppity tenant who is sad about the security deposit itemization, and mistakes can be made, great. And if you haven't been able to work it out to that point, it gets to a point where they have engaged an attorney and sent you a demand letter, and you return them all the information via email, like, here's the inspection, here's the authorizations, here's the cost. And they're like, oh, crap, Well, we can roll the dice and go see if the judge is going to rule in your favor, but it's going to cost you 10 to 15000 in legal fees to try and get a couple of thousand bucks. Is it really worth it? Mr. Tenant A lot of times, they just say no and move on. But, you know, it does defeat that litigation upfront. And to tie right into this conversation, talk about the cloud-based because you and I touched on this in the green room is, okay? Is your data secure? Because everything we upload into zInspector goes into your cloud, and I want you to talk through some of that.

ANDY: Yeah. It's it's really critical, you know, and, and so we're all using Amazon servers, you know so that's, that's the best in the industry, right? But everything is up. We have multiple copies in the cloud in different locations. Right. All that there. Plus, you know, our philosophy is that it's at the end of the day, it's it's the property managers' data. It's not our data. Right. That's may sound like an obvious philosophy, but it's not, and it's not in the terms of service with a lot of other kinds of companies and things like that. And and it kind of goes all the way through in that. The reality is if, let's say, you're using zInspector, if we went away tomorrow, you would have copies of all your inspection reports in your email or Zapier or Dropbox or now we're syncing with kind of, you know, rent tech, direct rent manager app folio and rent buying, we have to way syncs with all those copies of your reports are going all there. Right? And so, at the end of the day it's it's your data, and if we want away, do you have it where you need it to be? And I think that's a it's a really critical aspect.

BRAD: It is. And you just touched on one of the questions I want to bring up because the integrations into the software, as you just mentioned, has been critical. Now we use rent buying. So, I'm very happy to hear about the integration to where our inspections get done, and it's automatically put into the Rent Vine platform so everybody can see it because we have technicians in the field. They've completed an inspection, and we have remote team members that are potentially looking at it from a different location in real-time or next to real-time. And it's very effective in saving that and using it in the appropriate manners. Because old school method, as you remember, you download it to your computer, or you download it to a cloud, and then you try to upload it into the software. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't. But that's a huge step or two or three steps. And sometimes, you know, it wasn't the easiest way to do things when you're looking at it. But now I imagine you have all these integrations, and you're probably looking at other platforms to integrate with. Now, AppFolio is one of the biggest rent manager also pretty big. And then you said Rent Tech Direct, and then you also said Rent Vine, which we use. So, what other platforms have you have on the works now to integrate with?

ANDY: So those are our only official partners. And so, you know, that said, we're open to working with basically everybody. And so, I can't say what's specifically in the works, but, you know, anything that anyone who will work with us, you know, who's got enough in this industry, we'll work with them because at the end of the day, we believe it's your data, but we also support these other things that are more global, like you can use Zapier, right? So, you can have your reports go to Zapier and then that could go and then wherever you want, it could FTP to your own server or things like that. Or we have a really nice report routing feature, and so you can make it so that, hey, maybe you have a move-in coordinator and the moving coordinator automatically gets copies of just all the move-ins. Or maybe you have a renewal coordinator; copies of all the renewals go there, right? So, it becomes you're going from reports to workflow, right? And so often, the inspections can be the trigger of a certain workflow. And you know, and this is now working very well with rent manager app folio, and rent vine is that will automatically, like if you do a move-out inspection will, automatically create different service issues from your inspection results. So, say you do a move-out, I'll put all your cleaning items and road work, work, work, and order all your painting items in another one with a link for all those photos and videos and 360 images of just that. And that all happens now automatically. And so that that can be really useful. And I think we're going to see more and more of that as kind of as a trigger for the next level of what you do with your data. It's not just getting the reports, but now what to do with them.

BRAD: Yeah. I am always impressed with you getting onto the next level stuff because you're a forward thinker on this, and sometimes you're thinking of these issues long before we do. And a lot of it is, of course, the property managers have gone to you and said, we want this, this, and this, but there's only so many things that we can think of. The rest of the stuff that has come up with is part of your genius. And so that's why I really appreciate working with zInspector. We've been using you guys for a long time. I'm glad to hear about the integrations because it just makes the workflow, which is the Holy Grail. I've said it 100 times, this is the Holy Grail of operations, is to have some sort of workflow template, some sort of trigger. You know, you do A, it triggers B, and then B triggers C, and it just goes on the on, you know, right on down the road. Now, I want to switch gears a little bit. And you were just telling me in the green room about how you went to the n e r conference. And my first impression was, oh, man, I mean, everybody just, you know, all those realtors, they've got to be just like freaking out and and they're thinking the sky is falling, They're Chicken Little, and, you know, the world is coming to an end. But you had a different experience. I want to hear more about that. Go ahead.

ANDY: We it was kind of in our playbook and we are planning for it. We completely expected to just have a lot of realtors who wanted to get into property management and mainly because of changes in the market. And and we support that because we've tried. We have people using us at free for five units or we have customers using 50,000 units. We want to make it scalable for everybody. So, we're like, Hey, if they're going to get into property management, we will support it. But it's not. We just didn't feel that way. It really didn't feel any different than kind of the last few. And there was still a lot of buzz. There was a lot of people saying they had still institutional money kind of ready to buy. There was, you know, everyone was out and having it. You know, restaurants are full. Disney World was full. You know, everything was full, you know. So, we'll see how it plays out here. I mean, you would think with this high of interest rates and this short period of time, it's going to catch up at some point. But it certainly didn't feel that way yet. And it hasn't caught up with what what we're, you know, and that's very anecdotal, but that's what we're feeling so far.

BRAD: And you made a mention of some of the people that you ran into there. And they're real estate agents mostly, and they're doing property management, but they're doing it at a different level than what you and I might be used to. And you made a couple of comments on that. I'd love to hear that again. Go. Go from there.

ANDY: There. Yeah. You know, so at the end of our conference, there was a lot, you know, they're mainly like people who realtors and then start a property management businesses on the side and, you know, and if you're in that space, it's they're really two different businesses, you know. And so, and it's kind of even a you know, I think you've touched on this, too, is it might depend on what state you're on. But a lot of times, property management is, you know, under the same licensing as the real estate. But it's kind of this stepchild. Right. And and and it kind of felt that it feels that way there. And so, you know, a lot of them there. I mean, we met multiple people who are managing 500,000 units, using QuickBooks Excel, things like that, because they're not, you know, they're not going to NARPM or, you know, or they're not they're more of these. They kind of come back in a different way and and a lot more happy with QuickBooks. And I was like, okay, you know, but, but, but, you know, we're going to work with we can we can't solve every problem for people, but we can do a lot for inspections and workflow. And that's, that's what we're focused. So.

BRAD: Yeah. Really. The NARPM community is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall property management company numbers. We've heard upwards of 200,000 property managers in the US. Right. And if NARPM is only 5000, well that's, that's not even 10%. Not even 5%. And so, it's there's a lot out there that we don't know of. And we get into this little bubble of what we do and who we talk with, and who we interact with. And we hear you're using QuickBooks, and you're managing 500 units, and we're like, What's wrong with you? How can you do that? How does it even work? But to them, they don't know any different because they don't. They just keep their head down the grind, and they do their job and their market. And, you know, we we have a hard time with that understanding that. And then those are the companies they have two fees. They have a management fee and a leasing fee, and that's it. And they run very, very simple and very, very lean. And a lot of them treat that as a holding pen for listings. Yeah. You know, that's kind of a term that I kind of created. Was there like cattle and go go in the back 40 and get fat and then when you're ready I'll sell you and a lot of folks treat that in the real estate world like that scenario and you made mention earlier of institutional investors having money. Well, great article just posted today on the property management Mastermind web group.

BRAD: The Facebook group and Jimmy Wallich posted that article is about a big giant hedge fund investment company they are sitting on; I think it was two or $3 billion waiting for the market to turn, and they are cash ready to gobble up thousands of homes. And so, what does that mean? That means the market if it does dip a little bit, is going to quickly hit a basement. And that basement is these investors, and they're going to be gobbling up everything. So, it's not going to fall off a cliff and drop 10,000 feet. It's going to go over the hill, drop a couple of feet, and then these investors are going to pounce with cash and buy up everything they can. And so, because the primary resident buyers. Right. The people that want to live in a home, the the residential primary home buyer, they're sitting on the sideline shaking their heads, saying, I'm not buying it. 10% interest rate, 9% interest rates, forget it. Even a 7%. And, of course, the institutional investor has the cash, and the private investor, if they're going to do some sort of mortgage, there may be looking at eight or 10%. So, it's it's really a good time to talk about that because if you're freaked out about the market and where it's going, that should give you a nice warm blanket to say, okay, unemployment's low, cash is still there to purchase homes. We're not going to see a 2008.

ANDY: You know, and I never want to predict the future. But, you know, and that said, in 2006 and seven, you know, I sold multiple rentals and and I started a property management business in 2007 knowing that there was going to be a bunch of people who needed management, you know, and who are buying properties, didn't know what they were doing and expecting a flip and right and so forth. This is we're in a very different market than than that time frame. Exactly. What's going to happen is clearly hard to say. But like as even as a personal side, I firmly still believe that real estate is the easiest way to build a generational wealth for your for you and your family, as long as you have a long time horizon. And I think I remember when I was working for an engineering company, Silicon Valley, in 99, and my engineering manager said, you know, I'm like, I'm dating this girl thinking about buying a rental, looking at, you know, we're kind of thinking about it. He said, Well, just remember, long-term always goes up as long as you buy what you can afford. And I, I think the same rule applies today, but on any given month, you've got to just, you know, be a little aware because things are moving up and down and, you know, are we going to see rents fall here? It just doesn't seem how how the market forces are not there to let rents fall. And and so, it's probably still a good time as long as you are a careful buyer to get into rental real estate. And, you know, as long as you're you're paying attention to that and still being somewhat cautious, I think you can be cautious, and you don't need to go all in. But here and there. But I still have a good time, and we're always looking for good stuff.

BRAD: Now, circling back to the inspector, give me a feature or two that you most implemented or have implemented in the next last six months, a year, whatever it's been that you're just most excited about. Like when you say, Hey, what's new? Is zInspector what what immediately becomes top of mind, you know?

ANDY: So, from the inspection side, we try to do everything like barcode scanning measurements, things like that I talked about. But I'm just really excited about our task management and workflow software. It's a full inbox replacement, you know, so you can have things like email maintenance at RentWerx.com. And if someone has like plumbing in the subject line, it will come up with. One different workflow. If there is an emergency in the subject, I'll come up with a different workflow and things down at that level where we're really working on to like it's not just about doing inspections, but how do you kind of control your business, How do you manage it? You know, and I think there's a lot of different tools out there. So, I think people are going to kind of start using our task manager to, like maybe manage inspections and and things of that. So, like, it's not just doing a move-out inspection. You have a whole move-out process, right? This is, you know, and you might have one person coordinating the move-out in terms of scheduling, and you have someone else doing the inspection, and you might have someone else doing the security deposit return, Right? Putting all that into a process. Right? And so, I'm really excited about what we've done there. And and it's it's kind of been there in pieces for a long time, but it's really coming out now where customers can make it be whatever you want. And and so you're going to start seeing a lot more from that from us in the coming weeks and months.

BRAD: That's always been the Holy Grail, as I've talked about before. And that's that's something we all want to see. I personally loved your your 360-camera stuff, and I know you're still doing it. People can get a good glimpse of that at PMMCon if they decide to come for 2023 and Nashville at the end of March. And I would encourage everybody to try and get there and make that a really good conference experience for them. You'll have that stuff on display, and I love that camera because you plop it down a room, you take a picture, and it does give you a 360-degree view in one photo. So, if if you need to look at the bottom right-hand corner of a of a home for whatever reason, you can zoom in to it, and it's just super cool. And you can show that on on a big screen, let's say as a sample. But when you use it in practice, like in your business, and you have to do that, you're going to be so thankful for that. You're going to be like, Wow, that was so cool because you can take 100 pictures, but then sometimes the angles just aren't there, you know? And how many pictures are you going to take of a ten-by-ten room? But you get that 360 camera in there, plop it in there, take a photo, and it gets everything. And you can really get a good glimpse of it. I know it's old news for you, but I just I kind of just love that thing. So, what I want you to talk about now, Andy, is people need to understand, okay, how does it work as far as costs and setup and, you know, just give us the basics there.

ANDY: So, we're going to make it very easy, especially if you're using any of our main platforms. It's we're going to just sync with all of them. You can connect with us all the core data of your properties and think because it's all in a database. So, what happens is, like your number of bedrooms and bathrooms and address information and your tenant contact data, that's all going to sync all automatically, and we're going to have rules set up. So, like it's automatically going to characterize, here's your moving in tenants, here is your moving out tenants. And then, when you're doing a move-out inspection, it can automatically show you, based on various rules, who are those tenants. Right? So, it's like that type of stuff that's just going to happen all automatically. And then it'll all your inspection reports will root out and all that. So, we're going to make the setup very easy, and you can get started doing the basics right away. You won't know everything in zInspector for maybe ever, but at least for a while. The idea is to kind of get started doing get going quick, and then you can just kind of keep getting deeper and deeper as you can.

ANDY: And that's and as and as you need to. So, if you need to do something very specific and then we've got our, our support team has really grown, and we treat all the property management customizations that people need as a way to train new employees because there's nothing like trying to actually understand what a customer really needs is when they really learn the software. And so, when people need special things with templates and this and that for the we, we we're not really charging for any of that stuff because we're becoming our own training to train people on how to really understand property management problems. So, if you've got anything like that that they need help with or special things that will help do that for them. And then we're doing as many different web conferences as people need. And so, the last few weeks, we've been a little it's been backed up because we've done ten trade shows in the last few months. But we're so we've had about three weeks of a little bit of a backlog. We're now back to normal. So, you basically should be able to schedule a Web conference within 1 to 2 days’ notice. And that's so if you need any help at all, then we're there for that.

ANDY: All of our pricing is up on our website. It's all there. Your worst cases, you know, a dollar a month per unit, you know, but most people can be at something a lot cheaper than that, depending on you just click around, and you can see there's per user options, unit options and you can just click and see the different plans we've done. We've changed our plans quite a bit. We just try to really match where our server experience costs are to the plans. And so that's kind of what we've tried to do. And so, what people don't realize is a simple inspection report is touching maybe 20 different servers. There's one server handling email, one server optimizing three sixties for mobile, and another server doing this, right? So, with cloud computing, it's just really complex because the data has got to touch all these different things. But that's how like, you know, you're going to do 100 inspection reports in a month, and you're never going to have a delay. You know, it's all going to upload; everything's going to email quickly. And so that's what facilitates all that. So hopefully, that answered that.

BRAD: It did, and obviously, it's on the website. You can check it out zInspector.com. So, we're a big advocate of that here at RentWerx. We've been using you for a long time. We recommend you, and we're always trying to find new ways to make it better. Like you and I are just kicked around the, the self-assessment idea a little bit more, and we're kind of behind the times. I'm sure there's other managers who are laughing at us. So yeah, that's so two years ago, like get, get, get with the program. But you know, we take one thing at a time, and we want to integrate this and do it the right way. And we're just super excited that everything is integrated now into our software, and that's been a big deal. And so, before this, it was like the Stone Ages right back then five, ten years ago where it wasn't. But now it's like, all right there and all cloud-based, man. It's it's fantastic. And you wouldn't think we could sit here and talk about inspection services for Dang near an hour, but it's kind of where we've gone, and it's really neat, you know?

ANDY: And we've really loved working with you and the people at NARPM and all property managers in general. And I think, you know, even some of our people that are doing the conferences, they all say they love our customers. You know, they really do. Our customers come up, and they're most of them are so grateful and thankful and and giving us ideas. And it's just it's a really nice interaction. So, I love this industry, and I think it's, you know, these small business owners and property management. I just think it's a critical aspect of all of America, really. I mean, it's like housing, job creation, everything about it. And this industry is a critical part of it, and we're happy to contribute as much as we can.

BRAD: Well, Andy, thanks again for coming on today. It's been a great conversation. Hoping to see you at the PMMCon in 2023 in Nashville, that's going to be at the end of March. Visit PMMCON.com to learn more. Great combo, as always; you know I love what you guys do, and it's really cool that you get to be the good guy industry, right? You get to be the guy that provides the the service that everybody knows, everybody loves, and everybody wants. And it's fun to be the good guy in that scenario. So, kudos to you and everything you've built with zInspector. We're super happy to use it and promote it. And thanks again for coming on the show.

ANDY: Thank you. And I'll see you at PMMCON there. We're looking forward to it.

ADVERT: Imagine a world where the phone doesn't ring, but tenant leads still get pre-qualified and scheduled, where in-person showings get coordinated automatically in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week where occupants and owners are automatically notified of showings and leasing reports. Or imagine, no one has to show your rentals and they get leased faster than ever, safely and securely. That's the world of Tenant Turner. Come learn more about our beautiful scheduling software and world class customer support. Call us (888)976-4638. Or visit www.tenantturner.com.

ANNCR: This has been a podcast episode by Property Management Productions.com. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast, leave us feedback and come back for our next episode.

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About The Host

The Host of this Podcast is Brad Larsen from San Antonio, Texas. Brad is the founder and owner of RentWerx, one of the fastest growing residential Property Management companies in Texas that currently manages over 700 single family homes.