If you are considering signing up for a free online property management service, such as Cozy Property Management, then you know there are many to choose from. The list of features can be difficult to navigate and compare but often include online rent collection, tenant screening, reminders, maintenance managers and much more.
As a self manager, I need to streamline my process as much as possible. So I decided to try the free Cozy Property Management software. Here’s a comprehensive review of what I’ve learned.
What is Cozy Property Management?
Cozy Property Management bills itself as a complete, modern service for independent landlords and renters. Designed with both landlords and renters in mind, it is an online property management portal that helps landlords list properties and collect rent among other things.
Best of all, Cozy Property Management is free for landlords! Almost. There is only one service for which they charge landlords.
|Collect rent online, automatically||Free|
|Online rental applications and screening tools||Free|
|Tenant credit reports (paid by applicant)|
|Tenant background checks (paid by applicant)||Free|
|Market your listings on Realtor.com and Doorsteps||Free|
|No limit to number of tenants and roommates||Free|
|One-time payment requests for late fees, utilities, etc.||Free|
|Switch to Cozy for payments when you already have tenants||Free|
|The best customer support on earth||Free|
|Transaction history and export for financial software||Free|
|Use multiple deposit accounts to collect rent||Free|
|Full access to Landlordology educational tools and resources||Free|
|Worldwide access, 24/7||Free|
|Rent estimate and property analysis||$19.99|
Cozy Property Management Features
Cozy Property Management helps you showcase your rental with photos, lists of amenities and lease terms along with important specifics such as pet policies. You then can share the listing in any social media or email via a link. Cozy offers free listings with Realtor.com and Doorsteps as an added bonus. It’s important to find a qualified tenant as quickly as possible to minimize turnover costs. Cozy will help you get the word out.
Invite your tenants to sign up and enjoy hassle-free, automatic rent collections! Your tenant has the choice of ACH transfer or even pay by credit/debit card (for a fee). ACH transfers do take several days so be prepared. Cozy will send you reminders of payment due dates and let you know when a payment is in progress. You can also view balances and download history. Tenants have the option to split payments across roommates.
Cozy offers a credit and background check screening tools that are free for the landlord. They cost the applicant $24.95 each or $39.99 for both. Applicants run their own reports so they don’t have to provide sensitive information to the landlord to run the checks.
This is the only service that isn’t free for landlords. For $19.99 you can get a detailed report with a rent estimate including expected vacancy rate and local comps. See a full sample report here.
Cozy Property Management Experience
Sign up is very easy. Simply choose the landlord option and create a user account. The first step is to create a property profile with basic information and a profile picture.
Setting up your bank account
You need to then set up a bank account in order to collect rent. You will be prompted for your bank ID and Password. Don’t worry! Cozy is safe and it’s not necessary to hand over your personal information. You can bypass this by simply giving the ACH routing number and account number for your bank account. This is the same information you hand strangers every time you write a check.
From there you can either configure the property to begin accepting renter applications or set up an existing lease. Note however, a “lease” on Cozy Property Management is not a legal binding lease but rather the basic terms of your lease agreement. It includes monthly rent, beginning and ending lease dates, security deposits and other move in fees.
Inviting tenants to join
The next step is to invite your tenants to join Cozy. Simply enter their name and email and Cozy Property Management takes care of it from there. Your tenant will receive an email from Cozy and be asked to set up a bank account via a verification process. They will set up a recurring payment. No more late rent! They have the option to use a credit or debit card for a 2.75% fee. My tenant signed up in less than 10 minutes after receiving the email.
That’s it! You now have an online property management system with a recurring monthly payment set up! Over the course of the next month you will begin to see notifications as the payment is in progress and being deposited. My first payment cleared in 4 business days. This is about par for ACH clearing.
One more great feature in Cozy Property Management is the ability to add a one-time charge or credit to the tenant balance. You can use this to charge for non-recurring things like utilities or to reimburse a tenant for out of pocket charges. Simply head to the “transactions” page on your lease, input the amount, the date and a memo. Your tenant will receive a notice of the charge/credit. Note, that it doesn’t transfer any funds. It only changes the balance due from a tenant so they can adjust the next recurring payment accordingly.
Here is a summary of pros and cons I found after having tested Cozy Property Management for myself.
Reasons to love Cozy Property Management:
- Tenant was thrilled to have an automated system for rent payment
- I no longer have to battle Saturday bank lines and traffic
- The add a charge feature makes it simple to adjust recurring payments
- Email reminders keep both tenants and landlords informed
- Using multiple bank accounts makes it adaptable to your business size
- No chasing multiple tenants for rent checks – they manage it via Cozy
What could be improved:
- A way to refund a payment would be a nice feature
- A mobile app for landlords would be a great addition
- Legal document creation,e-signing and storage capability
Overall, both my tenant and me are pleased with our Cozy Property Management experiment. My tenant doesn’t have to worry about missing a payment. It has essentially eliminated one major hassle from my property management checklist – collecting and depositing rents in time for the next mortgage payment! In fact, I’m expanding this to my other rentals immediately! If you are considering a free online property management system, I highly recommend giving Cozy a test.
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Note: Most images are from the Cozy.co website. © Copyright 2012-2017 Cozy Services Ltd. I am not affiliated with Cozy Services. I’m just a happy customer.