By Keat Foong, Executive Editor
As the manager of a five-state portfolio of residential and commercial properties, Joe Buczkowski had found that it was “almost impossible” to efficiently lease a collection of townhomes when his son was born. The process involved mailing out application forms, collecting deposits, conducting background checks, scanning the leases, mailing them for signatures—for every applicant. Since he could not find a website that would help him to perform these functions easily, Buczkowski decided to create his own.
The result is LeaseRunner, a technological solution that integrates application, tenant screening, lease signing and rent collection into one paperless, completely digital, online process.
One of the distinctive features of LeaseRunner, says Buczkowski, is its pricing model. Particularly suited for the independent property owner, manager or real estate broker, LeaseRunner has no setup, monthly, annual or even training fees. Users are not charged by the unit or property either. Rather, customers pay only for the services they use.
Background checks cost $30, eviction screening $12, and business screening $50. Lease documents, which are available for different property types and states, cost $15 for a batch. And rent payments via ACH bank debits cost $3 per payment. (Tenants can set up recurring rent payments via autopay.) Volume discounts are available for larger customers.
Unlike more established apartment software programs, LeaseRunner is built first to work with mobile devices—tablets and smartphones‑rather than desktops, says Buczkowski. The program has a bold, bright and interesting Web 2.0 appearance, he says. “Any leasing solution will need to work on mobile devices in order to be successful over the next 10 years,” says Buczkowski.
Digitizing the application, leasing and rent collection process saves substantial time for property managers or real estate brokers who have to drive to deliver and sign leases. Input error will also be minimized as forms will be pre-populated with data. Property managers will also save an enormous amount of time in lease preparation.
Of course, another benefit of digitizing the leasing process will be the paper‑and energy and money‑saved. LeaseRunner has calculated that it takes 39 pages to rent one unit (see illustration). This translates to more than 1.56 billion sheets of paper that are not used, or $796,413,150 in total cost saved by landlords nationwide. As it is, 184,075 trees are cut down each year to supply the paper used by the rental market, according to LeaseRunner.
Since it’s soft launch in August of last year, LeaseRunner has accumulated customers in over 900 cities across the United States, says Buczkowski. “We have a turnkey solution to screen and lease any property type,” he says.