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NestEgg cracks the code for small landlords and the agents who help them

01/08/2021

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Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

NestEgg is comprehensive rental business management app for small landlords.

Platforms: Browser, mobile for iOS and Android Ideal for: Landlords and agents who work with landlords

Top selling points: Addresses all aspects of small rental business Multiple forms of online rent collection Fully digital leasing and tenant turns Maintenance management Advance rent payments Top concerns:

In truth, this could take business away from agents who work with small investors and in property management. Or it could be used to add value to investor clients.

What you should know

Small landlords deal with a lot: tenants at the same address wanting to pay on different days. People sneaking in pet iguanas under leases that allow only dogs and cats. Bounced checks. Difficult repairmen. Six cars parked in a driveway for two.

If you have small landlord clients, you’ve no doubt helped them work through some of these concerns. And all the rest of them, too. Well, now you don’t have to. Let NestEgg do it.

I came from this exact space, selling everything from single-family rentals to 200-unit Class C and B owner-operated apartment communities. While a well-organized small landlord can become very wealthy, those who only dip their toes into the proverbial rental pool because they read a book about rich and poor paternal figures often quickly drown. The income isn’t as passive as some think because self-management is way more than they bargain for.

NestEgg can do as little or as much as the landlord needs it to do. However, given its super-sharp user experience and engaging, streamlined functionality, there’s little reason to not engage it to its fullest.

One highlight is the Rent Advance feature. One of three ways NestEgg will collect online rent payments, Advance gives users their money in full on a set date. It then handles collecting the actual rent from residents.

The Rent Assure option is backed by Nationwide for up to four months of rent loss in case a tenant takes off or simply can’t pay.

Rent Simple is your basic digital collection of payments, sent to an account via ACH and paid online by tenants. Landlords can also apply different payment plans to different properties, because some are better at paying than others. Awesome flexibility.

Once you’re familiar with the software, new properties can be entered into it in about 90 seconds. Lease details are narrowed down to the most critical: rent amount, due date, duration, start date, and fees or deposits (parking, pets, etc.).

The software can handle all aspects of leasing, from advertising vacancies with photos and ad copy to credit checks and application comparisons. The company will find and pay a local real estate agent to assist where needed. It uses official state (or custom) leases and charges only a month’s rent to handle it all.

Every resident, even under the same roof, can have a separate NestEgg account in case payments need to be separated or paid at different times. Text alerts and reminders are sent to all parties in regard to due dates, missed payments and when money has been fully collected.

Maintenance nightmares can be equally quelled thanks to NestEgg’s functionality. Requests are first addressed by a well-educated bot. It’s a good, top-level approach, since a number of problems can be solved by switching on a breaker or replacing a smoke alarm battery.

More advanced issues are handled by the tenant capturing pictures or video, entering a description and submitting the issue for escalation. Landlords are alerted via mobile notification to address it using their own preferred crew or by handing it off to NestEgg for one of their certified pros to handle.

(As of now, the company has a vendor network in Illinois, Wisconsin and in parts of Texas. To be clear, the app itself and all other features are available nationwide.)

There’s a project-tracking timeline that connects the tenant and the vendor for best times to visit and details, and a 14-day Happiness Guarantee. Only after that milestone is reached will the tenant be charged. Also, payments for repairs are collected through the app, too.

Of course, there’s bookkeeping functionality. Expenses. Rent. Fees. Materials. It’s all in there, accumulated as you go and ready at tax time.

In the works (likely ready by press time) is the NestEgg Pay feature, a method for landlords to spread out leasing service charges or big maintenance fees using rental income collected by the app.

NestEgg is a year old as of this writing. It displays the chops of a much more tenured platform. I think a rental investment analysis tool would be a sharp value-add, as would some cash-flow analysis reporting, or tips on how increase rent or manage tenants. But these are only ideas of mine, and likely reasons why I’m a critic and not a developer.

I asked about the possibility of enterprise white-label accounts with large brokerages and was met with a savvy retort about remaining focused on the small, “mom and pop” landlords — exactly the response I was secretly hoping for. The NestEgg team’s ambition seems authentically centered. Thus, if KW or Compass want to broach this segment, they’ll have to resort to mimicry.

If there’s something NestEgg has missed making easier for its targeted audience, it’s going to take someone smarter than me to find it. And while those people aren’t hard to find, they’ll likely have little reason to speak up.

If I were an agent, I’d adopt this app and sell myself as a property manager. From its kid-friendly UI to its accounting granularity, NestEgg isn’t just an impressive app for small portfolio management, it’s an all-around powerful piece of proptech.

Check, please.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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