Data analytics is big business these days. Companies in virtually all market segments are collecting and analyzing large amounts of data in order to be more competitive and improve their bottom line. Property owners are no different and there are some key rental property metrics that every landlord should be looking at.

Rental properties are an investment which involves upkeep and strategic funding to yield the best returns. Data analytics can help you figure out the best way to use your money for the greatest return on your investment. Looking at key areas will help you pinpoint what is working and what isn’t.

Which analytics are the most important? Any information we can get can be useful but if you’re just starting out with data analytics it makes sense to first focus on those areas that will benefit your business the most. Here are our top four rental property analytics for property owners.

1. Vacancy Rates

Monitoring how many of your units are occupied and how many are vacant can produce a good set of data. These numbers can be compared to the market average in the neighborhood. A significant discrepancy in vacancy rates can be an indicator of a problem which requires attention or an opportunity you may be missing out on.

If your vacancy rate is significantly lower than the market average you’re probably not charging enough in rent. Taking a look at how your prices compare to similar units in the area can show you if this is the case. A rent adjustment can be a quick and easy boost to your revenue.

If, on the other hand, your vacancy rate is high, you might be charging too much or there may be something else going on. It might warrant a visit to the property for further investigation. There is also the possibility that your unit is not the kind of property tenants are looking for in that area. See if other units of similar size and type are having the same issue with vacancy rates.

2. Rent Collection

The largest source of income for property owners comes from rent payments. It stands to reason that data analytics on rent collected and rent unpaid would be one of the most important areas of rental property metrics. Even small changes in this area can have a large impact.

It’s important to keep a steady cash flow and that can be difficult if you have a lot of outstanding rent owed to you. If you have a lot of tenants missing their rent payments it may be an indicator that your rent collection activities aren’t up to par. Automating certain aspects of collections can streamline the process and make sure payment reminders don’t get missed while freeing up time.

Making it easier for tenants to pay with options such as making rent payments by credit card can be helpful at lowering the amount owed to you on the books. Everyone can forget a payment or fall on hard times and struggle to make ends meet, but tenants who are chronically in arrears are a different issue. Proper tenant screening can help ensure that your units are filled with tenants who genuinely want to pay their bills on time.

3. Advertising Expenses

As a property owner there will be times when you will have to advertise vacancies to find new tenants. Filling vacant units with quality tenants as quickly as possible is every landlord’s goal. Advertising is a necessary expense but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t analyze if you’re getting the most for your money.

Not all advertising options available to you are created equal. For starters they can vary greatly in cost from practically nothing to thousands of dollars. Different types of advertising are likely to reach different types of people. It’s important to consider what kind of tenants are expected to be looking for a unit like yours in that area and choose how you’ll advertise accordingly.

Once you have collected rental property metrics on the outcomes your various advertising efforts have produced, you can use analytics to further refine your strategy. Compare the number of quality tenants each type of advertising produced and the cost per successful tenant for each source of advertising. This type of data analytics can show you what kind of advertising brings the best ROI and which you’re better off without.

4. Repairs and Maintenance Costs

No rental property metrics would be complete without data outlining the cost of all maintenance and repairs for your properties. While it is important to address maintenance tickets promptly and keep your units in tip top shape, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to improve how those expenses drive revenue. Where you spend your dollars in this area can make a big difference in your financial outcomes.

It’s important to build relationships with dependable contractors that do quality work but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around. It’s a good strategy to regularly check how their prices compare with other professionals in the industry. Don’t settle for substandard work to save a buck but don’t let yourself be taken advantage of either.

Be proactive with seasonal maintenance to prevent more costly repairs later. Data analytics can help you identify when appliances and fixtures are costing you more than they should. Repeatedly repairing the same piece of equipment might be an indication that it’s time to replace it.

As a property owner you should be setting aside some money for renovations and upgrades. Data analytics can help you pinpoint which projects will increase revenue by allowing you to charge more rent. Keep track of changes you make and how they affect vacancy rates too.

With proper analytics rental property metrics can be used to drive revenue and improve the operations of your business. It all starts with data collection and putting information together into useful reports. From there you can spot problems as well as opportunities to build strategy and grow your business.