Tech & Innovation

9 Ways Belong Flipped Property Management on its Head

Written By Tyler Infelise

Last Updated May 13, 2024

A birds-eye view of single-family homes in a local neighborhood

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Renting is rarely described as ‘lovable’ — but we’re on a mission to change that.

Belong’s vision for the US housing market is one where homes empower individuals, not just corporations. We want to help homeowners find financial success, while ensuring renters feel a true sense of belonging in their homes.

Property management has failed to do that. 

Renters endure disrespect or indifference, while homeowners face frustration with hidden fees and a lack of communication. It’s time to restore confidence that long-term renting can be both profitable and lovable. 

How? By being high-tech but human. Belong is a proptech company on a mission to fix long-term renting by focusing on innovation and services that support everyone. Here’s a glimpse at some of the ways we’re doing that and flipping property management on its head. 

9 Belong Innovations That Make Renting Lovable

1. We made rental payments flexible and predictable

As 2020 reminded us, life is unpredictable. Flexibility is now a top priority for people and many industries such as airlines and events were forced to accommodate this. But property management didn’t budge.  

Renters need flexibility to pay on a schedule that won’t put them behind, but homeowners need predictability in their rental income. So Belong found a way to offer both. 

Every resident on Belong has the flexibility to choose their rent payment schedule. Homeowners get this rent guaranteed, every month. If your residents want to pay weekly, you’ll still get predictable payments every month. Some homeowners even get their entire year upfront for the year — no catch. It’s your money, your cashflow, your choice. 

Read more: How Guaranteed Rent is Changing Property Management Forever

2. We allowed control over expenses and cashflow

Rental homes have their fair share of expenses that eat into cashflow. So Belong has found a way to make this smoother and more predictable too. 

Belong homeowners can spread costs like maintenance work and insurance across a lease. The same guaranteed income every month, less a repayment for any expenses you need to defer. This makes your cashflow smoother and more predictable, even if you didn’t budget for that unexpected plumbing emergency!

We didn’t forget our residents here either. They can spread the cost of renters insurance and even their security deposit. Residents also get credit for every on-time rental payment to build towards priority access to future rentals or even buying an eligible home on the Belong network in future.  

Read more: How Flexible Payment Options Are Unlocking Positive Cash Flow for Landlords in 2024

3. We took a ‘radically honest’ approach to fees

Flexibility with payment is important, but so is honesty. Traditional property management companies are notorious for hiding fees. There’s sneaky extras for essentials like setup costs, lease renewals or marketing photos. Or the realization that the “eviction protection” you paid a premium for is capped at a measly $500. 

Belong went the other way. Full transparency. Our management fee is a flat 8%, it’s capped so it never gets unreasonable, and it includes everything you need to market and run your home well. We’re so confident in our resident placement that we include up to $15,000 in eviction protection for anyone we place if we ever need to start eviction proceedings. 

Read more: How To Avoid Costly Evictions With Belong’s Game-Changing Safety Net For Homeowners

4. We took the guesswork out of pricing rental homes

Property management companies use guesswork and your neighbors to set the market price for your home. But in this day and age, it’s not fast or adaptive to real shifts in the market. Pricing medians rarely work either, giving false expectations due to the huge range of homes it encompasses. 

Belong developed smarter tech and pricing algorithms that identifies what your home is really worth on the rental market. True market data and real-time interest from potential residents work to maximize the value of homes on the Belong network.

5. We ditched the static ‘portal’ for an industry-leading app

Sure, property management has online portals to log a request and maybe pay rent online. But Belong has built an industry-busting app that connects everyone seamlessly to the services they want and need. 

The Belong app gives everyone access to 24/7 support (yes, with real people replying to your residents on weekends!) and lets homeowners respond in real-time to maintenance requests with our 10,000+ strong vendor network. It puts everything at your fingertips, from tracking your cashflow and financial goals, to buying insurance or even approving new residents. 

6. We made it easier to protect your asset

Homeowners need insurance to protect their property (especially if you have a mortgage). But what many don’t realize is that home insurance only covers owner-occupied homes and claims can be denied if you rent out a home. 

But getting the right insurance is arduous and time consuming. Not all companies offer dedicated landlord/rental home insurance. Or they make you jump through hoops like combining policies with your own home. It was time for that to change too. 

Insurance is available in just a few clicks through the Belong app. Homeowners can add a rental policy to their account anytime, anywhere. We ask all residents to get insurance for extra peace of mind, which they can buy (and spread the cost of) through the Belong app. Simple! 

Read More: What Type of Insurance Should I Get For My Rental Property?

7. We created scheduled maintenance, so you can forget it

Homes need regular upkeep. But busy homeowners don’t want reminders, they need it done. So Belong introduced a way to make sure preventive maintenance runs like clockwork. Add, pause or remove recurring services, right from the Belong app. From lawn mowing to gutter cleaning, set and forget your seasonal home maintenance and let Belong do all the work. 

Read more: Why Ignoring Rental Home Maintenance Could Cost You More Than Repairs

8. We integrated with the top rental listing sites  

Going online is how people find rental homes. It makes sense that your home should be everywhere, not just 1-2 places. Belong starts with 26, plus our own popular platform. 

To innovate this process, we developed direct integration with top listing platforms such as Zillow and Zumper. When you list a home with Belong, it’s automatically featured everywhere. This gets 30-50% more views for your home and a direct feed of applicants into the Belong system. This lets us contact potential residents quickly and find the best applicant faster than a traditional property manager could. 

It’s another way that Belong reduces vacancy times and costs for homeowners, with 66% less vacancy than competitors and an average of 29 qualified applications for every home listed.

9. We dropped the labels and power imbalance

Inclusive language is important. It’s a powerful tool in creating empathy and understanding of each other as individuals, not commodities. Labels like landlord and tenant highlight the power imbalance in the rental market and treat people as financial transactions.

In creating a more lovable, humane rental experience, we dropped the outdated labels. We use inclusive terms like homeowners and residents, focusing on the emotional connection we have to homes (not just ‘properties’). We occasionally have to use the old terms when writing about legal or financial topics, but we include disclaimers because we think it’s time for these labels to be retired.  

Read more: Don’t Call Me Landlord: The Belong Glossary

Join the tech-forward property management alternative

Ready to learn more about how Belong is changing the world of home management and renting forever? Find out if your home is eligible for Belong here, or become a Belong resident by searching for available homes.

And if you know a homeowner who could benefit from Belong’s unique approach to renting, check out our referrals or affiliate program (we have $1,000 that belongs in your pocket!) 

About the author

Tyler Infelise

Co-Founder & Head of Product

I co-founded Belong because I'm on personal mission to eliminate stressful, anxiety-filled experiences for others. I lead the product team here, bringing with me 10+ years of product management and marketing experience. Prior to Belong, I built a company called Beepi with my cofounders. I am a big foodie, love movies of all kinds, and live for March Madness basketball.