Updated: 6 Feb 2003
Rental Property Management Software
RESource Rental Manual
Table of Contents
RESource Rental Manual
RESource Rental is a vacation rental software program written to provide state-of-the-art rental property management. Jim Teixeira (author of RESource 1 and RESource 2) and Charlie Layman (proprietor of the Mailroom @ Edgartown) have collaborated to design a rental management program that provides all of the benefits of Internet based software combined with a simple, easy to use interface.
Your rental data base is stored at our web site and you can access it anytime from your office or from your home. The interface looks and works much like RESource that most of you presently use for the LINK system and its operation is very similar. In addition, your customers can search the rental data base on their own through a simple Internet browser interface. This means that you can let them do the work of searching for a suitable rental.
Once a customer has selected a rental and its availability is confirmed, the next step of preparing the lease is the simplest of all. With just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks a lease is completed. You can preview the lease and modify its text to suit. The lease can then be printed or E-Mailed to the customer. All transmittal letters can also be previewed and modified if necessary.
RESource Rental uses a unique template that stores the lease and all transmittal letters. This template can be changed by you to suit your particular needs.
RESource Rental maintains four separate data bases stored on the Internet:
RESource Rental provides the following capabilities and features:
The following sections described the general operation of RESource Rental.
This is the start up screen that appears after you log onto RESource Rental.
The following sections will describe what each button does starting with the most common operation - processing a rental that meets a customer's requirements. This process starts with the agent searching the rental data base for suitable rentals, printing sheets or e-mailing listing sheets to the customer, processing a lease and finally obtaining deposits and signed leases.
This process assumes that the RESource Rental data base contains the rental data for each property in the agency portfolio. Following sections of this manual describe how to enter rental and owner data into the system, how to obtain various reports in order to manage the system, and finally the customer-side interface where the customer can search the rental data base himself and select suitable rentals. (Naturally the customer must go through one of your agents to complete the deal.)
A typical rental transaction might be as follows:
A customer calls looking for a rental in the $2000 to $2500 price range, in Edgartown or Oak Bluffs for two weeks in early August. In addition, the rental must sleep 8 and have 4 bedrooms.
Normally the agent should start the process by recording the customer information. The agent should establish whether the customer is presently in the data base (either by asking or by pressing the "Find Customer" button). If the customer is new to the firm, the agent can press the "Enter Customer" button and the following screen will appear:
This screen contains data required for later making a lease and for contacting the customer. Also included is a "Customer History" showing previous rental properties sent to the customer. Certain fields are required as they are needed to process a lease. These are marked with a "**" and include first and last name, lease name (the name as it will appear on the lease), and full address information.
The agent can fill in this screen and then press the "FIND RENTALS" button. (If the customer is a return customer and wants a previous year's rental, the agent can press the "FIND LEASES" button to find where the customer stayed previously.)
If the agent presses the "FIND RENTALS" button on Figure 2, the following screen will appear:
The above screen shows the search capability of RESource Rental. Any or all fields may be filled in. Notice that the number of nights for the stay should be filled-in. Normally this is a multiple of 7 nights but it can be any number or nights The "From" and "To" dates are used to determine the time frame for the stay, i.e the customer may want 7 nights any time between August 1 and August 15. "From" and "To" dates can be typed in directly as 8/1/03 to 8/15/03 or simply press the "Calendar" button and click on the start and SHIFT-click on the end date. (If the customer just wants, for example, 7 nights in August, just click on the "August" check box.
If the customer has a preferred town or location, check off the appropriate boxes. The same holds true for amenities. Note, however, that all conditions must be met. A selection of Edgartown waterfront and tennis will select rentals that meet all conditions.
If you have particular rental in mind for a customer, you can just enter the owner names (up to 6) in the "Owner" fields. Or, a customer may have browsed your web site and come up with a list of property IDs that seem suitable. You can enter up to 12 IDs in the "Property ID" fields.
After filling in the search data, the agent presses "FIND" on Figure 3 and a list of rentals meeting the criteria will appear:
The screen above lists the rentals that meet the selection criteria. (Only one rental is showing an owner and address in this example but in an actual search, all rentals would have this data.)
The three buttons at the upper right of Figure 4 are the horizontal scroll controls. This screen starts in the "M" (for Main) screen as seen above. Pressing the "O" (for Owner) brings the following screen:
This screen has the owner contact information so the agent can quickly establish the rental's availability. (Note that in all screens, if a column title is in blue, clicking on that title will sort the column data.) You can double-click on any line on this screen to bring up the full owner data (more on owner data later).
Pressing the "C" (for Calendar) on Figure 4 produces the following screen:
This screen provides a quick look at the availability for all rentals found. An "A" in a week means that the rental is available.
Double clicking on a rental on Figure 4 will give a more detailed look at the calendar as follows:
Each day in the calendar will be one of the following colors:
Additional information on this screen include Turn Day, Minimum Stay, Monthly Rate and any Rate Comments such as "10% discount for 14 days or more."
Pressing the "Features" button on Figure 7 will show the rental features as follows:
This screen shows a summary of the key rental data. Some fields are multi-use. "Bedrooms" can be switched to "Beds" which can show the beds, futons etc. by number. "Add. Rooms" can contain bathroom or any other room data in the data base. Similarly, "Remarks" can be switched to "Directions."
If you double click on the photo, it will become the location map.
At the lower right of this screen is the date that the rental data was last updated.
Pressing the "Owner" button on Figure 8 brings up the owner (and other) data:
Finally, Pressing the "Photos" button on Figure 9 will show all photos (up to nine):
Clicking on any of the small photos will enlarge it.
Once the agent has reviewed and selected the rentals for the customer, the agent can E-Mail data sheets to the customer by pressing "E-Mail" on Figure 4 and getting the following:
The agent is automatically notified when the customer has read the e-mail. A notification is also sent to the agent if the e-mail has not been read in 48 hours.
The agent may choose to print the data sheets (with transmittal letter) for mailing to the customer:
As can be seen in Figure 12, the agent can print listing sheets, a listing summary, or an owner fill in sheet (sent to the owner to update his rental information).
Once the customer has reviewed the rental data sheets and selected those of interest, the agent then verifies availability from the owner and can then start the lease process.
Pressing the "Make Lease" button on the main screen (Figure 1) produces the following:
Enter the customer last name (or just the first 2 or 3 letters) and get:
Verify that this is the correct customer and double-click on the customer line to get:
The above screen is the same as the earlier "Enter Customer" screen. Notice that the rentals that were sent to him appear in the "CUSTOMER HISTORY" area. The agent can select the rental from the list and press "MAKE LEASE". If the rental is not in the list, just press "MAKE LEASE" and get:
Enter the owner name or ID on Figure 16 to find the rental to assign to the lease and get:
Verify that this is the correct rental and double-click on it to get the lease screen:
This screen contains all the data that is applicable from the rental and owner data bases. All that is needed is the rental period.
Press "Set Dates" on Figure 18 for the following screen:
Here the August 6 day was clicked (THE ARRIVAL DAY) and with the SHIFT key held down, the August 12 day was clicked (THE DAY BEFORE THE DEPARTURE DAY). The lease software will adjust the departure day to August 13.
Press "Done" on Figure 19 and the following appears:
The total rent is entered along with number of payments (default is 2). Press "ENTER" and get the following:
The lease in now complete, but any changes can still be made prior to printing.
The next step is to print the lease. Press the "Lease" button at the top of Figure 21 and get:
You can select to print, e-mail or preview the lease. Selecting "PREVIEW" on Figure 22 brings up the following screen:
This is the lease preview screen which shows exactly how the lease will appear. The agent can make any modifications to the text and then either print the lease or E-Mail it to the customer.
The final step is to print the transmittal letter to the customer. On the lease screen in Figure 21, press the "Cus 1" button and get:
This letter and the other customer and owner letters will appear with your company letter head logo.
Returning to the main lease screen (Figure 21), note that there is a button labled "E-Mail." This is used to e-mail renters and owners regarding the status of the lease as shown in the box below.
Sending a lease to a customer is the first step in completing a rental. The lease must be monitored to ensure that all signatures have been applied and payments made. Pressing the "Find Lease" button on the main screen (Figure 1) produces the following:
The lease data base can be searched by the above criteria.
The following is the result of a lease search:
Only one lease is in the data base and we can see that it is pending a customer signature and the action date for that is 1/11/02 (10 days from the signing date of 1/1/02).
Pressing the "A", "O" or "C" buttons at the upper right produces, respectively, the agent name and commission, the owner contact data and the customer contact data.
Double-clicking brings up the full lease screen.
As stated earlier, the lease data base contains the bookkeeping data used for commission payments and for owner and agent 1099 forms. It also contains the current status of the lease. In the above screen, the status list (in the upper right corner) has been expanded to show the possible status states for the lease:
At the lower left on Figure 28 are date boxes where the actual dates for the various payments from customers and payments to owners can be entered. A box is also available to enter the date that the agent's commission was made.
The lease record contains a snap-shot of the rental and owner at the time that the lease was made. If the rental owner changes after the lease was prepared, the will lease will still reflect the original owner.
Along the top right of the screen (pointed to by Print >) are the various transmittal letters:
Data Entry Into RESource Rental
Data can be directly entered into three of the RESource Rental data bases: the owner, customer, rental and lease data bases. Data entry for the customer and lease was described in the previous sections. Data entry for the owner data base is similar to that for the customer data base. Pressing "Enter Owner" on the main screen (Figure 1) produces the following:
This screen is nearly identical to the customer data entry screen (Figure 2), the main difference is the inclusion of the owner Social Security Number which will be needed for the IRS 1099 forms and the lack of a customer history box.
Notice that on this screen as well as the customer screen certain fields are required to be input. There are marked by "**" and include "Last Name", "First Name", "Lease Name" (this is the full name as it will appear on the lease), "Address 1", "City", "State", "ZIP" and "Agent Name". Although the SSN is not a required field (since the owner may be a foreign national) it should be entered if available.
The remaining fields are optional and are provided for convenience in contacting the owner (or customer), The "Status" field has three states:
Data entry into the rental data base is more complicated because of the additional data required. Pressing the "Enter Rental" button on the main screen (Figure 1) produces the following screen:
At the top of this screen is the area for assigning an owner to the rental.
Pressing "Add Owner" brings up the following:
This is same action as when the "Make Lease" button was demonstrated.
Once an owner has been assigned to the rental, the remaining fields can be filled in. Most of these fields are self evident but the following may require explanation or elaboration.
This screen allows for any remarks that apply to the rental, directions to the rental, caretaker etc. name/telephone, location of the key (either at the property or on your key board), and the features of the property. These fields should be self explanatory.
Returning to Figure 30 and pressing "Calendar" produces the following screen:
This screen was shown earlier and is the availability/rate calendar for the rental. Days can be set to one of four states: Available, Not Available (has been rented), Lease Pending (Waiting for customer or owner signature) and Blocked Out (owner reserved). You can change the status of a range of days by first selecting a new state by clicking on one of the boxes at the bottom. Then click on the first day of the range that you want to change. Hold down the SHIFT key and click on the last day of the range.
NOTE: The start day of the range should be the turn over day and the end day should be the before the turn over day for a normal single or multi week rental. For example, if the turn over day is Saturday. To set to available the week ending on July 19, click on July 12 and SHIFT click on July 18. The lease "Set Dates" routine will automatically end the lease one day later (on July 19).
With the day state set, the weekly rates can be typed in the rate boxes. A week in any given month must have at lease four days in that month to qualify for a rate box. For example, the first week in August has only three days, therefore the rate for that week is the last week in July. The crosshatching in a rate box means that it will not accept a rate.
Returning to Figure 30 and pressing "Lease Addendum" produces the following screen:
This box will contain the text (if any) that will added to the lease.
In the final lease, this text automatically will be preceded by:
The following addendum applies to this lease:
Returning to Figure 30 and pressing "Photo" produces the following screen:
This is the entry screen for adding photos (RESource Rental allows up to nine photos per rental).
To add a photo, press "Add Photo" on Figure 35 and get the following screen:
If the photo has already been saved on your hard drive, change the directory to the directory that contains the photo. You can input either jpg or bmp photo files. Photos can also be entered directly from a scanner or digital camera using the "Acquire" button.
Once a photo has been input the following appears:
You can continue to add photos, delete current photos, replace photos or insert photos.
Returning again to the Rental Data screen (Figure 30), Pressing "Map" produces the following:
Simply click on the spot that you want the arrow to appear.
This completes the data entry for new rentals.
The Customer Data Screen
The Customer Data Screen contains an area called Customer History which is shown below.
This area can be used to keep a history or rentals that were either sent to a customer via E-Mail or by regular mail. When rental listings are E-Mailed or printed, this history screen will contain a list of these rentals (as long as a customer is associated with the rentals) and the date they were E-Mailed or printed. The status initially will be "Waiting" indicating that the customer has not responded to the transmittal. When the customer calls back after reviewing the rental listings, the individual rentals in the list can be assigned a customer priority of from 1 to 5 or "N" for not interested. Note that you may assign more than one rental with the same priority if for example the customer likes two rentals equally well. To assign the priority, simple click on the rental in the list to highlight it and press the desired status button.
If a customer has gone to your web site and found rentals that he liked and calls in Prop IDs for those rentals, Use the "Add PropID" button to add these to the Customer History.
At any time you can review the rentals by pressing the "View" button or print a summary of the history by pressing the "Print" button. If no rentals are selected, the entire list will be viewed or printed. If one or more rentals are selected (select by clicking on each one) only those will be viewed or printed. (Rentals can be removed from the list in a similar fashion by pressing the "Remove" button.)
RESource Rental will provide many types of reports that you use to manage the system. Many of these are available via the various print screens. For example, when you do a rental search, select some or all properties, and press the "Print" button, one of the options is "Print Listing Summary." This will print, in list form, key data about the property including owner contact information and a mini-calendar. Similar summary reports are available for owners, customers and leases in the same way.
Prior to printing any report, you may want to sort the report items by owner, agent, etc. If the title above a list column is in blue, clicking on that title will sort the data by the column name. Note that the customer and owner search screens are initially sorted by the customer or owner last name. Properties and leases are initially sorted by their ID number which is a chronological sort based on their creation date.
The "Reports" button on the main screen (Figure 1) is used to provide owner 1099 form data. It will generate reports as shown on the following screen:
Three types of 1099 form can be created:
These reports use data from the lease data base so it is important that the payment to owner and payment to agent fields properly reflect the amounts and times of these payments.
One of the tasks you should perform at the start of the next renting season is updating the rental and owner data bases. RESource Rental uses the Fill-In forms for this. If the rental a new to the system, typically only the owner is known so you want to send a blank fill-in form. First put the owner in the system (Enter Owner). Do a "Find Owner" to bring up the owner list. To print a fill-in sheet for mailing, select the owner line and press "Print." Select "Print Owner Fill-In".
To e-mail the fill-in form, double-click on the owner line and select "E-mail To Owner." On the e-mail screen select "Owner Fill-In."
If the rental is already in the system and you want to update the data or calendar, press "Find Rental", select the rental or rentals and press "Print." You can either e-mail or print fill-in forms. If you select e-mail, RESource Rental will send forms to all owners that have an e-mail address. Those without an e-mail address will remain selected and you can then press "Print" again and print forms for mailing.
Mailing labels are created from RESource Rental from either the customer or the owner data base. Do a Find for the customers or owners, select some or all then press "Print." Select "Print Mailing Labels."
The column header names for all lists are either in black or blue type. Those in blue will sort the items in increasing order by that column name. Customer and owner lists are presorted by their respective last name.
Horizontal scroll buttons
All list screens have horizontal scroll buttons which provide additional data on the rentals, owners, customers or leases. These are located in the upper right hand corner of the list screen and are labeled 'M', "O" "C' etc. "M" (stands for Main) is the start-up state and, in the case of a rental list, the "O" is for Owner and "C" is for Calendar. Customer and owner lists have "M" and "A" for Address. Lease lists have "M", "A" for Agent, "O" for Owner, "C" for Customer. These horizontal screens also provide additional sort columns.
Data base searches
All search criteria screens (for example "Find Owner") have several shortcuts. You need only enter the first few letters of the name. This may result in several owners being found but you can select the correct one from the list. If you leave all selection fields blank, all owners will be found. Customer, rentals and leases behave the same way.
Several types of reports are available within RESource Rental. Most of these are labeled "Summary…" in the Print function for rentals, owners, customers and leases. Each of these summaries prints the data in list form with key information about each subject.
A button on the main screen labeled "Reports" will generate owner and agent 1099 data.
The lease record is the primary repository for all transactions between customer, owner and agency. It is important to keep this record up to date as transactions occur. For example, when a payment is sent to the owner, it should be recorded by entering the date of the transaction in the lease record. The 1099 report obtains its source data from these records.
General Public Internet Operation
RESource Rental also includes an Internet capability for the general public to search for your rentals. This search process is enabled via a Vacation Rentals button on your home page. The search parameters on the search screen can be altered to suit your requirements. The background that this screen appears on can be tailored to your own particular liking. It can be a fixed color or an image that you might already be using on your current home page.
The following figure shows the search screen with all the search parameters enabled.
Price Range, etc.
Users can enter a specific minimum and/or maximum price range that they desire. They can also specify the minimum number of bedrooms, sleeping capacity or they can enter a specific property number. This property number overrides all other parameters and will bring up that property only.
Users can specify a desired from-to date range along with the number of nights required. Or to make things easier, they can simply ask for a particular month(s) and year. The years default to the current year and the following year. For example, the user can request 7 nights in the date range Aug 1, 2003 to Aug 20, 2003.
All the searchable towns are shown here. Menemsha, Katama, East Chop, and/or West Chop can be eliminated from the list via the RESource Rental Administration configuration screen. Users can select any combination of towns they wish or they can search the default Any Town.
Amenities and Location
All the searchable amenities and location parameters are show here. These parameters are totally configurable via the RESource Rental Administration configuration screen in that any of these amenities or locations can be eliminated from the lists. If no amenities or locations are configured, then these boxes will not appear on the search screen.
This button takes the users back to the page they came here from.
List Your Rental With Us
This button brings up a form that users can fill in if they desire to have their rental property listed with your firm. The form automatically gets emailed to your firm.
Once the users specify search parameters, they hit the Find button to get the results of the search. Typical results are shown here:
The results can be sorted in ascending or descending order by clicking on a column header. Also, the Town-Address is configurable in that the address can be removed by unchecking the box next to "Rental address on data sheet" in the RESource Rental Administration configuration screen. In this case the header will be just Town and the towns will be spelled out in full.
To see a full listing sheet on a particular property, the user clicks on the associated View button.
The information that has been entered into the RESource Rental data base shows up on the listing sheet. Most of these fields are configurable so you set up the listing sheet to meet your needs. The map shows where the rental is located and the address under it shows up only when the box next to "Rental address on data sheet" in the RESource Rental Administration configuration screen is checked.
If there are additional photos associated with a particular rental, then the line above the photo will appear that users can click on, or they can scroll down, to see the photos.
You can scroll to additional listing sheets by hitting the Next/Prev buttons at the top. If users wish to request additional information about a particular rental, they hit the Request button to bring up a simple form they fill in and it gets emailed to the agency. If users wish to send a copy of the listing sheet to a friend, they hit the E-Mail button, fill in a simple form and an email message is sent to their friend. This makes for an easy way to get rental information into other's hands.
The users can also view an availability calendar similar to the one in RESource Rental by hitting the Calendar button at the top.
The calendar defaults to showing the current season (the first two months are shown here). Users can hit buttons at the top to see the full year, the previous year or next year calendars. The weekly and monthly rates, turnover day, and minimum stay are taken out of the RESource Rental data base. The owner of the rental can update the calendar information by hitting the Update button, as long as the agency has provided a password. The updated information gets emailed to the agency for incorporation into the data base.
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