How This Real Estate Investor Gets Peace of Mind with Azibo
As "snowbirds," Andrew Winter and his wife, Camala Winter, split their time between Cleveland, Ohio and St. Petersburg, Florida. They started their real estate investing journey in 2017 as a side hustle while working full-time jobs — he as a solutions engineer, and she as a marketing professional. Today, the couple owns three rental properties in Cleveland, another three in St. Petersburg, and are looking to expand their portfolio.
We talked to Andrew about his real estate investing experience and how he uses Azibo to simplify his day-to-day business operations.
Pivoting to long-term rentals
After hosting short-term rentals through Airbnb, Andrew became frustrated with the bureaucratic customer service protocols he went through every time there was an issue. Conscious of his time while juggling a full-time job, Andrew explains, "It almost took more time and energy to follow these companies' processes than it did just to eat the cost of the damage and repair."
For Andrew, the time, energy, and expenses required to manage short-term rentals while attempting to continue providing top-notch customer experiences became more and more difficult. That's when he decided to pivot to mid-term and long-term rentals, which enable him to employ principles of scale while keeping costs down.
Andrew explored several technology tools to run his rental operations, but found they either had high subscription fees, or the free version didn't offer enough features. He needed a solution to simplify rent collection and bookkeeping as he continued to grow his portfolio.
Searching for a real estate tax solution
Andrew initially became interested in Azibo as a real estate tax solution to help him keep better track of income and expenses. "I was looking at QuickBooks and a bunch of other tools, but none of them really focused on real estate," he explained. Azibo offers the only accounting software designed for real estate investors and was built in partnership with real estate CPAs.
Andrew and Camala onboarded their properties to Azibo in November 2022 and today use a variety of Azibo solutions.
Gaining peace of mind with Azibo
With Azibo, Andrew is able to manage his rent collection, banking, and accounting all in one place. In fact, he even chose his bank based on Azibo. "I literally canceled an Amex business checking account because it didn't sync with Azibo," he said. "So I preferred integration into Azibo versus the 4% percent cash back that I was going to get from Amex."
Andrew quickly noticed the benefits of collecting rent on a single platform. "Before Azibo, I was taking payments on Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, and checks," he explains. "Now Azibo is the one source of truth for all payments, which makes things easier."
When collecting rent across multiple mobile payment apps, Andrew used to have to go into each app, send the money to himself, then remember to make sure it showed up in his bank account a few days later. Now with Azibo, he saves at least four hours per month not having to worry about where the money is. "With the ability to track rent payments, I can sleep at night. That's the ultimate goal," Andrew notes.
"It's just mental health. You can't really put a price on that. I was so burned out of real estate I was begging for a tool that would make life easier, and Azibo fit that mold."
Azibo gives tenants the flexibility to use their preferred payment method (including ACH bank transfer, debit card, or credit card) without having to track multiple channels. "The rent collection is nice, especially the ability to give the tenant the decision on how they'd like to pay," says Andrew. "I've been asked if I take credit card before, and now I can say, 'Absolutely.'"
Andrew also appreciates that Azibo offers Credit Boost to help tenants improve their credit score by reporting on-time rent payments to the three major credit bureaus. This benefit not only encourages timely payments but strengthens Andrew's relationship with his renters. "I like that there is a value-add that I can give back to the tenant," he explains.
"It's nice that it's all in one system. That's really the kind of power you can have with Azibo."
Azibo also enables Andrew to get a more macro view of his investments, with the ability to generate financial reports such as a cash flow statement and P&L. "I always get asked about cash flow because it's a key metric for getting additional investment income," says Andrew. "And I had no idea how to track mine before Azibo."
Looking ahead, as Andrew continues to invest in more properties, he’s excited to try Azibo's newer products like rental applications, tenant screening, and lease creation. "I saw that Azibo came out with the ability to create a lease, which is super awesome," he says. "I'll be trying that when this next lease cycle comes up."