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You need good property management software to run a profitable real estate business.
It’s no secret that managing properties can be expensive and time consuming. By automating your critical tasks—things like accounting, tenant management, leasing responsibilities, and property management—you can immediately improve profitability by removing human mistakes, and accounting errors, all while improving communication between tenants and landlords.
COVID-19 has made leasing and showing properties extremely hard. When you include the advantages of this software, you maximize your ability to fill vacancies without in-person walkthroughs or having to manually sign forms.
That way, you provide a seamless approach to property management in these changing times.
This guide has all the information you will need to select the best software for your business. We narrowed a huge list down to our seven top choices for property management software.
Let’s get started.
The 6 Best Property Management Software Options:
- Buildium – Best for scaling your property management company
- TenantCloud – Best for independent landlords
- Syncbnb – Best for short stay vacation rentals
- Avail – Best for custom application forms and leases
- AppFolio – Best for managing multiple property types
- Propertyware – Best for managing and scaling your SFP rental business
When It Makes Sense to Invest in Property Management Software
Whether you are a property manager responsible for multiple properties or a landlord who has a few real estate investments, using property management software will help you streamline your everyday business goals.
If you have been having difficulties managing payments, appointments, leasing options, or maintenance complaints, this software will free up more time for you through accounting and budgeting tools.
Tenants expect clear guidelines and an easy experience when renting or buying property. This software helps you easily present your available properties and information about them to prospective renters and buyers.
It also allows current tenants easy access to documents, maintenance requests, and payment portals. When tenants are happy it means longer commitments from them and a better reputation to attract new renters to your vacancies.
#1 – Buildium — The Best for Scaling Your Property Management Company
Buildium property management software supports property management firms that broker home sales or rent to tenants. It’s also equipped to handle relationships with homeowners’ associations and to manage special cases like student housing and affordable housing.
The software boasts all the possible features a large property management firm needs to improve operations.
Business operations improvements provided by Buildium include maintenance request tracking, an owner portal to track data and reports for property owners, integration with Happy Inspector, and even a renters insurance portal.
Buildium assists with listing rentals, storing and managing applications, and coordinating showings to help your leasing efforts. Plus, it has robust accounting features for tracking tenant and buyer payments as well as managing your own company’s financials.
What your firm will especially love about Buildium is the customer care support available when questions need to be answered.
Buildium’s onboarding process ensures a smooth transition to the platform for your company and offers custom training for your staff and makes data transfer seamless.
Clients and tenants can find all of Buildium’s features in a user-friendly dashboard.
For your firm, pricing is simple and transparent, as well. Three plans are included: The Essential plan, starting at $50/month, the Growth plan at $160/month, and the Premium property management plan, which starts at $460/month.
As a property management company, having one central location to service all your portfolios is huge. It gives you more time for other important things instead of running all over town doing in person transactions.
Buildium is a start-to-finish platform designed to optimize your property management at scale.
#2 – TenantCloud — Best for Independent Landlords
The Best for Independent Landlords
If you are take full control of property management as a landlord with the top of the line in rental accounting and management. Use your free listing website to generate leads, accept online payments, print reports, and even track equipment through an intuitive property management dashboard.
If you are the type of landlord who thinks, “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” then TenantCloud software was made just for you.
Imagine a suite of services designed to make managing your properties a snap.
No more chasing payments, disorganized bookkeeping, and definitely no more wasted appointments with tenants who aren’t qualified. Tenant screening and maintenance requests are easy to take care of.
A common problem facing independent landlords is marketing your available properties. TenantCloud eliminates those concerns with its built-in advertising and lead generation through Rentler Leads.
Accept online payments via ACH transfer, PayPal, or debit and credit cards. And, with the built-in accounting system, you don’t have to think about who has paid and who still owes—view financials and print receipts with just the click of a button.
On-demand reporting will give you detailed rental estimates and market trend data that will provide you with the information you need to make informed real estate decisions.
TenantCloud has everything you need to manage properties on your own. Here are some of the top features available:
- On-demand reports
- Rental insurance tracking
- Accounting tools and resources
- E-sign and rental agreement templates
- General and property expense tracking
Plus, you can get a free plan forever for managing up to 75 units. However, for power features like Rentler Leads and Quickbooks sync, you’ll need one of the paid plans, which start at $9/month.
For landlords who want to remove the headaches from property management, TenantCloud is a great resource.
#3 – Syncbnb — The Best for Short Stay Vacation Rentals
The vacation rental business is booming, even in spite of COVID-19. But having multiple short-term rental properties can be tough, juggling availability and bookings.
Syncbnb solves this problem with an incredible system that’s easy to use and empowers you to manage all your listings in one place. The platform strives to increase listing exposure and practically guarantees increased bookings for your short stay properties.
As a property owner who holds multiple short-term vacation rentals, you tend to rely on other platforms for booking. So, easily pushing updates to all listing hosts—like Airbnb, Vrbo, or Glamping Hub—is huge.
Syncbnb’s AI connects to all these channels and more to ensure no delays in updating availability, details, and rates.
Keep in mind, however, that this is not a full-service solution for short stay rentals. You are still responsible for collecting payments and handling other business operations manually or through another platform. But, Syncbnb is incredibly useful for updating and filling your multiple vacation rental properties.
Pricing starts at $15/month and you have options for several other add-ons, such as a consultation for boosting revenue and a website builder. Plus, you can try Syncbnb for 30 days for no charge.
#4 – Avail — The Best for Custom Application Forms and Leases
Avail is another property management platform that suits DIY landlords, but offers a level of customization beyond that of others.
Of course, this cloud-based platform lets you collect find and screen tenants, but it allows for fully customized leasing agreements.
Start from a standard state specific template, then edit or add clauses, rules, and attachments. Once complete, you can send it over to your prospective tenant and they can legally bind the deal with an e-signature.
Avail also allows you to post your listings directly on Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads and other top rental sites with push of a button. After your listing is up and you need to send an application, you can start with preset standard questions but also customize it, so you get all the pertinent information you need and a complete tenant profile.
The free version of Avail offers digital leasing, auto-pay, rent deposits, confirmation on credit and eviction reporting, background checks, income verification, and more at no cost. That’s right, you don’t have to pay one cent to start using most of these powerful features.
With that said, the $5 per unit per month plan is extremely affordable and gives you the website builder options and waives ACH fees.
#5 – Appfolio — The Best for Managing Multiple Property Types
The Best for Managing Multiple Property Types
Created for property owners and landlords, designed and designed help you break free of property type limitation with Appfolio’s extensive portfolio. Market, report, and maintenance commercial and residential properties with this powerful software.
Appfolio is the first and only piece of software on this list that is equally adept at helping property management firms handle both residential and commercial real estate simultaneously.
This platform gives you the custom reporting you need to make decisions on the fly from anywhere because of its adaptable cloud technology.
This software offers amazing features for managing every type of property, but especially for commercial rentals.
Features like common area maintenance, preset rent increases, and reporting that focuses on the metrics most relevant to commercial rentors are huge differentiators from the others on this list.
But, marketing commercial properties has the same end goal—keep them full. Bulk email capabilities help you attract new tenants while text message communication keeps an open line between you and current renters to help keep them happy.
If you also handle residential or student housing, there is a fleet of features in Appfolio that work to attract, screen, and lease to prospective tenants. Appfolio lets you manage a mixed portfolio with no hassle.
One pricing caveat you need to be aware of is the minimum fee per month of $250. Here’s a high-level view of the pricing for Appfolio:
- Commercial: $1.50 per unit/month, $3 per unit/month for the Plus features
- Residential: $1.25 per unit/month, $3 per unit/month for the Plus features
- Student housing: $1.25 per unit/month, $3 per unit/month for the Plus features
- HOAs: $0.80 per unit/month, $0.85 per unit/month for the Plus features
For landlords with properties spread throughout one state or many, Appfolio offers versatile benefits to manage them all with one solution. You will remain competitive with modern marketing tools while benefiting from robust accounting software that makes commercial or residential bookkeeping a breeze.
#6 – Propertyware – The Best for Managing and Scaling Your SFP Rental Business
Propertyware specializes in single family property (SFP) rentals, in other words, homes that are not divided into units.
What a lot of SFP landlords struggle with is growing their business because of having to focus on daily maintenance and day-to-day tasks, not leaving room for marketing and growth. And spending money on a third-party property management firm can get expensive and not offer all the benefits of property management software.
With simple workflows that automate processes you’ll be able to save time and money. Create custom fields, dashboards to make your day-to-day more efficient, leaving you available to provide outstanding service across multiple properties.
The platform’s open API also allows you to smoothly integrate online payments and connect to popular CRMs to unify all your tenant communications and data.
Built for residential property management, Propertyware also helps you with inspections, a maintenance contact center, lease creation, and specific portals for both tenants and owners that make SFP management child’s play.
Beyond that, Propertyware’s software also includes:
- Lead tracking
- Owner and tenant insurance
- Tenant screening
- Electronic signatures
- Automated fees
- Accounting tools
Propertyware’s pricing starts at just $1 per unit per month (though there is a $250 monthly minimum and an implementation fee).
Propertyware is ideal if you are managing a large quantity of SFP rental properties and allows you to easily scale.
Methodology for Choosing the Best Management Software
When reviewing the mountain of property management software providers available, we used a methodology based on the needs of property managers and landlords and also the biggest problems faced in day-to-day property management.
Do you manage residential or commercial properties? Or a combination of both?
Some software is tailored to just making leasing rentals and collecting payments easy, while others expand to handle oversight of many diverse properties and help with compliance.
Ask yourself can this software accommodate the needs of my property type or types? This is the first and easiest question to answer when choosing your optimal software.
Number of Units
How many rentals are you trying to keep full?
A landlord with a handful of residential rentals doesn’t need software like Appfolio that has a pricing and feature structure advantageous to larger firms.
Things will change as you scale. But, when deciding where to start, make sure you are not paying for features you don’t need. If you manage a smaller amount of properties there might even be a free version of property management software that will do the trick.
Features and Customization
Services that let you customize your lease agreements, contract forms, and dashboard software can streamline your daily workflow.
Look for specific benefits that help you where you’re hurting the most. Perhaps maintenance management is where you need a tool that will set up appointments and be directly linked to your maintenance vendor. So, direct communication through mobile apps or texting will keep maintenance requests fulfilled and your tenants happy when there is a problem.
Or, built-in marketing features can keep your rentals, homes, and other property vacancies down to a minimum. Some platforms help you with lead generation to keep your sales pipeline full.
Always remember you may have to pay a little more if you want to have as many features as possible. Just make sure they are what you need, and they are useful.
Property Manager vs. Landlord
Landlords, especially ones with few rentals to stay on top of, have much different needs than property management companies.
For example, a property management company needs software that accommodates team members and may require multiple logins and additional security features. The software must satisfy the owner of the property and the tenants. And as property companies grow, the software must grow with it.
Landlords are often more hands-on, so pay attention to software that caters to the DIY landlord through features like customized reporting and lease creation and accounting tools or Quickbooks integration.
Also, here’s where to really focus on pricing. If you’re a landlord of a couple properties, you’re going to look for a cost-effective supplement, but if you’re a large property management firm, you can afford to spend more to constantly fill vacancies and streamline processes.
Property management software usually varies and can include many factors. Software on this list charges as little as $0.80 per unit/month, but remember many have monthly minimum requirements. Some software on this list also offers free versions that can be acceptable if you don’ t have many units or properties.
What’s the best property management software for you or your firm? That’s only a question you can answer. What I have done is offer you a methodology to use as a compass when figuring out what’s important to focus on.
In this guide we offered our six top picks for property management software. Whether you’re a property management company that owns thousands of units or a landlord that owns only one residential property, you will find in this guide the software to accommodate your needs.