What Is the Best Rental Property Management Software?
Running a property management company requires the ability to juggle quite a few tasks. You have to collect rent from tenants, perform background checks, listen to tenants' needs, and respond promptly to landlords. If you're a property manager that has to do these tasks for many clients, you might feel as though they're nearly impossible to keep track of manually. There's just so much going on at any given time. Fortunately, the best rental property management software can organize and automate these tasks.
Here's everything you need to know to find the best rental property software. We'll look at the top five software packages, including the best free property management software on the market right now.
- What Is Real Estate (Property) Management Software?
- What Is the Best Rental Property Management Software?
- Tips for Choosing the Best Rental Property Management Software
- The Best Rental Property Management Software: Pre-built or Custom, Either Way Works
What Is Real Estate (Property) Management Software?
Before getting into what the best rental property management software can do for your business, it's first worth looking at what this software can do, in general.
At its core, these are packages that automate processes. Property management is particularly well-suited for these types of software packages. For example, let's say you receive a new lease application. Before having this software, you might review it and run some preliminary checks on the application. Then, if approved, you would submit it for a credit check. After that comes back, you'd make a yes/no decision on the application.
After implementing one of these systems, the prospective tenant might fill out a form online. Then, your management system can run a preliminary algorithmic validation of the application. After that passes, it can auto-submit it for the credit check. If that fails, it can automatically send the decline email. Otherwise, it can present it to you for final review.
That's the power of software. It helps with the most common tasks that property managers face every day, including:
- Payments: Collecting payments is, arguably, the most significant responsibility that a property manager has. Accurately reporting statements, reserves, deposits, and going after tenants for non-payment is necessary for the "job" of property management. The best rental property management software will take care of this for you. It'll track which tenants have paid and which have not.
- Communication: Staying on top of correspondence for property managers is challenging. Between emails, text messages, and calls, remembering what each tenant and owner wants is tedious. Fortunately, the right app for property management will solve this problem for you.
- Maintenance: If you manage numerous homes, you're bound to get calls for maintenance regularly. Scheduling those appointments, making sure the work gets done, and providing appropriate status reports becomes tedious without software.
The best software will bring a lot of benefits to your business. Collect payments, communicate with tenants and owners, and keep track of maintenance requests with ease, using the right software package.
What Is the Best Rental Property Management Software?
There are two types of property management software. The first type you can buy online (or subscribe to, assuming it's an online service). You pay a monthly fee and gain access to a site and platform to handle all your rental needs.
The second type is one that you get custom-developed. For some rental companies with custom business practices, this is the best solution. The next section will go into this type of solution in more detail.
Numerous rental property management apps and sites exist on the market. These are some of the top-rated ones.
Buildium is one of the more well-known property management software services on the market. Based in Boston, this service handles most of the everyday tasks that landlords face, including:
- Collect payments via credit card or ACH. Using Buildium, you can automate payments and collections for everyone, including vendors, residents, or owners.
- A simple but powerful accounting platform provides basic bookkeeping and bank reconciliation for your properties and bank accounts. You'll get a feel for how your cash flow is doing and how profitable your properties are.
- Manage vendors and maintenance requests. Residents can send you photos and other evidence of maintenance issues via Buildium. You can also manage the subsequent work orders with contractors.
- A simple texting interface lets you communicate with renters quickly and easily.
Price: The basic plan is $50 per month. The Premium option runs at a much higher $460 per month.
Who Benefits Most From Buildium? Smaller landlords that require a relatively easy, straightforward solution for managing rentals will benefit from Buildium. Its intuitive interface makes it easy for people of all tech backgrounds to use.
Xero Award Winner, Re-Leased, is a commercial property management solution that is cloud-based. Written with larger landlords in mind that have many users and perhaps tens of thousands in rent coming in per month, Re-Leased has a robust set of features for this demanding segment. Some of these features include:
- Numerous workflow automation tools make managing properties easy. Create complex tasks in seconds, not hours.
- Track your tasks, essential lease information, and critical client data from your desktop or mobile device.
- A single dashboard helps property managers keep track of everything they have to do. You can track lease expirations, rent reviews, and property inspections from one central location.
- Integrates with Xero and Quickbooks for fast set and forget invoicing.
- Custom apps for tenants, allowing them to log maintenance requests and gain full control of their tenancy.
Price: Re-Leased does not disclose pricing information without requesting a demo. However, some sites speculate that it costs above $7,500 annually. They talk about paying per tenancy on their site, so as your number of tenants increases, expect to pay more in licensing costs.
Who Benefits Most From Re-Leased? Commercial property management companies with lots of capital that require a robust system will benefit most from Re-Leased. Smaller landlords will likely find the feature set to be too complicated and the cost to be prohibitive.
While TheHouseMonk has a unique name, it has an intuitive interface and powerful features that will delight most property managers. Developed in Singapore and India, property managers worldwide use TheHouseMonk to track their properties and tenants.
Here are some of the best features of TheHouseMonk:
- Their top-notch accounting system automates invoicing, collecting payments, and bank reconciliations. It also sends automatic reminders and levies fines as per your configuration.
- It works globally. TheHouseMonk is available in multiple languages, supports multiple currencies, and is tax-compliant around the globe. If you have properties in various countries, TheHouseMonk is the solution for you.
- Store all relevant data and use the integrated helpdesk ticketing system to communicate with tenants.
- A consolidated dashboard tracks move-ins, move-outs, and lease renewals. This single holistic view is a powerful tool for ensuring that these events happen without issues.
Price: $210 up to 94 units in the United States. After 94 units, the price increases a few dollars per unit. 2,500 units, the maximum available online, runs at $2,825 per month.
Who Benefits Most from TheHouseMonk? Small-to-midsize property managers that have multiple units they manage will benefit most from this software. It has a sophisticated accounting interface that helps these businesses keep on top of income and expenses.
AppFolio is a sophisticated offering and could be one of the best rental property management software packages out there. Designed in the United States, AppFolio has practically everything a property manager needs, including mobile access, strong tech support, tons of features, and an intuitive interface.
Some of the biggest reasons why customers choose AppFolio include:
- Access to every report you could ever want, including owner statements, income statements, cash flow reports, and leasing summaries.
- An AI-powered invoice reader lets you snap a photo of your receipt, and it automatically picks up the relevant information to enter into the system. No more manual typing for your expenses.
- Online leases also allow customers to sign them online. Tenants can even sign them on their mobile devices. The convenience alone will make your tenants more likely to renew with you or leave you with five-star reviews.
- Create as many lease templates as needed to capture all relevant nuances for your company.
- Custom text messaging systems and online sites make it easy for tenants to communicate with you, leading to higher satisfaction overall.
Price: There are two tiers of pricing. The first tier, targeting smaller businesses, has a minimum monthly fee of $250 and costs anywhere from $0.80 to $1.50 per unit per month. So, you get between 150-300 units for your base $250 price before you have to start paying more than that. This tier includes most of the features but leaves off some of the ones most beneficial for big businesses.
The second pricing tier, PLUS, costs a minimum of $1,500 per month, and most units cost $3 per month under this plan. So, you get about 500 units for the base fee before you have to start paying more. This tier includes everything, like performance insights and data exporting.
Who Benefits Most from AppFolio? Larger companies will benefit from all the powerful features that AppFolio's PLUS tier features. These insights and exporting capabilities could pay for that $1,500 investment many times over. Smaller companies will benefit from AppFolio's base tier. However, at that level, $250 per month is a relatively hefty fee. You may wish to try other alternatives.
Cozy is arguably the most popular free property management software. Now part of Apartments.com, Cozy handles most of the aspects of renting that small landlords want to automate, including:
- Receive rent payments directly to your bank account. Cozy doesn't charge any fees for this, either. Their platform is sophisticated enough to charge late fees automatically.
- Screen tenants and review their applications in a way that's compliant with all relevant state and federal laws.
- Market your rentals quickly and efficiently.
- This free best rental property management software also lets you keep track of all expenses, communications, and maintenance requests. You'll never lose track of these again.
Price: $0 (Yes, it is free)
Who Benefits Most From Cozy? Small-time landlords will benefit the most from Cozy. If you have one or two apartments or homes to rent, this platform is perfect. It gets you up-and-running with intuitive tools and a legally-sound process.
Tips for Choosing the Best Rental Property Management Software
When looking at different property management solutions, don't be afraid to try a few different ones. Ask for demos. Try some real-world scenarios in the demo sandbox to make sure that it can handle all your requirements. For internationally-developed products, ensure that they comply with local laws correctly.
Of course, your business is unique. Sometimes there isn't a software solution out there that quite fits your needs. For example, none of the solutions above will be a perfect fit for larger companies with multiple accounts and properties in various jurisdictions. Nor would they be suitable for landlords with special requirements like Section 8 compliance. The best rental property management software for these landlords is not pre-made, but rather a custom solution that takes each of these requirements into account.
If none of the solutions above works, don't despair. A software development company can create the perfect system for your business. By learning about your company's unique needs, the right software company can build a solution that will reduce the number of wasted hours. In turn, your company can focus on what it does best: managing rental properties and getting new clients.
Finally, depending on your company's needs, you may need multiple systems. For example, you might need one of the best CRMs for real estate if your company works in buying or selling homes, as well as renting them out. If your company is substantial, it might benefit from one of the best ERPs for real estate.
It might also be the case that you can use a pre-built property management package and CRM, for example, but require custom software to hook them up so that your rental property software syncs with your CRM. Explore all options to see what is best for your business.
The Best Rental Property Management Software: Pre-built or Custom, Either Way Works
Try some of the options above and see if they might work for you (small landlords will want to try Cozy since it is free). If none of them do, you might want to consider getting custom software built to streamline your processes and automate your workflows.
Of course, if you do need custom software done, the professionals here at Impressit will be happy to work with you to analyze your requirements and design a custom platform. We have extensive experience building customized software solutions in the realm of real estate.