The Comprehensive Guide To Property Management Software

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What Is Property Management Software and What Can it do for You?

Property management software is designed to replace outdated and analog processes that are time-consuming and fraught with the risks of human error. It allows property owners to manage leasing, invoicing and payments, maintenance requests, repairs, files, and more. Depending on what you’re looking for, the software you choose can cost you anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple thousand, based on the level of features and ease of use you need. If you manage more than one or two properties you really need to take this decision seriously. Key functions of Property Management Software solutions include lease abstracts, dynamic rent rolls, customer relationship management, file management, task management, a tenant portal, property analytics, accounting, and insurance compliance tools. This information is stored in a team-shared environment designed to replace disparate spreadsheets and cumbersome legacy accounting software. Incorporating this modern software will allow expenses to be better managed and could lead to increased revenue. But what businesses would benefit from investing in Property Management Software?

Property Management Firms

Property management firms can utilize Property Management Software to provide property owners with a portal, keeping track of property analytics.

Independent owners

Independent owners with multiple properties would also benefit from implementing Property Management Software for a handful of reasons. The first being the amount of time and money it would save. Being an independent owner with multiple properties often leaves people feeling overwhelmed and easily unorganized. With the help of Property Management Software, independent owners will have the opportunity to have a one-stop-shop to access all of their files, leasing, invoicing and payments, expense management, and so much more.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

Real Estate Investment Trusts would benefit from investing in Property Management Software because it would allow them to keep all of the information on their properties organized and they would be able to access all of the information in one spot.

Businesses that have already implemented Property Management Software in their daily operations have used it to help with their lease abstraction, CRM, accounting, property management, notifications, file storage, and more. Not all Property Management Software is the same, however, some property management software does not include: CRM, file management, e-signatures & task management, SO if buying anything other than RAAMP you will need to purchase these solutions as well to run a business.

Benefits of Property Management Software

45% of property managers want to improve efficiency and Property Management Software solutions solves that very problem. Property Management Software can help organizations save time and money. The Return on Investment through time saving and less employee oversight allows for fewer people to work on the project. Before implementing Property Management Software you might be relying on a single individual for answers about a property. Now with Property Management Software, you can have more input that will allow your business to grow. Property Management Systems gives you answers; removing the burden on your key employees, allowing them to do their jobs, and saving money on expenses. The Return on Investment also prevents lost revenue.

Property management software solutions can help relieve organizations from the day-to-day stress allowing employees to do their jobs. Property management software also helps ensure that organizations are not missing out on potential revenue. Property Management Software significantly decreases the amount of time to abstract a lease and cuts the time from abstracts to rent-roll down to zero. Once a lease is abstracted, dynamic rent-rolls are instantaneous.

Features

What should you be looking for in Property Management Software? Well, that depends on what kind of software you’re looking for. No two software programs are created the same. 

Some important features for residents include a tenantcloud giving residents access to tools such as maintenance requests.

Important features for landlords include a place to collect rent for residents and manage rental properties.

When looking for a Property Management Software, you’ll want to keep in mind all of the features that come along with it. For example, some software might include lease abstracts while others might include insurance compliance tools. Another valuable feature is a free demo. Some property management software solutions will come with a free demo for users to show different functions of the software

Comparing the Most Popular Property Management Software Companies:

Software Lease Abstract Dynamic Rent Rolls CRM File Mgmt. Notebook & Task mgmt. Unlimited Users Tenant Portal Property Analytics Accounting Insurance Compliance
logo
Yardi Voyager - - - - - -
Yardi Breeze - - - - - - -
MRI - - - - -
Propertyware - - - - - - -
Appfolio - - - -
Released - - -
CoStar - - - -
PropertyBoss - - - - - -
RentManager - - - -
Leasecake - - - - - -
Buildium - - - -

Yardi

Yardi was initially released in the 90s, so many companies have been using it for quite some time. The software has evolved over time to include more features, although some are less frequently used. Yardi Voyager is their full-featured original product, while Yardi Breeze is a scaled-back version of the software intended for lower-end users.

Yardi Voyager

The best way to think about Yardi Voyager is as accounting software that also does property management. That is how the product was designed and has evolved over time. Yardi can be used for all kinds of commercial real estate businesses and use cases. They also address a global market

Yardi Breeze

The Yardi Breeze product is mostly a skin of the more robust Yardi Voyager product. It has a more simplified feature set and user experience for use by smaller enterprises.

Pros

  • A very diverse selection of available add-ons (at additional cost)
  • Primarily an accounting platform with property management features
  • Robust reporting (requires somewhat complex setup)

Cons

  • Not built for integrations with other apps and software
  • Poor functionality for lease abstractions
  • Limited rent roll functionality
  • Insurance tracking only available on their most expensive plans

MRI

Also released in the 90s, MRI has been around for quite some time. Their platform has largely grown through acquisitions and they have many industry partners. Most users find MRI less user-friendly than Yardi and other competitors.

Pros

  • offer lease abstractions
  • partner with AvidXchange for accounts payable

Cons

  • outdated technology on the backend
  • no true integrations, most partnerships involve linking out to other apps
  • long-term contracts
  • dated and confusing user experience

Propertyware

Propertyware is a part of RealPage, a publicly-traded company. It is less robust than RealPage and users often upgrade to RealPage to get the functionality they desire.

Pros

  • reputation for good customer service
  • a recently updated user interface that is easy to use

Cons

  • the rent rolls are very basic
  • no lease abstraction
  • cannot handle multiple tenants in a single space, so users have to do a workaround for student housing or assisted living

Appfolio

Appfolio is a publicly-traded company that originally was an abbreviation for “Application Portfolio” their software is best known for its focus on multi-family units.

Pros

  • ideal for multi-family operators that do not have other property types in their portfolio
  • exceptional tenant contact system
  • offer easy webpages that are prebuilt

Cons

  • no rent rolls
  • no lease abstractions
  • cannot handle multiple tenants in a single space, so users have to do a workaround for student housing or assisted living

Released

Released is primarily for Office and Multi-Family, they are more of a task management system and a Re-Tenanting organizer.

Pros

  • integrates with Xero and QuickBooks online
  • good automation of workflows

Cons

  • Is an add-on system rather than a standalone system
  • does not handle any delinquency, Percentage Rents, CAM recs.
  • no lease abstraction
  • no bank-ready rent rolls

CoStar Property Manager

Part of the CoStar family, they incorporate their data from LoopNet to offer more insightful property management software. They are mainly focused on large corporate investment firms.

Pros

  • designed for larger firms

Cons

  • costly
  • limited integrations

PropertyBoss

PropertyBoss specializes in student housing and is designed to be a rental property management software.

Pros

  • integrates with Quickbooks
  • offer website building, accounting, and IT services

Cons

  • no commercial management features
  • no lease abstraction
  • cannot handle multiple tenants in a single space, so users have to do a workaround for student housing or assisted living

RentManager

RentManager is best suited for residential properties and offers accounting, reporting, and business operations features.

Pros

  • offers a large number of possible integrations
  • offers accounts payable through PayLease/ZEGO and AvidXchange

Cons

  • not well-suited to commercial properties
  • poor user experience makes it difficult to use

Leasecake

The main focus of Leasecake is managing leases. The software includes notifications for key dates.

Pros

  • Easy to use notifications
  • Tool for managing lease dates

Cons

  • is very costly
  • has a limited feature set

Buildium

Buildium is designed for use with residential properties in particular.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Gives notifications for key dates

Cons

  • no commercial management features
  • no lease abstraction
  • cannot handle multiple tenants in a single space, so users have to do a workaround for student housing or assisted living

RAAMP

RAAMP is the only property management software platform that is lease-centered and serves as a complete operational suite for commercial real estate (CRE). The source of revenue in CRE is the lease, thus RAAMP is designed to help real estate professionals capitalize on what matters most, revenue.

Pros

  • dynamic lease abstraction
  • dynamic rent rolls
  • property management
  • file management
  • CRM (customer relationship management)
  • Accounting
  • Smart notifications and reminders
  • insurance compliance
  • property analytics
  • task management
  • GIS mapping

Cons

  • Not well-suited to companies with less than five properties/leases to manage

Pricing

Property Management Software is priced based on the kind of package and features your business needs. For example, buying a higher tiered package might be best for someone who manages multiple properties or types of properties. It’s also key to pay attention to the services offered. If the software suite doesn’t meet all your needs there will be additional costs in the form of add-on products or additional software applications from other vendors. It’s important to know how different software packages are hosted. Some applications exist only on your own server or local computer, while others exist entirely in the cloud. Many of these Property Management software platforms come with apps that are on only available as cloud-based software. This software allows you to access the app from any web browser.

It’s important to keep an eye out for the hidden costs. Some software requires additional fees to maintain the software meaning you might have to pay just to update the software in order to keep using it. In addition, the software might not come with customer service depending on the package you purchase. This could leave you on your own to troubleshoot the software and any problems you might encounter.

FAQs

What Questions Should I Ask Vendors When Evaluating Property Management Products?

    • Is a premium subscription right for me?
    • How will this improve my business?
    • Does this come with unlimited users for my team and me?
    • What features does this product come with?

What Are Some Drawbacks I Should Watch Out For?

    • Drawbacks to watch out for include the lost time and revenue resulting from selecting the wrong solution.
    • Unexpected Fees.
    • Software is only helpful when it’s actually being implemented. Is this software difficult to use? Will you and your team leverage the features?

How Does Property Management Software Work?

    • Property management software is a one-stop-shop for your business. You’ll be able to use the property management solution software to keep track of lease abstracts, dynamic rent rolls, customer relationship management, file management, task management, a tenant portal, property analytics, accounting, and insurance compliance tools.

How Much Does Software Cost?

    • Software costs depend on who you’re purchasing the software from. Prices vary based on the provider.
    • It’s important to look out for additional fees from the provider. These fees might include a monthly fee or a setup fee.

Does QuickBooks have property management software?

    • Yes and No. QuickBooks Desktop allows you to set up a company file that lets you run your property management business and do tasks such as receiving and tracking rent from tenants, paying property owners and management companies, fees, and overhead charges for property maintenance. That said, it lacks functionality for unearned revenue or CAM reconciliations.

How do I Choose The Right Software For Me?

    • Choosing a software is a personal choice and should be based on the needs of your business. Be sure to research all your options!

Conclusion:

Businesses actually need more than just property management software. In reality, you need a full operational suite. You could cobble together a dozen different apps or pieces of software along with spreadsheets and cabinets full of paper files, OR you could have everything in one place–ONE single source of truth.

Additional Reading