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Buyer's Guide

by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 16, 2017

Multifamily and apartment management software programs are designed to make things easier for property managers by enabling them to track and store tenant information, collect rent and manage accounting needs.

Common modules in multifamily housing software include online rental payment and account access for tenants, expense and maintenance tracking and resident screening. Online reporting of financial and rent roll information is typically available as well.

Common Features of Apartment Management Software

Property managers should consider the following features when selecting multifamily or apartment property management software:

Tenant portal Enables renters to pay their rent, submit maintenance requests and review their leasing history online. This feature simplifies payment processing and saves time.
Automatic vacancy postings  Allow managers and owners to quickly and easily post available units to their website or on popular apartment listing sites like Craigslist, Apartments.com, Rentals.com or Google. This saves work and helps units get filled faster.
Integrated accounting Helps you better manage every aspect of your company’s finances with integrated general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, expense tracking, balance sheets, income statements and payroll management functionality.

Expected Benefits of Apartment Management Software

Apartment management software solutions provide various benefits that help apartment owners and property managers efficiently manage their assets. Landlords and property managers can manage many apartments using this software. It also helps landlords who own more than one apartment as it can sometimes be difficult to track maintenance manually.

Some key benefits offered by apartment management software include:

Compatibility and convenience. An apartment management software can consolidate all your individual financial information for the apartment rental businesses. The solution helps owners and landlords avoid manually handling multiple sets of information, such as tax deductions, expenses and income, for each apartment. Hence, instead of employing various incompatible software programs, a single apartment management system can be the best option. The solution also enables users to share the information with other platforms, such as apps for tablets and smartphones, via the web.

Tracking of information. Apartment owners need to track different kinds of information, such as monthly rent payments, prospects’ call-in timings for showings and tenants’ move in and move out dates. The ideal apartment management solution helps property managers store all the information and makes it readily available to apartment owners, thus avoiding disordered paper clutter. It also stores information such as overdue payments, security deposits, lease terms and routine costs, such as licenses, insurance, inspection fees, maintenance, repairs and utility payments.

Financial management and budgeting. Owners of multiple apartments often face issues with accounting. An apartment management solution integrates all the finances into a single budget that covers the details of all the apartments. The solution generates easy-to-understand visuals that allow users to track incoming and outgoing finances for each apartment. It also suggests remedial action points in case the user is losing money on specific assets.

Tax management. An apartment management solution also helps apartment owners manage their business, property and personal taxes. In a multi-apartment setup, the solution manages deductions, such as labor costs, insurance premiums and maintenance costs. It also covers home office deductions in case the apartment owner is using a home office to manage the asset. The solution enables users to export all this data to create tax forms.

Marketing and lead generation. The right kind of apartment management solutions help apartment owners and property managers market their assets and generate leads by interacting with prospects. If the apartments are listed on any business or personal websites, the solution helps post updated vacancies on the portals and accepts inquiries from prospects. It may also enable the use of web templates and assist in creating marketing material, such as brochures, ads, letterheads, fliers and business cards.

Case Studies

We’ve compiled several case studies to illustrate how the features of apartment rental software solutions can help advance your business by making it easier than ever to manage apartment properties.

Automatic rent payments eliminate annual fees and free up man-hours. Using a tenant portal like the one found in the AppFolio Property Manager apartment software system, tenants can make payments online, in seconds. This frees property managers from entering receipts by hand, increasing efficiency and resulting in cost savings.

Take Real Estate Management Group, for example. With a mixed portfolio of 1,000 properties, the company must process a significant number of rent payments per month. Prior to using AppFolio Property Manager, they paid $2,800/year to manage rent payments via a separate online system.

With the integrated online rent payment module in AppFolio’s apartment manager software, there are no additional monthly costs. Payments are automatically entered, freeing up countless hours of labor. Real Estate Management Group tenants can get set up with online payments in just seconds, which has increased the percentage of those using them to 60 percent—a figure expected to jump to 85 percent by the end of the year. In sum, this has resulted in annual savings of $20,800/year (and growing).

 Before AppFolioAfter AppFolioAnnual Savings
Online rent payments w/PayLease service $2,800/year $0 $2,800/year
Staff accounting time to support PayLease online rent payments $18,000/year $0 $18,000/year

Total savings: $20,800/year (and growing). (Source: http://www.appfolio.com/case-studies/real-estate-management-group)

Integrated accounting helps cut thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses. An integrated accounting module such as that found in Rent Manager’s apartment software enables property managers to easily enter, track and analyze financial data. Detailed reports can pinpoint where adjustments need to be made in order to cut costs—a vital tool given today’s sluggish economy.

Example of Owner’s Statement within Rent Manager

An example of an Owner’s Statement within Rent Manager’s complete accounting system. (Source: http://www.rentmanager.com/)

After the real estate slump of 2008, Ballard Property Maintenance found it nearly impossible to meet the strict new banking requirements while using their previous accounting system. Looking to cut tens of thousands of dollars in expenses, they needed an integrated accounting application that could provide detailed analysis and comprehensive reports, including project costing and budgeting. The accounting system in Rent Manager’s multifamily property management software enabled Ballard to quickly trim expenses and provide banks with the detailed financial information required.

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