Property management software helps property managers oversee every aspect of their daily operations, from tenant and lease tracking to accounting to building maintenance and more. These types of systems provide a centralized location where managers can view all of their properties to ensure everything is running smoothly while also making sure their properties are well maintainted and their tenants' needs are properly met. We wrote this guide to help you determine what kind of property management system will best suit your organization. Here’s what we’ll cover:
What Is Property Management Software?
Common Features of Property Management Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Property Management Software BuyerView | 2014
Key Features to Consider
Recent Events You Should Know About
Property managers have unique needs when it comes to technology, and there are hundreds of systems on the market to meet those needs. Some are designed for companies managing multiple types of properties, while others target a specific niche in the industry, including:
Buildium is an example of a vendor providing an electronic rent collection portal
Property management systems help landlords and managers increase efficiency, improve collections and enhance the quality of service provided to the tenant. Property management software streamlines the wide range of tasks that a manager performs on a regular basis. Common applications found in these systems include:
|Accounting||Assists managers with their general ledger, payables and rent rolls. Some systems provide reporting features that calculate total per-unit vacancy days and profit/loss at both unit and organization-wide levels. Examples of vendors offering accounting features include IBS 10.0i and SKYLINE Software.|
|Tenant & lease tracking||Enables landlords and rental owners to automate and track the leasing process from beginning to end. Functions include: tenant screening, move-in, rent/utility payments, maintenance, vacancy planning, move-out and make-ready. Example vendors: Buildium, Spectra and AssociationVoice Building Edition.|
|Budgeting & forecasting||Helps managers develop accurate operating budgets and calculate future values. Uses historical lease and financial information to make budget projections for revenue and expenses, accounting for CPI increases, inflation, market rates and tenant improvements. Includes tools for assessment and analysis, tax planning and scenario planning. Example vendors: Buildium and Propertyware.|
|Building maintenance||Tracks work orders, schedules preventative maintenance and coordinates communication with maintenance staff. Applications can automatically create schedules and alerts and generate work orders, and some systems let tenants make maintenance requests online, expediting service. Example vendors: HippoFM, Maintenance Connection and Bigfoot CMMS.|
|Tenant portal||Gives tenants the ability to log into a Web-based portal to easily view rent due and pay rent online, submit maintenance requests, check the status of maintenance requests, send messages and submit referrals. Example vendors: Buildium, AppFolio.|
Before evaluating solutions, you’ll want to know in what type of buyer category you belong:
We've spoken with thousands of property managers over the years about new software solutions. Based on our interactions with these buyers, our report looks to answer the following questions:
Online tenant services. Renters increasingly want to receive rent reminders via email. They also want access to Web-based property management software interfaces where they can pay rent, file maintenance requests, submit their notice to vacate or search their handbook. A system that supports renters’ needs is critical, especially if you own multiple units or properties.
Automatic vacancy postings. The Internet is the first place most people go when they’re looking for a place to live. Therefore, many systems allow you to post vacancies to sites like Craigslist, Rental.com and Apartments.com using the information already in your system. All you have to do is click a few buttons, and the listing is posted to half a dozen places, helping you fill vacancies faster with much less work.
This is an example of Point2 Property Manager's listing feature
Integrated Web and marketing tools. Many products include tools that help managers build websites that showcase and market their properties. More integrated systems may include search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help build traffic to your site—and your listings. These tools can include analytics features that allow you to identify traffic sources and dashboards that help measure the impact of your marketing efforts.
Apartment rent growth reaches historic highs. According to Axiometrics, a leading apartment market research company, by the end of 2015, national apartment rent growth was 4.7 percent or above for five consecutive quarters—the longest streak in the company’s 20 year history.
Buildium acquires All Property Management. Buildium, a leading property management software provider, acquired the online property marketing service All Property Management in early 2015. The service helps connect property managers with owners looking for management services in their area, which will help Buildium customers expand their business.
Property managers prepare for increase in older occupants. According to data released by the AARP Foundation and the Harvard Joint Center of Housing, approximately 20 million older Americans live in "unaffordable and unsafe housing." With only an estimated 1 percent of housing containing the necessary ammenities for adults 65 and older, property managers are starting to plan for the investment in the addition of basic features such as handrails and ramps to assist older tenants.
We're able to offer this service to buyers for free, because software vendors pay us on a "pay-per-lead" basis. Buyers get great advice. Sellers get great referrals.