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We wrote this guide to help you determine what kind of 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 (e.g., residential, commercial, university housing and homeowners’ associations).
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.|
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.
Trimble purchases Manhattan Software. In order to further expand its reach into facilities management, Trimble, headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, acquired Manhattan Software in August 2014. Manhattan Software provides SaaS-based facility and real estate management software services to facility managers and property owners, plus space scheduling and capital asset planning applications.
Rentec Direct offers two-factor authentication. In an effort to improve the security of its system, online property management company Rentec Direct added two-factor authentication to its client login portal in December 2014. Oregon-based Rentec Direct also offers professional accounting services and tenant screening to property and building managers throughout the country.
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.