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by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: November 18, 2015

In the traditional software model, software is installed onto the user’s computer at the property management office. However, over the last few years, Web-based Software as a Service (SaaS) has seen tremendous growth in popularity. There are four major reasons for this increased adoption of this fee-based module.

Common Features of Web-Based Property Management Software

Faster, easier set-up time. Installing software to a local computer takes time and energy. It requires knowledge of system components, data backup, maintenance, updates and repair in the event anything goes wrong. Web-based software requires no installation: just an Internet connection. Because the vendor hosts the software for you, system upgrades and regular maintenance are taken care of for you.

Lower up-front costs. Rather than purchasing the software up front, the user pays a license fee, usually monthly. This drastically reduces upfront costs, which benefits most small business. 

Ease of access. Typically in the traditional on-premise model, applications can only be accessed by the computers with the particular software installed. Because SaaS applications are Web-based, any computer with a Web browser can access them. That means your data is easily accessible wherever you are. 

Website integration. Web-based systems simplifiy integration with the company’s website, and with that integration comes features crucial in managing the property. For example, tenants can have their own portal, allowing them to pay rent and make maintenance requests online; and vacancies can be posted on the company website and then ported directly to major locator services like Craigslist, Apartments.com or Rentals.com.  

With the advent of the SaaS model, property managers are effectively renting the system, rather than buying it. Support, upgrades and ancillary fees are all bundled into the monthly or annual subscription, which may be a set fee or may be based on the number of units and/or users.

  Perpetual License Subscription Model
Upfront costs Large Small
Recurring costs Small (upgrades) Medium
Benefits Permanent Ownership Cancel any time, no-hassle upgrades & support
Drawbacks Sunk costs, technical infrastructure required Recurring fees add up over time

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