By Fred Matera, CIO, Redwood Trust A lack of affordability will lead to near-term weakness,…
Technology is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest tools that are available to rental property investors. But as these landlords can attest to, manually performing the day-to-day tasks (rent collection, maintenance requests, etc.) isn’t always the most efficient use of their time. Luckily, this guide introduces investors to the current top three property management software services available.
Here are my recommendations for landlord management software:
- 1. Tenant Cloud
- 2. Buildium
- 3. Appfolio
As a disclaimer, I haven’t reviewed all the tools that are available, and I don’t intend to influence investors and property managers to integrate any particular tool. My goal is simply to introduce these software solutions.
Real estate investors are typically unaware of how cost-effective, and efficient these online tools are.
Once they do, they usually integrate them into their everyday practices.
Before we go any further into detail, it is worth noting that you can outsource the headaches of being a landlord to a 3rd party property management company such as Renters Warehouse. These companies are likely using their proprietary tools or some of the same tools that we will discuss. But, if your business strategy revolves around self-management and DIY, then you should keep reading.
If you’re looking for an all-encompassing tool to manage your portfolio of rental properties, there are many options to choose. However, there are a few specific functions that constitute a good property management software. They are the ability to fulfill maintenance requests, a platform to advertise to prospective tenants, a streamlined rent collection process as well as effective accounting, reporting, and document management.
The Top 3 Property Management Software for Landlords:
1. Tenant Cloud
Tenant Cloud is an online platform that connects tenants, landlords, and service professionals nationwide. If you’re only managing a couple of rental properties, tenant cloud is a great fit for you as their services are completely free up to 75 units. Here are some of the features that they offer:
- Property Management Dashboard
- Basic Accounting
- Tenant Screening
- Customizable Marketing Website
- Visual Maintenance Requests
- Online Rental Application
- Online Rent Collection
Buildium is a great tool for the mid-level real estate investor. Much like Tenant Cloud, Buildium offers many of the same features but charges a monthly fee on a per-unit basis. Two things differentiate Buildium from its competitors: functionality and customer service. Their software is very intuitive which makes it easy to integrate into your day-to-day operations. Should any problems arise, Buildium ranks the highest amongst their counterparts with exceptional customer service reviews.
Appfolio, much like the services above, is an all-encompassing property management software but is geared more towards the savvier investor. The full-scale mobility off Appfolio is visually appealing to the user. A property manager spends a majority of their time out of the office handling a variety of different tasks. These tasks don’t always allow them to be at their computer all day.
With Appfolio, you can access the entire platform via smartphone or tablet. Appfolio also allows for more customization and provides more sophisticated features that appeal to the more experienced investor. Appfolio charges a minimum monthly fee of $250 and $1.25 per unit— so, unless you have a larger portfolio it would make more sense to utilize Tenant Cloud or Buildium.
Decide Which Software Fits Your Exact Needs
All of these services come highly recommended by property managers all across the country. Deciding between the three really comes down to your level of sophistication and/or the size of the portfolio you’re managing. If you’re only managing a couple properties, Tenant Cloud provides a free service that meets our guidelines as a great property management tool.
If you’re a more sophisticated investor but technology isn’t your strong suit, Buildium will provide you with great customer service. The App will also help you integrate their software into your business operations. If you think you will benefit from being able to access your property management software on your mobile device then Appfolio might be worth the monthly subscription.
CoreVest is a leading provider of financing solutions to residential real estate investors. We provide attractive long-term debt products for stabilized rental portfolios as well as credit lines for new acquisitions.