Real estate is an exciting investment but managing a portfolio of rental units can become overwhelming without adequate property management systems in place.
The best software in this industry helps property managers and landlords seek out tenants, vet potential tenants, collect rent, and so much more. But property management software varies greatly in scale, complexity, and price, giving rental unit owners almost too many options.
Bryan Talbott states that while picking one at random can seem more straightforward, managers should consider the seven factors below, ensuring they purchase the best property management software.
Type of Property
Not every management software is compatible with all property types. So, managers should ensure the suite they choose matches the kind of properties they oversee.
Generally speaking, the various products available will work with commercial, residential, student housing, or affordable housing in varying degrees, and some online versions focus solely on HOA’s and other community associations.
Number of Units
Some software products are designed to serve huge property management firms, while the rest are made for solo landlords.
The products intended for the former are created to handle vast portfolios of several hundred to several thousand units. They come with more advanced features and a steeper learning curve. Not to mention they often have somewhat costly monthly fees that aren’t worth it for those with smaller portfolios.
Thankfully, there are packages designed to serve landlords who manage fewer than ten properties and don’t need advanced features.
Most software integrates with other tools property managers utilize to perform background checks, track finances, and analyze property values. They tend to work with Zillow, ACH.com, Apartments.com, Trulia, and TransUnion.
It’s crucial for managers to purchase a product that will integrate seamlessly with the tools they already use.
Property management software streamlines the renting processing. Therefore, it should help:
- market vacancies
- collect applications
- perform background checks
Depending on the product, it may also send rent reminders, collect rent, handle maintenance inquiries, and communicate with tenants.
Some products charge an onboarding fee which covers the cost of training and migrating managers’ data from their current property management software.
Other fees can include:
- Support fees
- Training fees
- Monthly or yearly subscription costs
- Tech fee
On top of that, some property management tools come with a free trial, allowing landlords or firms to demo the product before committing to it.
Customer service can be one of the most crucial aspects. For property managers, great customer service ensures they don’t need to get sidelined by the onboarding issues or a product’s inevitable learning curve, as they can access support whenever necessary.
The best software suite will provide customer service from real people in minutes or sooner, rapidly resolving any problems and diminishing downtime.
Securing the data gathered by the software is essential. Security breaches are never ideal, let alone one that comprises managers’ tenants. Therefore, the property management system must go above and beyond to offer security and encryption.
Ideally, it should use point-to-point encryption (P2Pe) to ensure all financial and sensitive information is secure throughout the transmission and storage process.