Investors, landlords, and property managers alike can all benefit from property management software, which is a comprehensive software solution designed for managing rental properties. Unlike other business management tools, property management software offers an array of accounting features beyond traditional business tools–including the ability to offer online rental payments and online rental application fees. Property management software also allows for efficiency when tackling management and leasing tasks, as well as maintenance tracking and communications, and marketing and tenant screening. Finding the perfect software for your needs can be overwhelming, but finding the right fit depends primarily on three factors: available features, pricing, and customer service.

Landlords who are just starting out and experts who have been in the game for a while, can both have questions about property management software and its uses.

Whether you have recently purchased your first rental property or you are a long-time investor who has managed your rental property through other means, understanding what a property management software does can help you decide whether it is right for you. Unfortunately, not all software is created equal, and the best property management software for your needs may differ from the needs of other landlords and property managers.

So, what is a property management software?

A property management software is a software designed for landlords and property managers who wish to organize and streamline any business tasks associated with managing rental properties. Unlike other business software management tools, property management software is specifically designed to serve the needs of landlords and property managers.

This includes features that help with banking and financials, tenant screening, marketing and communication, insurance needs, and even leasing and inspections.

Many landlords have dealt with the struggle of manually keeping track of paper files and using business or accounting software, often Quickbooks, before switching to a property management software. Quickbooks and property management software differ in key areas–mainly in their features. Landlord software offers popular features that general accounting software simply cannot match.

Accounting Features

The best property management software will include the crucial accounting features that general business software will offer while offering additional support tools that cater to rental management needs. Property management software can ensure you have the best tools in your arsenal when it comes to rent collection, banking, tax requirements, and more.

Important accounting features can include:

  • Bank Sync and Reconciliation Tools
  • Income and Expense Transactions
  • Ledger Adjustment Transactions
  • Built-in controls for:
    • User Permissions
    • Transaction History Logs
    • Account Ledgers
    • Balance Sheets
  • Integrated 1099 Tax E-filing and Reporting Tools

Landlord and management-specific accounting features can include:

Day-to-day business operations as a landlord include a lot more than simply collecting rent. A good property management software will save you significant time throughout the day.

Important operations features can include:

  • Tenant communication features
    • Integrated Email and Text Messaging
  • Tenant Portals (where tenants can access information and make requests)
  • Professional Website to promote online listings
  • Work order tracking
  • Insurance Integrations

Marketing, Management and Leasing

Leasing is at the heart of managing a rental property, and a good software can make general management and leasing tasks far easier.

Property management software makes it easier to find a reliable and rule-abiding tenant–the key to your bottom line. Marketing tools like your own website, rental listing syndication across dozens of top rental listing sites, and even AI to help with listing description creation is all available through property management software. This makes it easy to list and start finding qualified applicants right away.

Tenant screening through your property management software can help you find a qualified tenant and vet out any unqualified leads. A rulebreaking tenant can not only cost a lot financially but handling the problems that arise when dealing with a bad tenant costs a lot of time and energy. A good property management software can help you find the right tenant the first time you list your property on the market.

Important management and leasing features can include:

  • Tenant screening
  • Rental listing syndication
  • Integrated lease agreements and forms
  • Electronic signatures
  • Property inspection tools
  • Tenant lead tracking
  • Document storage

Added Benefits of Cloud Property Management Software

Along with having those popular features of property management software, the best property management software will feature the added benefits of a cloud software. Cloud-based software options allow their clients to use the product from anywhere. As workers shift to remote working, this importance became apparent.

For landlords and managers, accessing your software on the go can be crucial to getting the right information when interacting with prospective tenants, showing listings, and inspecting properties.

Alongside the need to access information on the go, landlords and property managers have access to sensitive tenant information and it is vital that this information is handled with care. For this reason, there are compliance requirements that landlords must follow when handling some banking information and other private data. Using reliable cloud-based software is key to ensuring that human error doesn’t result in a data breach. Paper data, and data stored on home and office computers are both susceptible to data loss through break-ins. Viruses and malware are written for the home or office workstation, and home or office hardware can routinely fail. Keeping your information secure and accessible is a vital feature and is an added bonus of cloud property management software.

How to Choose Property Management Software?

It can be difficult to choose a property management software. In the internet age, there are hundreds of software programs available, so finding the right fit depends primarily on three factors: available features, pricing, and customer service.

Best Property Management Software

The key to finding the best property management software is to assess your current and future needs. The best property management software will give you the tools to grow. As your portfolio and your business grows, you never want to feel you have outgrown your software. While doable, migrating to a new property management software can be time-consuming. For this reason, when evaluating features, be forward-thinking. You need to ensure your needs will be met now and in the years to come.

Big-Budget Software isn’t a Good Fit

Forward-thinking landlords and property managers may already realize that their software needs to be feature-rich out of the gate. This leads a lot of landlords and managers to opt for the first big-budget software they can find, assuming software with a hefty price tag is guaranteed to meet their needs as they scale. Don’t fall into the trap.

Feature-rich software doesn’t necessarily mean big-budget software. Big-budget software often has big investors angling to get their ROI, and that can lead to elevated prices. When comparing software options, examine each software package. Look for hidden fees. If you meet with a sales representative for a software, don’t be afraid to ask them what sets their software apart.

Landlords with small portfolios should be especially cautious with big-budget software. Be on the hunt for software that offers reasonable pricing and will offer good customer service regardless of portfolio size.

Rental Property Software Reviews

When choosing a rental property software or property management software, don’t forgo looking at customer reviews. Look for information on unbiased 3rd party sites to find out exactly what customers are saying about the product and the company. The best software in the world won’t make up for a lack of customer service.

It can also be helpful to see how the company responds to negative reviews, do they seem to take the feedback into consideration? A great software solution will be constantly updated to ensure that the available features are exactly what the rental market needs right now–not in years past.

Improve How You Manage Your Rental Properties

Being a good landlord or property manager requires open communication and excellent organization. A property management software can make it easy to check off all the boxes on your to-do list, and will improve how you manage your rental properties. Giving your tenants the opportunity to pay rent online, and providing them with a tenant portal to communicate with you seamlessly can even improve your tenant relationships. Gain control over your portfolio with effective property management software.