Managing Rental Properties Online.
What is Online Property Management Software?
How many different software tools do you use to manage your rental properties? As a rental property manager, you know that it takes many different software tools to keep track of your properties. In the not so distant past, property managers needed a variety of different software tools in order to effectively oversee their rental units. From word processors and spreadsheets to accounting and project management programs, you needed these tools just to keep on top of your work - no matter the number of units under your care. Well, times have changed and you can now find all of these tools bundled in property management programs and at a fraction of the price you'd pay for all those individual programs. These management tools have even evolved to point where you can maintain your rental units completely online so you have access to your information 24/7 anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
Online Property Management Software is a service that provides a suite of management tools available in one location over the Internet. These tools are geared to both individuals and teams of professionals who manage one or many rental properties. This usually includes individual owners, property management companies, condominium boards, home owners associations, individual landlords and commercial real-estate owners. With these tools, you can manage any number of properties ranging from 1 unit up to 1000's of units from the same web based interface. Your data is safely stored on the secure servers. There are a few top players in this field.
LandlordMAX and Buildium have been the leaders in this field for the last few years. Both of these services allow you to maintain your accounting, track tenants, handle work orders, accept online payments and so much more. They both have their positives and negatives. We have taken a close look at each of these products and would like to share our experiences.
Why Should you use Online Property Management Software?
No matter if you are renting out a single apartment or an entire building, property management software is affordable and indispensable. These programs are designed to scale from one to many thousands of units. Many simple tasks can be automated and problems identified before they become serious.
Available everywhere and anytime... all your information is always within reach - all the time. Imagine being able to retrieve and view or modify any information anytime you need to. With these online property management tools you can.
Do you have your data stored in various different applications that barely talk to one another? Property management software is built to seamlessly integrate all of your data in one easy to use application.
Is your data backed up? What would happen if your computer crashed tomorrow? Would you be able to keep working? Online management software is backed up every night so you can sleep peacefully in the confidence of knowing that you have one less thing to worry about.
Who Uses Management Software?
As I hinted at in the previous paragraphs, property management software is used by three main groups. They are all similar but distinctly different.
1) The first group are made up of professionals who maintain and operate anywhere from a single unit to many rental properties. This group can include property management companies, industrial real-estate companies, sub contractors and apartment managers.
2) The second group using the are Condominium Associations, Home Owner Associations or Professional Property Management firms hired to maintain a group of self-managed communities.
3) And the third group are Owner-Operator Landlords who act as their own property managers.
What are the Main Selling Features?
Here is a list just a few of the more common features (some features may require additional fees):
1) Maintain complete accounting records for each property
2) Track tenants, association owners, charges and payments
3) Give property owners and board members online access
4) Receive maintenance requests and generate work orders
5) Accept and issue electronic payments
6) Give residents online account access
7) Give online access to your property management team
8) Market and fill vacancies online
9) Complete Accounting
10) Tenant screening
11) Many easy to use reports
12) Online Advertising
13) Custom Unit Websites
14) Automated Mailings
15) Electronic 1099 filing
16) Smartphone compatible
17) Daily data back up
18) Free support
What Does It Cost?
Each software company has a different pricing scheme. Buildium's pricing is tiered on the number of units that you would like to manage and you can pay by the month or by one yearly price. They also offer extra services that may require a small fee.
See more about Buildium and their pricing
LandlordMAX charges much like traditional software. They have two offerings. You pay a one time fee and depending on your selection, you either own a copy for your desktop (with no back up) or have access to their server-based product.
See more about LandlordMAX and their pricing