Last Updated: September 2023
Property management software greatly helps property owners, property managers, and tenants handle various aspects of administration such as rent payment, property maintenance, marketing, and owner reporting. Depending on the type of rental property, different specialized real estate specific softwares have been designed to accommodate those properties’ specific needs.
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Property Management Software by Property Type
With so many options out there for property management software products, it’s best to begin with the type of rental property you plan to use it to manage. Below are several of the main types of property management softwares designed for each type of rental property:
Residential Property Management Software
Since residential is the most common type of rental real estate investment, there are many options for property management software in this niche. Residential property management software is used to coordinate the management of residential properties such as single-family rentals, multi-family, condos, apartments, and townhouses.
Commercial Property Management Software
Most commercial tenant leases are very complex. They frequently require detailed expense billing and reconciliations, among other factors found in commercial properties. Commercial property management software helps effectively track and manage all of the important metrics for commercial properties such as retail shopping centers, office buildings, industrial parks, parking lots and more.
Community Association Management Software
Managing a community association (e.g. Homeowners Association, Condo Association, or Co-Op) requires great coordination to keep organized. Community association management software is used to effectively manage all aspects of property owners associations, for all parties such as property-owners, residents, and renters.
Manufactured Housing Management Software
Like other types of rental properties, implementing software to manage a mobile home park can greatly improve the property’s bottom line. Manufactured housing management software is used to effectively manage the various aspects of manufactured housing (also called Mobile Homes) including rent collection, lease tracking, and more.
Hospitality Management Software
Hospitality management software is used to handle both front-end and back-end operations for hospitality properties, ensuring that guests enjoy a pleasant experience. From hotels, to event venues and entertainment facilities, hospitality management software keeps the operations running smooth and efficient.
Parking Management Software
The recent push for parking facilities to integrate more automation into their operations has led to substantial growth in parking property software options. Parking property management software helps owners, lot managers, and customers with many tasks such as activity reporting, control access, and payment collection.
Senior Housing Management Software
Senior living facilities often have many components within their operation, such as healthcare support, property maintenance, and prospecting new residents. Assisted living management software helps effectively track and manage all of the various things needed to run a profitable and successful facility.
Self Storage Management Software
Since much of a self storage property’s success depends on its operations, self storage management software is frequently used to ensure maximum efficiency. No matter the type of self-storage facilities – indoor-or-outdoor, warehouse, containers, and more – self storage management software is an essential tool for self storage operations.
Student Housing Management Software
Although they are technically residential apartments, housing specifically intended for students brings a unique set of needs when it comes to owning and managing. Student housing management software is tailored to handle various types of student housing such as on-campus housing, off-campus housing, dorms, apartments, and other types of leases with roommate setups.
Vacation Rental Management Software
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What is Property Management Software?
Property management software is a cloud-based or on-premise application that allows for the efficient management of rental properties by using one unified platform to simplify property management processes such as tenant communication, rent collection, maintenance scheduling, finance tracking, storing of leasing documents and contracts, and centralization and digitization of property information
Do I Really Need Property Management Software?
One of the first questions that property owners and managers find themselves asking is “Do I Really Need Property Management Software?”. It is a very valid question to ask, since a good software solution requires a reasonable capital investment. The answer to this question usually depends on how many properties are going to be managed with it.
If you have only a handful of smaller properties (e.g. 1 or 3) to manage, then property management tasks such as accounting and tracking tenant rent payments can usually be done with a simple Excel spreadsheet (or Google Sheets). You could even take it a step further and make a Google Account for the property that manages sheets, docs, photos and even a calendar.
If you have several properties to manage, then this is where the need for a property management software really becomes obvious. As the number of units managed increases, so does the difficulty to manage. Things like managing tenant turnover and staying on top of rent payments every month for tens or hundreds of tenants can become a time consuming and messy endeavor. Investing in a property management software solution will usually be a net-positive ROI at this point, which is essentially when the time and organizational commitments are no longer feasible with simpler tools.
What is the Best Property Management Software?
How to Choose the Right Property Management Software?
Choosing the right property management software for your rental property business should be based on the needs of your property and management style. The right software can greatly help your rental property business grow to the next level, whereas the wrong choice could result in unnecessary expenses for unused features. Below are a few key factors to consider when deciding on which property management software:
Ensuring that the type of rental property (e.g. Multifamily, Commercial, Vacation Rental) is natively supported by the software, as each type of property will have different needs from the software. Some products may support all or just specific property types.
Property management software is packed with many features to help property owners and managers streamline the process of managing rental properties. Common features include rent collection, send rent reminders, manage maintenance tickets, prospective tenant screening, communicate with tenants, generate owner reports, and much more.
Pricing for property management software is often based on the number of units that will be managed with it. Softwares friendly to smaller landlords might offer freemium pricing models, while others may charge a flat-fee or tiered-pricing based on the number of units.
While many products share similar features, some property management software products are designed to serve larger property portfolios, while others are designed for smaller landlords. Pricing is also often based on the number of units, which go in tiers such as 25, 50, 100+.
As software in the real estate industry has advanced, different products have begun offering integrations to work collaboratively with each other. Integrating property management software with other online real estate tools can greatly streamline operations. Common integrations include advertising vacancies, generating tenant screening reports, and collecting rent payments.
Support & Updates
This software will act as the backbone of your business. You will want to be sure that your provider offers reliable customer support, including training, live chat, phone support, and a comprehensive knowledge base. Furthermore, you will also want to make sure they are constantly updating their software to adapt with changing technology and customer needs.
How Much Does Property Management Software Cost?
Purchasing a property management software can be a large investment for a real estate investor or property management company. Investing in the software goes beyond the monetary price tag (which third-party property management companies can cover through their fees billed to property owners) and also requires human capital to input data for each property and tenant. When it comes to pricing the actual software, most providers usually do so in one of the following ways:
Freemium property management software refers to programs that have both free and paid solutions. The free versions are either for a limited time period (i.e. 30 day trial) or have access to limited features. Users can pay to upgrade once the trial ends or to add on more features. Freemium pricing solutions are usually intended for smaller landlords.
Property management software that is based on property a flat fee usually charges a fixed monthly fee. Some providers charge the flat fee regardless of unit count, while others may charge a flat fee for any number of units within a certain tier (e.g. 100-200 units).
Number of Units
As a popular pricing model, pricing for property management software based on the number of units is a favorite among both providers and customers. This pricing model is intended to deliver the most accurate pricing, as you are only paying for what you use.
As the most popular pricing model, Tiered-pricing property management software is based on various levels of unit counts. In this type of pricing structure, the price-per-unit usually goes down, the higher tier that you go.