The Right Property Management Software
Software technology has come a long way in the past few years. Improvements in property management technology in particular is responding to growth in the rental property sector as the demand for rental housing rockets.
Landlords and property managers are building their businesses on cloud based software platforms to leverage automation, efficiencies in operations, and better financial management. And it’s making a difference in their profitability.
Using the right property management software, your rental properties could produce much better returns. I know of one couple who came out more than $200,000 to the good just on rental income for the townhouse they purchased. Then they sold it for $500,000 more than they bought it for. Over 11 years, it turned into a rental property goldmine for them. Today, the profit picture depends on solid, efficient property management and less on equity growth.
It’s Not All Free Money
When you expand your portfolio of rental properties, the complexity, regulatory compliance, taxation, and services the tenants expect, this business is complicated. That’s when many landlords turn to online property management solutions. If it is still too much, they may outsource any maintenance, rent collection, tenant finding, and property management marketing tasks. From managing leases, dealing with late rent payments, and performing accounting accurately, contractors can help a lot.
Unfortunately, hiring a property manager really eats into your profits. They charge big rates (% of the rent, or a monthly fee) and that cost can make your property investment unprofitable. And if they don’t manage tenants well, or manage contractors well, you could find your investment revenue obliterated.
That’s why being your own landlord and property manager is the safest way to safeguard your property investment and returns.
The Do It Yourself Approach to Property Management
To hang onto your money, you can do all the related landlord and property management work yourself. The trick is to make easy by automating all your management and work processes.
When you eliminate the phone calls, home visits, documentation processing, lease signing and rent collection, you save time, money and energy. Ideally, with property management software, your ROI improves measurably, and you protect your NOI (net operating income) if you’re managing properties for another landlord.
And when you’ve got good tenants and you keep an eye on the unit, you help avoid bad experiences. Software can provide a lot of feedback.
Modern Property Management Software is Worth It
There’s plenty of online property management software solutions for SMB landlords. Many of the ones you may have heard or found through a Google search demand a lot from landlords. They force you to adopt their platform almost like you’re a franchisee.
With such vast numbers of landlord clients, their customer service is a little less than helpful.
A good property management software has specific characteristics:
- it’s available and used online, hosted via the cloud which is available 24/7, is secure, and allows additional services because of its flexible architecture
- monthly or yearly subscription makes it easier to try out and afford
- has tenant portals to let tenants manage their payments and see their leases and report maintenance needs
- allows online rent payment
- creates insightful rental property and financial reports including real time reports
- has multi-language support because we’re in a multi-language era
- offers detailed but easy to understand bookkeeping and accounting features ensuring you handle tenant funds properly and in compliance with laws, and keeping all accounts separate
There’s a number of features you need to manage your properties. Simply create your ordered checklist and ensure you have them before you do a FREE trial of the software. For you, ease of learning and using is very important. The last thing you need is more headaches and complexity. If you don’t really need a feature, then don’t insist on it. Keep it simple and find the right product for you.
Buildium, Appfolio, RentOne, TenantFile, TenantCloud and Manage Casa
The top property management software solutions include Buildium, Appfolio, RentOne, TenantFile, TenantCloud and Manage Casa.
You’ll find big expensive software such as Buildium and Appfolio are chosen by large multifamily development managers. That’s simply because they’ve been around and have developed a brand name. It’s not for their exact needs, ease of learning and easy use.
On the other hand, as a comparison, ManageCasa is tailored to small portfolio landlords and property managers. Real estate agents and investors use the small, affordable software to manage their few properties.
For big or small rental property portfolios, a simplified landlord software makes managing neat and tidy. Gone are lost receipts, missing leases, or checks, and maintenance is easy to schedule and follow up with.
Moana Ventures Chooses Landlord Software
Moana Ventures is a property management firm located in San Francisco, California. Before choosing a property management software platform, they had the usual confusion, work repetition, tenant challenges, and unsatisfactory ROI.
They discovered Manage Casa. They found a few features very important to operations and ROI: Tenant portal feature, owner portal with owner statements, online rent payment, along with the accounting and financial reporting strengths.
“The interactivity and automation of Manage Casa is a game changer. We essentially have been able to build our entire Property Management business around technology and keep our resource investment to a minimum! – Beverly Lim, Managing Director.
Financial Reporting is Important to Landlords
Property managers in particular, work for demanding landlords who have big expectations for their property assets. It’s not just doing a great job, the property manager has to communicate general and specific results to landlords. Financial reporting features tell a story to landlords and give them the reassurance that everything is under control.
When maintenance issues are handled professionally, the remaining challenge is excellent financial management.
Okay, there are a lot of apps, solutions and platforms out there. So how do we drill down to what’s really important to the landlord who manages 5 to 100 properties?
It does come down to these platform features and benefits:
- ease of learning and use
- appropriate, usable functions to get real work done
- cloud hosted for best security, online access, and tenant services
- tracking rent, budgets, receipts, rent payments, maintenance tickets, expenses
- automating renter payments, lease notifications, and accounting tasks
- handling NSF situations quickly
- accurate accounts receivable, accounts payable reports
- doing property inspections online
- tenant-generated maintenance request details including photos and assigning maintenance tickets to appropriate vendors
- accurate account specific property reports
- managing time sensitive charges and events
- fixed asset management
- bank reconciliations
If your maintenance, banking, renter payment process, bookkeeping, accounting, unit inspections, move ins, and lease management are all done online, you may not need an office. Losing the office expenses and going mobile is another big advantage of online landlord software.