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|More Than 100 Units|
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Has your property management business outgrown your spreadsheet? Is property management software the solution that will save you time and frustration, or is it a waste of money?
Spreadsheets are fine for managing a few assets. But once you scale up your rental property business, you’re going to want a streamlined, all-in-one property management solution. Trust me, I know. Over the past few years, I’ve grown my rental property business significantly. Transitioning from spreadsheets to property management software has saved me from dozens of daily headaches and freed up many hours each week.
- Software Benefits
- Best For 100 Or Fewer Units: Buildium
- Best For 100 Or More Units: Appfolio
- Comparison Table
- More Reviews
- Other Tools For Property Managers
Although being a landlord or property manager can be a rocky road, it can be a lucrative business — as long as you have a streamlined system in place. Having a reliable property management software is key. The best platforms, at a minimum, should include:
- Accounting component
- Credit and background checks
- Online maintenance requests
- Online rent payments
- Reporting that gives you an instant snapshot of your business
What’s The Best Property Management Software?
In our research, we found that Appfolio comes out slightly ahead of Buildium. However, if you’re a smaller operation with less than 100 units, we feel that Appfolio is priced too high and you should go with Buildium instead.
Three real estate investors with computer science backgrounds built the Buildium platform in 2004. Now, the management software services over 15,000 customers.
Buildium lacks some of AppFolio’s cool upgrades; nevertheless, you’ll find all the necessary nuts and bolts to get the job done. From a cost perspective, if you are managing less than 100 units, the pricing model for Buildium makes the most sense. It offers two different subscription plans, the Core and Pro.
Both have the same features, but the Core has setup and per-use fees for online payments, electronic leases, property inspection and basic tenant screening. Buildium estimates that you can save at least $125 per month plus $700 in waived setup fees with the Pro plan.
Buildium doesn’t have an easy to use pricing guide but instead has a tool that gives you the cost based on the number of units. It offers a 15-day free trial with no credit card required. You can also save 10% with an annual plan when you prepay for a full year.
- 1-20 units – $47/mo.
- 21-40 units -$63/mo.
- 41-50 units – $78/mo.
- 51-60 units – $94/mo.
- 61-70 units – $110/mo.
- This trend continues ($16 more for every 10 units) until you get to 150 units — the max for the Core — where the price goes to $225.
- 1-50 units – $156/mo.
- 51-100 units – $208/mo.
- 101-150 units – $250/mo.
- 250 units – $312/mo.
- 500 units – $583/mo.
- Prices increase gradually from here. Buildium can manage over 10,000 units.
Appfolio launched in 2006, and the people behind it are responsible for the extremely popular GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting products. Being in business for nearly a decade has allowed Appfolio to get past the basic features that landlords expect and move on to more innovative options.
A feature that stands out is the option to text residents directly through the app — a way to personally connect with tenants without giving out your personal phone number.
The other mobile feature that rocks is the mobile inspections tool. This allows landlords to walk through properties with tenants and note damages and repairs (with the ability to attach photos to comments).
Instead of a complicated scale, AppFolio makes its pricing easy to figure out with a per unit monthly fee. You also incur an onboarding fee (equal to two months of service). Contact AppFolio for pricing above 3,000 units.
- Residential: $1.25 per unit, per month
- Commercial: $1.50 per unit, per month
- Student Housing: $1.25 per unit, per month
- Community Associations: $0.80 per unit, per month
- Minimum of 50 units
- $250 minimum monthly fee
- $400 minimum onboarding fee
How AppFolio Works
See AppFolio in action in this video:
Rentec Direct has been around since 2009 and offers two types of software, one for landlords managing their properties and another for property managers directing their clients’ properties.
This platform is ideal for small-to-midsize holdings of 5 to 2,500 units and gives you most of the key features that you want at an affordable starting cost. Another plus — no platform setup fees or monthly minimums. And users give the software and customer service largely positive reviews.
RentecDirect offers a 14-day free trial and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
|Number of Units||Pro Pricing Per Month||PM* Pricing Per Month|
*Additional benefits you’ll get with the PM Plan include Trust Account Management & Reporting, Owner Portal, Pay Owners via ACH and Automated CAM Charges.
Continue adding $10 per month for every additional ten units.
View all of the key features of these property management solutions side by side.
|AppFolio||Buildium||Propertyware||Quicken Rental Property Manager||Rentec Direct|
|AppFolio||Buildium||Propertyware||Quicken Rental Property Manager||Rentec Direct|
|Tenant Credit & Background Checks||$12-$17 each||$15-$18 each||Included||$7-$15 each|
|Free Marketing Website|
|Online Lease Agreement|
|Online Maintenance Request|
|24/7 Maintenance Hotline||$1/unit/month||Unavailable||$1.10/unit/month + $300 setup fee||Unavailable|
|Rental Listing Syndication|
|Tenant and Lease Tracking|
|Online Rent Payments|
|Customer Service||24/7||24/7||M-F, 7:30am-7pm||M-F, 6am-5pm (Pacific)|
Propertyware does not market itself to large, high-density property managers but instead offers a solution for single-family and low-density places. This cloud-based platform combines online property marketing, management and accounting software.
Update: Propertyware previously held an honorable mention in our reviews, but, based on a recent government action, we no longer give it our nod.
In October 2018, the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection filed a complaint against Propertyware’s parent company, RealPage, Inc. According to the Better Business Bureau’s website:
The Texas company, Realpage, Inc., has agreed to pay $3 million to settle the charges that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of tenant screening information that it provided to landlords and property managers, a violation of federal law that caused some potential renters to be falsely associated with criminal records.
Propertyware’s pricing model is much like AppFolio Property Manager. This company offers a 15-day free trial. All plans require an implementation fee of 2x the monthly subscription price.
|Price Per Unit Per Month||$1||$1.50||$2|
Quicken is the only product in this review that does not require a monthly fee; rather, it’s simply a software that comes with a one-time charge. The lack of features leaves a lot to be desired.
Quicken used to have a separate property management software, but now it is all tied into the Quicken Home and Business product.
Property management software can be a big expense, but it’s a necessity for large operations. The time and stress saved should more than cover the additional cost.
If you end up with a solution that doesn’t offer electronic lease signing, consider an online document signing service. And to help stay on top of all your finances, you might consider using small business accounting software too.
What are your worst landlord headaches?
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