Proper property management in today’s industry is paramount in maximizing profits and limiting your time requirements. Lucky, maintaining self-made excel files and personally depositing checks are no longer required. Today’s online property management software can manage all aspects of the property-management process and, when utilized to their complete potential, they can replace the services of the traditional property-management companies. Savings can be extensive, as most property-management companies charge 10 percent of the monthly rent to manage the properties. They also charge between 50 percent to 100 percent of the monthly rent for tenant placement. The savings from moving to the online platform is substantial, providing investors additional liquid capital needed for expansion. Below are property management software reviews of some of the industry’s preferred property management software options.
Buildium Property Management Software
Buildium is a full service online property management software that automates almost every expect of property management and provides detailed accounting. Listing rentals is a snap with Buildium. The software will save your previous listings’ narratives and photos and with one-click of a button, it automatically uploads the listing to Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads and MyNewPlace, reaching large audiences. The resident portal allows residents to authorize automatic payments and request repairs. The accounting software easily tracks accounts receivables and billings, allowing quick review of your complete financial performance. The document storage feature provides an organized location for all your leases and forms. Renter applications and tenant screenings are performed electronically and quickly on the Buildium platform. The Buildium software provides a standard application and allows you to customize it to fit your needs. The e-leasing option allows for electronic leasing agreements with legally binding electronic signatures. The intuitive software is easy to learn and Buildium provides unlimited phone support from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm EST. Similar to Rentec Direct, Buildium offers a free professional website. Buildium offers multiple packages depending on your needs and property quantities, the core package for twenty units or less is available for only $45 per month and $150 per month for the pro service. Pricing for one hundred units is $150 for the core package and $200 for the pro service. Pricing continues to escalate and is available at Buildium. Buildium does provide a 10 percent discount when paying for a full year. The Buildium platform is ideal for landlords needing the full range of services, who own a few properties all the way to a few thousand properties. The core package features include property accounting, financial reporting, maintenance management and leasing management. Additionally, the core package offers online payments (50 cents per transaction, electronic leasing (5 dollars per lease), and basic tenant screening (criminal, credit and eviction) for 15 dollars per person (tenant screening should be paid by the prospective tenant). The pro service provides all of the basic core package services plus offers the online payments, property inspections, electronic leasing and tenant screening services for no additional cost. Buildium offers a free 15 day trial.
Rentec Direct Property Management Software
Similar to Buildium, Rentec Direct is a full service online property management software with two pricing options. Both pricing options escalate depending on the quantity of units. The Rentec Pro starts at 35 dollars per month for 10 units or less. While the Rentec PM option starts at 35 dollars. Pricing for one hundred units is $90 for Rentec Pro and $100 for the Rentec PM package. Pricing continues to escalate and is available at Rentec Direct. Rentec PM is really designed for property managers and the features of the Rentec Pro will meet the needs of most landlords. Features for the Rentec Pro software include property and tenant accounting tools, automatic payments (credit card transactions are subject to a 2.75% transaction fee), online property advertisement, online rental applications, tenant portal, maintenance and work order tracking, and tenant email and SMS messaging. Rentec Direct even offers a free professional website for users. The website can feature listings, and includes links to receive applications and application fees. Use the website to promote lease-to-own programs, list important phone numbers and to add tenant testimonials describing favorable experiences. The cost of a website can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars, making this an excellent feature. Rentec Direct is ideal for any landlord looking to automatic property management. Rentec Direct offers a free 30 day trial.
ClearNow Online Rent Payment to Collect Rent Automatically!ClearNow Online Rent Payment to Collect Rent Automatically. Clear now is a cost effective solution for landlords not requiring all of features offered by the full service software products. The program only charges a small monthly fee of $14.95 for the first debit transaction, plus only 2 dollars for each subsequent debit transaction. While clear now’s focus is cheap automated payments, they do offer additional free services including tenant screening and a simple-to-use profit and loss calculator, reporting of your 1040 schedules E’s, making filing simple and easy. Receipts are automatically generated and emailed to your tenant upon payment. Clear now is reputable and reliable as they have been serving landlords and property managers across the nation since 2000 and hold a perfect BBB rating. The most overlooked feature is the tenant reporting to Experian credit reporting. This is a must-have option for landlords who utilize lease options to tenants who need to build their credit. Additionally, building credit for the millennials is major selling point as rental properties for new graduates have become a required a stepping stone to home ownership and good credit will reduce the cost of ownership for your tenants. Most people recognize the value of a good credit, but lack the means to achieve it. Clear Now’s flat fee format makes it the most cost effective option for landlords with smaller portfolios.
Unlike the other property management software, Landlordmax requires a low cost, one-time fee. The software provides an easy-to-use interface for all of your accounting needs. The program has many reporting options including graphs and charts. Additionally, the software allows you to organize all of your rental business information, including mortgage information, insurance and pictures for each unit. Landlordmax does lack the automated payments and the tenant portal tools that other software offer. Priced at a low, one-time cost of 200 dollars, Landlordmax is ideal for users who just want to manage their financials, and don’t value the interactive tenant options offered by the other platforms. This service, coupled with an online screening service, can automate a majority of the tasks landlords take on. A Free trial is also available.
Traditional Property Management Services
The use of a traditional, live property manager, while costly, is desired for certain landlords and situations. Tradition property management is recommended for landlords who are operating out-of-state or for whom the commute is rather long to your properties. It just becomes impractical and costly to be an absentee landlord and very difficult to fill vacancies and review property repairs from a long travel distance. Traditional property managers also provide value to new landlords whom may not know the local laws and just need help learning the ropes. A good local property manager will handle listing and showing vacancies, payment processing and handle maintenance requests. They will also provide recommended repair and maintenance companies for the repairs. The referenced repair companies are generally reliable, educated and probably a little cheaper than commercial repair companies found online. Traditional property manager’s charges for their services are usually around 10 percent of the monthly rent, plus a placement fee equal to half or one month’s rent. The associated costs are generally negotiable. Reductions should be available for large portfolios or for individuals who will burden portions of their services, such as tenant placement. Try to team up with a few other investors when shopping property managers. This partnership will increase the quantity of properties to the point where the property manager may agree to reduce the monthly costs from ten percent to six or seven percent, or even five percent if all of your portfolios are concentrated in one area. Referrals are the best method to finding a good local property manager. Ask reputable realtors in your area for references or join local real estate investment groups to learn and discuss property management groups with other local investors.
Besides the cost savings, the other major benefit of all of the rental property management options is the time you save. Time saving extends beyond the obvious rental management tasks to responsibilities such as tax preparations. The organized payment and expenses options allow for quick completions of 1040 schedule E. Both Buildium and Rentec Direct can manage and file your 1099s. The electronic online applications and lease agreements reduce the quantity of face-to-face visits between you and possible tenants.
In the grand scheme of things, all of these options are priced extremely fair. Remember the costs are a business expense and are paid with before-tax dollars, making the advertised pricing actually lower since the income would be taxed if we didn’t utilize their services.
Buildium, Rentec Direct and Landlordmax all offer free trials. Try all three of them simultaneously with just one test property. Utilize the three to find out which features you need and which software is the easiest to operate. Remember usability should be paramount as the program you chose will be used on a daily basis. Also, switching between software packages isn’t advised, as the major benefit is the long term record keeping features. The more you use the program and input data, vendor information, property information and listing information, the more time you will ultimately save.