How to Find the Best Property Management System
Are you interested in rental management software? In our current day and age, you almost have to have rental management software to keep up with your property management paperwork. If you’ve never used rental management software, you might feel overwhelmed by all of the options available to you. How do you know which rental management software is best for you, and worth the cost? Well, worry no more. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide below.
The Going Rate for Property Management Softwares
If you’ve done any investigation on this subject, you’ll probably find that online property management software can run you anywhere from zero dollars, into the thousands. The distinction in price most likely depends on how many properties your manage. If you manage ten properties or less, you might find all of your needs are met by a basic system. The more robust (and expensive) landlord rental software are equipped to handle to an unlimited number of properties.
What does free property management software offer?
Now more than ever, you can find pretty functional property management applications that are hosted online for free or next to free. However, as you’d imagine, you get what you pay for. For example, some services let you manage maybe five properties for a subscription fee of $50 or so. Services this inexpensive almost never including accounting software. You’d have have to use them in conjunction with your regular accounting system. This involves a duplication of data entry (and an increased risk of error). If you only have one or two tenants, it might still be worth it. If your five properties have 50 tenants, this would be a logistical nightmare.
In other cases, you might be able to get away with a solution that you already use. For instance, if you already use Quicken for your bookkeeping, you might be able to simply add their property management software into the suite you already use. This is nice because you won’t have to shell out a ton of extra cash, but their system already works with the bookkeeping system that you use (since it’s also theirs).
Once again though, this is a solution for smaller property management businesses. If you manage hundreds of properties and tenants, you’ll want something more robust.
What does the bigger systems offer?
When you get into the systems that cost actual dollars, you’ll find that the functionality of them expand dramatically. Generally, the higher-priced systems offer features that are valuable when your property management business is expansive:
- Accounting. It takes many property management companies about 22 hours per week processing all of the accounting information manually. Using a system that does this for you cuts it in half.
- Work Orders. The process of creating and tracking work orders, as well as keeping record of them is incredibly important for maintaining the condition of your properties, and meeting landlord regulations.
- Managing paperwork. The paperwork when a new tenant moves in or an old one moves out is critical and sometimes a hassle to manage manually.
- Background checks. The most robust systems even plug into background check software, to instantly check your potential tenant’s criminal records and other important records on them.
Finding the Right System
Before investing in a property management system, make sure to follow these steps:
- Ask for referrals from other clients of approximately the same size as you that use the software. Contact them and ask about their experience.
- Call the technical support line. Take note of how long it takes to get to a live person, and how helpful they are.
- Test out the system in real time (not just a demo of it). Make sure it jives with your processes and setup.
- Consider what challenges your property management company faces, and look for a system that solves some of your problems.
- Pay attention to how intuitive the system is and how hard it will be for your staff to adopt it. If the system requires significant training to use, you might not get the full functionality out of it.
- If you aren’t a “technical” type of person, look into how much it costs to have the system installed for you, and to have on-site support while you put it into practice. This increases the likelihood of adoption of it.
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