The property management business requires keeping track of a constant stream of information related to unique properties, landlords, and tenants. Property management software can help you stay on top of it all and run your business efficiently. But with the wealth of choices on the market, how do you figure out which one to use?
Here are some factors to consider before choosing software for your company.
1. What kind of software would best meet your needs?
The software you choose should fit your current needs and your business goals. So as you make your choice, consider whether you’d like to expand, specialize in a certain type of unit, or handle multiple property types.
Some common functions property managers look for include software that offers an integrated billing system, ratio utility billing, and tenant screening.
In addition, investigate whether the software provides website hosting and website customization. If you manage separate complexes of properties, you should also research whether the software provides website branding services. Are custom property management website templates available? If so, can you customize the pages of your site for unique groups of properties?
2. What additional types of features does the software package offer?
Look at whether the software allows you to set up separate portals for landlords and tenants. This feature can be a big selling point for owners, allowing them to access reports, documents, and even photos, 24 hours a day. And a separate portal for tenants allows them to pay rent and submit maintenance requests electronically. Some systems also include online tenant applications and leases as well as tenant screening systems.
Most companies will allow you to test drive software free for 30 days. As you try it out, look for whether the the software interface intuitive and easy to use. Any software you pick should be relatively easy for you and your employees to learn. It should make your work easier and your business more efficient. And it should be relatively self-explanatory for tenants and owners, otherwise you’ll be fielding lots of questions about how to use it.
The software should incorporate accounting tools specific to property management, and should be able to easily allow you to change the format of your financial reports. Some software will allow you to file tax forms.
3. Platform and cost
Initially, you should decide whether you would prefer to purchase a software package installed and used on your computer system or a web-based package. On-site systems generally require a bigger up-front investment. Web-based systems allow you to access your data from anywhere in the world, but be sure to assess the costs for functions and services that aren’t included in the base price. Are there additional costs for product upgrades, training, and support? Can you add extra modules to the software package to address specific needs and at what cost? Carefully evaluate the services each type of package to get a reliable price comparison.
Pricing may be based on per-user or on a per-unit basis. Consider the size of your business and the number of employees using the software to help you find the most cost-effective solution. Again, be sure to do a free trial of the software before you make your final decision.
The size of your business, the type of properties you manage and your business goals are key to determining the right software for you. These reviews will give you more information about popular property management software products available and which one might be right for you.