9 Tips on How to Choose Property Management SoftwareNovember 05, 2018
How much time does it take you to manage your properties? And how much does it cost? Whether you’re a DIY-landlord, or a property manager, you need to find a good mechanism to get your business organized. It may be a good software program that helps you to manage rental history, accounting and other real estate stuff, or it may be hand scribbled notes and hundreds of papers with all this information (we really hope that you don’t do this anymore).
Property management software can be very helpful, but how to find the right one? The software market offers dozens of variants today, suitable for different types of business and possessing different features; their cost may also vary greatly.
We’ve prepared some tips to help you decide which property management software is right specially for you and your needs.
1) Easy to use
The main purpose of a property management system is to save you time, so choose the one that will automate your time-consuming tasks and will be easy to use. Another small piece of advice is to ask for a demo or video tutorial, because although we know that you are a jack of all trades, you’ll save plenty of time when you become acquainted with the system before actually putting it to use in your business.
Cloud-based software means there’s no need to install it on your computer, as all your data “lives” on the Internet, that’s why you access it from any device, wherever you are. Your rental information, financial reports, documents and all other items will be secured in the cloud automatically.
3) Conversations available
An on-site messaging system is a big plus, as it gives you the opportunity to directly communicate with landlords, tenants and ServicePros (service providers and professionals). It also saves you time, as there is no need to reach for the phone in the case of every little emergency.
It may be a monthly fee, or the price may depend on the number of units or users. Before starting to use some specific software, examine properly whether there are any hidden fees in it. For example, some companies or software solutions can charge up to $800 for 75 managed units, at the same there are services that allow you to manage these 75 units absolutely free. (Surprisingly, the offered service quality can be similar.) So you better do you homework before entering your credit card info, as you can save a bunch of money with free property management software.
5) Online payments
In 2015, it's only a matter of time when online payments push out ordinary ones from the market. Make sure that your chosen software has an online payment feature, as this option will ease the management of your finances and payment procedure for your tenants drastically. There are tons of online payment solutions on the market, but unfortunately most of them charge fees for every transaction (like Paypal, Stripe or Braintree), so payment systems like TC Payments can be a great choice for your business.
Before putting all your information into the new system, make sure that the accounting functionality is built into it or at least integrates with other accounting programs is offered, as online accounting is one of the main advantages of using property management systems.
7) Technical support
Find out whether there is technical support for the software (even if you don’t need it, it’s nice to know that it actually exists), is it available 7 days per week and how much does it cost (as some property management software solutions charge over $100 per hour, and some are unlimited and free).
You should also take into account whether the software you are considering offers integration with third party applications. It could be really time saving as you won’t need to copy and paste information from one program to another (or won’t make anybody do it). Distribution of rental listings to Trulia and Zillow are some of the most popular now. Rental listings syndication allows you to post your vacancies to major leading listing websites in one click and reach a growing audience of high-quality residents instantly.
Moreover, some property management software solutions offer another great feature - personal marketing website that lets you create a customized listing website with your logo, content and brand colors. It helps to market your properties or company to prospective clients.
9) Visual work orders
Another element that you perhaps wouldn’t consider is an option to attach files to online work orders. There are some systems with the ability to attach photos on the market now, but attachment of videos is the most innovative and much more convenient for everyone involved. Visual work orders help both tenants and landlords to get rid of any problem without extra efforts, and there is no need to get connected with them or come to place.
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