Take Our Property Management Benchmark Survey
On April 29, we published our property management benchmark survey, created in partnership with Buildium and AppFolio.
More and more property management companies are taking the leap from managing their businesses with pen and paper to employing sophisticated software systems designed specifically for their challenges.
We developed this survey in partnership with Buildium and AppFolio to gauge how property management companies are using technology, and what business benefits they’ve seen from implementing a property management software solution.
We encourage feedback from property managers, whether or not you’ve implemented a property-specific software system.
Overview of Property Management Software
Property managers have unique needs when it comes to technology, and there are hundreds of systems on the market to meet those needs. Some are designed for companies managing multiple types of properties, while others target a specific niche in the industry (e.g., residential, commercial, university housing and homeowners’ associations.)
Buildium is an example of a vendor providing an electronic rent collection portal.
We wrote this guide to help you determine what kind of system will best suit your organization. Here’s what we’ll cover:
Property management systems help landlords and managers increase efficiency, improve collections, and enhance the quality of service provided to the tenant. Property management software streamlines the wide range of tasks that a manager performs on a regular basis. Common applications found in these systems include:
Assists managers with their general ledger, payables and rent rolls. Some systems provide reporting features that calculate total per-unit vacancy days and profit/loss at both unit and organization-wide levels. Examples of vendors offering accounting features include IBS 10.0i and SKYLINE Software.
Tenant & Lease Tracking
Enables landlords and rental owners to automate and track the leasing process from beginning to end. Functions include: tenant screening, move-in, rent/utility payments, maintenance, vacancy planning, move-out and make-ready. Example vendors: Buildium, Spectra, and AssociationVoice Building Edition.
Budgeting & Forecasting
Helps managers develop accurate operating budgets and calculate future values. Uses historical lease and financial information to make budget projections for revenue and expenses, accounting for CPI increases, inflation, market rates and tenant improvements. Includes tools for assessment and analysis, tax planning and scenario planning. Example vendors: Buildium and Propertyware.
Tracks work orders, schedules preventative maintenance, and coordinates communication with maintenance staff. Applications can automatically create schedules and alerts and generate work orders, and some systems let tenants make maintenance requests online, expediting service. Example vendors: HippoFM, Maintenance Connection, and Bigfoot CMMS.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Before evaluating solutions, you’ll want to know in what type of buyer category you belong:
Niche-Use Buyer. If your company specializes in a single property type, a system specializing in that type of property is a better option. Managers of commercial offices and retail space may want a commercial software application, while those with residential properties may benefit from a residential property system. Other examples of systems include those designed for homeowners’ associations (HOA software), affordable housing, or hotel management software.
Integrated Suite Buyers. For managers with several types of properties in their portfolio, selecting a more robust system may be a better option. These provide functionality to support all types of properties in your portfolio.
Key Features to Consider
Online Tenant Services. Renters increasingly want to receive rent reminders via email. They also want access to Web-based property management software interfaces where they can pay rent, file maintenance requests, submit their notice to vacate, or search their handbook. A system that supports renters’ needs is critical, especially if you own multiple units or properties.
Automatic Vacancy Postings. The Internet is the first place most people go when they’re looking for a place to live. Therefore, many systems allow you to post vacancies to sites like Craigslist, Rental.com and Apartments.com using the information already in your system. All you have to do is click a few buttons, and the listing is posted to half a dozen places, helping you fill vacancies faster with much less work.
This is an example of Point2 Property Manager's listing feature.
Integrated Web and Marketing Tools.
Many products include tools that help managers build websites that showcase and market their properties. More integrated systems may include search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help build traffic to your site--and your listings. These tools can include analytics features that allow you to identify traffic sources and dashboards that help measure the impact of your marketing efforts.