Choosing a property management software depends on your growth plans, and how your company is structured.
At Fourandhalf, we run marketing and growth for hundreds of property management companies. We’re often asked about how to choose a software platform.
We have seen the property management industry change. It’s gone from being shoved into the dusty back rooms of real estate offices to emerging as a prominent way for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses. There’s lots of new technology and even some old technology that has been improved.
You need to know what you need.
Today, we want to help you choose the right property management software for your company.
Property Management Vision and Goals: Know Your Strategy
Property management software takes care of your operations. There’s a pre-sale function and a post-sale function. In this blog, we’ll focus on post-sale operations systems. Through the different stages of growth that you experience, you’ll probably find that different software is a better fit for your needs.
The first and most important thing you need to do is realize and understand your vision.
If you want to run a small but profitable company where you and one assistant manage 80 to 100 properties, you’re going to benefit from some specific software that can automate your processes. But, if you’re on a growth path, and you’re looking to build a company that manages 5,000 properties, you’ll have a different set of requirements when you’re looking for software.
There are three big companies that offer the best software for those of you managing single family homes and small, multi-family portfolios. Let’s take a look at them.
The Big Three: Appfolio, PropertyWare, and Buildium
The three largest software companies for property management are Appfolio, PropertyWare, and Buildium. These three organize differently. Your choice will depend on what your company structure is, and what your plans are for your property management business.
You can look at these companies like you look at your phone systems.
Buildium and Propertyware are more like android operating systems. They have integrations with different partners, and the functionality of the system is expanded with those partners. For example, Buildium partners with Happy Inspector, one of the best inspection software platforms out there. So instead of building inspection components into their own software, Buildium offers the service through that partnership. PropertyWare has a number of partnerships as well, and they are working on opening up their API for more integrations.
Appfolio is more like an iCloud ecosystem. It’s closed. They limit their partnerships, and they have talented men and women building their own technology. They have MVP (minimal viable product), which means that maybe you’ll get an inspection suite included for free with the software. But, it will be limited in its features until it’s completely built out and becomes functional. Initially, you’ll have limited features and functions, but your available technology with AppFolio will grow.
More Customizable, but Longer Implementation: Rent Manager
Another option is Rent Manager. This is an open API, and tech companies can contact them and talk about their products. If it’s a fit, Rent Manager will include that product in any integration. This is a really customizable software platform. For example, you can have your software include Roofstock, which helps you buy and sell single family homes online. You’ll get a dashboard and full integration. So, if you provide these services to investors, it’s a good way to see the online inventory and help your clients acquire and sell single-family homes.
The systems at Rent Manager are so customizable that your implementation process will be longer. If you have clear processes and you’ve been in business longer, this is a good choice. But for growing companies, your output depends on how optimized and systemized you are.
If you need a quicker implementation process, any of the big three are the companies to look at. You need to find your balance.
Smaller and Larger Property Management Companies: Additional Options
If you’re a company with a smaller portfolio, you can look at Cozy. Buildium can also help you grow if you’re just starting out.
When you’re managing multi-family properties or you have a larger portfolio, consider something like Yardi or RealPage.
This isn’t a simple topic, but we’re providing an overview so you can start your search with some unbiased advice. At Fourandhalf, we’re not paid to promote any of these companies. We’re simply sharing what we know from many years of working with many property management companies.
If you have any questions, or you’d like to hear more, please contact us at Fourandhalf.