I didn’t use any property management software for about 5 years after I started investing…
…and it was a huge mistake.
When I finally realized I needed software to help manage my portfolio, it took me months to get set up and over a year before we implemented every aspect of the software into our business.
Don’t be like me. Get software now and let it grow with you.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best property management software available today. The focus of this article is on residential real estate investments for small to medium size landlords and investors.
|Company||Features||Ease of Use||Rating||Price||Link|
|Buildium||Vendor 1099 and ACH, Syndicate listings, Online tenant payments, Work orders, Electronic leases, Tenant screening, Inspection app||7||$$$||Visit Site|
|Avail.co||Syndicate listings, Online tenant payments, Work orders, Electronic leases, State specific leases, Tenant screening, Rent price analysis||10||$||Visit Site|
|Rentec Direct||Vendor 1099 and ACH, Syndicate listings, Online tenant payments, Work orders, Electronic leases, Sync with QuickBooks, RUBs support, Tenant screening||8||$$||Visit Site|
|Vertical Rent||Tenant screening, Apartment syndication, Online tenant payments||10||$||Visit Site|
|Cozy.co||Tenant screening, Apartment syndication, Online tenant payments||9||$||Visit Site|
Let’s be real, once you get set up on one platform, changing is a pain. You get a few properties set up, rents coming in, and then decide you don’t like it…
…you have to get all the tenants set up on a new platform, new unit info, etc. It can take dozens of man-hours to convert.
So, as a landlord or investor, when picking property management software, it’s really important to get it right. Here are a few major considerations to make before getting set up on one.
The most important things to consider are:
Also, when comparing these, it’s important to consider the price to feature ratio – also known as value. The most feature packed platform will be the most expensive, and the one with the fewest features will be cheapest.
But, which one gets the most for the least? That, of course, is subjective.
Here’s a break down of the general categories we’re looking at.
These can include things from premade leases to insurance tracking, accounting, lease syndication, budgeting, inspections, and more.
The more features the better, but of course, you have to remember that more features probably means more money.
At an absolute minimum, any property management software needs to include:
While every other feature is nice to have, these are the bare minimum required to justify using any online property management software.
Other features we like to see with online property management, but are not mandatory are:
The list of potential options goes on, but these are fairly common.
Some of the top property management software is designed for massive companies while other software is there to help out the smallest landlords.
We generally shy away from the massive corporate property management software out there because regular people like you and me don’t need that level of functionality. If you’re looking to manage several thousand units, then you should call the companies and have their reps give you a demo version.
For the rest of us, we are looking for functional software that is relatively easy to use without requiring an advanced degree or being especially tech savvy.
We all ultimately shop on price, but it’s important to remember that you do pay for what you get.
That’s why it’s so important to consider the value – that is, how many features do you get for the price.
If we didn’t consider the value, then the most expensive software would be ranked lowest on price and best on features while the worst software would be ranked best on price and worst on features.
Instead, we take a holistic approach and consider what you’re getting for the money.
Every feature will be graded based on the number of points it is given. Then each will be compared and ranked.
I want to point out that a low score does not mean the software is bad. We only rate the best quality products, so all are 4 or 5 start type products.
A lower score simply means you can probably get a better price/feature combination.
Here is the list of the best rental management software available. It’s tough to compare some of them, but we did our best!
Avail.co is the best choice for small landlords, but might not (currently) be the best choice for larger landlords. It is formerly known as Rentalutions.com
They are continuously adding features and have a number of new features being added to their online management software in the coming months and throughout 2019.
The biggest reason they are the editors choice is the value. They are very inexpensive and offer the most features for that price.
They have a full suite of features including:
I really liked that they had their lawyers put together state specific leases for you to use (or edit). You can also use your own leases as well.
Additionally, they have all the important features we like such as work tickets and online payments.
One feature they plan to release in 2019 and we eagerly await it, is the ability to pay vendors via ACH.
They do have a really cool feature that helps you determine what the market rent of your unit is. It’s called rent price analysis. Imagine you plan on renting the unit for $800 per month but the analysis shows you could be getting $900.
That alone could earn you thousands each year.
Overall Avail.co is very easy to use and understand.
They currently have 4 pricing options from FREE to $50/month (+$2/month for each unit over 15). The pricing is very affordable and scales with you at an affordable rate as you grow.
Buildium is one of the most robust property management software available on the web right now. This is good and bad.
It’s good because it has the best features, best quality, and most options.
It’s bad because it costs more than other products.
Definitely the most robust set of features. In addition to all of your normal stuff like accounting, 1099’s, etc, you
have the ability to pay contractors via EFT, do inspections with an app on your phone, syndicate listings online and on Craigslist, track renters insurance, and way more.
I’d have to dedicate another 1,000 words to go over all of the features. Let’s just leave it at this – Buildium has more features than just about any other software out there, and definitely the only option if you want all of those features at a reasonable price.
One of my favorite features that Buildium has that beats out the other property management software options out there is their inspection app.
You can customize what you want to have inspected and just send someone over to inspect it! They just click the condition, write some notes, and take a picture.
Then it comes to you as a PDF which you can save and use later.
It’s perfect for withholding security deposits, charging fees, etc.
Read the full Buildium Review.
Buildium is relatively easy to use, but at the same time, there is a little bit of a learning curve. The fact is, with all of the features it has, it’s impossible to learn them all quickly.
So, it’s lower ease of use is a result of it having so many awesome features.
Buildium is very expensive for small owners – starting at $150 if you want access to all the features. While this is relatively cheap compared to other high-end software, it is expensive for small owners.
Buildium has a TON of features, more than anything else we review. It is also the most expensive software for small owners/landlords.
Overall, if you are a big landlord (20+ units give or take) or run a property management company, Buildium is probably what you need.
If you are a small landlord or just getting started, then there may be are better options. Unless you plan to grow a lot soon, then it may be good to get started on a more advanced product.
When you first navigate to their website, you’ll think that all they offer is tenant screening software.
Don’t ask me why they are set up this way, but their software is far more robust than that. You have to navigate to the ‘feature’ tab in order to see what they actually offer.
This is where Vertical Rent is weakest. It has the fewest owner features of all the software. While it does have all of the core features you need, it doesn’t have any of the fancy stuff like inspections, 1099 generation, etc.
That being said, it seems to have the most robust tenant screening options.
While this may not be ideal for property management companies, it is far more than adequate for a typical landlord or investor.
It also has all the core features including tenant login, maintenance requests, and online payments.
Very easy to use and set up.
Vertical Rent starts at $0 and has a $20 and $40 option….and the price is fixed. If you have just 1 unit and never plan to grow, then Rentec may a better option, but if you ever plan to grow, Vertical Rent is a clear winner on price.
Vertical Rent has all the core features that you need to manage a decent portfolio, but it has a fixed pricing structure which we love.
So, as you get more property, you don’t have to pay more and more.
Based on having the features you need at a fixed price that doesn’t grow over time, and being easy to use, Vertical Rent gets the top spot in this matchup.
Rentec Direct is a full-featured property management software designed for landlords and property managers. In fact, it’s the only software that has a different fee if you want to access the “owners” portal which is a feature property management companies need.
It is a solid choice with a lot of features and a reasonable price.
There are a ton of features from online accounting, 1099’s, lease management and syndication, electronic signatures, and RUBs billing support (for people who bill out on a ratio system).
One of the best is the ability to sync financials between QuickBooks and their software.
This property management software also has tenant login, the ability to pay online, ability to submit work orders online, etc.
Overall this software is easy to use and implement
It’s tough to give it an exact score. It starts off at a very low price and is very affordable. But, if you get hundreds or more units, it becomes more expensive than Buildium.
Pricing starts at $35 for all of the features except the parts related to owner-login (if you’re a property management firm)
Since the majority of people reading this are not major property management firms with thousands of units, we’ve chosen to rank it somewhere in the middle of Buildium and our #1 choice.
Rentec is definitely a solid option, having fewer features than Buildium, but also offering them at a significantly lower price.
It’s fairly easy to use and has all the core features you need for your tenants.
For smaller owners, Rentec is far cheaper than Buildium, but as you get into the hundreds or thousands of units, Buildium becomes cheaper.
Ranking good PM software is like having to decide if you prefer a Rolls Royce or a Bently. One has to come in first and one has to come in last, but just because you choose a Rolls doesn’t mean the Bently is crap.
Overall, this is our lowest ranked property management software. It’s not because it’s bad rental management software, in fact, we think it’s one of the best out there.
it’s because Rentec has fewer features than Builium at essentially the same price (at higher unit number). While it is cheaper at lower numbers, I’m not sure why you’d want to get into something knowing you’ll have to switch if you grow.
But, if you did get it, you wouldn’t be poorly served. It just doesn’t have much differentiating it in this market.
Eric is an investor that achieved financial independence at the age of 30. He started in 2009 with the purchase of his first triplex and now owns over 470 units. He spends his time with his family, growing his businesses, diversifying his income, and teaching others how to achieve financial independence through real estate. Eric has been seen on Forbes, Trulia, WiseBread, TheStreet, and other financial publications.
I started out as a full-time student, over $60,000 in debt, and didn't even have a full-time job (two part-time jobs). Learn the system I used to create a 6-figure passive income.
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