How to Choose Property Management Software: 11 Tips

Services for Real Estate Pros with

By Matt Donnelly, Buildium, Boston, MA

You’ve joined or started a property management company and put in place a solid property management sales strategy. Now the business is coming in. Fantastic. But how are you going to handle the business?

The answer is simple: Property management software.

You know by now that there are numerous benefits of property management software. But how do you choose the property management software that’s right for you? These 10 questions can help you make a more informed decision:

  1. Is the software installed or cloud-based? Installed software has to be, well, installed. Cloud-based software does not, giving you access anywhere, anytime.
  2. Does the software accept online rental payments? EFTs (bank account transfers) and credit card payments are the most common forms of online payment.
  3. What product support options are available if I need help? Is support available 7 days per week? Is it phone support, a support ticket system, or a general help system? Is it free or paid?
  4. Does the software distribute my rental listings to listing sites like Trulia or Zillow?This saves time on the repetitive task of posting rental listings to several different sites.
  5. How much does the software cost? Is pricing based on units or the number of users? Is there a contract? Are there any other hidden fees?
  6. How many users does the software allow? If the software does not include unlimited users, additional licenses can become expensive.
  7. How secure is my data? If it’s an installed product, what can you do to protect your own data? With cloud-based solutions, ask what kind of security and backup procedures are in place.
  8. Can I provide online access to tenants and owners? This allows full-service self-service, saving the property manager time.
  9. How many customers does the company have? The number of customers a company has is one measure that the company is doing something right. It means the software has been put through its paces by thousands of users.
  10. What sort of accounting features are included with the software? Is accounting functionality built into the software, or is integration with other accounting programs offered?
  11. What kind of company is it? Not all property management software companies are created equal. Some are known for solid customer service, but others aren’t. Check employee reviews of the company on Glassdoor or customer reviews on Software Advice. After all, you’ll be business partners with whichever company you choose, so it makes sense to choose wisely.

Still can’t decide? The good news is that property management software like Buildium offers a free 15-day trial with no strings attached, so you can try before you buy. What could be easier than that?

This post originally appeared in All Things Property Management.

Comments (5)

David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Great advice and explaination for all property managers, thanks.

Feb 07, 2014 05:22 AM
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Best Hawaii Realtor!

Thanks for the tips.  I have an active rain friend in Atlanta that uses Buildium.  We manage only a small amount of properties for clients, around 40.  Many years ago, I designed a program with MS Access and it has served our purpose.  Have tried other several programs including MS Accounting, Quicken, Quickbooks and a couple of other specific PM programs.

Feb 07, 2014 02:24 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Loved the list ! I'll use it to create conversation in a PM MCE class I'm doing . Thanks !

Feb 14, 2014 10:03 PM
AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

Thank you.. As a property manager for absentee owners.. I like to keep all information very organized!! 

Feb 15, 2014 12:35 AM
Bahman Davani, CM at Texas Five Star Realty, Plano, TX (214) 457-7055
Texas Five Star Realty, Plano Texas - Frisco, TX
Homes for Sale in Plano, Frisco, Prosper, Allen TX

Great advice and great list. Every Property Manager should have this list (or similar) handy.

Feb 27, 2014 07:45 PM