304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
It’s the black sheep of residential real estate. The red-headed stepchild.
It’s not sexy, but property management is what keeps the lights on in many modern brokerages. In the world seasonal commissions, the occasional Great Recession, and uncertain future of real estate sales, property management is a survivor. Rent checks come in every month. And Silicon Valley can’t conduct quarterly inspections or show up for eviction court, yet. It’s a boots-on-the-ground business.
It’s also a tough business with slim margins. That’s why keeping your business lean and efficient is paramount. Online property management software can help you do that.
These tools are designed for single family, multi-family, and commercial real estate.
There are a few basic elements to a quality property management system. You want it to have:
Many of the best services have additional add-ons and upsells like native tenant screening and background checks, renters insurance, and a website.
Read below about some of the best rental property management solutions!
BEST FOR DIY LANDLORDS
FREE+. TenantCloud is a cloud-based property management software with a free introductory price. It is targeted to DIY landlords and has an impressive suite of features for doing that, including rent tracking, managing applications, listing syndication, e-signature, and more.
BEST FOR SMALL TO MID-SIZE MANAGERS
$50+/mo. Buildium is a complete property management platform that includes a resident portal, website, accounting tools, tenant screening, renters insurance, maintenance support requests, and more. Buildium’s pricing makes it an interesting solution for anyone with only a few properties to manage if just starting out.
BEST FOR LARGE MANAGEMENT COMPANIES
$1.25+/unit per month (min $250/mo). AppFolio is an all-in-one property management platform for residential, commercial, student housing, and HOAs. The tools include maintenance tracking, tenant portals, online payments, and more. Their software offers additional integrated services like renters insurance, landlord insurance, paid lead generation, and a website for your company.
FREE. Apartments.com is a major rental portal that includes a rental manager system. The tool includes listing to all Apartments.com website properties, tenant screening, leases, and payment collection. These are simple tools designed for DIY landlords or small property management firms.
FREE+. Avail is a small landlord property management software. It includes listing syndication, credit reports, lease signatures, rent payment, and more. Its target customer is a landlord with fewer than 10 properties.
$1/unit per month (min $250/mo). Propertyware is a popular residential property management software solution from RealPage. It includes a tenant, owners, and vendors portal, work order and leasing management, collect rent online, renters insurance options, and a website add-on. At an additional cost, you can outsource your maintenance requests and leasing inquiries to their live answering service, taking that disruptive workload off your and your staff’s shoulders.
$1/unit per month (min $100/mo). Yardi offers two different residential property management tools: Yardi Breeze and Yardi Voyager. Breeze is designed for small to mid-sized property managers, while Voyager is designed for larger portfolios and commercial property management. Yardi’s full range of PM services expands to numerous different commercial applications, including military housing, public housing, or even parks and airports.
$9.99/week. Zillow Rental Manager is a property management tool from Zillow that allows DIY landlords to submit and manage their properties within the Zillow ecosystem. It includes tenant screening, lease signing, and rent collection.
Some other real estate transaction management software options include:
Some of these tools target DIY landlords:
Others are for professional property managers.
The line can be blurry at times. Professional management software will include more owner facing tools like owner portals, accounting, and reporting.
Unlike the MLS for residential real estate sales, rentals are far less likely to be all represented on a single platform, and varies from market to market.
For example, most property managers put Austin, TX rentals on the MLS with a 25-50% leasing agent fee offered, but just 30 minutes away in Killeen, TX less than 5% of rentals make it to the MLS and leasing agents are effectively non-existent. Property managers instead rely on simply posting rentals to Zillow, Trulia, or even just their own website.
So, where you need to market your rental may depend on what is most common for your market.
There are strong web-based rental property management software solutions available for real estate business owners of any size. I recommend taking several for a test drive and which suits you and your style best!