Gone are the days of doing everything pencil to paper. With so much technology available to make our lives easier, it’s time to modernize your real estate business with property management software.
Because there are so many platforms on the market, choosing software provider can be overwhelming. We want to make your decision easy by laying out exactly which services to look for when choosing your property management software.
The features we’ll cover include:
- Platform type
- Online rent collection
- Tenant management services
- Maintenance requests
- Online lease signing
- Tenant screening
- Prices and fees
You’ll be left feeling better prepared to make an educated decision about which platform will work best for your real estate business.
It’s easy to overlook the platform type with so many other features to consider, but choosing software that uses your favored platform type is crucial to a good experience. The two types of platforms you’ll see are local and cloud. A local platform is one that must be downloaded onto individual devices. A cloud platform is one that is internet-based and uses outside servers to house the software.
The benefit of cloud-based software is that it allows you to do work from anywhere since you don’t have to use a device with the software already installed. You’re able to work from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Some people still prefer local platforms, though, because they feel that storing their information on their own servers is more secure than cloud-based options.
Online Rent Collection
One of the primary functions of property management software is online rent collection. When choosing a platform, you need to make sure it has all of the collection features you need. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
- Payment type options. The best platforms will allow tenants to choose between paying via credit/debit cards and ACH.
- Automatic payments. When tenants are able to set recurring payments, late payments will be a thing of the past.
- Payment reminders. Being able to send out reminders before rent’s due also helps ensure that tenants pay on time. Many platforms will automate these reminders for you so you don’t have to remember to manually send them every month.
- Enforceable late fees. The property management software you choose should enable you to set late fees for your chosen amount, as well as customize grace periods according to your lease agreements.
- Bookkeeping. It’s important that your chosen platform automatically records all payment activity, including rent payments and applicable fees. Records should be easily exportable so you can upload them to your favored financial program.
Tenant Management Services
Managing tenants is one of a landlord’s most time-consuming responsibilities. Good property management platforms will allow you to communicate easily with tenants. You should be able to send out messages quickly through the software, and tenants should be able to see updates made on the platform instantaneously. What’s more, the platform should be easy to navigate from both the landlord and tenant’s perspectives. There’s no point in using a platform that complicates your job further.
The best property management software now allows tenants to not only submit maintenance requests in a dedicated, organized portal, but it also allows them to upload descriptions, photos, and videos of the request. This allows your team to show up more prepared than ever to solve the problem quickly and effectively.
Online Lease Signing
A great feature of property management platforms is the ability to sign leases online. This allows tenants to read over agreements on their own time and sign when they’re ready. Since you don’t have to plan meetings that work for both parties’ schedules, leases are signed quickly and conveniently.
One of the most beneficial landlord-specific services offered by top property management software platforms is tenant screening. When your platform offers in house screening services, you don’t have to hunt for outside resources in order to screen tenants. This not only saves you time, but also money. Many platforms have partnerships with screening companies that allow them to offer you a better deal than you would have otherwise.
Prices and Fees
There are three basic ways you’ll see property management software priced:
- Fees based on individual payments (often different for credit/debit cards and ACH payments)
- Monthly software usage fees
- Both individual payment fees and monthly software fees
When selecting your property management software, be sure the amount you’re paying is appropriate for your business. If you only have a few tenants, for instance, it would probably be more cost-effective to pay fees per payment rather than to pay monthly software fees.
Hopefully these tips help you choose the best property management software for your real estate business. Every platform offers slightly different services, so be sure to shop around and find the provider that best meets your needs.