if you plan to add more properties to your portfolio, make sure you pick the right software that will scale with you. You don’t want to start with one software only to have to switch as your portfolio increases. Plan ahead
@Ryan Crowley - there’s some cool paid software that makes sense after you have more than 1. I PM my own properties and I use Excel and TurboTax. I use a dedicated bank account and credit card and email account (for Home Depot electronic receipts). I teach my tenants to deposit directly into my bank or to PayPal / Venmo / zelle into my bank. I don’t use my quickbooks or cozy as much as I should. I tried to get them on cozy but they preferred to direct deposit and I got my money faster. I created a free photo album of each of the properties with flikr. I use craigslist and postlets/Zillow and Facebook marketplace / online yard sale and church / community classifieds to get renters. Serves me fine so far with high occupancy and limited cost.
@Ryan Crowley , congrats on your first rental!
Now that you've accomplished your goal of buying your first rental property, what's next? Will you be managing for other owners, as well? If so, you'll more than likely be growing quickly. If not, and you intend on staying under 15-25 doors for the foreseeable future, I'd just use Excel and Quickbooks. With most cheap property management software, you'll end up having to use Excel/Quickbooks anyways because they often won't end up meeting all of your needs. Why bother spending money on a software that requires you to still use 3rd party systems, thus defeating the purpose?
It's easy to find an inexpensive software starting out, but I talk with many property management companies each week that did the same thing, and they inevitably had to transition to a new software as they quickly outgrew the inexpensive option. This makes the transition much more challenging than if you were to just use Excel and Quickbooks in conjunction with free communication/collaboration apps for tenant/owner/internal communication until your generating enough cash flow for an investment in a customizable & scaleable software to make sense.
Challenges can stem from (1) the implementation process [this entails customizing your settings, migrating data, setting up your accounting / banking structure, etc - be weary of software companies that don't have a process for this] (2) learning a new system (3) inexpensive cloud based software often does not have the security infrastructure in place to adequately store your financials, owner information, tenant information, etc.
In my experience, the answer to your question is dependent on what your short and longterm goals are.
I have 1 sfr as well and have not used any software for the 2 years I’ve had it. But , it will probably be turning over in the spring and I’m looking into using some type of software/app when we re-lease it. I’ve heard good things about Cozy, and was on their website just yesterday! It looks very well put together and user friendly, and I like the idea of integrating the screening process into online marketing 👍🏼.
@Michelle Clark how was your experience with buildium? I've been looking for an online property management tool, and have come across the name buildium a few times, although, I've heard that it's not the best tool for those under 100 properties
The system was great for me, we recently switched to Appfolio.
LandlordMax is what i use. Has every feature you could need. Cost is a bit steep at 199 bucks, but its only a one time charge.
@Michelle Clark any particular reason for switching? a friend of mine who is also a property investor tried out appfolio and mentioned that it's a little on the pricey side even with all the features that it has, any thoughts based on your experience?
It all depends on what features you are wanting. I use excel to track income and expenses.
Yeah it was a lot of reason. Try it out let me know how it works.
@Jackie Creighton some of those are expensive for investors with < 100 or so. Check all the features of the various products and compare costs. They vary widely. You know the old say, you get what you pay for.