After toiling away with Excel lo the last many years, I'd like to invest in a property management software. I understand AppFolio but they won't manage anything under 50 units. I'm looking for a platform to manage 10-15 this year and manage growth for next year. I'm aware of Tenant Cloud and Avail but haven't dug into either quite yet.
Everyone is going to love the software they use, my best advise is to pick about 3 to 5 of them and setup test accounts. Then start putting them through your normal processes and see which one will work for you.
We used Avail but it had too many issues for us to keep. We paid the extra $5.00 to get rent payments next day. Well it really didn't happen and wasn't worth it. There were other system issues that hinder accounting process.
Tenant Cloud, we looked at it but you have to sign up to a separate service in order to offer online rental payments. Why? It should be part of the same platform.
We ended up using Innago. It met 85% of our needs and it has a very easy setup process for our tenants. Good Luck.
There are lots of great options out there. You can narrow it down a bit by determining which features you are looking for. For example, some software has built-in rental accounting but with others, you have to pay extra. Some have built-in tenant screening and others allow you to automate late fees.
Many have free trials so you can try them out before you commit. Then once you have decided, most of them should scale easily with your projected growth.
The above advice is solid. You'll never find perfect software, so figure out your primary pain points. Sign up for trial accounts with 3-5 different platforms and start testing them. Enter a new rental into each one. Market a unit. Run a fake application. Enter and track a maintenance request. How does it handle communication? Payments? What reports are available for you as the owner?
Find the one that works best for you and sign up. After 1-2 years of use, you'll know if it's really lacking in a particular area and will be better able to shop for something more complete.
We use Propertyware, have experience with Buildium and have played with Appfolio and RentManager.
Buildium is for smaller companies.
The other three are tied, the differences being how much automation & customization you want to do.
If you don't see yourself growing beyond 150 units, go with Buildium.
If you're not very techy and plan to grow over 150 units, we'd recommend Appfolio.
If you're techy and plan to grow over 150 units, we'd recommend Propertyware or RentManager.
Of course, schedule some demos, take GREAT notes and them make your decision.
FYI - there are MANY new options on the market, RentRedi, TenantCloud, Apartments.com, Rentec, most will not survive, so you would then have to switch:(