Property Management Software for Investor That Self Manages

11 Replies

Hello Fellow BP Users,

I'm an real estate investor that self manages a portfolio of SFH/MF and small commercial. I've completed demos and research of several of the programs out there (appfolio, propertyware, buildium) but haven't found the comprehensive tool that I am looking for and was wondering what other users like best. My primary goals are as follows:

- Have a tool that automates the tenant mgmt process (the programs mentioned above seem to have this functionality

- Be able to leverage the tool into a property management service provider in the future, also seems to be in realm of these programs

- Be comprehensive for an investor and provide financial analysis. For example, I want to be able to include my cost of acquisition, manage my projects (schedule, bids, communication, drawings) and apply ongoing performance to the basis to calculate IRR, hold value, levered returns, mortgage paydown, etc.

- A tool that has everything in one place for a investor and a fee based property manager. After all, why wouldn't my future investor clients want the same financial information that I want?

Any feedback or experiences are appreciated.



Petra Investment Partners

If you plan to be a Property Manager in the future, you will need to be a Broker, or work for one who does Property Management.  There are, I believe, only 3 states that says you only need to be licensed, so you will have to check with your state laws regarding that matter.

As far as the software, if you do become a Property Manager, QuickBooks is good, but not too many people want to use Quickbooks how it is supposed to be used, to be able to use it for Property Management, (managing other people's properties).  Since you have already taken a "test drive" of various programs, it will be up to you as to what you want to choose. 

But do check into the laws of your state in regards to being a Licensed Property Manager.

Nancy Neville

Good job, @Noah Swank  !  I self-manage my own portfolio as well.  Will never need a license to manage my own property that I have a vested interest in.  You shouldn't either.  My favorite, easy to use software is Rental Property Manager from Quicken.  I don't know what the latest version is (2.0 maybe?) I have the old version and really like it.  Tried quickbooks and was so lost so fast.  Didn't want to take a 6-month course on how to use it.  With rental prop mgr I can convert easily auto-populate taxes, too.  And it's cheap.  I don't work for them in any way, I just like their software.  Good luck! 

Oh shoot, sorry @Noah Swank  .  Just read how you want to manage projects, calculate IRRs and such.  Rental Property Manager doesn't do all that.  Sorry for the bad referral!  

Thanks Steve, I still appreciate the information (and positive comments!) Does Quicken Rental Property Manager QRPM handle any of the marketing, tenant epay or maintenance? My thought was that QRPM may be a little more direct to  rentals but not fully integrated like I'm looking for regarding tenant mgmt and investment analysis

Thanks Nancy, my wife is a licensed realtor in Kansas so I think we'll be ok there, but I will look into it further. I like Quickbooks for alot of things and I use it on a couple other businesses but it doesn't manage the tenants, maintenance work orders or marketing for real estate

My old version of QRPM doesn't manage marketing.  Newer versions probably have a lot of e-pay features and platforms for estimating on top of the normal stuff.  I just use it to manage multiple properties, multiple tenants, their move-in dates, lease terms, security deposits, income, expenses, etc.  Just day to day landlord operations is what I use it for.  For the cost, it's great for me.  

Actually Noah, your wife must be a Broker, and even though she is a licensed Realtor, (I am too,) I can't do Property Management on my own) can use QuickBooks to do all the things that you want to do. 

  • You list the properties as a class
  • Then You list the owners of the property as a Customer
  • Then List the properties of the owners as a job of the Owners (Customers)
  • Then List the Tenants as a job of the rental property.

Example:  If you are a Property Manager

Setup Class Section of QuickBooks as follows

Owner:  James Day  as a class

        12345 His rental Address   as a sub-class

        67896  His rental Address   as a sub-class

Owner:  Michelle Belle  as a class

        8942  Easy Lane Apartments  as a sub class  (The apartment Building)

        8942  Easy Lane Apartments Unit 1   as a sub class   as the unit

       8942  Easy Lane Apartments Unit 2    as a sub class as the unit

IN THE CUSTOMER CENTER you would set it up exactly the same way.  But instead of using the word sub class, in the customer center indenting means "Job"  make it a "Job" of the owner.  Make it a Job of the building.  Make the tenant a job of the building.

Sold Properties  as a class

      List properties that sold as a sub class

Purchased Properties as a class

     List all purchased properties as a sub class

Territory   as a class

      East Side Drive   as a sub class   

You would link all income and expenses to the property you entered in as a class.

You can turn the Estimate forms into Work Orders and link them to the properties (the building).

If you are buying and selling, you could set up a Class for sold Properties, and a Class for Properties Purchased.  You can even have a class called Territories. (If you want to keep track of what territory is making you money. 

You have to have two company files when you are a jack of all trades.  As a Broker you would need one company file for your Property Management Business.

Then you need another Company File to keep track of your investors, Landlords you manage properties for. 

You cannot mingle the two entities. 

So keep all this in mind. 

Nancy Neville

Thanks Nancy and Steve for the information

Noah I'm from Wichita as well and a little late to this topic if it's still relevant for you.

However based on what you describe Buildium from my experience will meet most of your demands.  As far as managing a rehab project - soliciting bids, managing drawings etc - I think it could be done but you'd have to be  a bit creative.  I'm in the process of having my own public web domain built -- for pretty much the very things you are doing.  It will tie in with the buildium site.

I've been playing around with Buildium's financial tools a bit more and it's more powerful than I think some are aware of -- of course it all hinges on how accurately and timely you keep the books/accounting.  However as I've told others - once it's set up it's fairly easy.



I've used Quicken Rental Property Manager and it was so awful it led to my quest of finding new software and eventually leading me to Buildium a few years ago.

RPM is absolute garbage.

QuickBooks does manage tenants, guests, vendor, subcontractors, rents, security deposit, depreciation, asset value, loans, reinvestment, work orders, time, property costing, cash flow, ROI and more.

-- Not marketing

---- It does have a lead center that you can track as a CRM. You can integrate other software to make it work. 

FYI - marketing software integrates with management software all in the back. And we do not even know it. A community within a community - just like Biggerpockets.

That is the beauty of JV partner, affiliate and partnering together.

Gita Faust

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