Property Management Software for Small Individual Landlord?

13 Replies

Hi all,

I know there are lots of software programs out there but the ones I have looked at either do too much or too little and I'm not sure which ones I should look at.  I have used the old Rental Property Manager software for years before it merged into a Quicken product and was a stand-alone product.  It has worked great but is now getting kinda buggy and is about ten years old and only runs on an older PC.  When Quicken integrated it, it seemed to lose some of the features and was nowhere near as user friendly or provide the same information as when it was its own program.

I have 18 rentals and am unlikely to get any more and I only deal with my own so no multiple owners to track.  I purchased the 2017 Quicken Rental Property Manager and have been very disappointed.  Unlike my old stand-alone version, I don't see a way to track tenant balances very well at all.  The categories in the old program for types of expenses (that matched up with Turbotax) aren't there either.  I have many "low-end" properties and unfortunately don't live in a world where tenants pay on-time or even in full oftentimes.  Tracking the tenant payments and balances easily is actually the most crucial thing I am looking for although tracking expenses by category is good too. I don't care in the least about tracking work orders and various owners, etc.

I am doing a 30-day trial of Landlord Max but I think that it may be far too complicated and have way more than what I need. Is there a program out there that closely resembles the old stand-alone Rental Property Manager in terms of features and ease of use or is there another product that anyone can recommend for someone in my situation?  I feel like I have spent hours doing research but there is so much out there that it's pretty overwhelming.  Thanks for your help!

Our program works well for smaller or larger landlords. Some property investors who are not interested in full service property management services for their units simply hire us to operate the property management software and market the unit for rent. The investor shows the units, collects the rents, manages the tenants etc. We simply provide the documentation for this limited service management. Could be a viable option for what you're needing. In terms of a PMS system they are all pretty much designed to be fully functional these days, but most are better than pen and paper or simple excel spreadsheet that can have heavy human error attached. Hope that helps. Good luck to you.

Hi @Greg Stock , not sure that I can be of much use here as I don't have any experience with your current management software, Rental Property Manager.  I can suggest looking into the following software's if you have not as we have spent countless hours looking for software over the years.

Propertyware, Buildium, Rent Manager, Appfolio, Tenant Manager or Total Management.

Sorry I can't be of more help.  Best of luck! 

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My Property Management biz is in Palatine (west of Chicago), but I have had clients in Champaign.  If you want to use our software, I think to add 18 units to our block of 1,000 or whatever might cost my firm like an additional $5/month, I don't even know.  But I'd be happy to create you as a user in our system, and then you can try it out.  You can piggy back off our our having to buy packages of 50+ unit blocks. 

You're in Illinois, so for me it would be a win-win just to make another friend in IL.  Send me a message if you want me to set you up. We use Buildium.   

For the number of units you are managing, Buildium or Rentec are your best option in my opinion.   We use Appfolio and love it, but you need to have 100+ units for it to make financial sense.  Buildium and Appfolio are almost identical in function so I would start there.

Best of luck.

Hi @Greg Stock ,

There are a lot of modern solutions to help you.  With today's technology, you should not need to download anything to your PC.  Cloud-based software is extremely efficient and allows you to access anywhere.  Even better, cloud-based software typically continue to be updated with bugs or new features, without you having to update software on your computer.

Tracking Tenant Payments:  For most landlords, this is the primary goal they need for managing their rentals.  Luckily, most Landlord Software companies provide this solution.  I always encourage finding a free solution that does not have monthly membership.  There are a few out there that you can easily search for.  

Here is what you are looking for:

  • Automated Late Fees:  Software that will determine if the tenants have paid on-time or not.  Sending them email alerts.  This is standard among software companies.
  • Manually Enter Transactions:  With low-end rentals, there are tenants who may not be able to pay online.  Therefore it is important you can still manually enter your transactions.  If a software has manual transactions, they will definitely have automated transactions whenever renters pay online.  This will help you stay organized.
  • Partial Payments:  This is often the biggest difference between software companies.  If landlords are worried about their tenants not paying on-time, I assume there is a risk for partial payments.  As an FYI, partial payments can waive a landlords right to evict in a lot of states.  Therefore only allowing full payment is one way to protect the landlord.  If this is a big deal, meaning you only allow full payments, then make sure to confirm the software acts accordingly.

Quicken Categories: If you can export the management files into Excel, your best option would be replacing Software Category with Quicken Category, if they're different.  There are a lot of categories and each software might have slight variations of the same item (i.e. heating vs HVAC, Heating/Cool, etc.).  Don't let an exact match of categories be a deal breaker.

Hope this helps!

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@Greg Stock I hear great things about Cozy.co. In addition to a good software as a self-managed landlord you will need systems in place in order to keep track of your rentals like late notice days, weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance plans, a good network of vendors to handle your maintenance and repairs, etc

I hope this is helpful and good luck :)