General Landlording & Rental Properties

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John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
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Buildium to Appfolio Implementation Help

John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
Posted Sep 6 2017, 13:45

Our company has been using Buildium for about 3 years.  We created a property management company and realized that Buildium was going to be a huge challenge the way it is currently setup.  We decided to switch to Appfolio and it has been a real challenge.  It just isn't apples to apples and the accounting is setup in a non-customizable way that may not even work for our company.

Lastly, the staff or "Implementation Team" is not very helpful and don't even seem very knowledgeable in their own software, that's if we can actually get them on the phone.

Has anyone else had these issues with their switch?

Has anyone used a Third Party Appfolio consultant to help with this implementation?

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Tracy Streich
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Tulsa- OKC Oklahoma
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Tracy Streich
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Tulsa- OKC Oklahoma
Replied Sep 6 2017, 13:57

I made the switch about 5 years ago.   It was very difficult   Now looking at some other options.   PM me if you want to discuss.   

Broker Oklahoma (#156017)

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Kim Meredith Hampton
  • Real Estate Broker
  • St Petersburg & Orlando
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Kim Meredith Hampton
  • Real Estate Broker
  • St Petersburg & Orlando
Replied Sep 6 2017, 14:16

John,

We made the switch back in 2009 and have found AppFolio to be the best decision we ever made. Changing software is never easy, give it a chance.
Try contacting a woman named Brenda Bryan out of the northwest
She helped during our transition, just not sue she is still around

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John Lenhart
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Cincinnati, OH
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John Lenhart
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Cincinnati, OH
Replied Sep 6 2017, 14:20

We have looked into switching from Buildium to Appfolio. Would love to hear the experiences. I understand switching is always a pain, but it does seem that Appfolio has better functionality. Can anyone speak to this?

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John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
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John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Sep 6 2017, 18:23
Originally posted by @Kim Meredith Hampton:

John,

We made the switch back in 2009 and have found AppFolio to be the best decision we ever made. Changing software is never easy, give it a chance.
Try contacting a woman named Brenda Bryan out of the northwest
She helped during our transition, just not sue she is still around

 Thanks Kim, I was wondering about the accounting aspect.  Do you use Quickbooks or another accounting software along with Appfolio, or do you use the Appfolio accounting module for all of your accounting.  

The issue we are running into is double and triple entries required by our bookkeeper because Appfolio accounts don't sync.  

For instance, we have multiple companies that are the "owners" of the companies.  We also have the main management company that manages our own rentals and others properties.  The transactions should mirror each other because a credit in the owner account would be the same as the debit in the management account, but they don't sync at all.  That is just one issue we are having.

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Kim Meredith Hampton
  • Real Estate Broker
  • St Petersburg & Orlando
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Kim Meredith Hampton
  • Real Estate Broker
  • St Petersburg & Orlando
Replied Sep 6 2017, 18:36

@John Horner if you would like, your bookkeeper can talk with our bookkeeper. 

You can create "groups" so that there is some sort of separation.

We do our corporate bills in QuickBooks.

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Jeff Watson
  • Investor
  • St George, UT
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Jeff Watson
  • Investor
  • St George, UT
Replied Sep 6 2017, 20:12

We signed onto AF about 2 years ago and we almost have a small grip on how to use it. My on site managers hate it because you need a minor in accounting to get around it. Don't even get me started on trying to use it for "by the bed" rentals or explaining to a tenant why the CC fees are insane. And yes, customer support is non existent. Other than all that, it is affordable and has a ton of new features being added all the time. 
We ended up hiring a part time accountant just to keep things straight. The key is to force your people to learn it. Its not easy or fun. I am constantly catching my managers making their own spreadsheets to track tenant info cause it is so painful to do in AF.

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John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
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John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Sep 7 2017, 06:18
Originally posted by @Jeff Watson:

We signed onto AF about 2 years ago and we almost have a small grip on how to use it. My on site managers hate it because you need a minor in accounting to get around it. Don't even get me started on trying to use it for "by the bed" rentals or explaining to a tenant why the CC fees are insane. And yes, customer support is non existent. Other than all that, it is affordable and has a ton of new features being added all the time. 
We ended up hiring a part time accountant just to keep things straight. The key is to force your people to learn it. Its not easy or fun. I am constantly catching my managers making their own spreadsheets to track tenant info cause it is so painful to do in AF.

 Thanks for the info, unfortunately not what I was hoping to hear :)

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Josh Sterling
  • Real Estate Investor
  • Southgate, MI
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Josh Sterling
  • Real Estate Investor
  • Southgate, MI
Replied Sep 12 2017, 19:42

We've been using buildium for about 3 years (manage 400 units). I have really been thinking about making the switch to appfolio but the comments above make me question that. 

While I know buildium had its issues, we have numerous work arounds in our ops manual, everything I read online seems to be positive about appfolio.

The features I'm most interested in are the ability to automatically post listings to our Wordpress website, the ability to automatically send owner statements, a more direct billing system for work orders.

Has anyone that made the switch found it to be reasonably possible when you were already managing several hundred units? 

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Ryan Swan
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Phoenix, AZ
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Ryan Swan
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Phoenix, AZ
Replied Sep 12 2017, 20:55

I personally use Buildium, but only for a dozen properties that I self manage. It blows my mind how many "features" are lacking in Buildium, and how long it takes to roll out "enhancements" (their roll out cycle is like 3-5 years). 

Anyway, I was in a continuing education class and the property manager sitting next to me was showing me his AppFolio setup. It looked really slick, and the features completely blew away Buildium's offering. He managed about ~350 properties and said Appfolio was the bedrock of his business, and couldn't see working without it. Hope that anecdote helps!

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John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
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John Horner
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Sep 29 2017, 07:03

Just as an update to this feed, after 3 months of implementation, thousands of dollars of investment into Appfolio, and time and effort on the part of us and our employees, we decided to cancel Appfolio and continue with Buildium, our current system.

The implementation process was excruciating, and ultimately, when we were supposedly "up and running", it was still not working, AT ALL.

Here are the problems we had with Appfolio:

Zero support:  If you have a question about a current system, or God forbid something isn't working correctly, they send you to a video that explains how it would work, if it was working correctly.  Unfortunately, it rarely worked correctly, we had 6-7 contacts throughout our entire implementation  process, none of which could help at all with tech support when something went wrong.

Zero Customization: Their system is their system, you cannot change it, they will not change it.  We found dozens of processes in the system that just didn't make sense.  So you wither have to change your business to the system, or create a work around that takes even longer.

Poor Communication: We were told we would have dedicated staff to our implementation that would help us along the way.  Once that part was completed "Which in our minds it never was" we were given a new team.  These Appfolio employees were EXTREMELY hard to get a hold of.  They would not answer or return calls, they would not respond to support tickets, they would not respond to emails.  Our implementation was dragged out an extra money, which we paid an extra $250 for, simply because their team cancelled scheduled meetings to go over certain aspects of the system.

I wouldn't recommend Appfolio to anyone.  I am glad we are back on our old system.

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Josh Sterling
  • Real Estate Investor
  • Southgate, MI
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Josh Sterling
  • Real Estate Investor
  • Southgate, MI
Replied Sep 29 2017, 07:35

@John Horner We went through the initial sales call with Appfolio last week. I was initially excited to see what they offered compared to buildum, as I felt buldium was lacking a few features.

Luckily, during that process a buildum "account manager" reached out to me (I think they heard we were considering leaving buildum during one of our support phone calls). He ended up being extremely helpful and, to my surprise, it turned out that buildum actually had almost all of the features I was looking for in appfolio, I just didn't know they existed.

We are now committed to sticking with buildum.