Can I please have some input on the best programs/software others have used when they only have a handful of rental properties. I researched through the bigger pockets list, but real person feedback would also be helpful. Thank you!
@Laura P. I currently manage 29 doors here in Berwyn, Lyons and Cicero, IL. I use cozy.co for the rent collection on over 75% of the units (some tenants pre-date my switch and are still using checks). Other than cozy, I primarily use a spread sheet for everything else. I don't think the maintenance warrants its own system yet to be honest. I can keep track of on going project on a legal pad.
For accounting/ book keeping, check out quicken home & business desktop software, which has a rental module to allow you to download all transactions from your bank/ credit cards, then tag transactions by property and categorize them by IRS expense category. At year-end, I can output a schedule-E form for the year from quicken and hand it to my accountant for processing. I think it looks easier to setup and use than quickbooks. For tenant screening, consider using Naborly which offers free online applications/ screening reports for landlords and applicants and has a pretty comprehensive report. I just used it for my latest rental and it had all of the info I needed to select the best qualified applicant. It removes the barrier of a app fee getting in the way of getting more applicants to apply. Alternatively, look at Tellus free smartphone app/ PM software which basically incorporates Naborly screening along with tenant maintenance/ communications and free ACH bank payments. Its a newer entrant but I just started using and it has good support and relatively easy to setup and use (and free). I've used cozy and its great but the rent deposits for the free service into landlord account were closer to 5-7 days rather than the advertised 3-5 days for tellus.
I use Tellus app. It's a mobile app that works great for people with a handful of rentals. Rent collection and expense tracking are the things I use most but it also has screening and listings and it's all free. I use tenant chat but my tenants aren't really chatty, we use it to schedule repairs mostly. I'd recommend checking it out! If you prefer handling things on your phone versus a computer it's really a time saver.
Previously I used spreadsheets. Wasn't great for mobile (google spreadsheets on the phone is so so painful for me) and I also couldn't keep pictures of the receipts so it didn't feel complete.