2020 Best Property Management Software

16 Replies

What are you guys all using for software? Between:

1) Cozy

2) Tellus

3) RentRedi

4) TenantCloud

5) Buildium

The list is extensive. I want something that produces easy to read financial statements, ability to collect rent, blocks partial payments and is easy to use. Having access via mobile is an added plus.

Thanks all!

@Mike M. I am currently managing 32 units of my own in the Berwyn and Cicero markets here in Chicago. I use cozy.co, and it has been great for the price. 

Pros: Free rent collection, very intuitive, has a nice maintenance work order feature built in

Cons: Does not allow you to block partial payments, does not produce detailed financials, rents take FOREVER to clear. 

I recommend cozy.co all the time to people with small portfolios. I think the only down side that really gets me is that rents take 7 days to clear. The issue with this is that if a check bounces when a tenant initiates payment on the 5th, I don't find out till the 12th. That is not ideal. 

@Mike M. - I use Buildium.  I love it, but I'm transferring to Appfolio as I see Appfolio being able to handle all of our future growth.

-Online rental payment acceptance

-Automatic late fee calculations

-E-lease signing from anywhere

-Screening and applications built in

-Mass USPS mail send with a click of a button

-Mass Text messaging with a click of a button

I could keep going.  A good PM software is the way to go

Originally posted by @Mike M. :

What are you guys all using for software? Between:

You've got to try them out yourself. You could get five people telling you the reports in Cozy.co are excellent but then you find them confusing. I could tell you how great RentTec is, but then you find the interface annoying.

Go sign up for a few free accounts and run them through the wringer. Find out which one works best for your needs, wants, and tastes.

@Michael Ablan my only caution about Appfolio is lack of integration. As you grow, you may want to sign up for other services and my understanding, Appfolio is one of the few that doesn’t allow you to integrate with other services.

I’ve also seen many complaints about the inaccuracy of their background checks, so look for another service for that if you do go with them.

I went with Rentec for quick and cheap setup, but we are planning to move to Rent Manager in the new year.

We are using Rentec Direct and really like it so far. We have 30 units across 4 entities so use the PM version, and only ran one of the entities in the accounting portion of it last year, but plan to do all next year (We use Sage Accounting  from our 'day job' business for the others right now, but it is WAY overkill I feel). The only downside is that is does not do 'balance sheet' type stuff, but we use an accountant who  takes care of all that anyways.

@Lila Ravve could you share how many units you have, what Rentec is NOT doing for you that you want it too, and what you think Rent Manager will do for you that Rentec won't?

Thanks, Dan Dietz

@Daniel Dietz Sorry, I don’t seem to always get the notifications on this platform.

It does the basics, but is limited when you want more sophisticated features. My bookkeeper has to use QuickBooks to fully track the books and when we move to Rent Manager, she will do all the accounting in Rent Manager.

Rent Manager has a mobile app my maintenance guys can use to capture photos for work on units.

We have about 300 units. While Rentec let us setup tenant portals, it’s not the easiest to use and my team spend a lot of time walking tenants through questions.

We are also concerned about tracing activity in the software. Someone can make a change and it is not always tracked.

I think for under 50 units it’s a good tool for the price.

My vote goes to QuickBooks.  I use QuickBooks Pro, which is soon to be moved to Enterprise Solutions, or some other name.  It's not really intended for Property Management, but works really well when you know the "work arounds" such as setting the property up as Customer, and setting the tenant up as the Job.  I like it because it will allow you to import word documents into QuickBooks, then edit the word document to accommodate QB data fields, thereby allowing you to produce mass mailing type documents quickly  (very much like the "mail-merge" between Excel and MS Word).  For you guys out there with several hundred properties under management, this is a really impressive time-saver, and for those of you with just a few properties, it makes your documents such as 3-day notices look really professional (no typos, and the math is always correct).  The Attach feature is also really handy.  It allows you to attach pdf document copies and pictures to customers, jobs, and vendors.  You can click on the attach icon and open a copy of the tenant's lease, or the vendor's invoice, or the picture of his work

QuickBooks also has a really impressive capability to produce nearly any kind of report you'd need.  When I was working for a property management company in Denver, we had about 350 units under management, and as office manager, part of my duties included keeping track of the tenant's rent payments.  Having the ability to create a report that showed me exactly who had not paid their rent and included their phone number and e-mail address allowed me to contact them with a friendly reminder before they got the "nasty-gram" 3-day notice on their door, or in their hand.  But that's just an example of the background type reports that can be created.  The statements that you would want to create for the owners are really clear and can contain month-to-date and year-to-date data in a side by side format.  They can also be tailored to include summary information, or detailed information, whatever the property owner prefers.  QuickBooks has quite an array of standard reports that you can download, modify to your needs, and save to your company file, or you can choose a "contributed" report (that was not produced by Intuit) that you can run, modify to your needs, and likewise save to your company file.

The Help section of QuickBooks is also very good at explaining how to do the account set-up, Customer and Job set-up so that the data entered can be sorted accurately.  I will say that the account set-up is critical, so it's wise to have someone trained in QuickBooks (Intuit offers training seminars at various locations several times a year--well worth the price) as well as bookkeeping/accounting to get you up and running.  You can also do the Community Help thing if the help topics resident in the program don't tell you what you need to know.

And oh yeah, QuickBooks has a mobile app and will let you accept payments electronically or by Credit Card (Yeah, Danny DiVito's commercials are correct).  And QuickBooks will allow you to download transactions from your bank via either QBO file format (proprietary, I believe) or .csv file format.

And oh yeah, "cloud based" computing.  Through Summit Hosting or other cloud servers, you can set up so that everybody who needs access to your company file does not have to be in the same location.  My boss can work from his office whenever he can, and I can work on my laptop in my jammies at 4:00 in the morning if I want to, with my dog on my lap. Then, next time my boss logs in, he can see what I've done, and I can see what he's done. 

The "And oh yeah"s could continue, but I would rather suggest that you download a free trial from Intuit, use it for a while, then decide if the huge and powerful capabilities don't beat the heck out of what the other software subscription services can do for you.

Hi Mike, Great question and I'm happy to hear that you're doing your research. There are a lot of great options out there; aside from providing the basics, some services also offer your tenants additional capabilities which makes it an easier sell on your end when getting them to transition over. Either way, you're on BP so you're in the right place.

Although I'm late to the game for this question, I thought I would chime in.  I currently use Cozy.co for collection on 7 units and it has performed well.  @John Warren is absolutely correct about the time it takes for clearance.  You can pay $3/Door to expedite, but I have not had the need yet.  It is notable that Cozy was acquired by Apartments.com some time ago, but they have just recently announced that the "transition" will happen soon.  This could bring better screening, advertising and overall features if they continue to invest in the platform.  For the small investor, the rent collection is great.  I give it a C- on managing expenses, but that's not their sweet spot.