Best Property Management Software -get me off these excel sheets

19 Replies

I'm at the point in investment portfolio where excel spreadsheets just don't cut it.   I currently have 26 units and will be acquiring 22 more within the next few months.   I"m sure this topic has been discussed before but i haven't found many helpful posts in my search.

Excel spreadsheets have been good to me for managing my few properties, but as i grow i feel i need to have something a bit more streamlined and efficient with data all in one place.

I've looked into appfolio but it seems like its geared more towards larger property owners and management companies (and  a $250/month cost)   I'm currently trying out buildium and feeling my way around.   

I was looking for any input from other owners about what all-in-one system they use for an investor of my size (25-50 units).

I'm looking for something that 

has a Mobile App where i can input repair orders or notes easily, 

track upgrades repairs and updates for each unit

Easily input rent payments and also process ETF payments (I still have some elderly that prefer cash or paper check)

general accounting of expenses and income

generate or export data and reports since i love data and numbers

general ease of use 

tenant portal for those that want access to digital copies of their leases, view payments, or send repair requests

I'm sure most of the management software out there has most of those things, but i'd like to get some user opinion.

I personally like Quickbooks Online, as a caveat I am a bookkeeper. 

QBO is able to set up recurring payments with card or ACH transfer. They have a mobile app. They have powerful tools for tracking all of your expenses based on location and type and you can customize this to whatever fits your needs. You can set up your expense accounts to fit whatever needs you have. You can export all different types of numbers as well and this is a short list. When all these are combined you can see how profitable each property is, how much you have in down payments, how much you have in unpaid rents, and so much more. 

They do not have a tenant portal that I'm aware of, though. There might be third party apps that provide something like this, but I haven't looked in a while. 

The downside is that if you're not familiar with it, it can take a little while to learn all the nuances. Isn't necessarily difficult, just takes time to learn how it's all structured. 

Jonathan Rash

Rashional Bookkeeping, LLC

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

I'm at the point in investment portfolio where excel spreadsheets just don't cut it.   I currently have 26 units and will be acquiring 22 more within the next few months.   I"m sure this topic has been discussed before but i haven't found many helpful posts in my search.

Excel spreadsheets have been good to me for managing my few properties, but as i grow i feel i need to have something a bit more streamlined and efficient with data all in one place.

I've looked into appfolio but it seems like its geared more towards larger property owners and management companies (and  a $250/month cost)   I'm currently trying out buildium and feeling my way around.   

I was looking for any input from other owners about what all-in-one system they use for an investor of my size (25-50 units).

I'm looking for something that 

has a Mobile App where i can input repair orders or notes easily, 

track upgrades repairs and updates for each unit

Easily input rent payments and also process ETF payments (I still have some elderly that prefer cash or paper check)

general accounting of expenses and income

generate or export data and reports since i love data and numbers

general ease of use 

tenant portal for those that want access to digital copies of their leases, view payments, or send repair requests

I'm sure most of the management software out there has most of those things, but i'd like to get some user opinion.

 Ohh man I remember excel sheets. We got our portfolio up to 80 or 90 units using them then made the switch to Property Management software. There are several big ones out there. Appfolio, Buildium & Rentec all come to mind. Buildium & Rentec are two that I have used personally. I didn't like Buildium's interface as much so we've been rocking Rentec for years. As we grew other businesses we've started using a combination of Rentec & Quickbooks as we've got like 6 other vertically integrated businesses. All told I am pretty pleased with the tech setup we're using.

I will throw in a vote for Rentec Direct. We have been using it for a couple years for tenant management side of things and doing accounting in Peach-tree Accounting which we use for our 'day job' business, but it is overkill and not easy to use without an accounting background. We are just this year switching over our accounting to Rentec too, and it seams like from the reports we can give to our accountant it is everything we need. We DO have to use the Property Management version, as we own our 30 unit in 7 different entities. Essentially we treat each entity as a different property owner. 

I am using Markate to run my small one man operation. It is quite nice. Very powerful with features I haven't even explored that would interest you as a landlord. 

It is more for a service based business but you could simply have each unit as an 'item' in your 'storefront' and your renters are in the customer table and you do a monthly billing. That is how I have my pressure cleaning services set up. There are small, medium and large houses each with a different price. You could treat each 'door' as an 'item' in your real estate businesses 'store'. 

Makate has all you really need as a 'front end' app. It has a scheduling feature so you can do a recurring 'invoice' each month. You could set up a recurring monthly 'appointment' (rent due) and Markate automates the whole process for you. Even sends out confirmation SMS messages and emails to remind of their 'appointment' in advance as an option. Then sends out an 'invoice' via email, SMS text message, or even an automated mailing/postcard option. Quite a streamlined setup.

It also has a powerful picture database you can utilize to store pics for all kinds of uses. It looks to be geared for before and after pics for work documentation. Same with expense tracking: has a picture based receipt filing system.

You can also use this to create a 'mobile friendly webpage' as your 'storefront'. At my storefront you can literally get an instant quote for pressure cleaning and schedule the appointment yourself, at the time of your convenience. All I have to do is follow the schedule. It is connected directly to my GoogleMyBusiness and also to my online QuickBooks software. 

I must say, this is a quite powerful CRM and quite a lot more as well. Just have to set it up creatively for your needs as a 'Real Estate Storefont'. 

I spent way too much of my time researching this a year ago. I found Appfolio to be the best but the price was just a tough pill to swallow so I declined. Their unit minimum is also 50 so I couldn't qualify at the time even if I wanted to. My management company will pass that threshold but for now I still run all of the excel sheets and we are right around 50 apartments under management currently. It's not as time consuming as you make it seem so I would recommend holding out a bit. We collect rent via Cozy and I have a master spreadsheet that I check off to ensure all rent is paid by the 5th. We then email the spreadsheets at the end of each month and maintenance requests are usually emailed to me or my other portfolio manager. 

@Account Closed congrats on adding so many units soon! Agree spreadsheets is tough -- it's basically impossible to do on the phone. Also hard to collaborate with other property managers or owners (I comanage with my mom and husband).

My suggestion is to try an app called Tellus. I use it for my rentals and it handles the stuff you mentioned. 

has a Mobile App where i can input repair orders or notes easily, -- yup. the app makes it REALLY easy to track stuff and input on the go. 

track upgrades repairs and updates for each unit - if you mean expense management? I use it to input receipts and you can also set notes.

Easily input rent payments and also process ETF payments (I still have some elderly that prefer cash or paper check) -- Yes, it collects rent for you with ACH but you can also manually input for the tenants that stick with cash.

general accounting of expenses and income -- yes

generate or export data and reports since i love data and numbers -- yes but it's not automatic. I tried the export function and their customer support sends it to you within a few hours. 

general ease of use -- my mom in her 60's is on it and she doesn't seem to have problems. she sometimes messages support when she can't figure it out.

tenant portal for those that want access to digital copies of their leases, view payments, or send repair requests -- the tenants have an app too. 

I should say that I don't have 50 units which is what you will be managing with within a few months. My neighbor is a property manager and she said if you plan on having hundreds of rentals appfolio is probably a good choice. She was doing 50 units and couldn't justify the cost. 

Originally posted by @Raiden Hoon:

I'm at the point in investment portfolio where excel spreadsheets just don't cut it.   I currently have 26 units and will be acquiring 22 more within the next few months.   I"m sure this topic has been discussed before but i haven't found many helpful posts in my search.

Excel spreadsheets have been good to me for managing my few properties, but as i grow i feel i need to have something a bit more streamlined and efficient with data all in one place.

I've looked into appfolio but it seems like its geared more towards larger property owners and management companies (and  a $250/month cost)   I'm currently trying out buildium and feeling my way around.   

I was looking for any input from other owners about what all-in-one system they use for an investor of my size (25-50 units).

I'm looking for something that 

has a Mobile App where i can input repair orders or notes easily, 

track upgrades repairs and updates for each unit

Easily input rent payments and also process ETF payments (I still have some elderly that prefer cash or paper check)

general accounting of expenses and income

generate or export data and reports since i love data and numbers

general ease of use 

tenant portal for those that want access to digital copies of their leases, view payments, or send repair requests

I'm sure most of the management software out there has most of those things, but i'd like to get some user opinion.

Raiden, it appears you're looking for a lot of accounting functionality.  Two options: a professional grade software like Buildium, Rentec, etc. or Tenant Cloud.

You might be too small to justify paying for the professional grade software.  While it's awkward to recommend one of our competitors, when it comes to landlord software Tenant Cloud has the best accounting features.  For a lot of users, that's a love it or hate it feature because it does require more work and can be daunting.

Most of your remaining items are industry standard.  ACH payments.  Maintenance tracking.  Etc.

@Tony Guardado still havent made a choice. Still on the spread sheets haha. I dod a buildium trial and wasnt too impressed. Appfolio seems great but its price point is off a bit.

Stessa seems ok but theres that you get what you pay for kind of thing as well.

Let me know your thoughts

@Raiden Hoon

Great feedback. I’m still on the spreadsheets. I did start playing with Cozy 2 weeks ago but don’t want to get too deep as I think I need more

I’m leaning toward AppFolio right now.

Hi, 
Just wondering how any of you liked Rentec Direct if you dug into it at all?

We have used it for about a year to keep 'customer data' and are now working on getting the accounting side of things set up.

We have 30 units, soon to be 45 or so across 5 different LLCs and a few just individually held in three different names. Rentec seems to work good from that aspect.
I am wondering before I put a lot more time into it if there is something you all thought it could NOT do good enough?

Thanks, Dan Dietz