Buildium ups prices by over 50% for little-guys - so, tell us what you're using and why?

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I just got a note telling me my monthly cost for Buildium's services will climb from $25 to $40 a month.  This is significant to me since, I only have 3 units to begin with and I will be paying as much as if I had them helping me with 24.

I am sure I am not the only person who will be shopping around and trying other services out so my question is - what cloud-based property management software are you using now, what is the monthly rate, how many units do you manage, and what are your likes and dislikes?  I know there are a lot of opinions and threads out there on this very topic, but I started this one assuming a) a small-time landlord or PM, and b) recent comparison as both Buildium and others have been adding features lately.

I am both looking to be as paper-less as possible, and I like to access the service from a tablet on the go.  I also live out of state from my properties but coordinate closely with a single on-site maintenance person,  so I am predominately looking for the web/cloud based services that we can both log into and interact with, and not a quickbooks style solution.

Yeah, I saw this and was a little disappointed as well.  However, I really like the system and will probably stick with it.

I guess I would first ask, why do you even need a software like this for only three rentals?  You would probably be fine just using excel and email.  I signed up for buildium once I hit 19 doors because my system was strained, and have been very pleased so far.  I doubt I would have appreciated all the benefits when I only had a few units.

My guess is that like most landlording expenses, a decent, cloud-based, property management software is going to be relatively expensive when you are just starting out but will become more reasonable once you've achieved scale.

@Paul J.  

I saw this price increase hit my inbox this morning and had the same disappointed reaction that you are experiencing.

I joined Buildium two months ago and prior to signing up I conducted some relatively thorough research and Buildium was by far the best bang for the buck. In fact, it was far less expensive than nearly everything out there. I am sure that is why they are upping the price.

Well, at this point I am trying to build a scalable system so there's less re-work on the back end as things get larger.  I am currently focusing on a single out-of-state market, and I hope to bring in some partners or otherwise offer services to other folks in my local California market who want to purchase properties out-of-state.

I also appreciate the reports and financial reporting, it made doing my taxes very easy last year and it also helps keep my maintenance guy and I on-track with to-do's and their priority.

Sure, theres probably a handful of other tools out there that could fill in different pieces of this puzzle but I wsas hoping to lay the groundwork once and continue at a pace of a couple units per year, and I think it's especially important to have a professional and simple system in place when presenting the processes to a potential partner.

Anyways, I am not jumping ship at this point but seeing that my year paid-in-full expires in February, I figured it's a good time to be sure that I liek the product more than any others, as January 1 would pretty much be the perfect time for me to cut the accounting over to another potential system.

Does anyone else have things they like or disliek about another service thats at a similar price-point?

Got the same note from Buildium...definitely disappointed, especially considering how lacking it still is with regard to many key features. 

The next cheapest online option (to my knowledge) is RenTec direct. It's $15 for the Pro version, up to 25 units. The PM version is still only $25 for up to 25 units. I tried RenTec several years ago but never fully jumped in.

You might find some other options here: http://online-property-management-review.toptenrev...

Medium hs logo mediumRyan Swan, HomeSmart of Scottsdale | [email protected] | 480‑332‑7296 | http://www.RyanSwanAZRealty.com | AZ Agent # SA661174000

Hey guys,

Michael here. I'm the CEO and co-founder of Buildium.

First, let me say we lost a lot of sleep over the last several months thinking about pricing. No one likes it when their price increases, including me.

So I get it.

It's a sensitive topic, but the truth is our old pricing wasn't sustainable for our company. At $25/month, it takes us nearly two years to break even. That's not our customers' problem, but it's a reality we could not continue to ignore.

Even with the increase, though, we believe Buildium is still a great value when compared with other comprehensive solutions that include accounting, e-payments, tenant screening, rental listing syndication, maintenance, and other integrated services.

I know there are other options like Cozy and Rentalutions, but I don't know them well enough to recommend them.

Please let me know if anyone finds a less expensive option that meets their needs. We would love to recommend an alternative to folks who determine Buildium provides more than they need.

Michael

@Michael Monteiro  Thanks for chiming in. 

While we have your ear, I thought I'd ask a couple questions:

1) You claim you are constantly adding features, but it seems Buildium is  extremely slow in implementing new features that your CUSTOMERS ask for the most. Looking at the "customer ideas" suggestion center in Buildium, there are literally dozens upon dozens of requested features with hundreds of votes that have not been implemented. For example, the top requested feature "ability to customize reports" was posted in May 2011 and has 844 votes and 98 comments, yet it still hasn't been implemented. I sure hope part of the increased monthly dues will go towards hiring more developers to implement these requested features (features that many of your competitors already have). 

2) A few months ago, the way rental listings are displayed on the public website seemed to change arbitrarily and without notice. At first I thought there was an error with my own page, so I contacted support. They told me this was the new intended functionality. I was surprised and angry that you made a change that affected my LIVE public site without so much as a heads up or warning. I used to work in web development and I can tell you a client would have fired us if we made a significant change to their public site without notifying them it was coming.

Medium hs logo mediumRyan Swan, HomeSmart of Scottsdale | [email protected] | 480‑332‑7296 | http://www.RyanSwanAZRealty.com | AZ Agent # SA661174000

I think Buildium's change in pricing accurately reflects the complexity & cost of developing and supporting software like this. You're trusting sensitive and work-critical data with people who should be justifiably skilled. A single high-level developer in a tier-1 city may make $100k/year or more; the work is difficult, very detail oriented and often stressful. Then you have technology costs, legal, security... just keeping the lights on is not cheap.

Having said that, I don't like changing pricing on existing customers. But inflation doesn't pass over people in the programming industry...

I worked as a web and database programmer for 5 years, so I know more than most how complex these multi-faceted web applications are. But not implementing the MOST requested feature enhancement in 3 years is inexcusable and unacceptable. 

Medium hs logo mediumRyan Swan, HomeSmart of Scottsdale | [email protected] | 480‑332‑7296 | http://www.RyanSwanAZRealty.com | AZ Agent # SA661174000

Hey Ryan,

Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. I too have been unhappy with the pace of improvements, particularly around our core accounting functionality. That's why we created a dedicated team to focus on it.

The first tangible results of that effort were realized earlier this year when our software was approved by North Carolina for complying with their trust accounting guidelines. We also worked closely with experts in the state of California to make sure our reports complied with their guidelines as well. Why North Carolina and California? Because they are leading the way regarding trust accounting guidelines for property managers.

That's not to say we don't have more work to do. We have a ways to go, but we're making good progress. For example, we'll knock another high vote getter off the list later this year with the ability to make partial bill payments. I'm embarrassed it's taken us so long, but we'll continue to deliver a number of high value improvements this year and beyond.

Thanks for your business and your continued support.

I use quicken property management.  I have 11. And I am fine with it. I am sure I don't have the same fancy reports like the rest of you,  but I know what o spend on since I record everything. 

I am disappointed with the rate increase, but I like Buildium's service, and therefore, I am going to stick with them.

Quickbooks is all you need. It's who everyone else is trying to be anyway so just go with the real McCoy. 

Michael - thank you mentioning Rentalutions.  I can empathize with the hours of thought that goes into pricing. It's not fun.

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@Paul J.  I've always had hybrid property management (multiple PMs) due to having in- and out-of-state rentals. I don't want to recreate what full service PMs provide, but I do monitor my portfolio.

I nearly always have my tablet with me, so expect cloud-based service. I'm trying to move to a paperless/anywhere office as much as possible.

Have you taken a look at Structure.PM? I just started testing it out (learned about it via BP), so don't have an in-depth review, but I like several things:

  • integrated views of properties, key lease info and high level status
  • can save and integrate vendors, make and track repair requests, email them, etc. 
  • standard form letters built in; also code for craigslist
  • easy to get started and is streamlined overall
  • price is free or minimal ($9 per month) depending on users/units

I used to track some of this in Excel, but it doesn't work well with iPad.

I tried Quickbooks online, but it seemed like overkill. I already have an accountant.

My impression is that there's a market opportunity for an easy, online PM offering that focuses on the management aspect, and Structure fits the bill. I'm interested to hear if others have tried it.

Susan, thanks for the reply.  I am going to take a look at a few of them over the next few months and make a decision at that point.  Rentec also seems to offer quite a few features that rent even active yet in Buildium for $15 per month.  I agree that being able to do business from the tablet is key.  My holdings are also out of state, and I share my PM duties with an in-town maintenance person so cloud-based is also pretty key for us to be able to interoperate.

Buildium has directed this price increase squarely at the little guy by removing the 25 unit category. Anyone with 1 to 30 units is going to be much worse off than before. I personally have 21 units and am looking at a 250% price increase when (if) I come to renew.

Buildium has been inviting to the small property manager over the past several years with reasonable pricing, and decent/fair software and service offering.

They got us hooked by having us invest our time in learning the package and getting everything setup properly, as well as our money in setup fees etc.

While I can imagine Buildium's new venture capitalists are putting pressure on Michael to maximum their return on investment, making a decision to focus on the big guys and openly show the small guys the door is both shortsighted and a real slap in the face to those who onboarded early and built Buildium to what it is today.

Really sad to see a great company make such a stupid decision.

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Has anyone tries sparkrent (by intuit) for ACH and CC rental payment ?

I was just about to sign up with Buildium but noticed the price increase....now it is way out of my budget.  I am using ***********.com but they don't offer any accounting features and they are slow to update.  What I do like about them is that I can send and sign leases online.  

I will start using 123landlord next property.  Their pricing is awesome and seem to offer some good features.