Recently, we invested in a property management software system and all I have to say it is one of the best things we have ever done to help our business. The software system has made our lives as landlords so much easier that it has been well worth the investment.
Here are some of the software’s features.
- It handles all of the accounting, creating easy to read reports for monthly operations and for tax time.
- It produces timely reports regarding who has paid and who is behind.
- It will generate the appropriate letters to those who are behind.
- It comes with a website that provides us with an awesome web presence. On that webpage prospective tenants can:
- View all of our available properties with picture and descriptions
- Apply directly online for one of those properties
- Review our terms and policies
- Current tenants can use our webpage to:
- Set up automatic ACH rental payments
- Review their accounts
- Send us maintenance requests.
- The software automatically generates an ad on our webpage and on Craigslist and Backpage as well as other sites when a unit comes up for rent. Because of this feature, our out of state business has increased significantly.
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Why Property Management Software?
All of these features have greatly increased our efficiency and productivity. No more spreadsheets and no more trying to figure out quickbooks (ugh!). Even better, it has dramatically reduced the number of phone calls both from prospective tenants and current tenants because much of what they need can now be found online. In sum, this software has made our lives much, much easier.
Be warned though, using this software required a lot of upfront work imputing data. It does not automatically know anything about you or your properties. Someone has to input all of that stuff and that can take a significant amount of time. These systems can also be pricy and are not perfect as they are often designed more for a management company rather than owners/managers. Some of the phone apps also leave much to be desired but that will likely change in the near future as smart phones become more and more common.
Is It Worth It For You?
Depends. If you have a good accounting system in place and only a few properties it may not be worth it. But once you acquire 15 or 20 properties or hate the hassle of developing and posting ads and accounting these systems start to make economic sense. Then it may be time for you to look into this wise investment.
Be sure to shop around. There are many different companies out there, each offering different bundles of services and different pricing structures. Take a test drive on each one. After a few weeks of research, you will find the one that best fits your needs and trust me, you will never look back.
Those of you who use a property management software system, share your experience with your comments.