Monthly Archives: December 2023

How to Choose the Best Property Management Software: The Complete Guide

Property management is a complex business. As a property manager, you juggle tenant screening and onboarding, rent collection, maintenance requests, vendor communications, financial reporting, and much more on a daily basis.

To help simplify operations and provide organization, many managers turn to property management software. But with so many options on the market, how do you determine what solution is best for your rental properties?

This complete guide takes an in-depth look at everything you need to know to pick the ideal property management software for your business.

Determining Your Property Management Needs

Every rental business is unique, so your property management needs depend on your portfolio and workflows. As you evaluate software, consider the following:

Type and Number of Properties

What type of rental properties do you manage – residential, commercial, HOA, or a mix? Do you oversee single-family homes or large apartment buildings? These factors impact your functional requirements.

Additionally, the number of units you manage determines how robust and scalable your software should be. Managers of smaller portfolios under 50 units can get away with basic tools, while those overseeing hundreds require heavy-duty solutions.

Critical Features and Functionality

Make a list of must-have capabilities that align to your current pain points and daily property management tasks. This may include online rent collection, maintenance tracking, accounting tools, and more.

Prioritize features that will have the biggest impact on simplifying your workflows. For larger portfolio managers, API access for custom integrations is also key.

Budget Considerations

Property management software ranges widely in terms of pricing models and fees. While robust solutions offer immense value, find an option aligned to your budget constraints.

Typical pricing models to evaluate include:

  • Per unit pricing – Cost based on number of units
  • Flat monthly fee – Single fee regardless of portfolio size
  • Percentage of revenue – Scales pricing with portfolio revenue

Mobile Access and Integrations

Look for platforms that provide intuitive mobile apps to access key data and features on-the-go. This enables managing onsite issues efficiently.

Also assess any required third-party integrations. For example, many solutions integrate with screening services, accounting tools like Quickbooks, utility billing platforms, renter’s insurance, and more. Ensure any critical integrations are supported.

Key Property Management Software Features

Property management platforms share common capabilities, but the depth and flexibility varies drastically. As you compare solutions, keep an eye out for these core feature sets:

Listings and Tenant Screening

From online rental listings to tenant screening, your software should fully support the leasing cycle for easy vacancy filling. This includes rental listings across sites, custom rental applications, background checks, e-signing capabilities and more.

Rent Collection and Online Payments

Robust tools for online payments via credit card, ACH or eCheck help streamline rent collection. Automated recurring payment setting and late fee assessment also ensures timely rent receipt.

Accounting and Reporting

Managers need real-time visibility into key performance metrics across their portfolio. This includes detailed accounting tools for AP, AR, and GL activities. Custom report building and tax preparation support is also essential.

Maintenance and Work Order Tracking

Centralizing maintenance requests, communication with vendors, and tracking repairs is a huge time-saver. Ensure your selected software allows tenants to submit requests online while providing overview of work order status.

Contracts and E-Signatures

Simplify lease management by creating custom rental contracts then allowing electronic signatures for instant sign-off. Top platforms connect to e-sign services like DocuSign for enhanced capabilities.

Communication Tools

Two-way, multi-channel communication tools ranging from SMS texting to email keep all stakeholders aligned. This provides managers efficient channels to push notifications, statements, invoices and more.

Table 1: Must-Have Communication Features

Tenant portalCentralized access to statements, make payments, submit maintenance requests and more
Broadcast email and text blastsInstant notifications to tenants at scale
Email templatesSave time with customizable email templates for common messages
Document storageUpload lease documents, ID copies, and more for easy access

Customizable Dashboards

Personalized dashboard views with visual analytics like charts make extracting actionable insights simple. They provide bird’s-eye visibility into metrics like occupancy rate, maintenance frequency, top tenants, and more.

Mobile Optimization

Complete daily activities on-the-go by choosing software with intuitive and responsive mobile apps across both iOS and Android. Accessing showings, inspections, and messaging remotely minimizes headaches.

Implementation Considerations

Getting set up with a new software suite requires planning and resources. As part of your evaluation process, look into the following:

Cloud vs On-Premise Deployment

SaaS, cloud-based software that updates automatically tends to minimize headaches compared to on-premise servers you host. However, custom configuration options may be more limited.

Data Migration

Moving tenant and property data out of spreadsheets into your new system is critical for a smooth transition. Import tools and dedicated customer support ease this significantly.

Training and Support

Learning an entirely new software platform often involves a learning curve. Select vendors that provide live webinars, videos, chat support, and customer success guidance during onboarding.

Hardware and Bandwidth Requirements

While cloud platforms minimize hardware needs, ensure internet speeds can support usage at all locations. Some solutions may supply network testing tools or hardware recommendations as well.

Customization and Integrations

Finally, determine what custom add-ons and third party integrations are critical to support required workflows. Investigate available developer APIs and connected partners to enable specialized needs.

Top 5 Property Management Software Solutions

With a clear picture of key capabilities required and questions to ask providers, researching the various software offerings is the next step.

Here is an overview of five top-rated property management tools on the market today:

1. Buildium – Used by over 15,000 managers, Buildium is packed with robust tools tailored for residential and commercial real estate. Core features include tenant portals, maintenance dashboards, budgeting tools and custom reports.

2. Propertyware – Boasting high-quality mobile apps and built-in tenant screening, Propertyware shines for daily property oversight and showing management. Custom pricing based on features needed.

3. Yardi Breeze – Yardi leverages it’s decades of commercial real estate expertise for a simplified, cloud-based solution perfect for residential. Integrated accounting aids ownership reporting.

4. Rentec Direct – Offering custom packages by number of units, Rentec Direct is designed for organizations overseeing 200+ properties. Access to tenant credit reports and background checks maximizes revenue.

5. Property Boss – Providing core accounting, tenant management and maintenance features, Property Boss appeals to individual investors with limited portfolio size. Month to month contracts provide flexibility.

How is Tennet Software Stacking Up Against Big Boys

Here’s the thing with Tennet software – it keeps things simple. You know how some property management tools feel like you need a degree to use them? Tennet’s not like that. It ditches all the overly complicated stuff. This means you spend less time scratching your head over complex features and more time actually managing your properties. It’s all about giving you only what you need, so you can work smarter, not harder. Simple is often better, especially when you’ve got a ton of stuff to juggle

Here are some key features of the Tennet property management software:

  1. Future-Dated Transactions: Schedule stuff like move-ins, vacates, and lease renewals.
  2. End-of-Month Procedures: Easily run these and generate rent bills.
  3. Lease Forms: Create, edit, and print them in-house.
  4. 24/7 Access: Get into your account anytime from any internet-connected device.
  5. Automatic Backups: Don’t sweat about losing data.
  6. Recurring Transactions: These happen automatically each month.
  7. Easy Setup: You’ll be up and running in no time.
  8. Free Lifetime Support & Upgrades: We always got your back

Key Evaluation Criteria

Using the outlined guidelines and leading vendor offerings, critically evaluating available options against needs is next.

Central aspects to compare include:

Core Functionality – Ensure required workflows around maintenance, accounting, tenants etc. are supported before assessing value-add tools. Don’t overpay for unnecessary bells and whistles.

Ease of Use – An intuitive, responsive interface minimizes frustration for staff learning new systems. Tidy dashboards that surface key analytics also aid daily decision making.

Scalability – Select software capable of handling your portfolio as it expands over coming years to avoid costly transitions down the road.

Training/Support – Dedicated reps guiding you through onboarding shortens the learning curve considerably to enable rapid ROI.

Reporting – Custom reporting across all facets of your business provides actionable insights to minimize risk and maximize NOI.

Property/Tenant Management – Robust tenant portals, screening integrations and automated messaging enable seamless tenant lifecycle oversight.

Data Security – For asset and tenant PII safety, ensure the software adheres to security best practices with encryption, backups and access controls.

Using the outlined buying criteria to compare market-leading property management systems against organizational needs helps zero in on the ideal platform to meet requirements at the optimal price point.

Streamline Operations with Property Management Software

In summary, property management software provides immense visibility and scalable efficiency for rental housing providers. Choosing a solution tailored to your specific portfolio requirements, budget constraints, mobile needs and integrations minimizes headaches.

Leveraging the outlined guide for evaluating property management systems enables finding the highest value solution for your organization. This simplifies daily property oversight as portfolio needs evolve.


Q: What is rental property management software?

A: Rental property management software is a tool designed to help landlords and property managers streamline various tasks related to managing rental properties, including lease management, rent collection, accounting, maintenance tracking, and communication with tenants.

Q: How can rental property management software benefit property managers and landlords?

A: By automating many aspects of property management, such software can save time, reduce the risk of errors, improve organization, and enhance communication with tenants. It can also provide valuable insights through reporting and analytics.

Q: What features should I look for in rental property management software?

A: Look for features like lease management, rent collection, maintenance tracking, financial reporting, tenant portal, communication tools, and integration with accounting software.

Q: What are some popular rental property management software options to consider?

A: Options such as Buildium, AppFolio, Rent Manager, and Propertyware are frequently recommended by industry experts for their comprehensive features and user-friendly interfaces.

Q: What are the key factors to consider when choosing rental property management software?

A: Consider factors such as the size and type of properties you manage, your budget, the specific needs of your business, user-friendliness, customer support, and the software’s ability to scale with your business.

Q: How can rental property management software help with property maintenance?

A: Many rental property management software solutions offer tools for managing property maintenance, such as work order tracking, vendor management, and maintenance request portals to streamline the process and ensure timely repairs.

Q: Can rental property management software help with accounting and rent payments?

A: Yes, many property management software options offer integrated accounting features to track income and expenses, automate rent collection, and generate financial reports for property owners and managers.

Q: What are the challenges that rental property management software can help to address?

A: Challenges such as tenant communication, late rent payments, maintenance tracking, lease management, and financial reporting can be addressed through the use of well-designed property management software.

Q: How do I choose the best rental property management software?

A: To choose the best rental property management software, assess your specific needs, compare features and pricing, read user reviews, and request demos or trials to experience the software firsthand.

Q: How can rental property management software benefit property owners and landlords?

A: Rental property management software can benefit property owners and landlords by providing them with greater control and visibility over their properties, simplifying financial management, and improving tenant satisfaction through efficient communication and maintenance management.