A brief guide to figure out what property management software is, who is it for and how can it be beneficial. Also, few of the main options available on the market today.
Many landlords or property manager start their company by managing their properties in an old school fashion, excel spreadsheets sometimes, with pen and paper other times.
This approach has certainly worked in the past and might even do today: however, as soon as the number of managed properties grows and a larger team shares the same information, this model shows its limits:
To avoid being in this situation, many property managers are now adopting a more modern approach: off the shelf cloud-based Property Management Software.
What is Property Management Software definition?
A property management software is a software application designed to help property administrators or managers and landlords to automate and streamline their properties.
Typically, the areas this kind of software is beneficial are:
Not all the solutions cover directly all the points described above. However, the combination of multiple solutions could make your life a lot easier by providing you with an end to end solution that may include all the above points.
In this scenario, property management software plays a pivotal role by collecting all the information from accounting software, from the operation software, from the Real Estate market and provides the user with one centralised version of the truth.
Who is Property Management Software beneficial for?
The majority of the modern Property Management Software is specifically designed to meet the needs of Landlords, Tenants, Maintenance Contractors and, of course, Property Managers.
Property Management Software for Landlords.
By using any proper Property Management Software, a landlord can stay on top of every aspect of their property.
They may be in control of payments, repairs, maintenance, communication and vacancies.
Property Management Software for Tenants.
Tenants can have access to their statements, can log maintenance request and any urgent intervention.
They can be on top of any issue, updated by communications, chat with other tenants to gather useful information and access to the knowledge base - aka FAQ.
Property Management Software for Maintenance Contractors.
Via this solution it's possible to hire Maintenance Contractors, it's possible to book appointments for repair, it's possible to load invoices and to check when the payment is due.
Property Management Software for Property Managers.
The potential benefits for Property Managers are very similar to those for Landlords.
A property manager by using a PMS can:
Additionally, analysing new trends can be used to advise customers, such as landlords and tenants.
What does Property Management Software Do?
A property management software streamlines and standardises the following:
In addition, some of the vendors offer extra services, such as:
The role of Software Integration
Once the software of choice is appropriately managing the backbone of your business, a new set of possibilities to increase productivity arises. One of the most time-consuming tasks performed in any property manager back office is to ensure different department have access to the same accurate data, and every change is reflected across the whole company. Traditionally, to ensure the list of property and payments are in sync with the accounting or repair systems, property managers had to extract data from their spreadsheets and manually input them into the target systems.
This old school approach can undoubtedly work, especially with small portfolios, still, it exposes the users to the following issues:
A more modern approach is to implement automated integration among the systems in use in the office.
Either triggered by a user action, by specific business rules or a combination of both, an automated integration will provide ease of mind about the issues listed before.
An example of Software Integration: Accounting
One of the most common software integrations in use is "property management to accounting software" integration.
It is common knowledge about how sensitive accounting data is, and the last thing a user wants is to make a manual mistake whilst feeding data to the accounting system or to fail to update data.
Once the integration is set up, it's possible to create payment lines against a lease, define escalations and discount as appropriate, synchronising this set of data with your accounting system of choice and get a confirmation when a given payment is executed.
Best Property Management Software money can buy
In a world of constant change and evolution, this industry is no exception.
New and improved solutions are available every day, and the experience of choosing the right one for your specific needs may be daunting.
The main features accounted for determining the best solutions are:
Based on the above and based on my own personal experience, those I would recommend are:
In a really interesting article by Liz Brumer, she also mentioned Tenant Cloud as a possible alternative.
The original article may be found here.
Now, shamelessly, we are here to introduce Smartsite by Rounded Triangle.
It is the new kid on the block, and at the time this article was published it its implementation was still finalised.
After a few years working as either property managers and as IT developers and architects, we thought it was time to build our own solution that can go beyond what is available today, take each good aspects of what other vendors have been offering, and bring the property management software to the next level by filling the gaps the Market is presenting today.
If you are interested in finding out more, please follow this link.