Rental property management encompasses a wide range of tasks, from advertising, tenant screening, and rent collection, to maintenance tracking, lease signing, and financial tracking and reporting. Savvy landlords and investors often use software and other tools to help accomplish these tasks. We have reviewed a variety of rental property management software products. While each has strengths and weaknesses, we wanted to find out what features of property management software landlords really want.
Update: We have collected new data since this was published. See our 2022 results here.
Top Features of Property Management Software
Earlier this year, we asked landlords to select the most important features of property management software. Here is what we learned:
Rent Collection is King
There are countless benefits of collecting rent online. Because of the various pitfalls of handling cash, as well as time and labor savings and eliminating late or missed rent payments, many landlords are turning to online rent payment services.
As a result, rent collection tops the list of features of property management software that landlords want. Over 60% of our landlords chose this as one of their most important features.
Our favorite software products for online rent payment are Avail, PayRent, and Rentec Direct.
Also Read: The Best Online Rent Payment Service for Small Landlords
Bookkeeping and Accounting Tools
Next on our list of required features of property management software is financial tracking and reporting. Over 45% of our landlords selected this in their top requirements. This feature includes bookkeeping, accounting tools, expense tracking, and tax preparation.
The best property management software products can help landlords generate useful reports as well as with bookkeeping, accounting, and tax prep. Stessa and Landlord Studio are our top choices in this category.
Also Read: Money Management 101: Best Finance Practices for Landlords
Tenant Screening Services
Rounding out the top 3 features landlords want out of their property management software is tenant screening. We cannot emphasize this enough: tenant screening can help minimize the risk of having bad tenants. Done right, you will save yourself from the potential loss of rental income, damage to your property, and costly evictions. 38% of our landlords think the same, though we feel it should be much higher than this!
Our top selections for the best tenant screening service for small landlords are RentPrep and ApplyConnect.
Also Read: How To Screen Tenants in 7 Easy Steps
Lease Agreements and E-Signing
At Landlord Gurus, we recommend landlords have their tenants sign leases remotely. The benefits include cost, convenience, expediency, and strength of the agreement. Over one third of landlords that we surveyed agreed that leases and e-signing are one of the top features they need from their property management software.
Avail is our top choice for the best residential lease agreements. Their unique Local Assist feature includes the required disclosures and attachments necessary to comply with local city and state ordinances. Avail also makes it easy to create new leases from the tenant’s application and screening information.
Managing Maintenance Requests
Another valuable feature of property management software is the ability to manage maintenance on rental property. The best software allows you to create a calendar, where you can schedule routine events such as inspections and cleanings. We also love any product that makes it easier to field requests from tenants and coordinate the repair with the appropriate service provider. More than a quarter of landlords state that this is one of their top requirements in their property management software as well.
Buildium, Rentec Direct, and TenantCloud are our top choices for the best property management software in this category.
Advertising Rental Property
Finally, rounding out our list of top property management software features is advertising. Many landlords continue to list their vacant rentals on some of the more popular rental listing sites such as Zillow or Craigslist. However, we see more and more landlords searching for the best free ways to advertise property for rent, especially now that Zillow is charging $9.99 per unit per week.
What landlords often don’t realize is that there are alternatives to Zillow, and that property management software can help get your listing in front of your next potential tenant. We believe the best solutions for most landlords are Avail and RentRedi. Or if you have a larger portfolio, Buildium and TenantCloud are also great solutions.
Also Read: Should You List a Rental on Zillow?
The best rental property management software products can help landlords efficiently and effectively manage their portfolios. There are a variety of choices out there. Finding the right one for you depends on what your top priorities are. Take a look at what features of property management software are most important to you, and then let us help you find your landlord software.
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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.