Rental property management software for landlords is one of the most valuable tools in a small property manager’s arsenal. In addition to providing an impressive collection of benefits, today’s software solutions are user-friendly and are easy for busy managers to use on the go. As property owners and managers, we have evaluated today’s top software products to uncover their key benefits. The following is a look at our findings and the top six ways that property management software can help small property managers thrive.
Who can benefit from rental property management software?
One of the biggest misconceptions about property management software for landlords is the notion that it is designed for managers who oversee hundreds of properties. While most large property managers certainly depend on software to organize their operations, software is also used by the following:
- Small property managers: A growing percentage of software users are individuals who oversee just a handful of units. Furthermore, research shows almost 92% of rental owners have 20 or fewer units.
- New landlords: New property managers often turn to software to start off on the right foot by best managing their properties.
- Out of state property owners: Additionally, today’s software solutions are designed to be easily used by out of state property owners.
How does property management software help small landlords succeed?
You cannot overstate the value that software offers property owners. By providing a means of organizing and centralizing tenant information, software reduces administrative hassles for landlords. This therefore enables landlords to focus on improving the tenant experience and tending to property updates.
Furthermore, renters are increasingly coming to expect the use of property management software by their landlords and managers. According to the 2020 State of the Property Management Industry Report released by Buildium and NARPM, the Top 5 Technologies Renters Want are:
- Paying for rent online
- Communicating via text or email
- Applying for rentals online
- Access to a resident portal
- Filing maintenance requests online
Here are some of the top benefits of rental property management software that can both help you efficiently run your business and meet the needs of your tenants:
1) Software makes online rent collection a breeze
If you are not already using online rent collection, you are missing out on cost savings, time savings, and prospective new tenants who are seeking the convenience of paying their rent online. If you are considering the move to online rent payments, consider the following ways that software helps to make rent collection fast, easy, and secure:
- You can easily schedule recurring monthly payments
- Automated payment reminders can help reduce the number of late payments
- You can see payment activity in real-time
- Tenants can choose from a variety of rent payment options, including eCheck, debit card, SMS, and Paypal
2) You can track maintenance requests from tenants
Maintenance requests from tenants can stack up quickly and can easily get buried unless they are properly organized and tracked. Even if you currently manage less than 50 units, a sudden influx of requests can pose a problem for a busy property manager.
Rental property management software helps landlords streamline maintenance requests and organize work orders. With the ability to receive status updates from your desktop computer, phone, or tablet, you can remain abreast of the progress with each request until all tasks are officially completed. More importantly, software also enables owners, maintenance employees, and tenants to send documents, photos, and videos related to the maintenance issue at hand.
3) You can boost efficiency through the online application process
There are two key ways software simplifies the tenant application process: First, you can say goodbye to cumbersome paper applications. By making the transition to online applications, you can reduce application errors and avoid lost paperwork. Second, you will have an efficient means of managing all of your applications. With a few clicks, you can update applicant statuses and enjoy easy access to an online application timeline for each prospective tenant.
4) Property management software for landlords can help you market your vacant properties
A sound marketing strategy is the key to promoting your properties and minimizing vacancies. As a result, today’s leading software solutions employ automation to detect vacant properties and immediately advertise their availability. With just a couple of clicks, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Advertise vacant properties on social media
- Professional e-blasts announcing available properties
- The ability to easily add photos and videos of properties
- Easily customize outreach efforts
5) The tenant screening process is faster and easier
Background checks and credit checks are a necessity, regardless of the number of units you oversee. Top software solutions will seamlessly incorporate all background check information into a user-friendly report that accompanies each application. This makes it easier for you to seek out the best tenants to occupy your properties. Here is how a typical process works:
- First, a prospective tenant completes an online rental application
- Second, you choose the type of screening report you wish to run on the applicant
- Third, you receive your report — often instantaneously
Most software programs also allow you to choose whether you wish to pay for the report or require the applicant to pay. But one of the greatest advantages is the immediate receipt of a report (in most cases). This instantaneous feedback allows you to make smart decisions quickly and reduce your number of vacancies faster.
6) Software can help you grow your business
“The “hidden” value of property management software is that it can help you grow your business. Think about it: If you can spend less time on paperwork and handling other routine tasks, you have more time to take on new buildings and add new tenants…Some property management companies have grown their business from just a handful of units to hundreds or even thousands.” – Geoff Roberts, Buildium
If you are a small landlord who has big dreams of expanding your business, property management software can be the key to realizing your dreams. By reducing the amount of time you spend on paperwork and other administrative tasks, you can devote more time to business development pursuits and increasing the number of properties you manage.
What are the property management software options for small landlords?
Not all software platforms are created equal. Therefore, taking the time to carefully evaluate options and select the best platform for small landlords is essential to your success and satisfaction. We have done a lot of this research for you. Here are several of the best options for property management software that might be perfect for your properties.
Also Read: Rental Property Management Software Overview
ApplyConnect is a no-cost tenant screening solution for landlords and property managers who don’t manage hundreds of properties. Screen tenants, market your vacancies, and lease legally and securely for free. Complete credit and background reports are available for just $28.50 – paid completely by the applicant.
With Avail, you can advertise your property, find and screen tenants, sign leases, and collect rent, on any device, with tools built specifically for DIY landlords.
Avail is a winner for Residential Lease Agreements: Best Software for Small Landlords
Buildium is property management software designed to support the larger DIY landlord and property managers. The software includes tools to help with accounting and bookkeeping, lease & document management, maintenance tracking, rental listings, applications and screening, and more. Buildium claims to have over 15,000 customer accounts, 60,000 users, and over 4 million tenants under management, and was ranked as a leading residential property management solution out of 125+ companies in Gartner’s 2018 FrontRunners analysis of user reviews and ratings. Plans start at $47/month, and they are currently offering a 15-day free trial.
Buildium is a winner in our Best Online Rent Payment Service For Small Landlords
ClearNow is an easy-to-use and reliable service to collect and pay rent online. Rent is debited from your tenant’s bank account and directly deposited to your bank account. ClearNow has been automating rent payment since 2000, and serves landlords and property managers of ALL sizes (1+ units). Rent payment is always directly deposited 3 banking days after the debit day. Use ClearNow Online Rent Payment to Collect Rent Automatically!
Landlord Studio is an online and mobile rental property management software that helps you track income and expenses, screen tenants, set automatic reminders, and more. Pricing begins at $9/unit per month, plus $1 for each additional unit. Subscribers can upload property and unit details to import income and track expenses. You can automate tasks and set gas, inspection, electrical and other reminders. Landlord Studio comes with free tenant screening, automated rent reminders and overdue notices, secure cloud storage, and over a dozen available reports to choose from. There is also centralized management of tenants, owners and suppliers so you can call, email or text them from your fingertips.
Try Landlord Studio free for 30 days, no credit card required.
PayRent helps property owners and managers collect rent online quickly, safely and securely. In just a few clicks, you can add your properties and get your tenants enrolled and start receiving rent payments. It is always free to sign up. The low transaction fees can be either absorbed by the landlord or passed through to your tenant. Sign up here.
PayRent is a winner in our Best Free Property Management Software for Small Landlords
Rentec Direct offers property management software and tenant screening solutions for landlords and real estate professionals to manage properties, tenants, and accounts online. Subscribers can collect rent payments, post vacancies, balance accounts, create reports, access tenant and owner portals, coordinate maintenance, accept rental applications online, and generate tenant screening reports. Sign up for a free trial today at www.rentecdirect.com.
Rentec Direct is a winner in our Best Online Rent Payment Service For Small Landlords
RentPrep offers a tenant background check with an option to add on a criminal and sex offender search and a credit decision report. Landlords can also order a full SmartMove credit report from RentPrep, either separately or in addition to the hand-compiled background check.
SparkRental’s Landlord App offers tools to help with all aspects of managing your rental properties. From advertising your vacancies to free instant rental applications and complete tenant screening reports. You can also create instant lease agreements, collect online rent payments, track expenses and create financial reporting. SparkRental also offers a property management hub for document storage, tenant communication, maintenance tracking, and late rent and other tenant notice generation. Take a tour and view pricing plans on their website.
SparkRental is a winner in our Best Online Rent Payment Service For Small Landlords
TenantCloud is cloud property management software that helps you receive payments online, advertise your properties and screen potential tenants. Pricing ranges from $0 for their basic plan to $35/month for their advanced plan for DIY landlords and property managers.
Zillow Rental Manager:
Create and manage your rental listing in one place which gets posted on Zillow, Trulia and HotPads. You can receive online rental applications and tenant screening, including criminal and eviction checks, credit reports and more. Zillow Rental Manager also allows you to get rent payments sent directly to your bank account.
Cozy’s property management software includes features for you to market your rentals, choose the right tenants, collect rent, share leases and other documents, and bill automatic late fees for free. Once you have tenants in place, you can document expenses and communicate about maintenance requests with tenants.
The Bottom Line
As discussed above, property management software offers a host of attractive benefits to small landlords.
One of the best ways to maintain a pulse on the latest cutting-edge property management software is to seek the guidance of an expert in the residential property management industry. For a more detailed overview of the products we’ve presented here, please read our Property Management Software Overview article. Stay updated and sign up below to receive notifications when we add new articles, tips and advice to this site.
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.