By Matt Donnelly, Buildium, Boston, MA
Property management software isn’t just for the big guys. It’s for any landlords or property managers who want less stress, more free time…and a growing business.
Most property management software runs in the cloud, which is just a fancy way of saying you don’t have to install anything — just go online and log in to access your information at any time and in any place. Think of property management software as a personal assistant that’s, well, not a person.
More than just managing your properties, property management software is designed to make your life easier. It’s designed to help you easily perform those routine tasks like collecting rent payments and handling maintenance requests. It also lets you maintain records and run reports, which are always helpful at tax time!
Death by spreadsheets
I know what you might be thinking: I’ve managed my properties on paper or in Excel for years, so why should I use property management software?
It’s a good question. This takes us into a discussion of the benefits of property management software.
Only half joking, one landlord once quipped, “Without property management software, I would actually have to work.” While property management software can’t automate every aspect of property management, it can be an affordable and simple solution where property managers and landlords can manage properties, accounting and marketing all in one place — anywhere, anytime and on any device.
Let’s look at some of those property management tasks you might be having trouble with and see how property management software can ease your pain in each area.
Doing the books: What would your life be like without having to manually update Excel spreadsheets? With property management software, you can get a complete financial picture for your properties and owners. Track income and expenses, and run key financial reports on demand.
Payments: Imagine the tenant in 3C claims he gave you his rent check, but you have no record of it. It takes precious time to deal with the resulting hassle. But with property management software, you can allow tenants and association owners to make payments online, via EFT or credit card. And you can pay your bills online too. Trips to the bank will be a thing of the past.
Maintenance requests: If the tenant’s dog chews through the fence, you don’t need to get called at one o’clock in the morning. With property management software, you can accept and respond to maintenance requests online 24/7. You get instant notification of the request, an easy way to assign tasks to your maintenance staff, status updates and a clear paper trail in case your tenant with a peckish pet gets litigious.
Access to your information: Property management software is going mobile, so all the features are available to you and your tenants 24/7 on PCs, phones and tablets. No longer do you have to drag around your laptop and find a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to check on maintenance requests, rental applications or rental payments. Spend more of your time meeting with tenants and growing your business.
Advertise for and screen for new tenants: Many property management software options will allow you to largely automate the process of advertising vacancies to sites like Craigslist or Zillow, handle rental applications and even facilitate background checks. Then, once the applicant becomes a tenant, the property management software will let you manage that relationship so it benefits both you and your tenants. You can also save your ads to use whenever you have more vacancies.
Depending on the property management software you use, you might have access to other time-saving features, including the ability to run credit and background checks, file tax forms and even outsource mailings.
It’s also easier than you think. Property management software companies spend a lot of time listening to their customers (people like you). They know you have an extremely busy job with no time to dedicate to learning a product. That’s why most of the software is designed so you don’t even need a product manual. Support is always there to help you out along the way and make sure that you are being as efficient as you can possibly be.
Do you use property management software? How has it helped you? Please share a comment below.4 Comments