Running and maintaining a real estate property can be challenging for any commercial or residential property manager. Whether you rent one or multiple properties, dedicated property management software (PMS) can help you streamline your rental operations. Software solutions that can keep track of tenant information have been around for a long time, but an increased focus on analytics and reducing overhead costs is making even reluctant property owners reconsider their decision to go digital.
The best PMS solutions serve to dramatically improve the property management experience and generally include tenant and vendor relations capabilities, financial tracking features, and a maintenance management toolkit. Good landlords know that maintenance is one of the most important aspects of property management—you could say it’s the most significant contributor to tenant satisfaction.
Property management software products come in a variety of deployment options including cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and traditional onsite installations. Some even offer a mobile application so that you can manage your properties and respond to tenant concerns on the go.
Keep reading to learn how your properties can benefit from some of top property management tools on the market. If you’re looking to up your property management game, or simply trying to give your business the best tools—read up on TEC’s Expert Tips for purchasing Cloud-based Software to get ahead of the game.
As previously mentioned, building maintenance is the single most contributing factor to customer satisfaction. The better care you take of your buildings, the higher tenant retention rate that you’ll enjoy—this reduces the amount of time and money required to attract and keep new tenants and allows you more freedom as a property manager.
Maintenance management and scheduling tools make sure that your routine upkeep tasks don’t fall to the wayside. You should be able to clearly see all current and upcoming maintenance work orders and to schedule them in accordingly. With the rise of mobile technology—specifically the ability to easily send and receive photos—many tenants will simply take a picture of their issue and send it to you. A central maintenance file repository collect these photos into one location. They can then be used to help service-providers fix the problem, and to back up any potential insurance claims.
It’s also common for PMS systems to collect maintenance-related documents such as estimates, quotes, receipts, invoices, and communication histories into a single location for a more organized workflow.
The ideal tenant will make your management experience a much more pleasant one, but you should always be prepared for any other eventualities. You can ensure that you retain high-quality renters with practical tenant screening capabilities.
A lot of PMS solutions help you filter out less-qualified candidates with tools that include reference verification tools, background checks, and renter histories that let you know if the candidate can be depended on to pay their rent on time. Background screening capabilities are included or available through third-party integrations, and can raise red flags if there is any data relevant to a prospective landlord.
It’s definitely a good idea to keep your eye out property management programs that include credit check functionality for further peace of mind.
The easier you make it for your tenants to pay the rent in a timely manner, the less time you’ll spend chasing down late payments. Online payment processing is the best way to streamline how your tenants pay their rent since they can do it from the comfort of their own homes.
Many PMS products also include rent tracking capabilities so you instantly know who is paid up and who has fallen behind. Some solutions come with automatic late-fee calculators, as well.
Online tenant portals are a valuable tool for landlords. On top of paying rent, these portals also give your customers 24/7 access to information such as communication histories, rental receipts, and maintenance requests. A comprehensive tenant portal will not only help you to receive rent on time, but it will also relieve the administrative workload—not to mention increase customer satisfaction.
Any landlord will tell you that it takes a lot of people to successfully manage a property, and that long contact lists can quickly become messy and unorganized. Comprehensive contact management capabilities help you to better organize your contacts and reduce the amount of time you spend searching for emails and phone numbers.
You can even group together tenants, maintenance workers, landlords, vendors, and other business partners together for a more streamlined contact management workflow.
Tenant databases help you get ahold of customers while vendor databases makes it easy to quickly get the service that you need. It’s also common for PMS programs to include lead management functionality to ensure that your properties remain fully occupied at all times.
It’s hard to keep your buildings occupied if nobody knows about your vacancies, and a comprehensive advertising and marketing module will help you to get the word out. Website management tools give you the opportunity to present your rental details in a clear and easy to understand manner, while social media integration can help you advertise to a wider customer base.
A well-built website is also a good place to list all current and upcoming vacancies. Depending on the nature of your business, you’ll be able to advertise attractive properties like vacation rentals or student housing, complete with online booking capabilities for maximum convenience
Adding a customer review section to your site is another good way to attract interest, as current and former tenants will be able to vouch that your property is a desirable one—especially when you maintain a high customer satisfaction rate. When potential renters can see that you are a reliable landlord who runs a well-maintained property, you will begin to see an increase in high-quality applicants.
Successful business owners must keep tight control over their finances, and property management is no exception. The best property management apps will help you maximize income while minimizing the amount of money you need to spend.
Expense management features can put you in a position to make the most out of your operating budget by providing you with a comprehensive overview of your financial health. Tax management features help you to remain compliant with local tax laws while bank integrations streamline the reconciliation process.
It’s also worth noting that many high-end property management programs include robust business intelligence (BI) capabilities. They analyze a wide range of financial metrics like income, spending, maintenance, and report the findings to you in a way that is easy to understand. In-depth analytics reveal areas of operation that remain on budget, as well as any aspects that need to be more effectively managed.
The best way for you to extract maximum value from a property management software solution is to perform a critical analysis of your existing PMS system, if you have one. Once you’re able to identify the specific features and benefits that you need out of a product, you’ll be in a much better position to make an informed and lucrative purchase.
As previously mentioned, there are a number of ways to deploy a PMS. You should look for systems that align with you existing IT infrastructure and that can be seamlessly integrated into your organization’s workflow. It may also be a good idea to look for products that come with documentation to help you learn the software, as well as a dependable customer service team to assist you with troubleshooting.
Rarely does a software solution meet each and every one of your business requirements, so check out our property management software buyer’s guide to better prioritize the features that you need. You can also take a look at our curated list of property management software for some top picks.
Make sure to also consult TEC’s Expert Buying Tips for Cloud-based Software so that you’re prepared with the right questions and considerations before purchasing licenses.