Finding property management systems and tools can be difficult, especially when you’re on a strict budget. You want to find something you can stick with long term and that can fulfill your needs as your scale. The last thing you want to do is switch systems because your old software doesn’t have the capacity or capabilities to support all your properties, residents, and units.
Most companies are familiar with the larger and more popular tools on the market. But with a little extra digging, there are other options available that may be a better fit for your budget.
We’ve compiled a list of six budget-friendly property management systems that may not be on your radar at the moment, but are worth giving a shot. The tools cover every aspect of multifamily property management including:
- Emailing residents
- Signing or uploading leases
- Maintenance requests
Check out the full list below.
Buildium is another all-in-one property management system that provides a full suite of features, and comes in two different levels — Core and Pro. You don’t get as many features as you do with some higher level software, but you have access to all the functions property managers need to lease and maintain all your units.
Some of the features of Buildium include:
- Financial reporting
- Online payments
- Resident & property owner portal
- Property inspections
- Electronic leases
- Create listings for vacant units
Pricing starts at $45 per month for the Core version, and $150 per month for Pro. You can save 10% by paying annually instead of month-to-month.
Who is Buildium For?
Buildium is good for smaller property management companies that don’t need a tool quite as robust as some of the enterprise tools like Yardi or Real Page. The downside is some of the features come at an additional cost for the Core version, so it may be a better deal to go with the Pro version depending on the features you need.
Cozy is an online platform that allows you to send online applications and collect rent from residents. It also has a few features for residents that make life a little easier for property managers.
Some of the features of Cozy include:
- Online rental applications (you can share the link to your application anywhere online)
- Resident screening
- Credit reports
- Background checks
- Collect rent online
- Unlimited number of residents
- Split payments with roommates
The best part about Cozy is the core features (accepting payments and online applications) are free. Cozy does charge for credit reports and background checks though. Also, if a resident decides to pay by credit or debit card, they will have to pay a 2.75% transaction fee. However, paying from their bank account is completely free.
Who is Cozy for?
Cozy is a nice option for property managers who only want the ability to handle payments and rental applications online. They are working on additional features like leases and income/expenses tracking, but for now, it’s primarily a tool for collecting rent from residents for free. If you’re just looking for a way to transition from handling everything on paper, Cozy is a good place to start.
Property matrix a customizable property management tool. Its main selling point is the ability to personalize it to fit your needs. With most property management software, you have to adjust your processes to fit its functionality. Property Matrix set out to make software that adjusts to fit your needs instead.
Some of the features of Property Matrix include:
- Zero cost payments (accept credit and ACH payments without any fees)
- Enterprise level accounting
- Completely customizable
- Manage all your documents, even ones you upload
- Communication hub including a unified inbox, email templates and email blasts
- Online application
- A free website for your property
- Resident portal
- Unlimited training sessions for your team
Pricing starts at $239 for the standard version and $289 for the ultimate version. Property Matrix also offers volume discounts if you have over 1,000 units.
Who is Property Matrix for?
Property Matrix is an enterprise property management system. The pricing makes it a good option for companies that plan to to scale to multiple properties. If you don’t want to feel confined to the settings that come out the box for other software, the customization options for Property matrix make it a good option.
Older multifamily companies that have been running on paper for a while will likely feel very comfortable with Rentec Direct. The simple and classic interface and streamlined features puts it in between very simple options like Cozy and more robust software.
Some of the features of Rentec Direct include:
- Online payments
- General ledger accounting
- A free website
- An owner portal
- Accept electronic signatures
- A file library to share important documents with property owners and residents (community rules, neighborhood guide, etc.)
- Work order management system
- List vacant units across the web
- Online applications
Pricing starts at $15 a month for Rentec Pro and $30 per month for Rentec PM. There are no setup costs and the first month is free.
Who is Rentec Direct for?
Rentec Direct is a great option for small to medium sized multifamily management companies. The low pricing makes it affordable for companies with 50 units or 500+. If you want a tool that has the features you’d expect in property management software but don’t want to spend too much money on extras, Rentec is worth a try.
RentPost is a very simple property management tool with an easy to use interface. It’s not as well known as some of the other tools on this list, but it provides almost everything you need in multifamily management software.
Some of the features of RentPost include:
- Online rent payment
- Work order/maintenance management
- Tasks/To-do list
- Manage multiple properties
RentPost starts at $29 per month. A great benefit of RentPost’s pricing is each level includes all features. However, larger accounts will give you more document storage space and owner accounts.
Who Is RentPost For?
RentPost is ideal for property management companies that want a nearly all-in-one solution that’s fast and clutter free. Unfortunately, you miss out on some features such as in-depth multifamily marketing (i.e. posting your vacant units to apartment listing sites) but for the costs, that’s understandable.
If you’re willing to stretch your budget out a bit more, Appfolio is worth the consideration. A bit more well-known that the others we've mentioned, Appfolio gives property managers the ability to do everything from application screening and signing leases to handling rent payments and tracking maintenance requests. With its features and price, Appfolio strikes a balance of providing a lot of the features you get with higher priced tools, but at a price point slightly higher than lower cost competitors.
Some of the features of Appfolio include:
- Options for multifamily, student housing, HOA and commercial owners
- Post vacant units
- Online leases
- Resident portal
- Text & email residents
- Maintenance contact center
Appfolio charges a flat rate of $1.25 per month, per unit (minimum of $250 per month) plus a one-time onboarding fee (minimum of $400).
Who is Appfolio For?
Appfolio is good for property managers who want to be able to handle every aspect of their property within a single tool, with all the extra bells and whistles. Just make sure you intend on using all the features that come along with it to get the most value for your money. For instance, if all you want is the ability to collect rent online, there are cheaper options.
Which Tool Is For You?
These are six of the top property management systems that will help you streamline your processes and work more efficiently. In 2016, there’s no reason to still be relying on a paper system for leasing, accepting payments and other aspects of multifamily management.
Not only will using these tools make your life easier, but it’s becoming the standard in the multifamily industry. Residents expect to be able to pay their rent online and submit maintenance requests through a ticketing system. Refusing to go digital could be losing you residents.
In order to give you a quick price comparison on the six tools we mentioned, here’s the monthly cost for managing 500 units with each:
- Appfolio: $625
- Buildium: $560
- Property Matrix: $514 for standard and $564 for ultimate
- RentPost: $249
- Rentec: $225 for Rentec Pro and $325 for Rentec PM
- Cozy = Free (*keep in mind Cozy lacks many of the features of the other tools)
Take a look at the features and interface of each tool to see which one will work best for your company. You don’t have to sacrifice functionality and quality to get a property management system for an affordable price.
In addition to setting yourself up with the tools for success, you'll also need to have a solid strategy. Contact us for help with your apartment marketing needs.