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Do you find yourself struggling hard to manage your property effectively? Perhaps, important things have slipped through the cracks because you got so busy going after trivialities. What you need is property management software. They have been designed to make life easy for landlords and property managers.
Property Management software like Buildium and Appfolio are capable of making applicant screening. scheduled inspection, property listing etc. seamless for property owners.
Of course, there are many real estate management applications out there; Buildium and AppFolio are the best. For landlords and property managers looking to get the biggest bang for their bucks, Buildium and Appfolio are the in-thing.
Hey, I know what you are probably thinking now: why invest time and money into something I am not sure about. Who likes losing money?
Now, before investing in any technological innovation, it makes sense to first check if the problem it would solve is worth the squeeze.
The Many Challenges of Managing a Property
Say you own a residential property with just 10 tenants living in it. You sure do agree that a lot of paper and leg work will be needed to keep such an asset running. Added to the physical stress, your brain will take a hit because repetitive tasks are mentally draining.
It gets worse when you are managing a large residential property with, say, over 200 tenants living in it. How exactly do you get to screen every new tenant thoroughly? You might end of accommodating a murderer if you aren’t careful.
Even worse, posting to rental sites like Craiglist and Truila frequently will a Herculean task to the unaided landlord or property owner. Posting manually is the fastest way of burning yourself out, and still achieve dismal results, and so not an option.
The other challenges that go with managing a residential or commercial property include
- Keeping maintenance record of the property. If the right tools aren’t in place, tenants will have a hard time communicating repair needs across as soon as they come up, and this will mean lots of negative reviews for you.
- Rent Payment: Some renters are notoriously late at paying their rents. How do you track them? Without a property tracking tool, a tenant could stay for months or even years without paying, taking advantage of your obvious ignorance.
- Accounting: If you are managing someone’s property, the landlord will expect a periodic balance sheet/income statement. Unless you are a talented bookkeeper, this might prove a somewhat of a difficult task.
- Keeping tenants updated. More often than not, keeping touch with renters on latest development is a difficult task for property owners
Best Property Management Software: Buildium and Appfolio
A little throwback
Buildium.com is a property management software specially designed for landlords and property managers handling residential properties and student housings. The company’s founders, Michael and Dimitris, created the software way back in 2004 after going through harrowing times accounting for a property they bought.
Appfolio was founded in 2006 by Jon Walker and Klaus Schauser in response to the growing demand for a property management software.
Okay, that’s just about that of their background story.
Perhaps, by now you are wondering how both software can be of help.
Well, here is a breakdown of what they can do for you
- Applicant Screening
- Property inspection
- Online payment
- Property listing/marketing
- A website builder
You can’t just let in anyone that applies to rent out your property – you could end up letting in a criminal, and that would be bad business for you.
Buildium has two screening options: Basic and Premium. In Basic, you can check each applicant’s criminal record, eviction reports, credit score and even verify their identity. Buildium charges a nominal fee of $15 per screen. For the Premium option, Buildum charges $18 per screen, with an added benefit of faster screening.
Screening cost is included in their $250/month package
Property inspection is the necessary evil that comes with owning a rental property. Checking for repairs is a lot of work, and if you aren’t the patient type there will a lot of troubles.
Thankfully, both Buildium and Appfolio have simplified solutions that have made property inspection as easy as clicking a button.
Buildiums Property inspection feature works this way: A staff at Buildium comes over to inspect your property. Once the inspection is completed, pictures, as well as a downloadable report, will be uploaded online to your account for review. It’s that simple.
With a mobile device, you could easily perform a quick and accurate inspection with Appfolio. The app lets you take photos, capture voice text instead of writing all the time, and then upload straight to your account.
It’s no longer news that renters have become more inclined to paying their rents online than making bank deposits. Without a management software capable of handling online payments seamlessly, you would lose big time.
With Buildium’s ePay solution, renters can automatically pay their rent straight into your account using their mobile device. The software makes it easy for renters to make payments using their debit/credit card from anywhere in the world. A nominal fee of 2.75% is charged for every debit/credit card transaction.
Posting vacancies to multiple rental listing websites is a cumbersome task. Even after posting, you will still need to update and track performance – extra tiresome work.
Buildium and AppFolio have made things incredibly easy.
As a landlord/property manager, you can post vacancies to a custom website setup by Buildium for you or post to a rental site. The rental sites they have partnered with include Craiglist, Zillow, HotPads, Trulia, and MyNewPlace.
At the click of a button, you can syndicate vacancies to your website or rental sites like Apartments.com, Zillow, and Truila. If you looking to have AppFolio setup a website for you, expect to pay a $1000 setup fee.
Kiss goodbye to paperwork, open your doors to e-leasing! E-leasing, an innovation that caught the real estate industry in awe some 10 years ago, eliminates the need for scanning, printing, and faxing lease documents.
Buildium makes it possible to collect renters’ signatures electronically, upload and send documents to signers on the fly. Uploaded documents will be stored in the cloud until you are ready to delete them. The sweetest part: setup fee is zero.
Return on investment (ROI) will serve as the major pointer as regards your investment decision. Before making a decision, check out Buildium’s and AppFolio pricing plans. If they are okay with you, break a leg!
Buildium has a Pro package that comes at $150/month for 1 to 20 units. Economically, makes more sense because it covers every basic feature, except for the additional features listed in the table above.
If you wish to test out the waters, sign up for Buildium’s free trial package – it lasts for 14 days
AppFolio charges a one-time fee of $250 per month, and this includes every basic package that comes with the software. Appfolio has no free trial; just a demo.
On the Flipside
For the first time user of property management software, navigating Buildium might prove a little bit of a challenge. However, it takes a little less than a week to get a hang of the software.
Appfolio does not offer a trial, just a demo.
Just like Buildium, you might have difficulties navigating the software, but will settle in after a short while.
If you have a several of residential properties of your own, or perhaps manage a set of residential properties for others, go for Buildium. Also, Buildium would be a good fit if you are managing Student Housing properties.
AppFolio, on the other hand specifically caters to property managers overseeing commercial properties for real estate investors.