If there’s one market that always seems to be growing, it’s real-estate. According to research from Savills, the industry grew from $217 trillion (£162 trillion) in 2016 to $228 trillion (£171 trillion) in 2017. That represents growth of 5%.
The sector is also pretty diverse. While there are clearly major real-estate businesses with properties and other assets across the globe, there are also people renting second homes to make some extra cash. Whatever your situation, managing a property portfolio is a complex undertaking.
Succeeding as a property manager means being able to operate and control your properties carefully. Clearly, properties need to be monitored and maintained to a certain standard, and that's particularly important for those acting as a landlord. If a home isn’t up to scratch, safe, and habitable, landlords can face legal action.
Then there are the financial and business fundamentals of property investment. If you invest in a property for the sole purpose of selling it on, you’ll need to ensure it is in the best possible state to attract the interest of a buyer. And should you want to rent it, you’ll need a way to manage monthly payments.
However, the property management process needn’t be bogged down by bureaucratic paperwork; there are plenty of applications out there that make it easier to manage a property portfolio. Here are five of the best.
-- We've also highlighted the 10 best personal finance software and services
Described as a real-time property management solution, Appfolio provides a range of cloud tools for apartment, residential, commercial, council and student property managers. The software helps real-estate professionals manage assets and financial data, but also attract new renters and clients.
Aimed at streamlining processes in the real-estate and property management sector, the platform lets users access business metrics, track maintenance, and communicate with renters, owners and vendors. There’s also a dedicated owner’s portal, which offers access to reports and statements.
Other features include the ability to accept online rental applications, and to screen potential renters, distribute vacancy adverts across the internet, collect rent online and perform mobile inspections. What’s more, tenants are able to submit maintenance requests through the software, meaning property managers can quickly resolve faults.
Depending on the type of properties you’re looking to rent or sell, there are several monthly plans available. The residential and student plans cost $1.25 (93p) per unit, while the commercial option costs $1.50 (£1.31) per unit. However, community associations looking to use the software only need to pay $0.80 (50p) per unit.
-- You can sign up for Appfolio here
Positioned as a network of property management services, Buildium is another popular platform for real-estate specialists. It provides a plethora of property management, accounting, business operations and leasing tools.
Whether you own three properties or three thousand, Buildium gives you a quick and easy way to manage and expand your real-estate portfolio. Not only can you use the software to manage maintenance requests and finances, but you can also market properties and find tenants online.
Just like Appfolio, you can accept online applications and screen tenants before drawing up contracts. There are also portals for property owners, home owners, residents and board members, letting you communicate with stakeholders easily.
The software covers community associations, student housing, affordable housing and residential properties. Currently, price plans start at $150 (£111), although there is a free trial available.
-- You can sign up for Buildium here
Capable of handling properties of any size, Rent Manager is a flexible and easy-to-use property management platform. It comes packed with an asset management database, integrated accounting, contact management, and work ordering capabilities plus marketing solutions.
From the platform, you’re able to track, manage and resolve service issues, and you can keep an eye on your finances by downloading detailed reports. If you’re looking to find new tenants or buyers for a property, you can create a professional and interactive website that’s integrated with Rent Manager.
Another great thing about the platform is that it’s mobile-friendly. Whenever you’re on-the-go, you can accept payments, organize service inspections, enter work orders and take photos from a mobile app.
However, this software isn’t just handy for property managers - tenants can also access real-time information and transaction records, as well as sign leases and pay their rent, from any device. To get an idea of pricing, you’ll need to get in touch with the company, but there is a free trial available if you’d like to check the software out.
-- You can sign up for Rent Manager here
Re-Leasedallows you to lease residential and commercial properties, co-working spaces, student accommodation, office units and mixed family housing.
The software functions as a central hub where you can view upcoming tasks and automated workflows. From one simple dashboard, you’re able to view and manage properties, collaborate and delegate tasks across your team, and communicate with tenants via email and text messages. You can also get reminders on important tasks, and resolve issues. There’s integration with Google Calendar, Outlook and Microsoft 365, as well.
If you’re interested in the software, you can request a pricing quote from the company’s website. Whatever the case, every user can access customer support, add as many properties as they like, connect to Xero accounting software, and use the platform from computers, tablets and smartphones via the cloud.
And to ensure that important business data never ends up in the wrong hands, the app is protected by enterprise-level security.
-- You can sign up for Re-Leased here
Qube Global Software
Founded in 1969, Qube Global Software has been delivering tech solutions for almost half a century. It has also created a sophisticated property management solution, which is used by over 10,000 folks across the world.
Targeted at investors and managers, the software is suitable for a range of real-estate businesses, including commercial, residential, mixed-use and student properties.
Features include billing and invoicing, contact management, maintenance tracking, expense management, insurance management, lease management, tax management, a landlord and tenant database, rent tracking and late fee calculation.
However, due to the fact that this software is aimed predominantly at corporate users, you’ll need to get in touch with the company to get an idea of pricing. At the same time, you can demo the platform to see if it suits your needs. Currently, it’s used by real-estate firms such as Hammerson, Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life.
-- You can sign up for Qube Global Software here
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