Why property management software?
Property management software has revolutionized the way property owners and managers oversee their real estate investments. From managing resident data and accounting to creating reports and tracking maintenance requests, a comprehensive property management software system can help streamline operations and maximize profits.
Early versions of property management software emerged almost 40 years ago. These systems developed around the time that Microsoft Excel was released and spreadsheet accounting began to replace paper and ink ledgers. Their main purpose was to keep track of payments and help maximize income.
Today, property management systems have become increasingly encompassing and vital for the success of multifamily communities. As Raul Recalde, a former property manager and current Onsite Lead at Homebase, articulated:
“It’s a big thing. It’s all that you’re in. It’s the first thing you check. It’s the last thing you check. It’s always up and open. It generates all of the information that the owners care about so there is no substitute for it.”
What are the top property management systems?
With so many options, choosing the best property management software for your community can be daunting. The most popular property management systems in the current market include AppFolio, Yardi, Realpage, and Entrata. Read on for a look at the strengths of each platform.
AppFolio is a comprehensive property management software solution designed to help property owners and managers streamline their operations. Featuring a cloud-based platform that can be accessed from anywhere, AppFolio helps users manage their properties, tenants, financials, and documents with an intuitive user interface.
It is easy to stay connected with residents through AppFolio’s resident portal, email and text templates, and surveys. Residents can also submit online payments and maintenance requests that are easily tracked by staff. A suite of marketing tools, including integrated listing and advertising services, help AppFolio users reach potential tenants, while reporting features help users gain valuable insights into their portfolios.
In addition, AppFolio has launched a curated network of integration partners through AppFolio Stack. These integration partners range from pet services to smart apartment platforms, and they expand the services available through AppFolio while improving efficiency for residents and staff.
What are customers saying?
“AppFolio has allowed us to centralize our accounting, marketing, maintenance, and investor functions in one online program, accessible from anywhere. And the software just keeps getting better!” -Laura Parducci, Accounting Director, Northwest Commercial Real Estate Investments, LLC
Yardi has been around for the longest, as one of the first property management systems to emerge in the 80s. It also offers the greatest breadth of all the property management software on our list, with solutions for markets that range from vacation rentals to airports. There are two multifamily solutions under the umbrella of Yardi for multifamily properties with different needs: Yardi Breeze and Yardi Voyager.
As the name would suggest, Yardi Breeze is designed to be simple and easy to use. It is available for residential, commercial, and mixed-use portfolios. Built on a strong accounting foundation, Yardi’s updated features include leasing and marketing assistance, rent collection, maintenance requests, and communication between managers and residents. This one-platform solution can be accessed from phones, tablets, or computers.
Yardi Voyager is an expansive platform that is highly customizable, so it is ideal for companies with complex and custom needs, including specialty markets like senior living and military housing. It has an overlapping, but distinct set of features that include construction and facility management and advanced budgeting and forecasting. Properties can easily graduate their tools from Yardi Breeze to Yardi Voyager as their needs expand.
What are customers saying?
“Yardi Breeze is easy to use. Tenant tracking, maintenance requests and online support…I love everything about!” -Danielle Drozdek, RB Homes, Inc.
Entrata is a powerful property management system that is built for multifamily, student, military, and affordable housing along with commercial spaces.
Entrata makes the work of managing a property more efficient with a single dashboard to access accounting, purchasing, leasing, and facilities data. Residents can quickly make payments and submit maintenance requests, while property staff can send out text messages and emails. In addition, this property management software provides automated lead communication for marketing, utility automation for sustainability, and customizable financial reporting for tracking performance.
Entrata also offers its own version of smart apartment automation which they have dubbed “Entratamation.” This allows residents and staff to control smart locks and appliances through the Entrata app.
What are customers saying?
“Entrata encompasses all the best software under one platform with one login. The ease of use throughout the software from the ProspectPortal through to the online lease execution is a leasing office dream come true.” -Mary Rose Pukas
RealPage helps properties maximize profit and optimize experience with their suite of solutions. For multifamily communities, RealPage features include marketing and lead management, resident screening, utility management, accounting, renters insurance, and more. With all of your property management tools integrated into one platform, data flows seamlessly. Property managers can easily work on multiple properties from a single platform and data-driven insights are readily available.
One of the standout features that RealPage offers is AI forecasting to determine optimum amenity pricing. This saves property managers time without sacrificing results. In addition, RealPage gives owners and property managers a detailed view of the competitive landscape to inform strategy.
Altogether, RealPage provides a powerful system for maximizing the value of your assets without increasing staffing.
What are customers saying?
“The P2 Property Management Suite gives us the level of control of spending and budgeting and gives us visibility on a real-time basis so we can deliver on our NOI goals.” -Humberto Cubillos, Senior Vice President of Operations & Asset Management & Development at Vidalta Property Management
Which is the best choice for your smart apartment?
Now that we’ve taken a look at the features and offerings of AppFolio, Yardi, Entrata, and RealPage, the next step is to determine which is the best fit for your community.
Most property management teams have an abundance of tools, which is cumbersome and time-consuming. It is more efficient when teams can work primarily or exclusively on a single platform. Choosing one platform that encompasses as many of your tools as possible will set you up for success. Platforms that integrate with other software solutions will also serve to reduce double data entry and boost productivity.
All four of these top property management systems support integrations with Homebase. Our integrations ensure that data syncs every ten minutes, automatically creating a stay in Homebase when a new lease begins.
If you’re torn between platforms, our VP of Growth, and a former property manager, Jen Macias DeMeyer, suggests that you consider training:
“When you’re a fresh leasing agent in training, you learn how to conduct a tour and all of the things that touch the prospect, but a lot of times the back end is neglected. So, in my opinion, it is highly important that the platform is user-friendly and intuitive, or at least easy to learn.”
Approachable property management software is important for residents too. Jen notes, “Too many buttons and features and blinky things are distracting and residents will just give up.” Quiet and intuitive resident apps are ideal.
Want to learn more about incorporating a property management system into your automated smart apartment? Chat with our Smart Building Experts.
Homebase brings the smart apartment experience to new build and retrofit multifamily with trusted technology that delivers intuitive building access control with smart locks, automation of property management, new revenue with property-wide WiFi, and IoT technology amenities residents enjoy. All completely installed and managed for the multifamily innovation leaders of this decade.