Property management can be a complex and time-consuming profession, with a large number of variables one has to juggle as a property manager. From screening prospective tenants to managing property inspections, or managing and enforcing resident dues and payments, property management can feel overwhelming without the necessary structures in place to alleviate some of that burden.
However, one of the most essential tools in assisting property managers with any aspect of the job is finding the right property management software.
What Is Property Management Software?
Property management software, conceptually, should be fairly easy to comprehend. The software is primarily designed to be a helping hand in any of the areas a management company might be struggling with in terms of consistency or quality of service with the property’s residents.
Property management software can be either an all-encompassing approach designed to alleviate administrative aches and pains across the board (as it is typically used) or, at the very least, it can help to optimize specific areas within a management’s company’s operations that need improvement.
If you’re a management company looking to overhaul the current methods for how your properties receive important documents, like billing notices or records of current and prospective residents, then there are plenty of software programs that can fill in the gaps and remove any extra legwork you currently perform, giving you the same results.
Property management software can turn record-keeping into unclustered, seamless filing systems. It helps resident payments become easily communicated and executed, ensuring residents stay up to date.
With a property management software, property maintenance becomes the type of service that residents deserve, with seamless requests via the software.
Why Use a Property Management Software?
A property management solution can truly change the way your management company can function from the top down. However, it’s probably best to highlight some of the areas that typically see improvement once the software has been implemented.
1. Administrative costs
Outdated management systems create headaches and prevent you from solving problems. When you use a software for property management, these headaches are alleviated and help you reduce costs in areas you may be overspending. You can make your department more efficient, being able to better serve your customers spending less time and money. The right property management software could assist in streamlining your business.
2. Streamlining communications
One of the worst possible sins to commit as a property management company is lacking consistent and quality communication with residents and owners. Without a property management software capable of consolidating communication into a system where residents and management companies can easily reach each other, management companies place themselves in an unnecessary bind.
A good property management software can not only alleviate these issues by streamlining these types of conversations into one, easy-to-use area, but it can provide residents with the assurance that if they have a potential billing issue or maintenance concern with the property, they know where to reach the property managers as fast as possible.
3. Tracking important property-related data
One of the main areas in which property management software can significantly improve a management firm’s capabilities is by installing a much more comprehensive system for managing the data coming out of properties.
Property managers need to take initiatives towards improving their properties, such as more efficient billing portals for residents or a more updated emergency maintenance system. Without software installed to juggle all of these tasks in easy-to-use locations, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine how much more difficult it would be for property managers to understand how profitable their properties are, which of the properties needs the most assistance, and where they can provide better services.
By gathering the data coming out of the properties, it becomes a more efficient cycle in which management firms can install better services while also using that same software.
4. Improved management-resident relationships
“Creating a better experience for residents and improving the relationship between your residents and the management company is beyond crucial.”
This might be the single biggest “why?” of all.
Although costs and improved communications can help, the reason every management company should be considering the right software program to help run its properties is that it ensures the best possible experience for residents, in every single aspect possible within a community.
How to Choose the Best Property Management Software
Identifying the right type of property management software for both your management company and residents of the properties you manage is a multi-faceted process that requires a comprehensive intake of what your properties need the most.
The right software for your property may not be the same as the firm next door, and knowing which path to take means knowing who is going to need access to the software, and how can you reasonably expect to integrate it efficiently into your properties. Here are a few key aspects to consider when searching for the best possible fit:
1. Establishing who will need access to the software’s services
Management firms need to install a property management application that provides ample access to the software’s services to the residents, but also the property owners as well.
Finding software capable of streamlining communications between owners and property managers is equally important, and although most potential software brands to choose from should maintain an inclusive approach as part of their design, this is a box that you can never be too careful about checking.
2. Establishing how much the software will cost
As mentioned before, installing software should realistically alleviate many financial burdens for property managers that may have arisen without it. However, that doesn’t mean all software brands remain the same in that aspect, and solidifying what your management firm can afford to implement, and how the cost of installation will factor in across multiple properties is important to consider.
Size and scope
Most software programs instill several different approaches to determining basic costs for their programs such as determining the software’s cost based on per unit rates, or a flat rate for the entire property. This is mostly determined by the size and scope of both the properties and management firms, as well as how expansive the software needs to be for the proper amount of users to access it.
Locally installed or cloud-based
A major factor involved in determining the costs is establishing whether your software program will be a locally-installed software that is implemented on your property’s premises, or if it will be a cloud-based program in which your residents and the property owners will have access through shared portals online. The differences in these can be fairly significant both in price and application.
For locally-based software, which in the modern era is admittedly a little less commonplace, the size of the specific property is usually a major factor, where smaller properties could install a more modest software package with fewer features for potentially under $1000.
Bigger properties, or at the very least a bigger network of properties under the management firm, could see installation costs being in the tens of thousands for a more advanced package with better features. Regardless, one also has to consider that an on-premise installation will usually be accompanied by an upfront installation fee as well.
For web-based software, the upfront costs are usually minimal. Property managers agree to install a subscription-based web service that manages all resident portals, as well as all accounting and documentation for owners.
Subscription costs can vary from very minimal to several hundred dollars per property, usually determined by the overall size of the respective property. Typically, the more virtual companies continue to go, the more the web-based software system makes the most sense. However, locally-based software might work best for either smaller management firms or more modest properties.
3. Determining how much training property management staff will need to use the software
Time and resources
Quite possibly the most overlooked aspect of determining the right software choice for your management firm is determining the time and resources that will be necessary for your management staff to effectively utilize the software’s features.
Ease of use and compatibility
Oftentimes, what leads to some of the biggest missteps with picking out the right software comes down to whether the management firm picked either a software program that was too convoluted and confusing for staff members to fully understand, or they picked one that ended up working adversely with any of the other online portals or programs already being utilized by the firm. In other words, instead of creating a more efficient system, the wrong software program could make it even bumpier than before.
In terms of staff training, finding the right software means establishing the needs of the management staff, knowing what tasks they need to execute, and understanding the software should be really easy to use.
4. Determining which features are included in your software purchase
Purchasing a property management software should mean that at the end of the process your firm has done its absolute best to provide your residents and board members the right features and the best user experience, further streamlining the communications and relationship between staff and residents.
Although all of the various software programs are sure to offer numerous options with different features from the next, it is important to make sure that some of the core features for residents are covered in some capacity. These features will be covered in-depth below.
What Features Must a Property Management Software Have?
As mentioned above, software programs, at the very least, should have core features that are consistently implemented to justify its installation in the first place. Those are typically revolved around resident-focused features, board-focused features, and manager-focused features.
In terms of resident-focused features, these can include everything from portals that allow residents or tenants to submit property documentation, online payment structures that allow residents to maintain consistent payments and billing, and communication portals that provide a direct line to property managers if any variety of issues were to arise.
These features can also include:
- automation services that remind residents of billing cycles
- maintenance updates
- hoa documentation
- an hoa website
As a community with board members, residents usually rely on them to represent their interests. Improving and simplifying daily responsibilities of the board while ensuring homeowners’ voices are heard can help boards streamline HOA processes and communications.
With a property management software, boards should be able to reduce costs, keep everyone informed, promote the community, and most importantly, increase overall resident satisfaction.
Features here include:
- announcements for all homeowners or specific groups
- organization of hoa documents
- a central place for homeowners to submit requests
- architecture requests workflow
- maintenance and assignments tracking
If you are a property manager, there is no doubt that the plate is nearly always full. Streamlining processes with a software that does all the difficult, tedious leg work can help managers make better use of their time so that they can turn attention to more important matters.
When managers adopt a property management software, they reduce churn and manage growth, take proactive measures with data intelligence, and they provide value and transparency for their customers.
Features that help managers:
- announcements to one or multiple communities
- amenity reservations
- requests from one or multiple hoas in one single place
- architecture requests workflow
All property management software should include accounting features and integrations that accurately report income and expenses from properties. These features can umbrella some of the already mentioned features, especially involving those about residents, and should include everything from monthly to yearly payments due by tenants or residents, to expenditures made by management, or the property owners to update the property.
Lastly and most importantly, with everything being mobile nowadays, it is essential to have an easy-to-use, user-friendly mobile application, so homeowners, board members and managers can be always informed and resolve issues on the go.
What Features Should Your Property Management Software Have?
Although the aforementioned features are beyond essential when purchasing property management software, there are still arguably other features that your property management software should include as well. Many of these inherently spawn from the other core features, yet still can impact the experience with the software tremendously if overlooked.
For instance, security measures built into the software, especially for resident accounting data that is being tracked, should be of high importance. Making sure the software you purchase has the highest quality encryption software, authentication protocols, as well as a myriad of other security features that are ingrained in the program is just as essential as any other service the software could provide.
Great property management software should also include a built-in support system in case the software malfunctions. The aforementioned experience factor, especially for residents seeking to check on their payments or documentation, can become a nightmare if the entire system crashes and the staff doesn’t have ample support to walk them through getting things back in order.
There are plenty of other potential features one could argue are also vital to a successful property management software implementation, and, at the very least, features such as security, support, and any other presumed secondary concerns still need to be in the minds of any property managers looking to purchase.
TownSq – The leading global App for Communities and HOAs
So your team is looking for a property management software? Look no further than TownSq, the world’s leading software and app for community and HOA management. With the power of TownSq, you can bring residents, boards, and managers closer together than ever before, increasing communication and collaboration. TownSq has a vast array of features including, but not limited to: amenity requests, architectural reviews, package control, community and board votes/polling, maintenance requests, and forums just to name a few. TownSq has helped over 6 million users, in more than two million homes, 2,000 cities and four countries increase their community collaboration and communication.
When a community adopts the TownSq software, they save time, money, and resources. The TownSq team provides masterful implementation, education, and support for its customers.
The software has proven to be incredibly easy to navigate and has a seamless user interface, allowing residents and staff alike to learn its functions quickly. As a resident or board member, the TownSq community app and software can fulfill your everyday needs as a member of an HOA or condo.
Besides the HOA app itself, TownSq has created TownSq Business, which helps property management company’s unleash their full potential.
A separate, but fully integrated software and application from TownSq community, TownSq Business aims to help property managers work smarter, improve community satisfaction and increase data-driven decisions.
With TownSq Business, you can:
- respond to customer inquiries faster
- send announcements to your entire portfolio at once
- reduce churn and manage growth
- upload and access information and documents
- understand customer satisfaction and take action proactively with data intelligence
- provide value and transparency with reporting
- and much more!
TownSq is the leading global app and software for better community living, and it is revolutionizing communications and operations for neighbors, community managers, and board members. If you or your business is looking for the perfect property management software, consider getting to know TownSq.
The Next Step…
Figuring out how to navigate through all of the hurdles above may feel daunting at first, but the reality is that being thorough and considerate when choosing the right property management software pays dividends in the long-run when your properties maintain high performance and experiences across the board because of the right decision. Choosing the right software, furthermore, provides your management staff, the property owners, and the residents the needed assistance to maintain the level of excellent communications, relationships, and income each party deserves to have.