So, you have made the decision to search for new rental property management software.
First things first: Property management is definitely not for everyone. It takes a lot of work to be profitable. It can quickly look more appealing to pursue the property sales side, where it appears easier and quicker to make money. Real estate brokers that decide to add property management as a sideline typically find that it's more work than anticipated. If conducted properly, property management can be very profitable and provide a steady and more predictable revenue stream.
In order to find the most appropriate property management software solution for your business, you should develop questions before you begin your research and vetting. Start by creating a list of property management tasks that take up the majority of you or your staff’s time. Ask yourself if these time-killing tasks can be automated and streamlined. Next, calculate a monetary value of what automating these tasks might save for your business. After calculating the financial cost, it will be more motivation to find the right software solution. Up until this point, you may have been unaware of how these inefficiencies have impacted your business.
The most challenging part is where to start. The questions below are intended to help you begin and give you a jumpstart:
- How long has your company been developing software?
- Do you exclusively develop software for the property management industry?
- How many total clients use your software platform?
- What are the terms of your contract?
- How often do you update your software platform?
- How will you safeguard my data?
- Is your software compliant in all states?
- Are software training and live technical support included?
- What are the typical hurdles that I can expect?
- How long will it take me to be up and running?
- What kind of accounting is built-in?
- Can I do budgeting and forecasting?
- Can I do asset tracking and depreciation?
- Will I be able to accept and make online payments?
- Is there a process to record conversations with my clients?
- Are there automated alerts available?
- How customizable is your software to my unique business processes?
- How many total reports come standard with your software?
- Can I build new customized reports?
- What makes your software superior to your competitor’s software?
- What does the subscription cost?
- Is the subscription all-inclusive or are there other transactional costs as well?
- How many total users can I have?
Does your software platform include the following capabilities:
24. Website building and hosting
25. Tenant screening
26. Maintenance work order system
27. Tenant portals
28. Mobile apps for Android and iOS
29. Ability to help me determine a profitable market rate rent for my properties
In order for property management to be a profitable endeavor, you need to scale your business quickly and automate everything that you possibly can. The profits originate with the increased scaled volume and efficiencies. Property management is not for the part-timer. A failure to increase scale and automate is tantamount to not being successful.
These questions are simply a starting point to assist you in your search. You will need to ask questions that are the most relevant to your particular business, market conditions and goals. Good luck in your search!
Jimmy Warlick works in the sales department at Propertyware and has been with RealPage for seven years. He has worked in the property management industry for 12 years. Before joining Propertyware, Jimmy served in the United States Air Force in Europe and also worked for the U.S. Justice Department. Jimmy is a University of Texas at Dallas graduate and calls the DFW area his home, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.