Best Accounting Software for Rental Properties

How to choose the right tool to manage your rentals

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Accounting software for rental properties allows you to record daily bookkeeping items, track receipts, create reports, and prepare for tax season in minutes instead of hours (or days). 

Aside from the time savings, accounting software can give you a progress report on the health of your real estate portfolio and quickly alert you to late payments. Perhaps most critically, it can help you accurately account for rental property depreciation

From free trials and setup fees to monthly minimums and add-on charges, there’s a lot to consider on price alone. We did the research on the best accounting software for rental properties to help you compare functions and features, pricing, convenience, customer service, and more.

Best Accounting Software for Rental Properties of 2021

Best Overall: AppFolio

AppFolio

 AppFolio

Our choice for best overall, AppFolio, comes with basic and advanced features, making it accessible to landlords who do their own accounting and to beginner and advanced accountants and bookkeepers alike.

Pros
  • Pay only for the features you need and use

  • Has all the advanced accounting features a landlord needs

  • Includes a mobile app

Cons
  • Has a minimum monthly fee

  • Not fit for a small number of properties

  • Limited live help after purchase

AppFolio has developed software with a suite of features a landlord would need to operate and grow their business remotely. It comes with Basic and Plus plans to match the budget and complexity needs of varying users, earning our rating as the best overall accounting software for landlords. 

If you fill out their online form, an AppFolio salesperson will guide you through a free demo so you can evaluate the features important to you. There is a $400 onboarding fee and then a minimum $250 monthly fee—you only pay for the features you use. Fees increase based on how many units you have in a Basic or Plus plan: 

  • Residential: $1.25 to $3 per unit monthly 
  • Commercial: $1.50 to $3 per unit monthly
  • HOAs: $0.80 to $0.85 per unit monthly
  • Student Housing: $1.25 to $3 per unit monthly

AppFolio is a better fit for mid- to large-sized property landlords with at least 200 units. 

The Basic tier comes with AppFolio’s customizable reports, online payments and maintenance, marketing tools, lease management, and communication functions. With the Plus tier, you also get a variety of strategic performance insights to scale your portfolio. You’ll have tools for website creation, lead generation, tenant screening, insurance, online payments, a maintenance call center, utility management, debt collections, and automated accounts payable. In addition to these native features, AppFolio has partnered with more than 80 internet listing service providers to enhance your reach with powerful marketing integrations.

The Plus tier stands out for accounting because the advanced performance insights and revenue management take the strong bookkeeping tools to the next level of business growth.

The software has very high reliability ratings with a responsive customer support team. But there are a few customer complaints about wanting more access to a live person to talk through support issues.

Best for Multiple Users: Rentec Direct

Rentec Direct

 Rentec Direct

Not only has Rentec Direct created an easy way to add account users and set different permission levels, but they also allow you to add new user accounts for free, making it our top choice for rental property accounting software if you need multiple users.

Pros
  • Has mobile apps for integrated communication

  • Premium features for property managers and landlords

  • Multi-user access to one account with unique usernames and passwords

Cons
  • A limited number of integrations

  • Outdated training materials

Best for multiple users, Rentec Direct allows the primary account holder to create and control multi-user accounts that others can access with a unique username, password, and permission level at no additional cost.

Another major advantage of Rentec Direct is that there is a free package with the basic features available for up to 10 properties. More advanced packages cost $35 to $45 per month, with the pricing based on the number of units you’re managing. Additional features are available as add-ons, with the costs ranging from $7 to $15 per service. 

Rentec Direct comes with features that include general ledger accounting and financial reporting with QuickBooks synchronization. This streamlines the whole tenant rent payment process to one step that takes around 30 seconds. Users also get an automated process for tracking work orders, ACH, and credit card payment processing. 

In addition to the accounting features, Rentec Direct also includes other property management features like online portals for tenants and owners, a free custom website and hosting to promote your company and properties online, online rental applications, electronic signatures with DocuSign, electronic 1099 filing, syndication of vacancy listings, utility billing integration, and tenant background screening for credit, criminal, and eviction records.

It currently integrates with QuickBooks Online Advanced and DocuSign. 

The support staff has excellent reviews from customers on third-party review sites like Software Advice.

Best for Large Property Portfolios: Buildium

Buildium

 Buildium

Buildium's default plan supports up to 5,000 properties, earning the top spot for users with large property portfolios.

Pros
  • Built by property managers for property managers

  • Automatic rent collection through a tenant portal

  • Online ticket support during business hours

  • A lot of training materials offered

Cons
  • Expensive pricing plans

  • Some customer support complaints

  • Not a fit for single property managers

Buildium, our review's best property management accounting software for large property portfolios, has expansive accounting features supporting up to 5,000 units in its basic plan. 

The cost of the plan depends on the number of units you manage and goes from $50 per month for up to 150 units to a maximum number of 5,000 units at a cost of $1,080 per month. Buildium also offers a 10% discount for anyone who signs up for annual billing.   

In the cloud, users can record and view all fees, payments, deposits, and refunds, manage accounts payable through built-in calculators that show how much you owe to companies and vendors, reconcile bank accounts automatically, generate a variety of financial reports, and automatically generate and e-file a Form 1099.

Besides the accounting features, Buildium also offers a lot of advanced features with easy-to-understand tutorials. 

Buildium integrates with several outside software platforms, among which are TransUnion, RevSpring, MSI, Nelco, Happy Inspector, PayNearMe, and more. This solid list of integrations, the awards and recognitions it has received from G2 and Capterra, and its active updates to resolve issues makes it a reliable platform.

Buildium has a high rating across different review websites, serving as a testament to the reliable service they provide.

Best for Experienced Accountants: Property Matrix

Property Matrix

 Property Matrix

Property Matrix comes packed with all the advanced features professional accountants would need, with the ability to customize everything, making this the best software for experienced accountants.

Pros
  • Fully customizable features

  • Has a mobile app

  • Designed for all levels of accounting experience

Cons
  • Fit for landlords with over 250 units

  • More expensive than other accounting software

Designed for users of all levels of accounting experience, Property Matrix is a website-based software equipped with powerful and advanced features that have automation capabilities for expert users. Furthermore, all features are fully customizable, allowing experienced users to pick the top-of-the-line accounting features they need to improve their reporting efficiency. 

There are three pricing plans: Standard, Pro, and Enterprise:

  • Standard: $400 per month for up to 250 units: $1.50 for additional units. Key features include enterprise accounting, maintenance, marketing, portals, custom reports, unlimited phone support. 
  • Property Matrix Pro: $475 per month for up to 250 units: $1.50 for additional units. Includes all Standard features, plus tools for commercial properties, budgets, and CAM (common area maintenance) charges.
  • Enterprise: $1,200 per month for up to 800 units: $1.35 for additional units, and all Property Matrix Pro features.

Property Matrix surpasses other software programs due to its advanced features and customization muscle. It’s capable of managing complex accounting processes, which minimize workload and eliminate the need for third-party accounting software. The company’s goal is to use Property Matrix as a replacement for QuickBooks, not as an integrator. 

Property Matrix users can: 

  • Organize and track transactions 
  • Manage multiple companies 
  • Create recurring invoices and bills for vendors and tenants 
  • Set triggers and automate routine actions
  • Collect and track information efficiently through custom fields 
  • Manage documents from one single system 
  • Create custom forms
  • Fill in data automatically
  • Collect electronic signatures
  • Organize communications through one single Communications Hub
  • Get a professionally designed website 

Users can customize the features they use, making it suitable for any experience level. However, due to the robust accounting software, enterprise-level landlords and their accountants will benefit more than small and medium-sized landlords. 

Property Matrix serves accountants, investors, and property managers through its numerous affiliates such as the National Apartment Association and the American Apartment Owners Association. User reviews average five stars at Capterra and Software Advice.

Best Value: Stessa

Stessa

 Stessa

Popular among investors, Stessa is a free rental property finance software that comes with everything a landlord with several properties would need, making it a great pick for those that want to keep expenses low and get the best value.

Pros
  • Free and easy to use

  • Automated bookkeeping

  • Designed by landlords, for landlords

Cons
  • No tenant screening, maintenance request, tenant communication, or property advertising and listing options

  • Not fit for professional or enterprise-level users

  • Focuses more on real estate investors

Because Stessa is free software and comes with ample accounting features, it is the best value for real estate investors to get the basics done well.

Founded in 2016, tens of thousands of investors use Stessa to monitor over $25 billion in real estate assets. It’s a web-based software that has an app compatible with Mac devices. 

It has a fully automated bookkeeping and financial tracking feature that syncs with the bank and financial accounts associated with a rental property, a document management center, an option to scan receipts, and the option to create a variety of reports (balance sheets, cash flow, profit and loss statements, rent rolls, IRS-ready tax statements, and more). 

Stessa is perfect for landlords and investors who want to manage their assets and track their finances by focusing on key metrics. However, it has a limited amount of features and is not fit for professional or enterprise-level users. 

Stessa currently integrates with AppFolio, allowing users to import income and expense transactions automatically every month. It’s fairly easy to use for novice investors and accountants, a fact backed up by reviews left from previous users.

Best Extra Features: Rent Manager

Rent Manager

 Rent Manager

Rent Manager has the most complete accounting system with advanced features that handle all aspects of a business’s finances and documents.

Pros
  • Extra features to manage properties of all sizes

  • Comes with online and standalone versions and a mobile app

  • Customizable accounting software

Cons
  • No pre-made pricing plans

  • Each version comes with different features

The comprehensive accounting system in Rent Manager has all the functionality a landlord may need combined with outside platform integrations, so we awarded it as our best for extra features.

Rent Manager doesn’t currently have any pricing plans, so to check the exact cost for a specific package of features you need, you have to contact them directly.  

It comes with an online version, standalone versions, and a mobile app to help users manage their business wherever they are.

Rent Manager allows users to process e-payments, e-checks with delivery via email, create custom-designed reports, make electronic bank reconciliations, control every aspect of accounts payable and receivable, and more. It also functions in cash and accrual accounting simultaneously, saving time otherwise spent on double entry bookkeeping

Rent Manager also has additional features that are customizable for each user, including online payment portals, marketing and leasing, operations, maintenance, and advanced reporting. It integrates with close to 100 other programs like Avidxchange, Beanworks, Safeguard, and ZeGo by PayLease. 

Customer service provided by Rent Manager is top-notch. The customer support staff is also praised for their knowledge of all features, including the latest upgrades.

Best for Integrations: MRI Software

MRI Software

 MRI Software

With over 120 product partners and over 20 service partners, MRI Software gives users the flexibility to choose what they need to facilitate the work of accountants and bookkeepers, making it the best choice if integrations are important to you.

Pros
  • 120+ product partners and 20+ service partners

  • Pay only for what you use

  • Reliable company with a long history

Cons
  • More fit for commercial users

  • No predesigned packages

  • Pricing can be expensive if advanced features are included

To simplify and streamline the whole accounting process, MRI has partnered with over a hundred companies, each designed to provide a financial solution that meets the unique requirements of each management firm, making it best for integrations.

MRI Software doesn’t have specific pricing tiers or a free trial version. As you can add over 100+ integrations and features, the cost can vary.

The list of MRI Software’s features is lengthy: online rent collection, lease templates, maintenance requests, tenant screening, multifamily insurance, resident communication, investor relations, rent and vacancy tracking, manager compliance, credit risk management, and more. This integrated accounting software can grow with you as your needs change through its Partner Connect Program. Through this program, you can add third-party tools for AP automation, debt collection, electronic payments, and more.  

Because of the many features and the option to add additional tools, commercial users would be able to optimize MRI Software’s cost, so it’s more of a fit for those managing at least 50 commercial units. 

MRI Software has been in business since 1971, a testament to its reliability and expertise in providing a variety of services to clients across different industries.

Bottom Line

Accounting software for rental properties can make your life easier both during the year and at tax time, but it’s important to find the one best suited for your budget, your portfolio, and how you want to use the financial data. Some programs are customizable, including a few programs that won’t publish pricing tiers because they will only quote after they interview you to learn how you want to use their software.  

We found AppFolio to be the overall best because it blended moderate pricing tiers with plentiful functions to appeal to simple and complex portfolio owners alike. Furthermore, it integrates with other common programs and can be learned by landlords with little accounting experience while still meeting the needs of more advanced users.

Compare Providers

Best Accounting Software for Rental Properties
Software Company Why We Picked It Monthly Price Range
AppFolio Best Overall $250+
Rentec Direct Best for Multiple Users $35 to $45+
Buildium Best for Large Property Portfolios $50 to $1,080+
Property Matrix Best for Experienced Accountants $400 to $1,200+
Stessa Best Value Free
Rent Manager Best Extra Features Must call for quote
MRI Software Best for Integrations Must call for quote

FAQs

What Is Accounting Software for Rental Properties?

Accounting software for rental properties captures day-to-day income and expenses while enabling users to run insightful reports to help them scale their business. The software saves landlords hours if not days hunting for receipts to assemble their tax returns at the end of the year. It also saves them from potentially paying many fee hours to bookkeepers and accountants; while these professionals may still be necessary to have on your team, accounting software can make their jobs easier, and thus the invoices they send you lower. 

How Does Accounting Software Differ From Bookkeeping Software?

Bookkeeping software is useful for capturing income and expenses into the daily ledger and it can run some basic reports for you like an income statement and balance sheet. However, accounting software can open up your business to integrating marketing, publishing to multiple listing sites with a single click, and running more advanced reports to inform your growth strategy.

Who Should Get Accounting Software?

Landlords with just a few properties who have the discipline to record their income and expenses into a spreadsheet might do fine with a program like Excel. Everyone else is going to want something that can integrate with their credit cards and bank accounts to minimize redundancy, have multiple user access for different team members, and run complex reports with the click of a mouse to save time and reduce the risk of human error with manual Excel calculations.

What Does Accounting Software Cost?

Most programs charge between $1 and $2 per unit under management. Many will charge you a monthly minimum fee, usually in the $200 to $250 range, even if you don’t have enough properties to warrant that high of a fee. A few companies charge a substantial setup cost, usually in the $400 range, but others don’t.

How We Chose the Best Accounting Software for Rental Properties

We reviewed 12 accounting software programs for rental properties before we decided on the seven best for these different categories. Lower costs and minimum fee requirements fared better than more expensive programs. We liked programs with moderate fees and low monthly unit costs, offering superior value for their large suite of features.

To make it on our list, the winners needed to address marketing, rent payment, vendor management, tenant and owner communication, integrate with other software programs, and be easy to use for beginners while still giving experts the advanced functionality they desire. Finally, we investigated each company’s history in the market and their reputation for customer service and reliability.