According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are between 10 and 12 million landlords in the U.S. A property management company ensures the profitability, good reputation, building upkeep, and tenant occupancy of a residential or commercial investment property. These firms also keep their owners updated frequently on the key performance metrics of the asset. Different localities and property types are governed by different regulations, codes, and laws, therefore having a property management company is essential to most landlords.
Property management companies take on the daily stresses of commercial and investment real estate ownership. We reviewed 18 companies to land on these best eight after reviewing their services, cost structure, reporting capabilities, and communication with owners and tenants. Read on to discover our favorites and find out which property management company is right for you.
Best Property Management Companies of 2021
- Best Overall: Greystar
- Best for Residential Properties: BH Management Services
- Best for Commercial Properties: Colliers International
- Best for Customer Service: Lincoln Property Company
- Best Onboarding System: Apartment Management Consultants
- Best Value: Buildium
- Best for Environmental Programs: Winn Companies
- Best for Vacation Rental Management: Vacasa
Best Overall : Greystar
Greystar, our overall best choice for a property management company, serves property owners across the globe with their “Beyond Expectations” motto; has a wide range of services available for owners; and has a disciplined, process-driven approach to increase efficiencies, reduce investor risk, and drive performance and profitability.
Staff is trained to “think like an owner”
Ranks first among the Top 50 U.S. Apartment Managers according to the 2020 National Multifamily Housing Council
Apartment leasing website for prospective residents keeps occupancy high
Online portal for investor-owners
No properties yet in Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or South Dakota
Greystar’s leadership has created a company culture built on exceeding expectations with an owner’s mindset, making the company our top choice for property management firms.
Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, Greystar has grown into 192 markets globally, with $29.3 billion in assets under management.
The company offers end-to-end property management services, such as:
- Property operations
- Financial services
- Master insurance programs
- Training and education
- Marketing and communications
Greystar specializes in managing active adult communities, multifamily properties, collegiate housing, and flexible corporate housing.
Greystar’s fees for their property management services will depend on the type and size of the property, its condition and location, and the extent of services you need. Aside from the monthly management fee and initial setup fee, you’ll also negotiate fees for tenant placement, vacancy, eviction, early termination, and maintenance, among others.
Reports include accounting and financial management, marketing and reputation management, and legal and regulatory compliance.
The Greystar Investor Portal provides owners with an online system to monitor their property’s performance metrics and view real-time reports.
Best for Residential Properties : BH Management Services
With an extensive range of residential properties under management across the U.S., and innovative, resident-attracting programs like Smart Home Technology and Green Conservation, there’s no better choice than BH Management Services for managing your residential properties.
Smart Home Technology
Green Conservation program
Manages A, B, and C class properties
Website is attractive but could serve prospective property owners better with more detail about their services
Publicly traded, so questionable whether the first priority is to building owner clients or stockholders
BH Management Services’ industry-renowned programs promoting financial and environmental sustainability slingshot it to the top of our list for residential property management companies.
With offices in Des Moines, Dallas, and Atlanta, BH Management Services has been managing properties across the U.S. since 1989. It has around 2,400 employees and can be hired even in states where they don’t yet have a presence.
BH Management Services offers services on architecture and design, construction, equities, and management. Within BH Management Services, the company provides accounting, operations, marketing, IT, business intelligence services, and reporting to its owners. The company hires and trains local management staff for your property.
The company only serves residential real estate properties, which further deepens its commitment to this real estate niche. The company’s Smart Home Technology program keeps its properties’ names buzzing in their respective local areas, and the Green Conservation program creates healthy buildings and attracts further attention.
Like other property management companies, they won’t discuss specific fees until they are engaged with a prospective investor to discuss the scope of services for a specific property. Typically, however, the size of the property, building class, and scope of services you negotiate will impact your cost. The breakdown of these fees may include the initial setup fee, monthly management fee (flat fee or percentage of rent collected), tenant placement fee, and marketing and lease-up costs.
The online resident portal is available for convenience on rental payments and renewal of the lease. For investors, BH Management Services will coordinate customized business intelligence and revenue management reporting so that you can monitor your property’s performance.
Best for Commercial Properties : Colliers International
With two billion square feet under management and one of the broadest service offerings, Colliers International is a world-class commercial property management company.
Real-time reporting for owners
Financial reporting and analysis to ensure your asset is profitable
Strong focus on adding value to your property with capital projects
In-house engineering team that measures and optimizes your building’s key performance indicators
Less emphasis and leadership on sustainability than some competitors
Broad scope of building types may be a challenge for deep expertise in any niche
Publicly traded, so questionable whether the first priority is to building owners or stockholders
Commercial property investors who want to minimize their risk should look to Colliers as a safe bet. The company manages commercial properties in 67 countries, has annual revenue of $3 billion from its $40 billion in assets under management, and more than 18,000 professionals on staff. This experience and proven profitability results make it our recommended choice as the best commercial property management company.
Established in Australia but expanded into the U.S. in 1978, Colliers has become a household name. Of the 67 countries where it operates, the U.S. is the biggest contributor to the business.
The company has expertise in capital markets, landlord representation, project management, real estate management services, valuation and advisory, securities, mortgage, insurance, engineering, and design.
Colliers International is highly specialized in commercial property types such as office, retail, industrial, hotels, healthcare, special purpose, and multifamily. The company’s property management services include building operations and maintenance, facilities management, lease administration, property accounting and financial reporting, contract management, and construction management.
Property management fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the rent collection, and the full scope of your costs will be negotiated in the specific proposal Colliers brings to the table. Location, property size and occupancy, and which services you need will dictate your contract costs.
The company has launched multiple new technology platforms for its building-owner clients. One of these is Neighborhood Curated by Colliers that centers around real-time use of information, cybersecurity, and community staffing. The other is Colliers360 that provides in-depth portfolio analysis.
Best for Customer Service : Lincoln Property Company
The Lincoln Property Company is so focused on customer service that it has created its own awards program with 15 categories. Building owners interested in exploring their award-winning properties can do so right from their website, making them our top choice for a stellar customer service experience.
Second-largest apartment management company in the U.S.
Works with military families managing 37,000 homes for those in service
Certified as Service Organization Control (SOC) compliant
Management is highly centralized and regulated
Currently manages properties in only 34 states
As our preferred property management company for providing top-notch customer service, Lincoln Property Company views its investors, residents, vendors, and employees through the lens of client care and recognition.
Honing its customer service since 1965, the Lincoln Property Company has a proven success record, acquiring more than $6 billion in multifamily projects and developing 220,000 units worth more than $14 billion. Each employee goes through intense screening, so there is less than 25% annual employee turnover.
In addition to traditional residential property management services, Lincoln stands out thanks to its Service Organization Control compliancy, which ensures the buildings they manage meet third-party standards in management, accounting, and IT.
Costs vary per contract but typically include setup, management, new tenant placement, and lease renewal fees.
Lincoln provides owners with property management, marketing, accounting, purchasing, revenue management, and market analysis reports. The company’s business intelligence tool, called propertyBI, is web-based and mobile-compatible for owners to monitor their properties.
Best Onboarding System : Apartment Management Consultants
We named Apartment Management Consultants (AMC) as the property management company with the best onboarding system as a result of their intense focus on documenting their management plans, and exceptional property manager training programs.
Extensive monthly reports
Handles all the property's banking for you
Preferred vendor program provides better quality and cost savings
Allows clients to give feedback on regional employees and have a say on who manages properties on a local level
This company operates mostly in the West and Midwest, so it may be difficult to arrange management on the East Coast
It is geared to manage larger properties
Onboarding becomes easy when systems are documented for new property managers to follow and continuous learning is a part of your job. No property management company does this better than AMC.
AMC manages 104,067 units in 592 properties across 20 states. Clients include private equity firms, institutional investment firms, and single asset owners. It ranked eighth on the National Multifamily Housing Council’s list of largest apartment managers in the United States in 2020.
The company serves residential multifamily owners through the following services:
- Capital budgeting
- Project management
- Training programs
- Accounting and banking
Onboarding includes a financial statement review, market reviews, capital improvements, physical condition reports, and an overall monthly summary of operations.
Costs are negotiated and customized but most include a setup fee, fees to lease out vacant apartments and tenant renewals, as well as management and maintenance fees. Location, property size, and the condition of the building will influence your proposed contract costs.
The main reporting categories AMC gives to its owners include financial statements, market reviews, physical condition reports, capital improvements, and a summary of operations. The company goes into impressive depth with its accounting visibility with over 10 different reports available.
AMC provides owners with real-time property performance information online.
Best Value : Buildium
If you’re on a tighter budget that prices the bigger property management firms out of reach, consider our value alternative, Buildium rental property management software combined with a local provider.
Free trial available
A wide range of products and services
Tiered membership plans to suit your needs
All-inclusive reporting library to monitor virtually every aspect of your investment
Cluttered web page
IT-driven company that may confuse people used to brick-and-mortar operations
Live phone support is not automatically available
Buildium is an innovative software company providing you with reporting features from board member communications to marketing your vacancies. We’re proposing a bit of a do-it-yourself approach here, but not without some intensive tech features to make your property management life far simpler than it used to be. And if you still don’t want to personally manage your investment property, use Buildium to monitor its performance while you hire a local property manager to do the site work as needed. Either way, you’ll manage the property at a fraction of the cost of our other category winners.
Founded by two property managers in Rhode Island in 2002 who were tired of constantly tackling endless spreadsheets, they decided to develop software to do it. Now headquartered in Boston, and surpassing 14,000 customers and multiple years on the Inc. 5000 list, Buildium is a great fit for residential housing assets like community associations, student housing, affordable housing, and other residential properties.
Every price plan comes with accounting, maintenance, tasks, violations, resident and board member communications, and online portals. Other top features include a free marketing website, new client leads, property inspections, tenant screening, eLeases, online payments, reports, and support.
- Essential, starting at $50 per month
- Growth, starting at $160 per month
- Premium, starting at $460 per month
Reports cover accounting, operations, and leasing in a wealth of specific sub-categories, all with an online and mobile user interface for the owner. You can even give your own local property manager access to your account to further enhance efficiencies and reporting accuracy while minimizing your effort.
Best for Environmental Programs : Winn Companies
From being able to return discounts on utility bills to providing green financing, Winn Companies has the best environmental programs of any property management company we reviewed.
A strong community focus
Commitment to sustainability
Utility savings with programs like community solar
Environmental focus may not be cost-effective for new property owners
Like other providers, pricing is not transparent until you enter negotiations as a building owner
Many reports are issued quarterly
Spending millions every year bringing communities clean energy to follow the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Existing Buildings as well as providing new sustainable builds, Winn is the clear leader in environmental programs for property management.
Started back in the 1970s, Winn saw the potential for sustainable, affordable housing and has since grown to provide property management for affordable housing, the military, commercial, and luxury residential developments. The company is able to manage properties nationwide but currently manages in 22 states and Washington, D.C.
Winn ensures that properties are maintained to the highest environmental and community standards. Serving both commercial and residential properties, Winn can perform for a wide range of building types.
Winn provides operations, maintenance, leasing, and financial services, but their environmental expertise adds further value to the buildings they manage. For example, in addition to solar programs and other energy retrofits, Winn strives to improve building system efficiencies like mechanical, lighting, building envelope, insulation, air sealing, boilers, ventilation, air conditioning, and water conservation.
Fees are covered in their confidential proposals to property owners.
Winn provides quarterly reporting on purchasing, financials, capital asset preservation recommendations, and return on investment calculations. For affordable housing clients, Winn will do monthly audits as needed to ensure compliance and minimize risk. There is no standard online platform for owners to monitor their properties, but it may be customized if requested.
Best for Vacation Rental Management : Vacasa
Providing vacation rental management in 34 states (as well as Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica), Vacasa is the premier North and Central American vacation rental management company. Their geographic coverage and specialized expertise in their field make them the hands-down winner in this niche.
Industry-specific management for vacation rentals
299,000-plus five-star reviews
Provides 3D tours of their properties to help fill vacancies
No scope outside of this industry
Does not service many central states
While managing a rental property is tough, managing a vacation rental property may be even tougher because of the frequent turnover of tenants, so we believe you need a player focused on the details to make this sector a success. Vacasa understands the nuances of vacation property management better than anyone.
Started in 2009, founder and vacation property owner Eric Breon struggled to find a property manager that could offer both a professional rental experience for his vacationers and a strong financial performance for his property. Today Vacasa has 25,000 vacation homes under management serving two million guests each year.
Vacasa offers a full package for your needs in the residential vacation home industry, including cleaning, financial records, four-hour local guest support, 3D online home tours, professional writing and photography, streamlined reservation management, and thorough housekeeping after every stay.
Costs are dependent on a number of factors, however they do promise one fee for all essential services. Vacasa has a “no nickel-and-diming” policy and has sworn off hidden fees.
Unlike other property management companies, Vacasa addresses costs and fees in detail. They explain their guest-facing fee structure, as well as what contributes to your customized owner management fee, such as assisting owners with vacation rental permitting, public relations, and social media to name a few.
You can stay on top of your home’s financial reporting and bookings in the online homeowner portal.
The best property management companies have the know-how to maintain and optimize your building’s performance, minimize your investment risk, nurture your brand’s reputation, and communicate with the frequency you desire. Whether you hire a large firm with global reach, or a small, local company that has built a great name in your city, be sure they have a well-documented set of procedures. Everyone in our list of top performers excels in this area.
Greystar rose to the top because they service both residential and commercial real estate, and excel at end-to-end property management processes, financial, operational, and market analysis reporting, capped off with a “Beyond Expectations” motto in service to tenants, staff, owners, and vendor partners.
|Company||Wins For||Key Strengths|
|Greystar||Best Overall||Proprietary "Beyond Expectations" customer service; extensive 24/7 reporting for owners; broad reach|
|BH Companies||Best for Residential Properties||Smart home technology and green conservation programs|
|Colliers International||Best for Commercial Properties||18,000 professionals trained to add value to properties|
|Lincoln Property Management||Best for Customer Service||Created their own awards program with 15 categories; propertyBI business intelligence tool|
|Apartment Management Consultants||Best Onboarding System||Extensive process documentation and ongoing training; highly trained staff with low turnover rate|
|Buildium||Best Value||Property management software that can save you a lot of money with online automation|
|Winn Companies||Best for Environmental Programs||Funds many of their building upgrades with the savings they realize from energy conservation retrofits|
|Vacasa||Best for Vacation Rental Management||An expert in the niche of managing the tenants, homes, and NOI for vacation rental properties|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Choose a Good Property Management Company?
In order to choose a good property management company, you’ll want to look for a company with a good reputation in the market. They should have clearly explained management fees and contract details. Only seek management companies that have the proper licenses and insurance to manage in your state with specialization experience in your location. The company you choose should have clear protocol of where to go if you have any issues.
How Much Should a Property Management Company Charge?
Anywhere between 8% to 12% of the monthly rental fees collected is the industry standard for property management fees. The services you require from the company will also influence the fee, such as evictions and tenant turnover. Are you asking the property management company to handle the legal arrangements, evict the tenant, clean and prep the unit, advertise the vacancy, and screen the new tenants? That will influence (and increase) the fee structure.
Is a Property Management Company Worth It?
For most landlords, it is not only worth it, but it’s almost necessary to have a property manager. The many laws and maintenance responsibilities of owning and leasing a property are often too complex or time consuming for an investor to handle on his own. The expertise and professionalism needed when dealing with tenants, as well as the trade skills to keep the rental in good operating function, are well worth the 8% to 12% of collected rent payments.
How We Chose the Best Property Management Companies
We reviewed 18 property management companies to bring you the best that can serve you nationwide. There are some very good companies that offer property management services to a very small region, such as a city or metro area. In order to make our list, we chose companies that cover most of the United States to serve the broadest range of readers.
The key factors in which our category winners needed to excel were company reputation, range of services offered, and how well they make it possible for the property owner to monitor performance through reports and online dashboards. While savvy property management companies do not price their work until they have a full understanding of the services the owner wants them to perform, we did outline for you what the company will charge for, and where possible, we offered a range.