Best Rental Property Management Software

Buildium is our pick for best overall rental property management software

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The property management industry in America generates over $99 billion in revenue annually.  With that much money circulating from real estate rentals, it’s no wonder many software companies have emerged to help investors, landlords, and property managers stay organized, but which is the best rental property management software for you? 

Landlord owners can utilize rental management software, but it’s important to remember that not all are built the same. A good property management software can help you attract, screen, and manage tenants, respond to their maintenance requests, and account for all the expenses and revenue that entails, which is crucial for tax season.

Best Rental Property Management Software of 2023

Best Rental Property Management Software
Best Rental Property Management Software

Best Overall : Buildium


Buildium

Buildium

Key Specs

  • Price: Per unit starting at $52
  • Who Should Use: Association and residential owners and managers
  • Free Trial: 14 days
Why We Chose It

Built by property managers for property managers, Buildium’s comprehensive service allows property owners to control every aspect of their business remotely, making it the best overall choice for both residential and association property managers.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 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-home property managers

Overview

The idea behind Buildium began between 2002 and 2003 when Michael Monteiro and Dimitris Georgakopoulos started their rental property business and realized they needed software that would help them manage their properties easier. In 2004 they founded the company, which quickly grew to 10,000 customers by 2014, receiving many awards and recognitions to date.

Buildium, our overall best, is a comprehensive software that allows rental managers to control everything from online rent payments, vacancy management, maintenance cycles, and accounting. Buildium streamlines the whole property management process through accounting, business operations, leasing, and community association management features. To support them, Buildium integrates with several external software platforms, including Apartment List, Apartments.com, Forte, HappyCo, HotPads, Lovely, TransUnion, RevSpring, MSI, Nelco, Tenant Turner, PayNearMe, Trulia, Zillow, and Zumper.

Buildium also has a specialized tenant portal allowing property managers to automatically receive online payments. While there is no free version, they offer a free 14-day trial. Pricing is based on the number of units you manage and starts at $52 per month for the essential plan, so the more units you have, the lower your cost per unit. Buildium also has a 10% discount for anyone that signs up for annual billing.

As it streamlines the whole process, Buildium is fairly simple to use, although basic users may not be able to maximize all of its features. To help users find their way through it easier, Buildium has a ticket-based customer support system, although there were some complaints about the slow responses clients received from it.

Best Free Option : TurboTenant


TurboTenant

 TurboTenant

Key Specs

  • Price: Free; optional services are provided for a one-time fee
  • Who Should Use: Landlords with multiple residential units
  • Free Trial: N/A
Why We Chose It

TurboTenant’s pricing model puts all of its costs on the tenants, making it the best free option for landlords.

Pros
  • Free regardless of the number of units managed

  • Great for DIY landlords

  • 24/7 customer support through phone and online

Cons
  • Tenants have to pay for it

  • Limited advanced features

  • Charges fees and for optional services

Overview

A lot of rental property management software platforms have free trial options, but often for only a limited number of units or a limited period of time. This is not the case with TurboTenant, which will remain 100% free no matter the number of units you manage. While many free rental property management software platforms leave a lot to be desired, TurboTenant is pretty straightforward to use with a simple interface and setup.

While TurboTenant is free for landlords, tenants pay a fee of $55 for application and screening, a credit card rent payment fee of 3.49%, and an optional renters insurance monthly fee starting as low as $8. Landlords can purchase a few optional services for a one-time fee, such as state-specific lease agreements for $39, an unlimited number of electronic signatures for $9, and 32 common landlord forms for $145.

TurboTenant has several features designed to facilitate tenant management for landlords, including managing applications and screening tenants online, creating dedicated listing pages, and sending bulk tenant messages from one inbox. By integrating with Facebook Marketplace, Realtor.com, Rent.com, Apartment List, RentPath, and other rental listing sites, landlords can advertise a vacant property with a single click across multiple platforms.

You can then screen tenants through TransUnion, send and sign all documents online via the platform, and send payment and maintenance requests online. Payments made through ACH are free, but credit card payments incur a 3.49% fee.

Although it’s a free, cloud-based platform, it has been featured and praised by Forbes and Inc.com. Considering there are over 400,000 landlords using their software, the reliability and support provided by TurboTenant’s online tools have been proven and endorsed since their founding in 2015.

The company’s strong reputation has earned it three rounds of venture capital investment from three lead investors, totaling over $10 million.

Best for Advanced Features : AppFolio


AppFolio

 AppFolio

Key Specs

  • Price: $280 for the core plan and goes up from there
  • Who Should Use: Owners with large portfolios of residential rentals
  • Free Trial: N/A
Why We Chose It

AppFolio, popular among landlords with large rental portfolios, offers the best advanced features to control your units remotely, and additional support and resources to grow your business and maximize its efficiency.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Plans for residential landlords, community associations, and commercial real estate landlords

  • Supports all types of units

  • Has a mobile app

Cons
  • Has a minimum monthly fee

  • Not fit for a small number of properties

  • Is not accredited by the BBB

Overview

Besides supporting all types of units, AppFolio has developed a wide range of features for landlords who need to operate and grow their business remotely, earning our top vote for best for advanced features. 

AppFolio has two different plan tiers for residential landlords as well as plans for community associations and commercial landlords. The plans have a cost per unit, but a minimum applies. For residential landlords, the minimum cost is $280 a month for the core plan.

To set up an AppFolio account, you would need to pay an onboarding fee, after which the cost of each property is as follows:

  • Residential Core: $1.40 per unit monthly (min $280)
  • Residential Plus: $3 per unit monthly (min $1,500)
  • Plans for community associations and commercial landlords are also available.

AppFolio supports multiple property types, including residential properties, commercial buildings, student housing, and community associations. Each of the features is designed for the specific property type you’re using, so AppFolio has everything a landlord would need—accounting software, rent collection features, maintenance requests, marketing tools for multiple platforms, utility billing, and customizable online leases. 

Advanced features include a leasing assistant powered by artificial intelligence, professional websites for your properties, premium leads, tenant screening, proof of insurance tracking, online payments, maintenance contact center, utility management, automated accounts payable, and tenant debt collections. 

Founded in 2006, AppFolio has over a decade of experience in providing property management services to clients. Their property management software was the first product they developed, so it’s what they take the most pride in and continuously develop. The company continues to grow with over six million units managed on the platform and is publicly traded on the NASDAQ.

Best for Single-Family Homes : Propertyware


Propertyware

 Propertyware

Key Specs

  • Price: Three-tier price plan starting at $1, plus fees
  • Who Should Use: Landlords who rent single-family homes
  • Free Trial: N/A
Why We Chose It

Designed with single-family home landlords in mind, Propertyware has earned its place as our best rental property management software for single-family homes.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Manage large portfolios

  • Has a mobile app

  • Multiple pricing tiers

Cons
  • Some customer support complaints

  • Fit only for large portfolios

  • Monthly fee

Overview

Focused on single-family home property management, Propertyware is fairly simple to use, without complicated features commercial management software can have, making it the best choice for single-family home management. You’ll benefit from Propertyware’s management features, especially if you're a single-family home landlord. It has everything a landlord needs, including online rent collection, accounting, maintenance requests, vacant property marketing with leasing agents, marketing with listing syndication, tenant screening services, lead tracking and follow-up, and a portal for vendors. 

Propertyware currently has three pricing tiers: Basic, Plus, and Premium, with costs starting at $1 per unit, $1.50 per unit, and $2 per unit, respectively. With the Basic plan, you can run reports; advertise your vacancies; manage the properties with owner and tenant portals; and streamline maintenance work orders, accounting, tenant screening, and rent payments.

The Plus plan adds conveniences like two-way text messaging, eSignatures, and inspections. At the Premium level, you can manage your maintenance projects and add portals for your vendors. Each respective tier has a minimum monthly fee of $250, $350, and $450, so to optimize your unit costs, this program is best for managers of at least 250 homes.

Integrations for efficiency include DocuSign, but Propertyware has chosen a primarily in-house approach for marketing, lead generation, and tenant screening rather than integrating with third-party software.

Propertyware is owned by RealPage, a Texas-born company founded in 1998 that currently serves more than 12,400 clients from North America, Europe, and Asia. All members of Propertyware's management team have over 20 years of experience working in real estate, which means users get software designed by people who understand the industry and how it works.

Best for Few Properties : SimplifyEm


SimplifyEm

 SimplifyEm

Key Specs

  • Price: $25 per 10 units
  • Who Should Use: People with a small portfolio of residential properties
  • Free Trial: 15 days
Why We Chose It

Designed by real estate professionals, SimplifyEm offers the ideal balance of price and features, making it the perfect choice for landlords that need help managing a few properties and don’t want to pay the high cost of other software plans.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Supports one to 2,000 units

  • Designed by real estate professionals

  • Has advanced features

Cons
  • If you have more than 2,000 units, the platform can’t grow with your portfolio

  • Free trial is only 15 days

Overview

While SimplifyEm supports any number of units from one to 2,000, it’s the best fit for a few properties, because you can keep your costs as low as $25 per month if you’re starting out with fewer than 10 properties.

The price starts at $25 per month for 10 units. Then costs $35 for 20 units and $45 for 30 units. For 50 units, it is $60, increasing to $75 for 75 units, and 100 for $100 units. You can create a free 15-day trial account without needing to enter a credit card. It does not require a dedicated professional to manage this platform. Independent property owners should find this accessible regardless of their experience.

All packages include email and phone support, income and expense tracking, tenant and lease management reporting, renters insurance, and more.

SimplifyEm is designed to give a simple and easy way for landlords to manage their properties while also saving time and money. It allows users to track income and expenses, collect rent and tenant applications online, screen tenants, generate and analyze owner reports, track maintenance requests, store documents, and automate repetitive tasks. You can get started immediately because it is cloud-based.

Founded in 2006, SimplifyEm has a goal of utilizing the latest in user experience and web technology to develop a software solution that meets the needs of busy real estate professionals. The company has clients across the U.S. and Canada and has been used to manage over $42​ billion in property assets.

Best for Commercial Property : MRI Software


MRI Software

 MRI Software

Key Specs

  • Price: Must call for a quote
  • Who Should Use: Owners leasing commerical properties
  • Free Trial: N/A
Why We Chose It

MRI Software wins our top recommendation for managing commercial properties like apartment communities with features not found in competitors’ programs like investment management, strategic planning & analysis, lease abstraction, space management, and affordable and public housing compliance.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple advanced features included

  • Reliable company with a long history

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • You need to contact the company to get a price quote

Overview

Commercial properties come with greater financial complexities, and the investors who own them have different information requirements for their properties, such as investment management reports and strategic planning and analysis. MRI Software was designed to meet these needs from the start and therefore wins our vote as the best rental property management software for commercial properties. 

MRI Software supports both commercial and residential properties, but because of the design of its features, it’s better suited for the commercial sector or businesses owning large portfolios of residential properties. A smaller residential landlord would simply leave too many features paid for but unused. It’s best suited for managing larger portfolios of property and can be installed or purchased as Software as a Service (SaaS).

As it has a wide array of services for different types of clients, MRI Software doesn’t have specific pricing tiers, but rather it tailors the price for every client’s needs. This means that users can choose what to include in their package and whether they need some or all services, such as online rent collection, lease templates, integrated accounting, maintenance requests, tenant screening insurances, multifamily insurance, resident communication, investor relations, rent and vacancy tracking, manager compliance, and credit risk management. 

There is no free trial, and to get a quote you must get on the phone with them so they can interview you to determine exactly how you want to use the software. While this is an extensive process, quite different from competitors who simply publish their pricing online, there are many reviews from commercial property managers and owners on Getapp.com and Software Advice that have rated MRI as a good value for the price they were privately quoted.

Founded in 1971 and based in Cleveland, Ohio, MRI Software started by providing property management services and has expanded to cloud-based software and an app. They’ve had over 45,000 clients in over 170 countries and more than 300 partners supporting them, a testament to the reliability and quality they provide.

Best Cloud-Based Software : Yardi Breeze


Yardi Breeze

 Yardi Breeze

Key Specs

  • Price: $100 minimum ($1 per unit)
  • Who Should Use: Owners who lease residential and commercial properties
  • Free Trial: N/A
Why We Chose It

As a pioneer in providing cloud-based rental property management software services, Yardi Breeze has stood above other cloud-based software platforms due to the additional features it comes with.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unique features

  • Free training and customer support

Cons
  • Does not have a mobile app

  • A few customer service complaints

Overview

If you want to have access to advanced features that facilitate the usage of your cloud-based property management software, Yardi Breeze is the right choice for you. The company was founded in 1984 to provide software solutions to the real estate industry.

There are no setup fees with Yardi Breeze, and with the cheaper residential plan every unit you add costs $1 per month, so it’s a pretty affordable property management software for all the features it comes with. You have to spend $100 per month at a minimum ($1 per unit) if you have residential properties and $200 ($2 per unit) for commercial properties with the basic package. There is also a second residential package called Breeze Premier that costs $2 per unit per month with a $400 minimum.

The features include built-in accounting software, online rent collection, rental applications, templates and addendums, maintenance requests, automated marketing, activity calendars with tasks, renters insurance, tenant communication options, workflow sheets, and outsource payments. All these allow users to manage their properties, tenants, and finances with a few online clicks. But what separates Yardi Breeze is the unique feature that allows tenants to take photos with a smart device and directly attach them to a maintenance request on an online platform.

The system is pretty simple to understand, according to previous clients, but even for those that have problems setting it up, Yardi Breeze offers free training and customer support to set up your account and learn the software.

Final Verdict

Rental property management software allows landlords of small or large portfolios to manage their processes from lead generation to occupancy, payment, maintenance, insurance, and financial accounting and reporting. Many platforms specialize in specific niches, such as small portfolios of single-family homes or large mixed commercial portfolios.

We ranked Buildium as the best rental property management software overall because its features are robust, its platform can scale with your portfolio’s growth, and at just $50 per month to manage up to 150 units, it’s a low-cost solution when you are starting out.

Compare Best Rental Property Management Software

Best Rental Property Management Software
Software Company Who Should Use It Free Trial Monthly Minimum Cost for Cheapest Plan
Buildium: Best Overall Association and residential managers and owners 14 days $52
TurboTenant: Best Free Option Landlords with multiple residential units N/A $0
AppFolio: Best For Advanced Features Large portfolio holders N/A $280
Propertyware: Best for Single-Family Homes Landlords renting single-family homes N/A $250
SimplifyEm: Best For Few Properties Small portfolio holders 15 days $25
MRI Software: Best For Commercial Properties Owners of commercial properties N/A Must call for quote
Yardi Breeze: Best Cloud-Based Software Mixed portfolio (commercial and residential) holders N/A $100

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Rental Property Management Software?

Rental property management software is a suite of tools to help landlords attract leads to fill vacancies, screen tenants, and manage leases. There are typically communication features so managers and tenants can discuss maintenance requests or send global announcements, such as when snow removal is scheduled. In addition, rental property management software has an accounting component to it as well. You’ll be able to receive and record payments and generate reports for income, expenses, cash flow, and other strategic and financial planning interests.

Who Should Use Rental Property Management Software?

Beginning investors with small rental portfolios (fewer than 10 units) and large commercial property management firms can use rental property management software. Different companies create software with specialized features that work best for certain categories of landlords, property types, and portfolio sizes. These programs can be useful to a DIY investor, as well as to a team of users made up of an owner, property manager, facility maintenance, and leasing agent, to name a few.

How Much Does Rental Property Management Software Cost?

Most property management software programs charge between $1 and $2 per unit under management. It’s important to note when you’re shopping for a program, most providers 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. Most programs charge the landlord team, but TurboTenant is a notable exception, pushing its costs onto the tenants.

What Apps Do Landlords Use?

There are many property management mobile apps available in the marketplace. If you are a landlord, finding the right one to use depends on various factors, like budget, tenant and building type, and the number of units in a portfolio. Mobile apps connected to property management software programs, like Buildium and Appfolio, are two popular choices.

Is Rental Income Reported To the IRS?

Yes. Rental income must be reported on your taxes, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A single house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, vacation home, or similar type of dwelling used to generate income should be reported on your taxes.

Methodology

We reviewed 15 rental property management software companies to decide on the seven best for these common categories. Lower costs and minimum fee requirements fared better than more expensive programs.

We also preferred programs that earned high ratings and testimonials for their ease of use and setup. The software we recommended needed to have a good reputation for responsive customer service, integrations to expand and streamline the rental management process, and a comprehensive offering of features to accommodate efficient and affordable property management.

https://www.investopedia.com/best-rental-property-management-software-5089988

Getty Images / Anyaberkut

Article Sources
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