6 Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Property Management Software [Free Checklist]

Posted by
on Mar 06, 2018

Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to upgrade your property management software. But where do you start and what do you even look for?

To help you out, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to choosing the right property management software for your business’ needs.

We’ll go through essential property management software features, different pricing options and we’ll even throw in a free checklist to help you narrow down your options. Let’s get right into it!

1. Leverage your network

As a starting point, it’s always a good idea to leverage your network and ask other property managers what they use and recommend.

Be sure to ask them:

  • What property management software do you use?
  • What was the transition like?
  • What do you like and dislike about it?
  • How has the software impacted your business?

This will give you an idea of what the most popular software systems are and the pros and cons of each. However, keep in mind that everyone’s business needs are different so what may work for them may not work for you and vice versa.

2. Identify your business’ needs

On that note, it’s crucial that you choose a property management software that is the right fit for your business’ needs.

Ask yourself what you are trying solve by upgrading to a new software - what are the current pain points of your business? For example, if your team is swamped with administrative tasks, you need a system with lots of built-in automation to reduce this workload and increase efficiency.

As a minimum, here are ten essential property management software features:

  • Online in the cloud

Compared to legacy software, cloud property management software has many benefits. Besides increased flexibility and accessibility, you can also benefit from reduced costs, greater security and simple backup and recovery.

  • Full property accounting functionality

This is a no-brainer. Your software needs to have best-in-class accounting features and built-in automation for bills, disbursements and reconciliation to simplify your workload.

  • Mobile app

Property managers are on the road a lot; that’s why it’s crucial that your software has a mobile app. This way, your staff can access property and contact data and conduct inspections at any time.

  • Streamlined communications

The best property managers are great communicators. They utilise software with triggered messages to save time and client access so that their tenants and owners can log in to see their property and financial data 24/7.

  • Jobs

Maintenance is another core part of property management. Therefore, it should also be a core part of your property management software.

  • Inspections

Conducting routine inspections as well as entry and exit inspections is crucial to the upkeep of your properties. Your software should streamline this process.

  • Compliance reporting

Your property management software should allow you to see and export current and historical audit reports and statements.

  • Reliable support

Do they have a self-serve online knowledge base? Do they have free training and webinars? If you can’t find the answer, can you easily book in a support call?

  • Unlimited users

The best software systems allow you to have unlimited users at no extra cost because they know that success is a team effort.

  • Sophisticated data security

Security is no laughing matter; make sure your property management software has two-factor authentication and 128 bit SSL encryption (the level of encryption that banks use).

Additionally, be sure to involve your staff by asking them what their top three features are then tallying those up to prioritise your software requirements. This will also help you identify additional “nice-to-have” software features such as automation and ongoing feature development.

3. Compare systems and features

Now that you have a list of essential and nice-to-have software features, it’s time to shortlist a few property management software systems and compare features.

Here’s your free feature comparison checklist to help you narrow down your options.

Property Management Software Feature Checklist Image

Simply print it out and write down the names of a few other software systems and check off whether they have the features you’re looking for. Eliminate any software systems that don’t have the features that you require.

4. Price your options

Using the same feature comparison checklist (above), price out your options. Make sure you prioritise the systems by the features that you want rather than by price.

You should consider the different pricing models available:

  • Do you pay monthly or annually or is it a one off payment? How much is it?
  • Will you be locked into a contract? Is there an exit fee?
  • How much is the setup fee?
  • Are there additional costs or ongoing fees for add-on features?
  • Does the company charge for ongoing training and support?

In addition to that, you should factor in any hidden cost-savings. For example, if you’re using an external inspections software, you can mitigate that cost by choosing a property management software with a built-in inspections tool.

Subsequently, rank your property management software contenders based on both features and pricing.

5. Take each option for a spin

Now that you have narrowed down your list of property management software systems, it’s time for take each option for a spin! Sign up for a demo of each system and prepare any questions you might have beforehand.

During your trial period, make sure you take advantage of any free resources the company might have! These might include webinars, training videos, knowledge base articles, blogs, guides and other educational material. This will give you insight into how easy the software is to use and the kind of training and support you can expect.

Also, you should take a look at the company’s blog and social media to get an idea of what kind of company they are, how often they release new features and how happy their customers are with their product and support.

6. What is migration like?

You’re almost there! By now, you’ve probably narrowed down your options to one or two software systems. As the last step, you should run a trial migrate to make sure all your data can be brought across from your current system.

With a trial migrate, you will be able to:

  • See how long migration takes
  • Spot any opportunities to clean up your data in your current software so you can start fresh after you migrate
  • Understand the steps you may need to take to settle your portfolio into its new format
  • Use migrated data for team training and test integrations

To sum it up…

Here are the six steps to choosing the right property management software:

1. Leverage your network

2. Identify your business’ needs

3. Compare systems and features

4. Price your options

5. Take each option for a spin

6. What is migration like?

PropertyMe Cloud Property Management SoftwareIf you’re looking to upgrade your software, PropertyMe is game-changing cloud property management software that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. With features like clever communication, client access, automated property accounting, jobs, inspection planning and an accompanying mobile app, you’ll have everything you need to manage your properties.

Book a free demo today to see why thousands of property managers have switched.

What property management software did you end up choosing? Please let us know in the comments below.