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Decades ago, landlords had to handle their property management businesses the old fashioned way: Screen tenants themselves, collecting in-person payments (usually cash or a check), and keeping track of maintenance requests, vendors, and accounting information using paper documents.
Today, owning rental property doesn't have to be so complicated or time-consuming. With property management software, landlords can manage all the important aspects of their businesses online or via a mobile app. This makes it easier for them to manage multiple properties or to spend their free time doing something else. We did the heavy lifting for you by comparing more than 10 property management software companies based on features, pricing, transparency, and more.
Best Overall: AppFolio
Why We Chose It: We chose AppFolio as the best property management software overall due to its affordable pricing model, technological features and mobile app, and its focus on residential and commercial real estate portfolios.
Residential properties start at $1.25 per month each
Mobile app lets you manage properties on the go
Software options for community associations, student housing, and more
Premium plans can be costly when compared to some competitors
No free trial
Monthly minimum fee of $250
AppFolio was founded in 2006 and now has offices in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, and Boston. It has a stated mission of using its cloud-based software to help customers "more effectively market, manage, and grow their business."
AppFolio was chosen as our best overall pick due to its robust plans for both residential and commercial properties. This company has property management software options for homeowners associations and student housing, as well as landlords with residential or commercial properties. In addition to its many online features, AppFolio's app makes it especially easy for users to keep up with their properties.
Stand-out features you should know about include communication management, built-in marketing tools, leasing management, online maintenance, the option for online payments, and customizable reporting. If you upgrade to the "Plus" version of the company's plans, you can unlock additional perks like advanced performance insights, revenue management, and strategic account management tools.
Pricing starts at $1.25 per unit (per month) for residential properties, $1.50 per unit for commercial, $.80 per unit for HOAs, and $1.25 per unit per month for student housing. Just remember that monthly minimum fees also apply. AppFolio also offers a free demo so you can see how it works before you buy.
Best Budget Option for 100+ Residential Units: Yardi Breeze
Why We Chose It: Yardi Breeze offers residential property management software options starting at $1 per month, per unit. It also lets you get started without extra fees.
Pricing for residential management starts at $1 per month, per unit
No onboarding, training, or support fees
Software available for multiple real estate uses
Monthly minimum of $100 required
Annual agreement required for lowest pricing
No free trial
Yardi Breeze was founded in 1984, so this property management software company has a long history of helping clients manage their businesses. Due to its pricing structure and lack of startup fees, we ranked this company well for residential landlords with 100 or more units. There's a $100 monthly minimum fee, but each residential unit added to a program is only $1, which could bring pricing significantly lower for landlords who have slightly more than 100 properties.
While residential properties can be a good value, Yardi Breeze offers management options for residential and commercial real estate, self-storage, manufactured housing, and neighborhood associations. The software lets you manage your properties online or with a mobile device, which makes it easier to streamline every aspect of your business. You can use the activity calendar to see daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, and you can manage maintenance staff and activities as well as payments all in one place.
Yardi Breeze also lets you centralize your communications with potential residents, current residents, and other professionals you deal with as part of your property management business. Your tenants also use the software to pay their rent, and accounting features let you manage payables and receivables while you maintain escrow and trust accounts in one place. You can also generate financial statements, track budgets, and prepare and e-file 1099s.
These are just some of the features Yardi Breeze offers, but there are plenty more. We believe this company provides an exceptional value for landlords who have 100+ units and don't mind signing up for a year of service upfront.
Best for Unlimited Units: Buildium
Why We Chose It: Buildium offers plans with unlimited e-leases, so it's a good option if you want to be able to manage all your properties without exploding costs. It also offers a free trial, so you can give Buildium a chance without a commitment.
Plans with unlimited e-leases available
Free 14-day trial
Plans available for residential housing, student housing, community associations, and affordable housing
Essential plans start at just $50 per month
Additional fees for adding bank accounts, onboarding, and online payments
Most affordable plans have limited customer support options
Premium plans require an annual commitment and subscription
Buildium was founded in 2002, and it has grown to become one of the most highly rated property management software companies out there. While it has plenty of features you can benefit from, we chose this company because it has plans available with unlimited e-leases and tenants. This can be a major plus for large landlords or rental companies with plans to grow over time.
A free 14-day trial can help you figure out if Buildium is the best option for managing your properties, and the basic plans start at just $50 per month. Also note that every plan includes accounting features, maintenance updates, tasks, violations, communication features for residents and board members, and an online portal for residents, board members, and owners to use for communications and more.
Growth plans with unlimited e-leases start at $160 per month, and this plan also includes basic and premium tenant screening as well as performance reports and analytics. You can upgrade to a premium plan for $460 per month, which includes top-tier customer service options, in-depth reporting, and a dedicated growth consultant for new leads.
Best for Single-Family Homes: Propertyware
Why We Chose It: Propertyware offers property management solutions specifically for landlords and professionals who manage single-family properties.
Free trial offered with no credit card required
Basic plans start at $1 per month, per unit
You can customize your plans with add-ons
Plans come with a minimum fee of $250
Startup fees required
Plans not functional for commercial landlords or multi-unit properties
Propertyware is a product of Real Page, a software and data analytics provider in the real estate industry. This company was founded in 1998 and has since grown to serve more than 12,400 clients worldwide.
Propertyware doesn't offer software for commercial properties, HOAs, or student housing, so it can put its time and energy into helping clients manage their portfolio of single-family homes.
This paves the way for more and better features for residential landlords, including accounting integration, maintenance oversight and tracking features, comprehensive payment options for tenants, tenant screening tools, a powerful online portal, and marketing assistance. You can also simplify your business with AssetProtect property insurance that protects against kitchen fires, water damage, and other costly expenses you may not want to cover with a landlord's insurance policy.
Best Free Option: TenantCloud
Why We Chose It: TenantCloud is one of the few providers that offers a free property management software option. This plan can be a lifesaver for landlords who own a few units.
Free plan available for landlords with up to 75 units
All plans include a comprehensive list of benefits and tools
Mobile app makes property management more convenient
Fees for additional services like tenant screening and rental reports
You'll have to pay for an Advanced plan if you want more than one administrator on your account
Limited file storage available with each plan tier
TenantCloud was founded in 2014 with the goal of providing affordable property management options to landlords. It made our list due to the overall affordability of all of its plans, but mostly because it offers an entirely free option for landlords who own up to 75 units. From there, the Standard plan starts at $9 per month and the Advanced plan begins at $35 per month.
With sign-up, every plan includes online payment options, accounting features, online leases, a portal for maintenance requests, rental applications, the ability to set up maintenance reminders, tenant screening tools, a free marketing website, and more.
However, Standard and Advanced plans offer more robust features like syncing with your Google calendar, e-signature, and renter leads. The top-tier plan also syncs with Quickbooks and includes priority support.
Overall, TenantCloud is an affordable option for almost any landlord. It's also a good place to start if you're a landlord with a few units and who wants access to basic software tools without having to fork over a high monthly minimum fee.
Property management software can make your job as a landlord or property manager significantly easier. After all, online tools let you manage each important component of your business in one place, and technology can let you run most of your operation online and in the cloud, which can minimize phone calls and in-person visits.
If you're trying to find a software program that might work for your needs, we suggest comparing all the best companies and searching for an option with a free trial or demo. That way, you can learn about some of the best property management software features and how they work before you commit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Property Management Software?
Property management software describes software programs geared to property owners and property managers. This computer software lets real estate professionals track and manage their businesses online or via their mobile device. The point of property management software is to streamline real estate businesses, eliminate unnecessary tasks, and maximize profits.
Should Every Landlord Use Property Management Software?
The decision to use property management software is a personal one. Some landlords with just a few units may decide they don't need access to online tools. However, those managing many units may find property management software essential for their business.
Can You Find Free Property Management Software?
TenantCloud offers a free version of its property management software, although you can only use it for up to 75 units. Also note that there are limited features available with this no-cost option.
How We Chose the Best Property Management Software
To find the best property management software companies, we looked at more than 10 of the top providers. We compared companies based on their pricing and features and looked at user reviews online. Overall, we gave preference to companies with myriad features, technology such as a mobile app, transparent pricing, and plans for all kinds of properties and portfolios. We also looked closely at companies that have free trial periods.