Success in the real estate industry lies within adequate property management. This task is not a walk in the park, as property managers have to deal with piles of operations and small errands. The outbreak of coronavirus pandemics significantly affects property management by restricting interactions between landlords, property managers, tenants, and other parties.
Luckily enough, digital solutions have emerged to assist property managers and landlords in collecting rent, planning maintenance works, listing vacant properties at search portals, and keeping in touch with tenants when urgent issues arise. Therefore, the growing demand for such solutions is natural, given the circumstances.
Grand View Research reports that the property management software market has already achieved $2.9 billion in value for 2020, and is likely to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% within the period from 2021 to 2028. A particular rising demand can be expected for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) property management software, as the market will reach $1, 823.92 million by 2028. For now, the key global players are AppFolio, Inc., Entrata, Inc., Yardi Systems Inc., and many others.
The market prospects speak for themselves, so the development of your own SaaS property management software is a low-hanging fruit. Still, you need to get familiar with all types of property management software available at the market to know about the key ingredients for a solution that will give you a competitive edge.
What is property management software (PMS)?
Property management software assists with the management of income and costs incurred in the maintenance of a residential or commercial property. The most frequent property management software features include but are not limited to, trust accounting, scheduling of maintenance works, inspection notifications, listing vacancies, communication with tenants, and reporting key analytics data.
Problems property management software can solve
Landlords and property managers have enough headaches, regardless of the type of property they are responsible for: both residential and commercial property can turn into the worst nightmare, if left unmanaged. There are several issues that are typical for both property types.
Landlords and property managers need to feel certain that their tenants are trustworthy. To stay on the safe side, there’s a need to make sure that tenants will be able to pay rent on time, won’t do any harm to the property, and won’t cause any inconveniences in the area.
This implies background checks, as well as a review of the debt history and criminal record of lease applicants. That is why a quality property management software solution usually includes access to property search portals, where landlords and property managers can view the profiles of potential applicants.
Tenant profile tab in a property management app
Management of maintenance works
Having all maintenance works done is essential for keeping tenants satisfied over time. Naturally, everyone wants to rent a property with all facilities working fine to live in peace and comfort. Management of urgent requests as well as regular maintenance comes into play as a sign of good customer service that can become a guarantee for the lease renewal.
Thus, good property management software necessarily contains a function of requesting maintenance works, including urgent issues. Also, an effective property management software has a notification feature for informing tenants about upcoming maintenance works, as well as any similar events.
Maintenance works planning tab
Collection of rent
Such a simple process should be executed in a nice-and-easy fashion for property managers and renters. We’re all humans, so it’s natural that lodgers may have trouble paying the rent in time (the bank is closed, or they simply forgot about rent collection). With property management software, however, users can attach their credit cards and make landlords sure of the rent being paid when needed.
Rent collection feature
Every single property manager intends to have as many renters as possible. The common marketing tasks, therefore, are listing properties on the rental listing sites, and managing ads for relatable portals.
Property management software can recommend property managers the most relevant property search portals and supply them with comprehensive market analytics. These features will help property managers to market their real estate with higher efficiency.
Marketing analytics tab
Tracking of investment prospects
A constant search for real estate investors is also an essential duty of rental managers seeking for the best property investment options. Monitoring the investment value of the property, disbursement handling, and even reaching out to new investors require much effort, so property managers could use some help for sure.
An advanced property management software usually involves a separate function for accounting and financial management. Combined with access to the market analytics mentioned above, real estate investors can make informed investment decisions, while property managers can look for new funding prospects.
The majority of the aforementioned problems imply communication barriers. For example, a tenant has a problem with a plunging system, so they need to call a property manager or a landlord to request urgent maintenance work. The property manager answers their phone only during business hours, meanwhile, the problem requires a faster response, so there’s a need to reach out to the landlord directly.
This is where property management system solutions such as Cunio, developed by our JatApp team, can help. The solution lets users contact each other across multiple channels, such as SMS and email, thereby addressing the challenge of interaction between landlords, property managers, and tenants.
Example of Cunio functionality
Types of property management software
Since the demand for property management systems keeps growing, there is already a wide range of solutions to choose from. The list can get quite confusing, but in general, there are three categories, according to which you can classify the types of property management software: by deployment, by application, and by the end-user.
We can single out 2 types of property management system software by deployment: on-premise and cloud-based solutions.
Speaking about on-premise property management software, such software is developed and installed on a particular desktop rather than being accessed remotely.
Benefits of the on-premise property management software include complete ownership and control of the hardware and credible data security that is always an important consideration for any business. Furthermore, on-premise property management software offers opportunities for customization according to the business/user needs.
A relevant example can be provided by RentManager, which allows customization of almost everything: data fields, reports, documents, and beyond. RentManager allows property managers to have all property assets under control, without accessing multiple databases and communication channels.
RentManager’s management fees tab with multiple filters for data reporting customization
Cloud-based property management software follows the Software-as-a-Service delivery model, so you don’t necessarily have to use your office computer only to run it: this type of software can be accessed from different devices, and smartphones as well.
Property management industry analysis indicates that cloud-based solutions already obtain 60.1% of the global market, so this type of software is easily one of the most popular ones. And there’s a reason for that.
Reuters has underlined the importance of “thinking mobile” to accelerate the real estate business because of several benefits. Scalability, perceived ease of use, cost optimization, seamless integration of data and improved communication with tenants are the main advantages of cloud-based solutions.
But as mentioned previously, cloud-based solutions allow users to access the software from the smartphone, making it possible to manage different tasks “on the go”.
Cunio, the app we developed for a German company, presents a valid example of cloud-based property management software. This cutting-edge solution focuses on all features that are necessary for effective and convenient property management. Communication with tenants, planning of maintenance works, access to full ledger accounting, analytics of commercial data, and many other features are included in this single platform.
At the same time, tenants can use a mobile application to access a notice board, communicate with a landlord/property manager and neighbors, request maintenance works, and use property alarms for urgent situations. Also, tenants can leave feedback about services provided to the property they rent.
Property management industry analysis suggests that 69.3% of the market belongs to residential property management software, and 31.7% to commercial property management software, which is why it makes sense to know the difference between them.
Residential property management software
This type of property management software primarily focuses on the functions specific to residential types of property. In such a way, tenant screening, rent collection, management of maintenance works, and basic accounting tasks are the main property management software features of residential real estate.
SimplifyEm application is an example of a convenient app that positions itself as a residential property management software. Deployed as cloud-hosted, it offers a user-friendly interface with multiple features that property owners will find useful, such as tenant management, accounting, lease monitoring, and maintenance planning.
High efficiency and unique simplicity are the main reasons why this software is popular with many landlords and property managers.
Tenant management screen in SimplifyEM
Commercial property management software
As for the commercial property management software, the market is also full of various attractive solutions that resolve property management issues beyond basic tasks, like rent collection or maintenance works scheduling. To be more specific, commercial property management software has to provide information about businesses that lease the property. This helps to avoid competition amongst businesses that belong to the same industry.
For instance, if a property manager has already signed a lease contract with a flower shop, having the second flower shop within the same property will result in a competition. The revenue will be distributed amongst similar businesses, and they will have less ability to pay rent. That is why this type of PMS software has to aid property managers in creating favorable environments for businesses within commercial property.
An advanced commercial property management software also aims to help property managers with their routine tasks, like common area maintenance (CAM) expenses: thanks to the commercial property management software, managers are able to effortlessly distribute CAM costs amongst businesses that rent space within the same property.
Also commercial property management software normally includes other crucial features, such as advanced accounting, marketing analytics, and management of financial statements, since property managers need to see a full picture of all managerial processes to keep the commercial property in good health.
Entrata is an illustration of a platform that unifies all necessary functions within a single dashboard. It is a commercial property management system software that meets all expectations: accounting, lease management, marketing, and third-party integrations. This application creates a good value for property managers by enabling them to have a bird-eye view of all ongoing tasks.
Dashboard with a list of leads in Entrata
Property management system software is designed for different users, so it is critical to know what your target audience needs from your product the most. When talking about property management systems, there are different types of end-users: housing associations, property managers, property investors, and property co-owners.
Housing associations are community-like entities that share responsibilities related to property management. That is why accounting operations, tenant and owner information access, communication with the board members, along with third-party integrations are the most prominent features that bring value to a housing association.
A typical example of such software is TOPS[ONE]. The application includes such features as accounting management, payment processing, connection to self-service portal of property owners, and instant messaging. The application helps to easily navigate through different areas of property management, so it is a convenient app for property owners without professional experience in real estate management.
TOPS[ONE] is an attractive solution because of its special design particularly aimed at managers of housing associations.
When property managers are looking for the best solution to support their needs, they want to get an advanced property management system to deal with their everyday tasks, like property accounting, finance management, rent payments collection, and so on. These are the main, but not only features, that represent software particularly effective for property managers.
Buildium is currently the best example to see what you need for your own solution if you are up to developing a powerful instrument for property managers.
Example of Buildium functionality
Property investors aim to maximize the ROI they get from their investment. Since investment implies management of finance, property investors usually need to analyze financial statements and make strategic decisions accordingly. Moreover, property investors need to know about any risks, benefits, and the efficiency of leverage to make their investments more successful.
That’s why property management system software for this particular category should include features, which are different from the common PMS. Development of financial statements, market forecasting instruments, billing, risk estimation, and ability to calculate optimal leverage are critical features for such types of property management software.
Additionally, payments, tenant insurance, renter listing, and cost & utility management can be extra features necessary for the real estate investment.
RealPage software can clearly exhibit what is a good recipe for an application useful for property investors. All property evaluation data can be seen on a dashboard, where a property investor can observe information about the current value of the property in the market, forecasted price movement, depreciation, and other details analyzed with Big Data technology.
Based on this data-driven solution, the real estate investor is capable of assessing their purchasing decisions fast enough without much effort.
Property evaluation dashboard in RealPage.
Property co-owners is another group of end-users that is constantly growing. To win the hearts of this audience, your product should help them adequately distribute responsibilities related to the management of the co-owned property.
That is why standard property management system software functions such as rent collection, tenant notification, arrangement of inspections, or maintenance works should be the core basis of your solution. On top of that, communication with co-owners and compliance with constantly changing legal regulations are property management software features that bring a special value to property co-owners.
Matera is one of the most promising startups to mention here. Apart from basic features like communication, rent collection, tenant screening, and maintenance work scheduling, this application offers live support by experts. Co-owners can receive professional guidance about adherence to legal regulations as well as paperwork required for property ownership and leasing.
The startup has already managed to raise $43 million for its Series B funding round. It appears to be an effective solution for residential building co-owners, who do not want to hire a third-party management company and handle all tasks on their own.
Time to take action
The real estate industry is strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemics today, as personal interaction between landlords, property managers, tenants, and service providers has become a challenge due to lockdown restrictions and requirements for social distancing.
Cloud-based property management system software has emerged as a robust solution to this problem, so it is a good chance to develop your own product to tap the market, which, as we’ve learned, will keep growing in the forthcoming future.
A cloud-based PMS that can compete in the market simply needs to address tasks related to real estate management. Communication between property managers and tenants, planning of maintenance works, rent collection, accounting, marketing analytics, tenant screening, and vacant property listing are the main property management software features that you need to include in your future product.
Now you have all the necessary info on types of property management software and what features users are looking for. With this knowledge in mind, you just need to find the right team of professionals who will work on your new product.
Let JatApp help you! With 6 years of experience and more than 200 successfully delivered projects, we have a solid expertise in building property management platforms and solutions like Cunio. Feel free to send us a note, and we will get back to you shortly.