Small property management software can be a total lifesaver if you're a real estate investor. Yet it can sometimes be difficult to choose a property management tool that fits your specific needs, especially since there are so many different types of small property management software programs out there. Here's a quick guide to finding the right property management platform for your needs.
Before you choose an investment property managing platform, you'll need to take a long, hard look on your needs so that you know what to look for in the first place. There are plenty of different small property management software programs out there, after all, and you don't want to end up locked into one that turns out to be inappropriate for your other needs.
There's a lot that goes into managing properties besides keeping track of what tenant is in which unit and whether or not they're current on their rental payments. You'll need the ability to organize and archive maintenance and work order requests, accounting tools such as asset and depreciation tracking, and data analysis and export abilities as well -- ideally all integrated into one solution.
Much of real estate investment relies upon maximizing your ROI. That's why it's important to keep your units in good shape so that you can charge competitive rental rates, but it's also why you need to control your costs to ensure you're not eating away at your profit margin. Using a small property management software platform can both have a positive or a negative effect on your ability to keep your costs under control.
There are a number of free or relatively inexpensive platforms out there. However, you often get what you pay for in terms of how robust the platform's feature set is. At the same time, premium platforms can cost a pretty penny, especially the ones that have a scaling monthly charge depending on how many units you have. A simple software platform will be less expensive but have fewer options, while a more robust one -- or one that offers managed services -- is naturally going to be more taxing on your budget.
At the same time, keep aware of the costs of your own time and energy. A managed service may be worth the money if it frees you up to do other things, especially if you have a large number of units to manage. By the same token, if your real estate holdings are more modest, a platform that is more DIY-focused can be highly cost-effective.
Future-proofing is an important facet of any business, especially one that revolves around long-term profitability like real estate investment. Your small property management software needs to possess features that both allow it to take over from an older platform while also be ready to eventually yield to a newer one down the road.
Effectively, this means that the best platforms will both accept imported data accumulated from years past as well as provide ways to easily export its own data to a different system sometime in the future. Using platforms that support both import and export data migration ensures that you won't lose any of your important tenant, unit, and accounting data during these occasional but necessary migrations.