Choosing the Right Property Management Software for Your Property
an interview with Denis Clark, Vice President, Marketing:Domin-8
While property management software is an obvious must-have for the larger management companies, smaller landlords need to consider when to make the transition from manual or spreadsheet record-keeping to a more tailored application.
“If you started out smaller, but are growing in your investments, one person managing the properties quickly becomes challenging,” advises Denis Clark. This long-time IBM’er and applications expert wants to dispel the fears about using property management software. “It’s just a tool,” he says. “Technology is there to help you free up your time for more important things, like taking care of your property and your tenants.”
When considering a software product, Denis suggests tracking how much time you are spending entering tenant data manually, or through the standard ‘at-home’ spreadsheets like Excel or Quicken that are not specifically designed for landlords.
“The products out there on the market are specifically designed for property management, so they make it easy to integrate the entire tenant cycle, from application, to tenant screening, to rent payment history. You can store background information like prior residence and employment, track regulatory issue/ fair housing documentation, as well as general accounting.
What to look for in a Property Management Software Product
“First, you need to understand your own methodology – your process flow and organization, before you can decide which product is best for you. Ideally, you will find a product that has the features you need, rather than change your process to fit the product you buy,” Denis suggests.
“Look for integration of the several features you need. For example, do you want to store prior residence and employment history along with the tenant’s payment history in order to facilitate collection efforts later on. Are you offering affordable housing that requires special documentation? These types of factors help you choose which options you need or don’t need.”
When purchasing software, check out a demo. “It should feel intuitive – if it’s not easy to see the flow, it probably won’t get any better.”
Implementing these systems can be a great selling point for tenants, too. We find that the average tenant is used to paying online, and these property management software products allow for that.
Learn more about the American Apartment Owners Association’s property management software, ManageZoom.
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