Property management software, like AppFolio, Buildium, and DoorLoop, can easily the day-to-day operations of property managers and landlords.
Whether it’s streamlining your maintenance management, making rent collection easier than ever, or impressing a real estate investor, a good tool can make a big difference.
But which should you choose?
Which tool can deliver what you need in a fast and easy-to-use package? And, perhaps most importantly, which does all that while being the most affordable?
Below, we’ve reviewed three of the best property management software options available:
- AppFolio Property Manager
Each does its job well, delivering all the features you’d expect from a great property management software.
But when it comes to AppFolio and Buildium vs. DoorLoop, which comes out on top? Which is best for you? Read on to find out.
What Is the Best Property Management Software for You?
Finding a property management solutions isn’t hard, but finding the one that fits you best takes more work.
In the review below, we’ve broken down all three software based on the following factors:
In the end, we’ll give our pick for the grand winner.
So, let’s start by reviewing the feature set of AppFolio vs. Buildium vs. DoorLoop.
AppFolio vs. Buildium vs. DoorLoop: Features
Below, we’ve singled out the six major feature categories for any good property management software.
In each feature category, we’ll cover not only whether each software offers particular features but also where it's unique from the others.
Let’s start with the category many look to property management software to help them first: accounting.
Each software offers strong accounting features that, in many cases, allow you to replace QuickBooks altogether (depending on your needs).
AppFolio comes baked-in with a collection of accounting features, including online rent payments, multiple payment methods, billing, and invoicing, making it an attractive choice for mixed portfolio property managers.
A notable unique feature includes its late fee calculator.
For Buildium, you can expect access to a collection of accounting features as well, including online rent payments, multiple payment methods (e.g., credit card and ACH), payment tracking, and bank reconciliations, perfect for residential properties or a mixed portfolio.
DoorLoop offers a complete suite of accounting features, including online rent payments via a convenient tenant portal, multiple payment methods (e.g., credit card and ACH), bank reconciliations, and a complete chart of accounts to keep track of everything (and get rid of QuickBooks).
A tenant portal is a staple feature of great property management software, as it allows you to streamline rent collection and tenant communications.
Here’s what each of our contenders offers:
AppFolio includes access to a complete tenant portal, where tenants can make online payments and communicate directly with you via the app.
Similarly, Buildium offers a “resident center,” where you can do much the same: collect rent payments, association fees, and receive tenant communications, all online.
DoorLoop offers a convenient tenant portal that lets you do everything from accepting rent payments and late fees online to handling maintenance requests, communicating directly with tenants directly from the app, viewing payment history, and more.
Another unique feature of property management software is communication tools. Communications tools allow you to simplify the back-and-forth involved with talking to tenants about things like rent and maintenance, saving you time and affording you peace of mind.
AppFolio allows you to communicate with tenants on maintenance requests and has unique association features like calendar and event management.
Buildium offers similar communication features, including bulk emails to tenants as well as a physical letter service with EZMail.
With DoorLoop, you can communicate directly with tenants on maintenance orders they send in as well as through email and SMS text messaging services. With multiple forms of communication straight from the app, keeping in touch with tenants so all parties can stay on the same page is easy. You also get access to a plethora of tenant screening tools!
Maintenance management allows you to streamline maintenance requests in one convenient place. This includes accepting requests from tenants and assigning them to vendors.
Here’s what each offers:
AppFolio allows you to communicate with tenants on maintenance orders, create work orders, assign to vendors, and pay vendors right from within the app.
With Buildium, you can allow tenants to create maintenance requests, communicate about those requests, and attach images and documents. In addition, you can get status updates sent to your smartphone.
DoorLoop allows tenants to send in maintenance requests from the app and you to edit those work orders, assign them to vendors, get status requests, and even pay your vendors once the job is done. You can do all of this and more from the app.
With an owner portal, you can typically print checks for owners and allow them to print reports. This offers a convenient place to streamline owner communications as a whole.
Here’s what each offers:
With AppFolio, you can generate reports for owners and print checks.
Buildium allows you to generate reports for owners or give them access to those reports and print checks.
With DoorLoop, you can give your owners access to a variety of reports as well as print checks directly from the app.
If you’re seriously considering which property management software to invest in, chances are pricing is what you’re most interested in.
The pricing models of each of our three contenders are somewhat different, with notable bright spots and blemishes.
Let’s dig into each:
Unlike most property management software tools, Buildium’s pricing model is feature-based. That means you’ll need to invest in higher pricing tiers to get certain gated features.
The starter Essential plan comes in at $52 per month and covers all the essential features:
- Tenant portal
- Communications tools
- Maintenance management
However, the basic plan doesn’t include these features:
- Live phone support
- Analytics and insights
For that, you’ll need to invest in the plan one step up: the Growth plan. However, that comes in at a considerably higher price of $166 per month.
Lastly, Buildium’s Premium plan comes in at $479 per month.
Features include the following:
- Waived EFT transactions
- Open API
- Priority support
Buildium’s pricing model starts off affordable but gates several useful features behind the much more expensive Growth plan. Overall, pricing starts fair but gets steep fast.
AppFolio uses a standard per unit, per month model for its pricing. However, what is unique is that it separates pricing based on the type of property:
- Community association
AppFolio's basic residential plan starts at $1.40 per unit per month, with the Plus plan starting at $3 per unit per month. The commercial and association plans range from $0.80 to $1.50 per unit per month.
While the basic per-unit pricing is affordable, AppFolio has a hefty minimum monthly fee of $280 (and $900 minimum for the Plus plan).
This means AppFolio likely won’t be worth the investment until you have at least 200 properties.
AppFolio’s basic plan comes with most of its major features, but its Plus plan comes with workflow revenue management as well as performance insights.
AppFolio’s per-unit pricing is fair, but the minimum monthly fee means you’ll be paying much more than you should—unless you have several hundred units.
DoorLoop's starter plan comes in at $59 per month for up to 20 units, making it the most affordable option on this list.
However, the real savings come in via the higher-tier Pro and Premium plans, both of which are considerably lower than AppFolio and Buildium’s plans despite having comparable features.
DoorLoop’s Pro plan comes in at $119 per month for up to 20 units and includes these features:
- Owner portal
- Bank reconciliations
- Custom website
The Premium plan comes in at just $179 for up to 20 units, and it includes the following features:
- Gmail and Outlook add-on
- API access
- Website portal integration
DoorLoop’s pricing operates like AppFolio's per-unit, per-month model but offers a considerably more affordable pricing structure and low monthly fee. Its premium tiers are both highly affordable compared to Buildium and AppFolio while offering comparable and competitive features.
What Is the Best Option for You?
It was a tough comparison, with each of our three contenders being overall strong picks that would serve any landlord or property manager competently.
However, consider these features:
- Stellar ease-of-use
- Responsive customer service
- Affordable pricing
- Maintenance management tools
- Best option for getting started and trying out the software before committing
When it comes to these, DoorLoop stands above both Appfolio and Buildium.
Sure, we might be a little biased. But when it comes down to it, user reviews across the internet are clear: DoorLoop is the most robust new contender for user-friendly, full-featured property management software.