Property management software, like AppFolio vs. Buildium and DoorLoop, can easily transform your day-to-day operations.
Whether it’s streamlining your maintenance management or making collecting rent (and more of it) easier than ever, a good tool can make a big difference.
But which should you choose?
Which tool can deliver what you need while doing it 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:
- and AppFolio
Each does its job well, delivering all the features you’d expect from a great property management software.
But which comes out on top, and which is best for you? Read on to find out.
What is the best property management software for you?
Finding a great property management software 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:
- and a summary of pros and cons
That last section includes essential general information to consider about each option, so make sure not to miss it.
And, 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 not only cover whether each software offers particular features, but where they’re 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.
A notable unique feature includes their late fee calculator.
For Buildium, you can expect access to a collection of accounting features as well, including online rent payments, multiple payment methods such as credit card and ACH, payment tracking, and bank reconciliations.
DoorLoop offers a complete suite of accounting features, including online rent payments via their convenient tenant portal, multiple payment methods such as 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 online, association fees, and receive tenant communications.
DoorLoop offers a convenient tenant portal where you can do everything from accepting rent payments and late fees online to accept maintenance requests, communicate directly with tenants directly from the app, view payment history, and more.
Another unique feature of property management software, 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 peace of mind.
AppFolio allows you to communicate with tenants on maintenance requests and has unique association features such as 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 to allow you multiple forms of communication straight from the app.
Maintenance management allows you to streamline maintenance requests into one convenient place, 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 also allow tenants to create maintenance requests, communicate on 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, all from the app.
With an owner portal, you can typically print checks for owners and allow them to print reports, offering 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.
Their starter Essential plan comes in at $52 per month and covers all the essential features including:
- Tenant portal
- Communications tools
- And maintenance management
However, the basic plan doesn’t include:
- Live phone support
- Analytics and insights
- Or eLeasing
For that, you’ll need to invest in the plan one step up, their Growth plan, which comes in at a considerably higher $166 per month.
Lastly, Buildium’s Premium plan comes in at $479 per month. However, it offers somewhat less compelling features than the Growth plan.
- EFT transactions waived
- Open API
- Priority support
Buildium’s pricing model starts off affordable, but gates several useful features behind their much more expensive Growth plan. Overall, pricing starts fair but gets steep fast.
AppFolio prices using a standard per unit, per month model. However, what is unique is that they separate pricing based on the type of property:
- Or community association
Their basic residential plan starts at $1.40 per unit per month, with their Plus plan starting at $3 per unit per month. Their commercial and association plans range from $0.80 to $1.50 per unit per month.
However, while their basic per-unit pricing is affordable, they have a hefty minimum monthly fee of $280 (and $1,500 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, though their Plus plan comes with workflow revenue management as well as performance insights.
AppFolio’s per-unit pricing is fair, but their 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 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 with competitive features.
DoorLoop’s Pro plan comes in at $119 per month up to 20 units and includes features such as:
- Owner portal
- Bank reconciliations
- And custom website
The Premium plan comes in at just $179 for up to 20 units, and includes features such as:
- Gmail and Outlook add-on
- API access
- And website portal integration
DoorLoop’s pricing model is per unit, per month like AppFolio, but offers a considerably more affordable pricing structure and low monthly fee. Their premium tiers are both highly affordable compared to Buildium and AppFolio and offer comparable features.
Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve covered both notable features and pricing differences, let’s review a summary as pros and cons for each.
What is the best option for you?
It was a tough comparison, with each of our three contenders being strong all-around picks that would serve any landlord or property manager competently.
However, when it comes to a variety of features, including:
- Stellar ease-of-use
- Responsive customer service
- Affordable pricing
- And the best option for getting started and trying out the software before committing
There is one clear winner: DoorLoop.
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.