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With how vital accounting is to property management, you can’t mess around with a hodge-podge of complicated Excel spreadsheets.

*Shiver*

That’s why accounting software can be so valuable.

The best real estate accounting software can do all kinds of things for you, whether you’re a team of property managers or a solo landlord managing a few properties.

Including:

  • Make rent collection easier
  • Greatly reduce stress related to tax time (everything’s organized, always)
  • Run key reports that offer actionable insights
  • Make paying vendors a breeze
  • And more

There are some challenges in picking the right property accounting software, though.

For example: whether you want a general accounting software or a dedicated property management accounting tool.

What is the difference between them, and which should you choose?

Below, we’ll explain that while going through our top 6 picks for best real estate accounting software for property managers and landlords.

Whether you're new to property management accounting or simply looking to brush up on your knowledge, we've created a fantastic catch-all resource that goes over the most important things to know.

Once you've got the basics down, it's time to invest in property accounting software that can take your business to the next level. Let's take a look at the best options available.

3 Best general accounting software for property management

What do we mean by general accounting software?

Simply put: they’re accounting software designed for anyone, not strictly property management.

Everyone needs to manage their balance sheet and track the in and out. Everyone needs to be able to run accounting reports.

But… only property management needs to separate their property accounting with their business accounting, or add properties in addition to tenants.

These are challenges unique to property management, and the types of things general accounting software typically isn’t designed to do.

With that said, given that they’re dedicated accounting options, they tend to have the deepest set of accounting features.

Let’s look at our top 3 picks:

1. QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks is the go-to accounting software for the modern world– but you didn’t need me to tell you that.

It has every accounting feature you could need and then some, and everything you need to grow with you as your portfolio grows.

Well, except for an understanding of how property accounting works.

The problem with QuickBooks isn’t a lack of features, it’s that some of those features aren’t designed with property accounting in mind.

That creates a headache for landlords and property managers trying to use QuickBooks as their only accounting solution .

Plus, it’s important to note that QuickBooks also doesn’t offer any of the other property management features that property management software comes with.

Still, there are workarounds you can use to overcome what we talked about above and for some (especially larger portfolios) QuickBooks may be necessary for certain larger-scale accounting features.

Features include:

  • Expense tracking by class and location
  • Comprehensive reporting tools
  • Bill pay and management
  • Automatic monthly payments (if you integrate with QuickBooks Payments)

Pricing

QuickBooks Simple Start plan comes in at $25 per month, with a caveat.

To get several key features you’ll likely want and need such as bill pay, you’ll need to upgrade to the Advanced plan at $150 per month, making QuickBooks Online pricey compared to many dedicated property accounting options.

All plans come with a 30-day free trial.

2. Quicken

Quicken Software

Like QuickBooks, Quicken is a dedicated accounting software with a good number of features, such as tracking profit and loss by property.

It’s not as robust as QuickBooks, however, and is more designed for personal accounting. Likewise, it’s ideal for landlords with only a couple properties.

Still, if you have a small portfolio and you need a simple solution that also allows you to handle your personal accounting simultaneously, it’s an affordable option.

Features include:

  • Expense tracking
  • Basic reporting
  • Rental agreements
  • Personal accounting tools

Pricing

Quicken’s starter plan is $35.99 per year, though that won’t get you the property management features you need. For that, you’ll need to pick up the Home & Business edition. That comes in at $103.99 annually and is only offered for Windows.

3. Wave

Wave Software

Wave is another dedicated accounting tool worth mentioning, particularly for those looking for a free or low-cost option.

You’ll need to make sacrifices, as you won’t be able to get certain premium features such as reporting by property you’d get from other options, but you get a decent list of features for a low price.

Features include:

  • Online rent payments (if you use their connected Wave Payments service)
  • Multiple payment methods such as credit card and ACH
  • Invoicing and invoice tracking

Pricing

Wave offers a 100% free plan with no strings attached. You’ll have limited features, but it’s a great start if you have a small portfolio or a limited budget and just need something to get started.

3 Best dedicated property accounting software

Next, let’s talk about the best dedicated property accounting software options.

Property accounting software often has fewer features than general accounting software.

However, that’s by design. It’s not intended to help every business with every accounting need.

Instead, it’s designed to help property managers, landlords, and investors manage their property accounting with custom features designed specifically for property accounting.

Still, you might prefer or need a more robust accounting solution depending on your situation.

When that’s the case, a QuickBooks integration becomes key. Fortunately, while that’s rare among dedicated property accounting software, our first option (hint hint) has you covered:

1. DoorLoop

DoorLoop Best Real Estate Accounting Software

DoorLoop is an all-in-one property management software with everything you need to manage your property accounting.

In fact, you not only get a full suite of property accounting features, you get a complete set of property management features to help make managing your properties simpler and easier.

Plus, a rarity among property management software, DoorLoop offers a convenient QuickBooks Online integration that’s incredibly easy to set up.

Literally– it takes minutes. Here, don’t take my word for it:

DoorLoop Dashboard

DoorLoop uses Plaid to sync with your bank account, automatically importing your income and expenses. Then, it automatically categorizes everything within DoorLoop. Talk about easy.

Features include:

  • Automatic bank account syncing with Plaid
  • Convenient QuickBooks Online integration
  • Full chart of accounts
  • Bill pay and tracking
  • Tenant portal that offers online rent payments, payment history, and a simple way to communicate with your tenants on maintenance requests
  • Owner portal that allows you to run key reports and print checks
  • And more

Pricing

DoorLoop starts at just $49 per month for up to 20 units. Plus, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee to try DoorLoop out before committing.

Schedule a free demo of DoorLoop to see what it can do for you.

2. Buildium

Buildium

Buildium makes the list for its great number of features, including a robust set of accounting tools including online rent payments, expense tracking, and automatic expense allocation as well as its affordability.

Where it falls short is in a lack of a QuickBooks integration, which holds it back from being the ideal property accounting solution.

Users also report that it can be difficult to use and navigate, and the mobile app version doesn’t offer many of its accounting functions.

Features include:

  • Online rent payments
  • Bill pay and payment tracking
  • Decent reporting tools
  • Expense tracking

Pricing

Buildium’s starter plan comes in at $50 per month for up to 20 units, up to $235 per month for up to 150 units.

Their Growth plan comes in at $160 per month and offers live phone support and unlimited eSignatures, while their Premium $460 per month plan offers an open API and priority support.

3. Appfolio

AppFolio

Appfolio is a similar offering to Buildium, though with a combination of unique pros and cons.

Appfolio has a large set of accounting features, including smart bill entry, automated late fees, and good reporting tools. If you have a large portfolio and you don’t need QuickBooks, it could be a good option for you.

However, it’s definitely on the pricey end if you have less than around 200 properties. Plus, like Buildium, it doesn’t offer a QuickBooks Online integration, which really holds back its potential as an effective property accounting tool.

Features include:

  • Automatic rent payments
  • Smart bill entry
  • Automated late fees
  • Security deposit account holding

Pricing

Appfolio uses a pure per unit, per month pricing model at between $0.80 and $1.50 per unit depending on the type of property.

However, they get pricey when you factor in their $250 monthly minimum. That means if you have less than 250 properties, you’re overpaying for the same features you can get from other options for less.

Frequently asked questions

Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding property accounting software:

Is QuickBooks good for landlords?

QuickBooks is a great starter accounting solution for landlords, as it provides you both:

  • All the basic accounting features you need
  • As well as a number of advanced features

If you just have a few properties and you’re mainly in need of an accounting solution, QuickBooks is a great starting point that you can grow into.

However, because QuickBooks isn’t designed for property accounting, you’ll encounter a number of problematic limitations that require workarounds.

For example, there’s no way in QuickBooks to add units and tenants as separate classes.

Instead, you need to add properties as customers, then delineate your units and tenants as sub customers under the property customer:

QuickBooks Software Setup

If it sounds a bit confusing and inconvenient, it is. However, there are workarounds that allow you to make it work.

Still, you might find a dedicated property accounting solution a better match.

How is property management software different from general accounting software like QuickBooks?

QuickBooks is designed to handle every accounting need, from a small liquor store to a large corporation.

For that reason, it has a lot of powerful accounting features. However, that also means it doesn’t specialize in any one thing.

Property accounting is a particular sore point because of its unique structure.

While most businesses have customers (whether B2B or B2C), in property management and rentals you have accounting needs for:

  • The property
  • and the tenant

That leads to the need for some frustrating workarounds.

You can use workarounds to solve the main issues with QuickBooks in particular, but it’s not ideal.

With property accounting software, you have these types of features baked in, such as the ability to create properties and tenants and reporting that accurately separates and reflects everything.

Plus, most property accounting software offers other valuable property management features. Such as:

  • Tenant portal and rent collection features
  • Maintenance management
  • Marketing and leasing tools
  • And more

You may find that you need QuickBooks for certain specific accounting features anyway, or prefer to keep your property accounting separate from your other property management tasks and so choose to use both.

Whatever you decide, both:

  1. Using property management software for your property accounting, and
  2. Using QuickBooks in conjunction with a property management tool that offers a QuickBooks Online integration (like DoorLoop)

… are both great options that give you the accounting tools you need while also equipping you with powerful property management features to make managing your properties easier.

David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!