With how vital accounting is to property management, you can’t mess around with a hodge-podge of complicated Excel spreadsheets.
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.
- 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.
4 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:
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.
- Expense tracking by class and location
- Comprehensive reporting tools
- Bill pay and management
- Automatic monthly payments (if you integrate with QuickBooks Payments)
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.
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.
- Expense tracking
- Basic reporting
- Rental agreements
- Personal accounting tools
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.
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.
- Online rent payments (if you use their connected Wave Payments service)
- Multiple payment methods such as credit card and ACH
- Invoicing and invoice tracking
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.
TenantCloud offers fewer and less robust features than most dedicated tools on this list.
However, it makes up for it with the most affordable pricing plan. It also offers a 100% free plan.
- Financial reporting
- Insurance reminders
- Maintenance request management
- Vendor payments
- Cloud based
The Basic plan is 100% free, up to 75 units. While lacking in many areas, it offers several useful features such as maintenance request management, online rent payments, and some basic accounting tools.Their most basic Standard paid tier ups the threshold to 150 units and included e-signature and unlimited notice templates, among other features. The Advanced plan covers up to 500 units and includes administrative accounts and premium customer support (though not necessarily in real time).
4 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:
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 uses Plaid to sync with your bank account, automatically importing your income and expenses. Then, it automatically categorizes everything within DoorLoop. Talk about easy.
- 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
DoorLoop starts at just $49 per month for up to 20 units.
Schedule a free demo of DoorLoop to see what it can do for you.
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.
- Online rent payments
- Bill pay and payment tracking
- Decent reporting tools
- Expense tracking
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.
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.
- Automatic rent payments
- Smart bill entry
- Automated late fees
- Security deposit account holding
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.
Rentroom is a complete property management tool geared towards rental properties. The software is easy to use and has a convenient cash reconciliation function and other unique community features.
The only downside is that Rentroom’s reporting feature is more than less neglectful. This is a crucial feature for basic accounting, thus larger property management businesses will have a hard time using Rentroom.
- Work order management, including tenant maintenance requests from right within the software
- Online rent collection, including reminders
- Tenant portal
- Basic accounting features such as cash reconciliation, though limited reporting
Rentroom doesn’t list their pricing publicly, but they offer a free trial to try the software out before being asked to pay.
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:
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:
- Using property management software for your property accounting, and
- 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.
Which accounting software is best for property management?
DoorLoop is an all-in-one property management solution that is made by property managers, for property managers and property management companies. Since the entire software is made by a development team full of real estate professionals, it is sure to meet all the needs of your business, making it the most popular and user friendly property management software in the market.
Some of DoorLoop's features include:
Leasing and Marketing Tools: Completely automate the listing of vacant properties to quickly fill in the units that you have available.
Fully Integrated Accounting Suite: Manage all of your financials and accounting needs from one single portal with a system that integrates with dozens of other software.
Exceptional Customer Support: Enjoy excellent technical support throughout your experience with the software and even the training process.
Maintenance Management: Manage all maintenance requests from your rental properties and keep track of the service done on the properties.
Tenant Portal: Making things like paying rent, viewing your balance, and requesting maintenance very easy with a convenient tenant portal.
As an added bonus, DoorLoop offers free Demos to help you get familiarized with the software, so schedule one today!
Do you want to learn more property management accounting? If so, give this article a read!