If you are looking into property management software, chances are you have been confronted with too many options.
While it is nice to have so many options to choose from, it can get very difficult to actually choose one.
This is especially true when you are on a strict budget. Fortunately, we have put together a guide to help with just that.
In this guide, we will be outlining the top 10 property management software that won't break the bank but still give you some impressive features.
To get started, let's go over what this kind of software is and why property managers should consider it.
What Is Property Management Software?
Unlike an independent property management company, software allows you to personally keep track of all of your rental properties. This allows for quick and efficient rental property management, even from a laptop.
However, there are many things that you should consider when choosing a solid rental property management software. Some of the things that property managers consider most important include:
- Automatic Rent Payments
- Streamlined Communication
- Maintenance Orders
- Reliability & Support
Ideally, the software you choose will contain most, if not all, of these features in the same place.
Why Is It Useful?
Solid property management software can completely transform the way that companies provide their property management services. The best property management software takes all of the features stated above and helps property managers solve problems like:
- Lack of communication
- Slow response to maintenance requests
- Late payments
- Misplaced lease agreements
...and much more.
However, the vast amount of choices of software means that they typically offer different features. Below, we will be outlining some of the most important features that you should look out for and why they are important.
Most Important Features Of Property Management Software
Below, we have outlined the importance of some of the most notable features that come with most property management software.
One of the main collections of features property management software offers is in accounting. An extension of the fundamental business of collecting rent, property accounting is a necessary aspect of property management. Property management software typically offers a large suite of accounting features depending on the tool.
An all-in-one software may provide:
- A full chart of accounts
- Bank account reconciliations
- Vendor payments
- Robust reporting tools
- And more
If you’ve been managing properties for a while, you know that communicating with tenants can take up a lot of time. The back-and-forth nature of communication– times however many tenants you have– means even simply messaging your tenants to handle their various concerns (and your issues) can be a huge time sink that you never get back.
Then there’s the splintered nature of communication. Email, text, Messenger, phone, whatever combo you use, they’re all generally disconnected. Property management software seeks to fix that problem by centralizing all tenant communications into one convenient dashboard.
Maintenance Request Management
Another big one, many property management software tools give you access to a complete maintenance management system.
- The ability to receive maintenance requests straight from tenants via their portal
- Edit work orders with attachments and notes
- Assign those orders to vendors
- Pay out vendors
- And notify vendors of the completed maintenance
Maintenance is often sudden and unexpected, and an inconvenience in terms of both time and budget.
These features, taken together, can give you some of that time back and help streamline your entire response to maintenance requests for all of your properties.
Reliability & Support
Another aspect of property management software that is incredibly important to many people is how reliable it is. There are some choices that may suffer from a lot of downtime. This means that the property manager cannot do what they need to do when they need to do it.
The best choices aim to reduce the downtime as much as possible and provide enough support to their customers so that they do not have any problems using the software.
Reporting tools are also very useful to property managers. These reporting tools allow property owners and managers to get a full scope of what is happening with their investments and what needs to be changed.
So, now that we know all about some of the most important features of property management software, let's get into the top 10 choices for the best property management software if you are on a budget.
Top 10 Cheapest Property Management Software Of 2023
Below, we have compiled a list of the top 10 cheapest property management software. Now, remember that just because they are cheap does not mean that they do not have desirable features. Even the free property management software choices pack in some features that can really help with your rental and investment properties.
First on our list is actually a free option, Stessa. Stessa is a web-based property management software for investors and managers to manage, monitor, and communicate the performance of their properties. With a solid set of features and a nonexistent price tag, Stessa is a great option for those with smaller portfolios or individual investors just starting out.
- Cash flow analysis
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Data visualization
- Tenant/owner portal
As mentioned before, Stessa is a completely free property management software for individual investors. This means that investors can get access to tons of useful features without paying anything. However, Stessa does provide some premium features that cost some money if the user wishes to gain access to them.
Innago makes the list as they offer a mostly free plan. So, if you’re on a tight budget and don’t think you’d be able to afford property management software otherwise, they’re a good place to get started.
You won’t get the kind of expensive feature set you’d expect from a premium property management solution (not without paying extra), but you will get a few key features that will make a difference.
- Tenant portal
- Decent accounting features such as online rent payments
- Some basic maintenance management tools
Innago’s basic plan is free, with the only cost coming in the form of $2 for ACH payments and 2.75% for debit payments. In addition to this, they charge $30-35 for background checks.
TenantCloud is unique among the options on this list for one main reason: they offer a 100% free plan (and up to 75 units, no less).
However, if you think you’ll be getting the same set of features as the other options on this list, don’t be so sure.
While their free plan is a great place to start, if you want to get many (though not all) of the features you’d expect from a property management software, you’ll need to invest in their paid plans.
- Basic accounting features such as reporting
- Online rent payments
- Maintenance management
TenantCloud offers a free plan of up to 75 units. However, it doesn’t come with many of the features typical in the other property management tools on this list.
Their basic paid plan is $9 per month for a few additional features up to 150 units, or $35 per month for up to 500 units, though that plan still has its own limitations.
Another great property management software for managers on a budget is SimplifyEM.
SimplifyEM is a great option, especially for property managers who are more concerned with an accounting suite for managing their properties. Similar to other software on this list, this property management solution makes tracking and collecting rent very easy.
One very positive aspect of this software is that they offer a free trial. This free trial allows users to test out the bulk of the software before deciding if it is a good investment or not.
- Robust accounting features
- QuickBooks integration
- Payment reminders
- Automated rent payments
As mentioned before, this software offers a free trial to their users who want to test out the software before using it. If you decide to go forth with their paid plan, they start at just $20 per month. This makes it one of the more affordable options on this list. However, it only covers up to 10 units, limiting the accessibility.
Buildium is another well-rounded option with a large set of features.
In fact, Buildium’s software is so expansive that users report having issues with navigating the number of options and settings available, making it difficult to use for some.
For that reason, it’s not the best option if this is your first property management software.
- Tenant portal
- Owner portal
- Maintenance management
- Expense tracking
Buildium’s starter plan is $50 per month for up to 20 units, and $235 for up to 150 units. They offer a 14-day free trial for getting started.
Property Matrix’s Starter Plan is a flat $400 per month for up to 250 units, and its customizable reporting features are one of its highest selling points.
With that said, Property Matrix's Starter pricing is quite steep; even if you manage as many as 250 units, you can find a comparable (or more extensive) subscription plan on different software for over $100 less per month.
Property Matrix features:
- Mobile app
- User roles and permissions
- Custom reports
- Custom fields
Property Matrix pricing
Property Matrix starts at $400/month on their Starter plan for up to 250 units. Their Pro plan, which is their recommended option, starts at $475. While this pricing may be attractive because it stays the same for up to 250 units, it is much steeper than many comparable software options out there; you can easily find software with similar features on its Starter plan for a much lower price.
To nobody's surprise, Apartments.com starts off our list of the best apartment rental listing sites. With a name like Apartments.com, it is the place where apartment hunters will begin their apartment search.
- Interactive map
- User-friendly design
- Easy to use & offers guidance
- Tenant screening & applications
The best part about Apartments.com is that it is completely free, for the most part. The only time that payment is needed is when a property manager or owner requests a background check or credit report. The tenant also faces a small credit card fee if they use that software to pay rent.
Appfolio is a well-rounded property management tool with a few unique features, such as smart bill entry.
However, you’ll pay a higher-than-average price for those features, as it comes with a $250 monthly minimum.
- Automated late fees
- Good reporting tools
- Tenant portal
- Smart bill entry
Appfolio offers anywhere from an affordable $0.80 to a higher-than-normal $1.50 per unit per month. However, they have a $250 minimum monthly payment, making it budget-friendly for only those who have more than 250 properties.
Yardi Breeze is uniquely suited to new and smaller-scale property managers.
It doesn’t offer an app, but the cloud-based software gives you access to training materials to help get you started easily, in addition to a simple and intuitive interface.
Yardi Breeze features:
- Owner reports
- Tenant communications
- Maintenance request management
- Various features such as one-click import, invoicing, and QuickBooks integration
Yardi Breeze pricing
Yardi Breeze’s pricing structure is a bit complex as it separates based on the property type. However, it balances that with one of the simplest pricing structures on this list.
For example, their basic residential Breeze plan has a $100 monthly minimum at $1 per unit. There are no additional fees such as onboarding or support fees. The premium Breeze Premium has a $400 minimum at $2 per unit, the same price as their basic commercial property plan.
DoorLoop is an all-in-one property management software that offers a robust set of features with incredible ease of use.
If you’re looking for:
- The peace of mind you can get from property management software streamlining and simplifying your property management efforts
- In a lightning-fast and easy-to-use package
- With competitive pricing
Check out DoorLoop.
But don’t take our word for it, check out this impressive list of features:
- Robust accounting suite: Everything you need to manage all your property accounting in one place, no difficult QuickBooks workarounds necessary.
- QuickBooks integration: Rather integrate with QuickBooks and use it? You can do that too.
- Convenient tenant portal: Communicate with tenants and allow them to pay rent and other fees and even send in maintenance requests all from within the app.
- Invaluable maintenance management features: Speaking of maintenance, edit those requests with attachments, send them to vendors, pay those vendors, and even communicate with tenants on those requests simply and easily.
- A plethora of leasing tools: From automatic listings to background checks and leasing templates to make the entire process more streamlined.
- And much more
DoorLoop’s starter plan comes in at just $49 per month for up to 20 properties. This is only about $2.5 per property, and it only gets cheaper as you continue accumulating properties.