If you’re new to rental property management software, you might be thinking:
“My profit margin is small enough, how can I justify paying for yet another thing each month?”
Fortunately, the truth is that there are several free property management options out there.
Plus, there are many paid options that only cost a few dollars each month but offer a feature set as good as any high-priced option out there.
So, let’s talk about your options.
But first, if you’re new, we’ll cover a few really important things before then, things that will give you a much clearer idea of what the right move is for you.
- What should I be looking for in free property management software?
- And are there disadvantages to free property management software?
Let’s get started.
Property management software
Property management software is designed to give landlords and property managers the tools they need to manage their properties online and on-the-go through their smartphones.
Depending on the software, those features can include:
- Online rent collection
- Maintenance requests management
- Document storage
- And more
Choosing a Property Management Software: Things to Consider
Every property management tool is different, but there are universal things to look for to make sure you’re picking the right one for you and your portfolio.
Specifically, in the case of “free” property management software, look out for:
How many units does said free plan include?
Most free and paid property management software includes a stipulation such as, “up to 10 units” meaning you can sign up for and use that free plan only if you have 10 of fewer units.
A software might offer a free plan to get customers in but only include a few units, making it useless to many potential customers.
Some tools make a big deal of their free plan, but downplay or outright hide the fact that other fees apply to their “free” plan such as ACH fees.
These might be normal for most tools, but making it sound like your software is truly free when it’s not is wrong and you need to factor this into your cost.
What do users actually think of the software?
It’s easy to get drawn in by the promise of a free plan. After all, you’ve got no money to lose, right?
Wrong. The time you spend wasting on bad software is money lost, so it’s better to pick something with good reviews to start than waste your time just because you want to save a few dollars upfront.
Disadvantages of “Free” Property Management Software
Typically, free software comes with one or both of these two limitations:
- You can only use it with a limited number of units, and
- You get a limited number of features
Typically, companies will use free plans to get you in the door. They’re nice for those on a tight budget who just want to try something for now while they build up profit until they can afford something better later.
However, it’s important not to think you’re getting something anywhere close to a paid property management tool with that free plan.
What you can get for even $50~ per month is far above what free plans offer.
If you need to start out with a free plan, set a goal to move up to something with a more robust set of features as soon as you can afford it.
You might not realize it now, but a great property management tool will save you enough on time to pay for itself several times over.
7 Free Property Management Software [2023 Edition]
Now that we’re done putting things into the right perspective, let’s talk about the best property management software plans that are free.
Here are the five best:
Stessa offers a free plan that is actually free, so it’s worth considering for that alone, though users also report the software is easy to use.
The trade-off is that Stessa’s feature set is just as limited as the other free plans on this list.
In addition, Stessa is specifically a property finance tool, not property management. So, its feature set is even more limited (even if you pay up to get their premium plan).
- Collect online rent payments
- Basic accounting tools such as expense tracking and reporting
- Owners portal
Stessa’s free plan is 100% free, as they charge a hefty premium ($1,000 per month) for their premium plan which includes features such as rent analysis and market research.
Innago offers a similarly free option compared to many of the software options on this list that doesn’t particularly stand out.
They have good user reviews and users report that the software is easy to use, making them another option worth considering to manage your rental property business.
- Online rent payments
- Basic accounting features
- Some leasing tools such as tenant screening and lease management
- Maintenance tools
Innago doesn’t have the most transparent pricing, and their pricing page really pushes the “free” message. However, the plan is mostly free minus $2 per ACH payment and 2.75% on debit and credit card payments.
Landlordy offers a basic free plan worth considering, if nothing more than for their convenient mobile app.
However, keep in mind that even when compared to the other tools on this list, Landlordy’s free plan is super restrictive and includes very few useful features.
In addition to that, to get some of their more premium features their payment plans jump up quickly in price while not including many units per the price.
- Online rent payments
- Expense and rent payment records
- Text sharing for invoices
Landlordy has a free plan with basic features, though many of its more powerful features are gated behind one of their paid plans.
Their basic paid plan comes in at $14.99 though it only includes up to 2 units. Their next tier up Plus plan jumps up to $49.99 though it only includes up to 10 units. Finally, their Pro plan is a whopping $99.99 for unlimited.
TenantCloud offers a sizable free plan, though its focus is mostly on property accounting features than anything.
With that said, while not extensive, some of its accounting features– such as late fee reminders– are useful and user favorites.
- Online rent payments
- Late fee reminder
- Vendor payments
- Owner portal
TenantCloud has a free plan that includes a high 75 units. You can move up to their Starter plan and pay $12 or $40 per month for a few additional features such as tax reports, CRM tools, and owner portal.
Avail is unique in that its free plan includes an unlimited number of units.
It lacks transparency in terms of what features their free plan includes, and you have to dig a bit to find out that ACH fees are going to cost you.
It’s worth noting that with Avail you can get some of the better premium features you get with other paid property management software, but the price for that upgraded plan is actually higher than what you’d typically pay.
- Online rent payments
- Maintenance management
- Tenant screening
Avail has a free plan that notably includes an unlimited number of units.
You’ll need to pay for ACH fees with that free plan, or you can move up to their Unlimited Plus plan for a hefty $5 per unit per month, which amounts to far more than the average property management software.
Should You Invest in Property Management Software?
When it comes to property management software, it’s important to consider more than just the initial price tag.
How much time is this or that tool going to save you each week, and what is that worth to you?
How much money is this or that feature going to save you because now the job takes your office assistant half as much time?
Both of these are examples of looking at things with a broader business perspective.
And both of these are, in all likelihood, saving you much more than the choice between a “free” property management tool with minimal features vs. a low-cost software ($50~ per month) with a robust feature set.
If you want a property management tool that allows you to save both time and money with a robust feature set that can simplify every area of your property business, look to DoorLoop.
With features like:
- Comprehensive accounting and rent collection tools
- A complete suite of leasing, screening, and CRM features, allows you to manage those lease agreements.
- Full maintenance management system that allows you to follow a work order from beginning to end, edit and add attachments, assign to a vendor, and pay out when it’s complete
- Marketing tools such as automatic listings and custom website
- And a whole lot more
Plus, you get all of that at a price that fits any budget.
Schedule a free demo to see DoorLoop in action and discover how it can upscale your business with premium property management tools.