Online property management software can do much to relieve the stresses of managing multiple (or hundreds) of properties at once.
- Need to fill units and screen prospects? You can do much of the process automatically with property management software.
- Need to collect rent? You can offer a portal that allows tenants to pay directly from their smartphones.
- Need to communicate with tenants? There’s a (software) app for that.
- Is it a pain bouncing between QuickBooks for accounting and another app for managing tenants, units, and properties? Yup, you can do it all from one platform– problem solved.
- Need to handle maintenance orders? How about a complete work order management system too? Check.
The right online property management software can transform how you manage your properties.
But what is the right tool? How do you know which property management tool to choose?
Below, we’ll break down a list of the most important features to look for in an excellent online property management software tool.
That way, you can make an informed decision about which tool is best for you.
Then, we’ll follow it up with a list of some of the best property management software on the market.
But first, let’s look at the features you should be looking for.
6 Features to Look for in Online Property Management Software
If you’re considering an all-in-one online property management solution, there are particular features you should look for.
Some features are bells-and-whistles that you don’t really need.
Be careful– many software apps out there will make their tool sound impressive while flaunting their unique features.
But the most powerful tool is the one that offers automation and quality-of-life improvements in each of these key areas, including:
Full accounting suite
Unless you use QuickBooks (see the pros and cons of QuickBooks), accounting is a given in most property management tools, but you should be on the lookout for tools that offer more than just the ability to collect rent from within the software.
You should look for a tool that allows you to:
- Run custom financial reports
- Collect rent by a variety of payment methods, including ACH, credit cards, and more
- Easy document search and paperless options
- Manage all your property accounting with a complete chart of accounts
Resource: Read our full guide on property management accounting.
Tenant communication and management tools
Tenant communication can be a real pain if you don’t have a tool that allows you to centralize those communications into one place.
That’s precisely what a good property management tool allows you to do.
The right tool should have a built-in CRM and tenant portal, allowing you to:
- Communicate with tenants in-app
- Offer renter’s insurance
- Complete rental applications and screening
- And communicate with your team for any requests
Like tenant communication and other tools that make it easier to manage tenants, a great online property management solution should give you tools to deliver what they need and want about their properties with ease.
- An owner portal, so they can get easy access to financial information on their properties
- The ability to print checks for owners in-app
- Financial reports they can easily print-and-go
Marketing and application tools
No tool available can fully automate marketing, but a great property management software can offer many awesome tools that make marketing, screening, and getting applications done ten times easier.
- Easy IDX website builder with custom branding
- Schedule property showings online
- Complete applications online directly from within the app
- And automatically screen tenants
We’ve mentioned a lot so far, but there are still two more things any great property management software should do. The first is to help you manage work orders.
Your property management solution of choice should allow you to:
- Accept maintenance requests online
- Track progress on those work orders
- Edith those work orders with attachments and notes
- Issue those work orders to vendors
- Pay those vendors
- And e-file 1099s for those vendors
Quality support and software training
The final thing your online property management tool should do is to deliver all of those features with world-class support and quality training to help you get started.
Some examples of the kinds of features you should look for include:
- A dedicated account manager: And no, a random call center in India doesn’t count.
- Data migration: Chances are, you may be switching over from another software tool like QuickBooks. An easy way to migrate your data should be offered and not by paying an onboarding fee.
- Free virtual training: There should be simple documentation that makes it easy to get started– without costing you extra.
- Fast, responsive, free support: Support should be offered throughout the work-week through various channels, and responses should be prompt.
- Help center/Documentation: Looking for an answer to a commonly asked question? There should be a place you can go that offers documentation you can access in seconds for common questions.
Notice the theme throughout this last point: free support, training, and documentation.
Many property management tools will try to charge extra for “special” training, “priority” support, or “onboarding” fees to get started.
These are just code for, “we’d like to charge you more every little chance we get for doing what we should be doing anyway.”
A great property management tool should include this training, documentation, and support within the cost of the software.
5 of the Best Online Property Management Software
At this point, you might be wondering: what software offers all of these features?
How can I know I’m picking the right tool to help manage my properties?
We know you barely have enough time as it is, so we took the time to put together a list of some of the best options out there.
The list below is organized mainly based on the type of property you’re managing, with other considerations (such as a budget option).
Here are 5 of the best online property management software tools:
Great for: All-in-one property management
DoorLoop is a complete, full-service property management software designed to offer every tool you’d need to manage your properties, whether it’s one property or one thousand.
Designed with ease-of-use, speed, and world-class support in mind, DoorLoop is the only tool on this list that offers 100% of the features mentioned above.
- A complete property accounting suite: Multiple payment methods, automated rent payments, chart of accounts, and everything else you’ll need
- Tenant portal: Tenants can pay their rent from their smartphone, easily communicate in-app on maintenance requests, and more
- Owner portal: Print owner checks and allow owners to get financial reports easily
- Marketing tools: Automated listings, IDX-based website builder, and more
- Maintenance management: Create and issue work orders to vendors in-app, edit with notes and attachments, and communicate with tenants
- World-class support: Response within minutes and a dedicated account manager trained to help you get the most from the software
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, DoorLoop can handle everything you need to manage your portfolio, like a team of invaluable assistants behind you at all times.
DoorLoop’s all-in-one property management software is 50% off until 2022. After that, prices start as low as $49/month for your first 20 units.
MRI Commercial Management
Great for: Commercial property management
MRI Commercial is the next option on our list, and it’s designed to offer a robust set of features tailored specifically to help you manage your commercial properties.
The software UI can feel a bit dated and more complicated to use than other options, but its feature list is one of the best if you’re looking for a solution tailored to commercial property.
- Reporting tools
- Lease templates
- Work order management
- Online bill pay
MRI Commercial pricing
MRI Commercial doesn’t offer its pricing publicly, though it’s been known to be on the enterprise-end of pricing. You’ll need to contact MRI directly to schedule a demo and learn more about their pricing.
Great for: HOA/Community property management
Wild Apricot is an HOA management software designed for associations. If you manage condos, co-ops, or an HOA community, Wild Apricot could be a good fit.
With Wild Apricot, you don’t get calendar management or work order management, features some community managers depend on, but you get a suite of other features.
- Member database
- Event creation and management
- Committee management
- Website management
Wild Apricot’s basic pricing plan is based on contacts, not units, given its focus on community management. Its basic plan starts at $40 per month for up to 100 contacts and goes up to $600 per month for up 50,000 contacts.
Great for: Condo/Co-op management
While some of the above options are easily used to manage properties like condos and co-ops, we wanted to include another condo-specific option on this list.
Condo Control is a property accounting software designed for condo and co-ops communities.
If you’re looking for a property management software that’s a fit for HOA communities but has a few of the more property management-specific features, this is a good option.
- Payment processing
- Tracking violations
- Community management tools such as bulletin boards, voting, and event management
- Security and concierge features such as visitor parking management
Condo Control Pricing
Condo Control offers multiple pricing tiers, though, like MRI Commercial, they don’t list their pricing publicly. You’ll need to contact Condo Control’s sales team directly for more information.
Great for: Budget property management software
The budget option on our list, TenantCloud, is a rental property management software that offers a limited free plan.
You’ll get many of the aforementioned features, though as expected, it lacks some of the more premium features of a complete property management software.
- Online rent payments
- Basic reporting
- Work order management
- Vendor payments
TenantCloud offers a free basic plan for up to 75 units, though with many features in typical online property management software being gated. Their lowest-level paid tier comes in at $9 per month for up to 150 units and $35 per month for up to 500 units.
Property Management Software should be a tool, not a hindrance
The tool you use to run your property management business should feel like an ally.
Or like a star employee that takes a weight off your shoulders.
No matter what solution you choose, make sure it’s one whose goal is to streamline and optimize your business processes.
And if you’re looking for a tool that keeps things simple and easy while still providing a robust set of features that helps you run your entire property management business, try DoorLoop.
DoorLoop is 50% off until 2022, so you can get started right away with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know more? Check the questions below to learn more about how online property management software works:
1. What is the best online property management software?
There are many great property management solutions out there. What matters more than if a tool is the “best,” though, is whether it’s a good fit for you and your needs.
For example, if you’re looking for the right combination of:
- Speed (of use, to get a particular task done)
- And world-class support
… then consider DoorLoop as your all-in-one property management tool of choice.
DoorLoop offers a comprehensive list of features while focusing on taking the load off of your back, as opposed to bogging you down in a million new processes like other property management software.
2. Is QuickBooks suitable for landlords?
If you’re looking for a low-investment accounting solution for landlords, QuickBooks is workable. However, as it isn’t designed with property management in mind, you’ll quickly notice several limitations. For example: having to create both tenants and properties as customers.