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5 Steps in Choosing the Right Property Management Software

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Strategy (24-slide PowerPoint presentation). Companies in asset-intensive industries have long sought to manage huge investments in assets more effectively. Yet, after significant investment of time and money in formal Asset Management programs, this often fall short of delivering the promised benefits of more reliable assets, lower costs, [read more]

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There is no denying that softwares and apps are transforming our lives, and helping make our lives a little bit easier.

When it comes to property management software, a program designed to maintain and manage commercial or residential properties, you’ll need the best of the best. After all, it is a huge investment portfolio you will be managing with the software!

There are several different pricing options, software features, and upgrades you’ll also need to keep in mind. It’s easy to feel confused and lost if you don’t know where and what to look for.

That’s exactly why we’re here! We’re offering you 5 super easy steps that will help you choose the right asset management software.

So, sit back and read through our list and by the end of it, you’ll know what you’re looking for. Let’s get straight to it.

1. Expand Your Network

Keeping an open mind is never a bad idea in any situation. Similarly, when you’re looking for a good property management software, you can start by researching what other property managers are using.

Ask around your network, expand your network of other property managers. Survey them on how their chosen software affected their business. There is usually a transition period you have to go through if you are switching from one software to another.  Ask them how their transition experience was.

You can ask them  things they disliked and liked and learn from their experience. You will get an idea and pretty soon create your own pros and cons list.

There’s no guarantee what works for them will also work for you. Even the most popular software might not work for your specific needs, so it’s better to keep an open mind and leverage your own network.

2. Identify Your Business’ Needs

Recognizing your business’ needs is another crucial step that will play a part in choosing the right software. Every software comes with several features and bells and whistles. There are also updated versions of the same software that operate differently. So, if you have crystalized your pain points as to what you need the software to do for you, you will start to recognize what features you will need. The goal is to make the software tailored to your needs and making it easy for you to use.

You have to ask yourself how these features are helping your business. Is it increasing or decreasing your workload efficiency? Thankfully, there are preventative maintenance software known as cmms that can help you out in this area.

When it comes to features, you can survey your staff on what features they could find useful in doing their job. You can take the top three of their suggestions and round them up to prioritize your own software features.

Similarly, you should also familiarize yourself with some of the common and critical property management software features first. They will help you to narrow down your search as well.

Online Cloud Software

A cloud property management software can be a great feature. It comes with many benefits like backup and recovery, reduced costs, greater security, much better accessibility and flexibility.

A Full Property Accounting Function

This is a must-have feature on any property management software and something that you really should not leave off your list.

A software with the best built in automation and accounting features for disbursements, reconciliation and bills will not only simplify but also increase your workflow efficiency.

Managing on the Go

An app in your phone can save you a lot of time when you are on the road or away from your laptop. Always check to see if the software has a mobile app or not. Your staff will be able to conduct inspections whenever required, contact data and access the property as well.

Communication Is Key

Another time saving feature is where property managers can trigger messages, it helps to save time. The clients have access so that the owners and tenants can log in and check their financial and property data whenever they want. So, look for these communication features.

Maintenance and Inspections

Maintenance is a vital feature when it comes to property management software, you must make sure it’s a part of your software too. Another vital feature is where you can inspect entry and exit of the properties.

A routine inspection is highly necessary and the software should include a feature that allows to manage this function as well.

Reliable Support and Compliance Reporting

Exporting of historical data and current audit reports and statements is also a must-have feature in a property management software. A support system where you can call and ask for support is integral in considering a software solution.  Inevitably you or your team will need assistance and a reliable fast and accessible customer success support is essential for softwares..

Sophisticated Data Security

A two-step verification system  and encryption are  crucial features for property management software. Security should be number one priority and only the best option should be considered.

3. Compare Systems, Features and Prices

Now that you’re familiar with the essential features, it’s time to make your own list. Eliminate features you don’t need and narrow down a list of softwares that offer essential features for you.

You can use the same method to compare prices and prioritize your top softwares.

There are a lot of things you should also consider about the pricing models. Ask yourself whether you’ll pay monthly or annually and how much it will be, will you go by contracts or just an exit fee, will the additional users or features cost extra or is it a flat fee for an all-inclusive package? There are many minor details of a pricing model that can have a huge impact on your total cost for the software.

Find out whether the company charges extra for ongoing support and training or not. Look into any hidden cost-saving softwares as well.

It will help you decide whether you’re going by price or features once you’re done with your list. However, keep in mind you also have to consider both at the same time – because you will have a budget that you have to maintain.

4. Trial and Error

After you’ve narrowed down your list of softwares, it’s time to check them out. There are demos you can sign up for and it will help you immensely if you prepare yourself first with a list of questions.

Take advantage of any free resources the company might have like training videos, blogs, guides, articles and webinars. You’ll get a glimpse into whether the software is easy to use and whether it will meet your expectations.

Check out their social media presence and blogs to get an idea about the type of company they are. You can find out about when and how often they release upgrades and add new features to their software.

You can also find out if their customers are happy or not. This step will help you to really get to know the software company better.

5. Finally, Migration

If you’ve come this far, then you probably have one or two final software solutions in your mind already. All that’s left now is for you to run a trial migration which will help to determine your final choice.

It’s the final step where you can see how easily you can transfer your data from your previous system to this new one.

You can find out how long it takes, clean up any unwanted data from your current software, use the migrated data to test new integrations and understand the steps to utilize your portfolio into a new format.

If you’re happy with how the trial migration goes, that’s when you’ve found your desired property management software!

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, we’d like to say that we hope our list of steps will help you find your desired software solution for property management. One that will ease your workload and make your business boom.

It’s important to have a software that will help you maximize its features to meet your desired goals. Share your experiences with us and pass along this article to your friends or other property managers you know!

60-slide PowerPoint presentation
ISO 55001:2014 is the latest Asset Management (AM) international standard. The ISO 55001 management system provides a framework to establish asset management policies, objectives, processes and governance, and facilitates an organization's achievement of its strategic goals. ISO 55001 [read more]

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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