Online property management services free property managers from many computer system maintenance chores to concentrate on building profitable rental property management companies. In the cloud computing environment, all the user needs is enough hardware to support a web browser. If the user’s computer dies, the user jumps to any other computer on hand or purchases the most basic new or refurbished computer required to surf the web. Migrating to web based applications brings instant relief from the Sisyphean chore of receiving and installing upgrades from software vendors. Furthermore, online software product vendors are at liberty to conveniently add features and functionality at more frequent intervals than the platform-specific update model permitted. Learn more by reading articles about online property management. And read our reviews of the best property management services, starting with our review of Propertyware.
Rental property management products that run on client hardware also require business owners to periodically upgrade hardware to accommodate increasingly large application programs ever hungry for faster processors. Networking computers to support teamwork at the office and from remote locations requires further expenditures on software, hardware and technical assistance.
Computing on the internet cloud means not having to implement networking technologies in support of teamwork and productivity. And because the business data is encrypted, hosted and secured by the vendor, property managers avoid the tedium and nagging uncertainty of backing up local systems with homespun remedies. Online property management software vendors maintain redundant systems that mirror and back up customer data in the types of data centers that secure data for the largest corporations in the world.
Freedom from the tyranny of information technology responsibilities empowers property managers to pursue the actual business of profitable property management on behalf of their owner-clients and tenants like never before. Online rental property management software increases efficiency and productivity by strengthening and integrating marketing, tenant communications, facilities management, accounting and owner-client relationships.
Best-of-breed property management online software products provide tools to create HTML-based vacancy brochures and automatically post them to multiple popular rental websites. Renter prospects search the websites and virtually tour properties until they locate one that they could call home. While renters are looking at the listing, they can complete an online application.
Some property management products allow the manager to receive the application, run a background check, receive the application fee electronically and schedule a property showing, without ever leaving the online product environment and without retyping a lot of information. The application data feeds into the background screening report and morphs into a lease agreement.
When the tenant moves in, the tenant is provided with a portal that supports online rental payments and allows the tenant to view the lease and a transaction history. The tenant can send maintenance requests via the portal. And the manager can send messages to update the tenant on the status of the maintenance request. The online software model facilitates the assignment of work orders to vendors and pays vendors more efficiently.
The strong tenant management and efficient communication made possible via an online tenant portal is likely to retain tenants. Tenant retention is an important goal of marketing. Every time a tenant renews a lease, the owner does not have to spend time and money to prepare and market the unit or lose income while it is vacant.
Owners can access real time accounting information online, without waiting for the manager to send reports. Owners can check on the business easily, from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection. Likewise managers can keep the business flowing from almost anywhere, which results in happier tenants and owners who are more likely to stay. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™
Which market does the product address? Is it for professional property managers with hundreds of owner-clients with thousands of rental units? Or is the product designed more for the needs of owner-landlords who will be more interested in being able to track their mortgages and less likely to require features that capture and record commissions and fees. Or is it somewhere in between?
How does the product support the marketing of vacancies? How does the product equip managers to market property management services to prospective owner-clients?
Can tenants submit rent payments and maintenance requests through a tenant portal that feeds into the online property management product? Can tenants go online for a copy of the lease or view their transaction histories? Can managers access screening and background checks and debt collection services from within the product environment? Does the vendor support the online hosting of documents, files and pictures associated with properties, and leases?
Once the tenant has submitted a maintenance request, how does a manager identify the right vendors, ask for bids, and send work orders. Can the manager pay the vendor electronically?
How many users can access the product? Is it possible to restrict user access to a subset of all available data? What permissions do users have to alter anything? Can the system audit the activities of each user? Does the product understand the spending thresholds that the owner-client has granted the manager? How do owners keep track of the business? How are owners paid? At what level of granularity can a professional manager calculate and record commissions and fees due from owner-clients?
How complete is the set of accounting features in relationship to the target market? Does it support trust accounting principles to prevent inappropriate co-mingling of funds and safeguard tenant deposits and owner-client bank accounts? Is it possible to reconcile bank accounts from within the product? What features are included for income and expense tracking? How useful is it for extracting tax preparation data? Does it support accounting on a cash or accrual basis? Does the product/vendor help clients to migrate data from competing products and to what extent?
Ease of Use
How easy is it to set up user accounts and properties? Can individual properties be organized into portfolios according to flexible principles of organization? How connected are the various related data elements. How is the user interface organized? What is the online server response time?
Help and Support
How useful is the contextual online help and knowledge base? What is the quality of the online tutorials and webinars? Can prospects view an online demo? Is a trial version available? How quickly does the vendor respond to inquiries? Does the vendor host an interactive online user forum? If the vendor hosts a blog, is it a one-way blog or interactive? Is the vendor on Facebook or Twitter?
Supported by the power and efficiency of online property management software, property managers are more likely to build profitable businesses, which is the most compelling reason to consider a rental property management company.