Property Management Software Explained
Property management software is designed to help ease and enhance property management processes. It is used by landlords, letting agents, estate agents and property managers. Software developers may design their system for one type of user or several audiences.
This type of software can be designed around one specific user or a broad range. Property management systems can help with residential properties, commercial properties, student accommodation, social housing, HMO properties and hotels. With this type of technology, property owners or agents can manage their portfolio more efficiently by improving their cashflow, filling vacancies quicker and saving time on administration work.
Small and large businesses alike can benefit from the technology, as can sole property owners.
What Are the Features?
There are several areas which property management software can address. They are:
Marketing – Agents and landlords can create advertisements using property data. Using this method, property advertisements can be uploaded quickly to major property portals such as Zoopla, OnTheMarket and Gumtree. The software may also provide analytical data to help gauge the amount of interest in available properties.
Finances – A good reason to adopt property management software is that it can assist you with financial tasks. For users without any former accounting experience, this can be incredibly helpful. Most systems typically provide property accounting, financial overviews, credit control tools, service charge tools, intercompany accounting, and automatic invoicing.
Management – As the name ‘property management’ implies, these kinds of systems provide you with a range of management features. These tools focus on asset management, work orders (such as inspections), storage for documents and contact details, tenancy overviews and CRM functionality for tracking tenants.
Cloud-based Property Management Software
There are also several cloud-based versions of property management software. ‘The cloud‘ refers to an online server which can be used to host software and store documents. It has a significant advantage over traditional, on-premise servers as it provides greater accessibility and security. In other words, it allows users to access software and files from any device, from any location. It can increase security using built-in features such as data encryptions and firewalls. Additionally, cloud servers can be scaled to grow alongside companies, and it can reduce costs on long-term maintenance. Cloud property management software brings together all the perks of property software and cloud servers to make a powerful product.
Property Problems and Software Solutions
Landlords, letting agents and property managers face plenty of daily challenges. Thankfully, property management software is designed with these problems in mind.
Not Enough Time
Managing several properties can be very time-consuming. Property owners and letting agents may find themselves juggling tasks and getting tied down by administrative work. Property management software can help alleviate a lot of this work through automating tasks. The software enables staff members to send invoices and chase arrears automatically. The software can also condense the number of steps in complex tasks to make processes quicker.
To grow your revenue, you will need a strong cash inflow and low overhead costs. This can prove to be challenging for many landlords and letting agents. Property management software can save you money by quickly collecting payments and arrears. On top of this, property management systems can help you market vacancies and capture monthly rent quicker. Both aspects can increase profits which make it a worthy investment for any landlord or agent.
Damage and Unexpected Maintenance Costs
Properties can deteriorate across the years, but regular maintenance can return buildings to their former glory and delay yearly wear-and-tear. When you promptly address repairs, not only does it save your property from additional decay, but it shows a level of care towards your tenants. Keeping on top of repairs can be challenging, especially when a landlord has a large portfolio to look after. Property management software helps users by organising properties within a simple interface. Most property management systems will categorise properties by their building type and will come with reminders for important dates.
Most professionals find balancing their books challenging, and this is no different for the property industry. Landlords, letting agents and property managers need to make sure that all expenses are accounted for to understand their cash flow. Whilst many property managers succeed at marketing properties and keeping them in good shape, many also must look after finances with minimal accounting experience. Property management software can make financial tasks far easier by summarising financial data in a sensible, easy-to-understand fashion. Given that property management software operates digitally, the system can conveniently tally figures to cut down on mathematical tasks.
When a property becomes vacant, it is important to find a new occupant as soon as possible. Without tenants, there is no income. At the same time, property owners and letting agents
acknowledge that rushing to fill a property can result in bad tenants. Property management software understands this fine balance and tackles vacancies with both effective marketing and careful selection. The software uses customer relationship management features to log updates on tenant prospects and uses marketing tools to upload advertisements to property portals.
Nobody enjoys dealing with complaints. When disputes occur, landlords and agents will need to refer to past conversations to settle the disagreement. It is vital to store all communications in case it needs to be used as evidence. Property management software stores all agreements and conversations in a secure online space. The cloud offers several layers of online security and easy document retrieval. If complaints need to be dealt with through a legal representative, this information can be downloaded as evidence.
With Making Tax Digital becoming compulsory in former years, the need to stay legally compliant has only grown. With regulations changing year by year, it is important for landlords, letting agents and property managers to stay on top of new rules. Property management software developers continually follow compliance changes to keep all templates supplied up to date or use a third-party service to do so.
Communications with Staff and Tenants
Communication is important in any property-related role. As a property manager, it is your responsibility to not only look after the property but to also take care of the tenant. If a tenant feels that their needs are not being met, the relationship with the property owner could sour. This could lead to hostile correspondence, apathy, and problematic actions. It is in every property owner’s best interest to keep their tenant happy, by handling property maintenance quickly and smoothly.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Property Management Software?
If you are still using spreadsheets to manage your properties, you will most definitely benefit from a property management software. Current property management system users can also benefit from switching if they feel they are not getting what they want out of the system. These are the things you should consider:
Does It Fulfil Your Requirements?
If you are looking into property management software, the chances are you will already recognise what you want to improve. You may struggle to find enough time to operate efficiently, you may need some help organising a broad spectrum of properties or you may need help with marketing. These types of systems come with a wealth of features that can help you succeed and grow. When choosing a software, make sure your main challenges will be alleviated if you go ahead with the purchase.
Does It Have a Simple Interface?
Whilst it is easy to get enticed by a sophisticated system, property management software should still be easy to use. The software layout should be straightforward, and it should align with your everyday processes.
Do They Provide Good Technical Support?
When you invest in a new product, you want to make sure that communication does not end at the sale. All property management software teams should be readily available to fix issues, answer any questions you have and provide extra training if necessary. It is also worth looking for ‘UK-based support’ so you will be sharing the same time zone.
What Security Measures Do They Use?
Since you will be dealing with confidential details, you will need a property management software that provides a high level of security. Typically, you should look for data encryption and two-step authentication for software logins. The software should also run on secure servers. If you choose a cloud-hosted software, this will have several layers of security already built into the hosting space.
Will It Be Suitable for Your Property Portfolio?
Different property management systems will cover different building types. When searching for the right software for you, you will need to make sure that it caters to your portfolio type. Buildings will have their own unique set of needs which the software needs to fit to.
Is It Compatible with Your Accounting Software?
Property management software either has its own built-in accounts system or pairs up with your existing accounting software and syncs up with its financial information. Decorus for Sage, for example, is a Sage property management software. Uniquely, Decorus is the only property software which integrates with Sage 50.