Managing your own rental property saves money and allows you greater control and supervision over your investment. You can only realize those benefits, however, if you’re not losing too much time (and thus money also) in the process. Managing an investment property can be a tough job, but there are some great apps that, according to Jason Hartman, will most certainly make the process easier and streamlined.
5 Best Apps to Self-Manage a Rental Property
1. Landlord Studio
This is one of the cheapest apps out there. There are no setup fees, and you’ll pay just a dollar a month for each unit you add.
Landlord Studio offers tenant screening, income, and expense tracking, and outputs schedule Es when it’s time for taxes. You can also keep track of all your communications with contractors and tenants and send out late rent notices directly from the app, keeping a close eye on when they’re received. The app even allows you to generate leases that are state-specific, so all your bases are covered.
There are some things missing here, though. While this is a great app for communication and can help with taxes, it doesn’t have all the robust features for keeping track of key financial indicators that other apps offer. And while it does play nicely with ZellePay and Venmo, it doesn’t allow for ACH deposits, which are always your smartest choice as a landlord.
2. Spark Rental
This is a pricier option at $19 a month for 5 units or $39 for unlimited properties. This one does allow ACH withdrawal direct from tenant bank accounts, though there is a 4% charge for that service.
This app allows you to put up ad listings on most of the big sites, like Trulia and Zillow, and offers tenant screening, online rent collection, and income and expense tracking. It also allows you to get schedule Es, send out late notices, and keep track of your communication as well as logs of maintenance and calendar features.
There are some downsides to Spark Rental, however. When things work, they work really well. When something goes wrong, you might not get much help. A common complaint about this app is that it’s hard to get in touch with a real person, especially when too much money is accidentally taken from a tenant’s account or there’s a fee tacked on for the landlord that shouldn’t be there.
3. Property Tracker
This app is definitely best for covering all the bases, especially if you have multiple properties to work with. The price is comparable to Spark Rental, but you’re getting a lot more value for your dollar. After a 30-day free trial, you spend $37 a month, no matter how many properties you need to track.
Property Tracker is simple to use and integrated across platforms, so you can use it on your phone and then check on things from your computer. In addition to all the basic features offered by the apps already mentioned, this app updates you monthly about your key financial indicators, shows you directly how you can maximize profits and tax savings at the same time, and tracks vacancy rates and lease expirations. It gives you Schedule Es but also Schedule of Depreciation forms, so taxes are simple to calculate.
There’s simply a lot more here than with most apps and for a competitive price. This cloud-based app is easy to customize and has good support for all platforms, including phone, email, and live support, as well as ticket creation. Training is also easy to access and helpfully designed, so you get the most from the app’s features.
Propertyware is an expensive option at $250 a month with no free trial period, though you do get a free demo.
This app works across platforms, though it’s technically a very mobile-friendly website login rather than an actual app for those operating systems. In addition to the basics, this app offers billing and invoicing, insurance management, and late fee calculations. One of its strengths is how highly customizable it is. In many ways, Propertyware adapts itself to you rather than requiring you to adapt to it.
For the price, however, we’d expect this app to be able to do more on the financial side. For most, though, it won’t be an ideal solution, and you may find yourself turning to Quickbooks or paying for an accountant to make up the loss. There are also more technical issues than we’d expect given how expensive it is.
5. Rentec Direct
Rentec Direct’s pricing is more in line with what we’d expect for the level of service you get. There is a free trial, and then it’s $35 a month.
One of this app’s strengths is how well it plays across platforms and operating systems. The support with this app is very good, though there’s no live training available. Rentec offers you credit checks, an online payment portal, tenant and vacancy tracking, tax management features, and even the ability to manage your website. The tenant database is very helpful, and it will calculate late fees for you automatically as well as keep your portfolio and communication all in one place.
The one stand-out feature of this app is, unfortunately, also where it tends to fall down. It allows you to migrate your website, and if that worked seamlessly, it would be an amazing feature. The problem is that it just doesn’t. HTML coding issues crop up everywhere. Our other complaint is that while it will send reports automatically by email, it doesn’t keep any record of who you sent it to. If you send it or copy it to yourself, you have a copy, of course, but if you send it elsewhere, it would be nice to have a record in the app itself.
Property management apps aren’t really just a convenience anymore. They’re essential to effectively manage your investment without wasting any of your valuable time. With the right app, you’ll maximize your investment while minimizing costs and get everything from your property that it should be giving you.