Rent Collection Tools and Property Management Software: Finding the Right Fit

Ready to modernize your property management process? We compare some of the most popular online rent collection tools and property management software.

By
Gemma Smith
|
Last Updated
May 16, 2023
Rent Collection Tools and Property Management Software: Finding the Right Fit

Managing rental properties often comes with numerous challenges, such as late or missed payments, communication difficulties with tenants, and time-consuming administrative tasks.

To address these obstacles, rent collection tools and property management software have emerged as powerful solutions that streamline rent collection and help landlords manage various aspects of their rental business more efficiently. 

In this article, we will explore the benefits of these digital solutions, discuss the key features to look for when selecting a platform, and provide an overview of some popular options available in the market today.

Benefits of rent collection tools and property management software

Rent collection tools and property management software offer numerous benefits that help landlords manage their rental properties effectively. One of the most significant advantages is streamlining rent collection, making it easier and more convenient for landlords and tenants to pay rent online. This not only ensures timely payments and improves security, but also reduces the risk of lost or delayed checks.

Another benefit is enhancing communication and transparency between landlords and tenants. These platforms provide a centralized space for interactions, document sharing, and updates, leading to fewer misunderstandings and fostering trust between both parties. This improved communication ultimately results in a more harmonious and productive landlord-tenant relationship.

Moreover, rent collection tools and property management software play a pivotal role in minimizing late payments. Sending automated reminders and offering flexible payment options, helps tenants pay their rent on time, providing landlords a predictable and stable rental income and reduced stress.

Lastly, these platforms significantly reduce the administrative burden of managing rental properties. By automating various tasks and centralizing information, landlords can efficiently manage their rental business in one place. This allows them to save time, reduce errors, and focus on other essential aspects of their business, ultimately enhancing their overall property management experience.

Key features to look for in rent collection tools and property management software

When evaluating rent collection tools and property management software, it is essential to consider several key features to select the best solution for your needs. 

  • Flexible payment options: Allowing tenants to choose their preferred method for paying rent increases the likelihood of timely payments and overall satisfaction.
  • Automated reminders and notifications: These help keep landlords and tenants informed about important dates, payment statuses, and other essential information. It minimizes the risk of late or missed payments and ensures effective communication between parties.
  • Security and data privacy: This should be a top priority when selecting a platform. Rent collection and property management software should adhere to the highest security standards to protect landlords' and tenants' sensitive information such as financial data and personal details.
  • Tenant screening and application management: These capabilities are valuable for landlords looking for reliable tenants. They can streamline the application process, facilitate background checks, and help landlords make informed decisions when selecting tenants for their properties.
  • In-app messaging: This facilitates direct communication between landlords and tenants. It offers a centralized platform for queries, concerns, or updates, ensuring transparency and strengthening the landlord-tenant relationship.
  • Financial reporting and bookkeeping: This allows landlords to track their rental property's financial performance and maintain accurate records for tax and accounting purposes. These features can save time and reduce errors during tax season, while providing valuable insights into the investment’s financial health.
  • Integration with other tools and software: This can enhance the overall functionality of rent collection and property management platforms. By connecting with relevant software, such as accounting or property listing tools, landlords can streamline their workflows and manage all aspects of their rental business more efficiently.

6 top rent collection tools and property management software

1. Azibo

Overview:

Azibo offers a comprehensive and user-friendly property management platform designed to streamline the entire rental process for landlords. With a range of features integrated into one convenient platform, Azibo provides landlords with a complete toolkit to manage their rental business efficiently, all at no cost.

Key features:

  • Simplified rent collection: Facilitate timely rent payments by offering tenants flexible payment options such as ACH bank transfers, debit cards, credit cards, or paper checks. Track rent payment status and automate reminders. 
  • Rental applications: Azibo's platform allows landlords to quickly find tenants with customizable application forms, ensuring they receive the most relevant information for their properties.
  • Tenant screening: Verify the quality of your prospective tenants with comprehensive screenings, including credit checks, criminal background checks, and eviction reports to help you make informed decisions with confidence.
  • Accounting solutions designed for real estate: Optimize your rental business finances with industry-leading accounting and tax preparation tools specifically designed for landlords. Explore its income and expense tracking, rule-based tagging for Schedule E transactions, and suite of financial reports (cash flow, P&L, rent roll, CapEx, and more). 
  • Affordable property insurance: Experience transparency and efficiency in the property insurance process, obtaining the right coverage at competitive prices. Receive free quotes in minutes and save up to 25% on your insurance portfolio.
  • Lease creation: Create state-specific rental lease agreements and invite tenants to sign online. 
  • Maintenance and messaging: Azibo streamlines communication between landlords and tenants. Tenants submit maintenance tickets with photos and descriptions directly from their devices. Landlords benefit from a centralized messaging portal, reducing scattered communications. Features include real-time status updates, automatic reminders, and a built-in history of all conversations and requests. The system ensures timely responses and a clear process from ticket creation to resolution.

Pricing

Azibo is a free property management platform offering various tools to support independent real estate investors. The platform allows landlords to automate online rent collection, manage finances and accounting, and screen for quality tenants.

Wrap-up

Azibo is an all-in-one property management platform providing a comprehensive suite of landlord solutions at no cost. With Azibo, landlords can manage their rental business efficiently while enjoying the convenience of a user-friendly platform.

Azibo's free pricing model sets it apart, offering unlimited access to its core features. By generating revenue through other means, such as interest on cash balances, convenience fees on card transactions, and commissions on partner products, Azibo can provide a valuable platform without the typical cost barriers.

Azibo’s real estate accounting solution is also a differentiator, as it was designed for rental properties and comes with all the tags, categories, metrics, and reports you’ll need to stay organized and compliant.

Embrace the modern and efficient approach to property management software with Azibo. 

2: SimplifyEm

Overview:

SimplifyEm is a user-friendly, comprehensive property management software designed to make managing rental properties effortless for property managers and landlords. 

With its powerful suite of features, the platform streamlines tasks such as accounting, reporting, tenant screening, and lease management, allowing you to focus on growing your business. Trusted by users across the US, SimplifyEm is a great solution for efficient and hassle-free property management. 

Key features of SimplifyEm

  • Income & Expense Tracking: Easily monitor and manage your property's cash flow, categorizing transactions for tax purposes.
  • Tenant & Lease Management: Maintain comprehensive records of tenants, leases, and payments, with automatic late fee charges and lease expiry notifications.
  • Online Rent Collection: Enable tenants to securely pay rent online, automating the deposit and recording process, improving cash flow.
  • Detailed Reporting: Generate insightful cash flow and tax reports, simplifying tax season with Schedule E generation.
  • Tenant, Owner, and Vendor Portals: Facilitate communication, document sharing, and access to key information for all stakeholders.
  • Maintenance and Work Orders: Organize tasks, work orders, and vendor management, keeping your properties well-maintained and efficient.
  • Automation: Streamline processes such as property management fees, late fees, rent receipts, late rent notices, and owner reports.

Pricing

SimplifyEm offers various pricing plans to accommodate your property management needs, with subscriptions ranging from $25 to $1620 per month, depending on the number of units you manage. 

The plans include essential features such as email and phone support, income and expense tracking, detailed reporting, tenant and lease management, vendor and tax management, renter's insurance, professional owner reports, and unlimited document storage. 

Additional features such as communication history, document sharing, portals, bank account management, task and work order management, sub-user management, and automation are available for higher-tier plans or with an additional monthly fee. Depending on your subscription level, online rental applications, lease forms, payments, and tenant screenings are available at varying costs per transaction.

Wrap-up 

SimplifyEm is a comprehensive property management software designed to assist landlords and property managers in handling rental properties. 

The platform offers a range of features such as income and expense tracking, tenant and lease management, online rent collection, detailed reporting, and more. 

With various pricing plans available to accommodate different property management needs, SimplifyEm aims to provide a user-friendly solution for those looking to manage their properties more efficiently.

3. Buildium

Overview

Buildium is a property management software designed to streamline the various aspects of property management, making it easier for landlords to handle their tasks efficiently. 

The platform offers a range of features, including payment collections, accounting, maintenance management, vendor management, and communication tools. Buildium enables landlords and property managers to approve lease applications, resolve maintenance issues, manage payments, and update financials from anywhere.

Catering to portfolios of all sizes, Buildium helps property managers grow their portfolios on their terms while maintaining high-quality service. With online payments, retail cash payments, and various integrations, Buildium is a comprehensive solution that adapts to property managers' and residents' needs.

Key features of Buildium

  • Property Accounting: Utilize purpose-built software designed explicitly for managing property-related financial transactions.
  • Online Rent Collection: Accelerate rent collection with a seamless online payment platform, making the process more efficient.
  • Maintenance Requests: Easily manage work orders and handle maintenance issues with streamlined request processing.
  • 1099 e-Filing: Simplify tax season organization by creating and filing 1099s effortlessly, ensuring compliance and efficiency.
  • Resident Center: Deliver an exceptional resident experience with a dedicated portal for communication and services.
  • Rental Listing Syndications: Advertise rental listings without hassle through automatic syndication to various platforms.
  • Tenant Screening: Conduct comprehensive background checks on prospective tenants to ensure a reliable and secure rental process.
  • Online Leasing: For increased convenience and efficiency, online management of the entire leasing process, from application submission to lease signing.

Pricing

Buildium provides three pricing plans: Essential, Growth, and Premium. All plans have essential features like accounting, maintenance, and online portals. The Essential plan starts at $52/month, while the Growth plan starts at $166/month and includes additional features for growing businesses. The Premium plan starts at $479/month and is suitable for larger businesses that need more advanced features.

Buildium also offers savings for customers who use more services and waives incoming ACH fees for some plans. Customers can customize their subscriptions by adding extra features, such as online payments or tenant screening, for an additional cost.

For larger customers or those managing community associations, Buildium can be contacted to offer dedicated pricing.

Wrap-up

Buildium is a robust property management software streamlines various aspects of property management, making it an excellent choice for property managers and landlords. 

The platform offers many features, including online payments, maintenance management, vendor management, communication tools, and rental listing syndication, to help property managers handle tasks efficiently and grow their portfolios.

Buildium's pricing plans are flexible, with three options, allowing property managers to customize their subscriptions based on their needs. Additionally, Buildium offers extra savings for customers who use more services and waives incoming ACH fees for some plans.

While the platform offers many useful features, there is a minor downside to consider. The mobile website is not as user-friendly as the app, which has received positive user reviews. However, this issue is relatively minor and can be easily resolved by using the app.

Overall, Buildium is an excellent property management software that can help landlords and property managers handle tasks efficiently and grow portfolios. With a wide range of features, flexible pricing plans, and extra savings for customers, it is a comprehensive and flexible solution that can adapt to the needs of growing businesses.

4. Appfolio

Overview

AppFolio is a cloud-based property management software designed to streamline the day-to-day tasks of property managers and landlords.

The platform offers a range of features, including online payments, maintenance management, tenant screening, accounting, and more, that help property managers handle their tasks efficiently and grow their portfolios.

AppFolio also offers mobile access, allowing users to manage their properties on the go. With flexible pricing plans and a user-friendly interface, AppFolio is a comprehensive and reliable solution for property managers and landlords of all sizes.

Key features of Appfolio

  • Online Payments: AppFolio's online payment system allows property managers to collect rent payments, fees, and other charges quickly and securely.
  • Maintenance Management: AppFolio streamlines the maintenance management process by enabling tenants to submit maintenance requests online, tracking the progress of work orders, and scheduling vendor services.
  • Tenant Screening: AppFolio's tenant screening feature enables property managers to screen potential tenants, including credit checks, background checks, and rental history.
  • Accounting: AppFolio's accounting tools help property managers manage their finances, including tracking income and expenses, generating financial reports, and processing transactions.
  • Mobile Access: AppFolio's mobile app allows users to access and manage their properties on the go, including viewing and responding to maintenance requests, collecting rent payments, and accessing financial reports.

Pricing

AppFolio offers clear and straightforward pricing plans that match your portfolio, making it easy for property managers to choose the best plan. The platform has two pricing plans: Core and plus. The Core plan is designed for small to mid-sized portfolios, with a starting price of $1.40 per unit per month and a minimum monthly fee of $280. The plan includes robust accounting and reporting, virtual marketing and leasing tools, online maintenance, and a fully mobile experience. 

The Plus plan is designed for portfolios managing 1,000+ units, with a price of $3 per unit per month and a minimum monthly fee of $1,500. This plan includes everything in Core, workflow management, performance insights, data export capabilities, and elevated service experience.

The platform also provides onboarding (additional fee) and implementation specialists who can help property managers maintain productivity and keep their monthly accounting process on track while they switch to the platform. Additionally, AppFolio offers on-demand access to product training and guided tutorials to help property managers maximize their use of the platform's features.

Wrap-up

AppFolio is a robust cloud-based property management software option that offers a wide range of features to help streamline property management tasks for landlords and property managers.

The platform is mobile-friendly and user-friendly, making it easy to manage properties on the go. However, one significant downside is that the platform requires users to have at least 50 rental units, which can be a drawback for smaller real estate investors.

AppFolio's pricing is also higher than other online rent collection platforms, with a minimum monthly fee of $280 for small- to mid-sized portfolios and an onboarding fee based on portfolio size. Larger portfolio managers pay $1,500 monthly, making it a pricier option. Unfortunately, there is no free trial, but a free demo is available to help users better understand the platform's capabilities.

5: Avail

Overview

Avail landlord software is designed to make rental property management easier for DIY landlords.

With Avail, landlords can find tenants, view credit history, sign leases, and even collect rent online using tools built specifically for property management. The platform also offers features like transparent maintenance and repair tracking, rent price analysis, and property accounting software to make bookkeeping easier.

Avail also provides comprehensive background checks and state-specific lease templates that landlords can customize to fit their properties. Landlords can manage all areas of their rental properties in one place, from listing properties to collecting rent from tenants.

Key features of Avail

  • Rental Listings: Create and publish rental listings across multiple top rental listing sites, manage leads from prospective tenants, and keep the conversation going with potential tenants directly from the app.
  • Tenant Screening: Request credit, criminal background checks, and eviction reports from applicants at no cost. Decide which TransUnion reports to require and view them instantly in your account.
  • Online Leases: Customize a lease tailored to your property's location with state-specific templates. Draw up custom leases by adding or editing clauses, rules, and attachments. Email the lease to your tenants for signing and sign it online with a secure, legally binding e-signature.
  • Online Rent Collection: Request payments from your tenants by simply typing in their email addresses and the rental amount. Link your preferred business bank account to complete the setup process, and your tenants will receive an email with instructions to pay their rent, security deposit, or any amounts using their bank account, debit, or credit card.
  • Maintenance Tracking: Allow tenants to submit maintenance requests, track repair progress, and receive real-time status updates. Track repair expenses easily to make tax season easier.
  • Property Accounting: Track income and expenses to streamline the property management accounting process. Rental payments and maintenance costs are automatically uploaded to your dashboard, making it easier to see the amount of money coming in and out.

Pricing

Avail offers two pricing plans for landlords: Unlimited and Unlimited Plus. The Unlimited plan is free and includes unlimited units, syndicated listings, credit and criminal screening, state-specific leases, and online rent payments.

With Unlimited Plus, you get all the features of Unlimited, plus premium features such as next-day rent payments, waived ACH fees, custom applications and leases, the ability to clone and reuse custom lease agreements, and a property website creation tool.

The cost for Unlimited Plus is only $5 per unit per month. Tenants may need to cover the cost of application fees, which vary by location, and tenants on the Unlimited plan pay $2.50 per bank transfer. In contrast, tenants on Unlimited Plus have no fees for bank transfers, and a 3.5% processing fee applies to credit or debit card payments regardless of subscription.

Avail also offers an easy way for tenants to purchase renters insurance through Lemonade Inc.

Wrap-up

Avail landlord software provides comprehensive tools to make rental property management easier for DIY landlords.

The platform offers features such as rental listings, tenant screening, online leases, rent collection, maintenance tracking, and property accounting software. 

With two pricing plans, landlords can either use the completely free Unlimited plan or upgrade to the Unlimited Plus plan for only $5 per unit per month, including premium features such as next-day rent payments and custom lease agreements.

While Avail may not be the best fit for landlords who require advanced accounting features or prefer a standalone mobile app, it is an excellent option for many types of landlords looking to simplify their property management processes.

6. Stessa

Overview

Stessa is a great platform for real estate investors, providing everything you need in one place. The platform automates accounting, streamlines finances, screens tenants, and collects rent online for free.

With Stessa, investors can easily access and track their portfolio's performance with automatically generated and updated reports. The platform's dynamic financials make it easy to manage income and expense tracking, providing peace of mind to both investors and their CPAs.

Stessa also offers an FDIC-insured checking account that seamlessly integrates with the platform's features, making cash management a breeze. The online rent collection feature allows landlords to collect rent and automatic payments on autopilot, while the rental applications feature streamlines tenant screening.

Setting up a property is quick and easy, with the platform's simple process. Stessa is trusted by both novice and sophisticated investors, making it an essential tool for anyone looking to make informed decisions about their property portfolio.

Key features of Stessa

  • Automated Income and Expense Tracking: Automates the tracking of rental property income and expenses, providing accurate and dynamic financial reports for real estate investors.
  • Cash Management: Secure and FDIC-insured checking account that integrates with its platform. Account holders can enjoy competitive annual percentage yield (APY) rates, no account maintenance fees, and no other hidden fees.
  • Online Rent Collection: Simplifies rent collection by onboarding tenants, sending rent reminders, and providing real-time updates when rent is paid. It also eliminates the need for third-party apps.
  • Reporting and Insights: Provides real-time visibility into your portfolio's performance with automatically generated reports. You can create income statements, balance sheets, cash flow reports, and more in just a few clicks.
  • Rental Applications: Allows you to generate and track tenant applications without leaving the platform. It also provides best-in-industry tenant screening backed by comprehensive background checks.

Pricing

Stessa offers two plans to help real estate investors keep track of their property performance, finances, and documents.

The Essentials plan is free and includes unlimited property tracking, property manager connections, real estate document and receipt storage, and online rent collection. Upgrade to the Pro plan for $20 per month to access advanced tools like budgeting and pro-forma analysis, project expense tracking, advanced reporting, and accelerated rent payments.

Both plans offer FDIC-insured banking services with no minimum balance and cashback rewards.

Wrap-up

Stessa's features simplify accounting, rent collection, and tenant screening, making it easy to manage a portfolio. Stessa's dynamic financial reports and 24/7 visibility into portfolio performance provide investors and their CPAs peace of mind.

The Essentials plan is free and includes essential features like online rent collection, while the Pro plan at $20 per month offers advanced tools to optimize your portfolio. With FDIC-insured banking services and no hidden fees, Stessa is an affordable and reliable tool for real estate investors of all levels.

Factors to consider when choosing a property management software

Selecting the perfect rent collection tool and property management software can be a daunting task, but by carefully considering your unique circumstances, you can find the ideal solution tailored to your needs.

Property size and type

When selecting the ideal rent collection tool and property management software, it's essential to consider the size and type of your property.

Different platforms cater to varying property sizes, from single-family homes to large apartment complexes. Some software solutions are better suited for specific property types, such as residential, commercial, or mixed-use. Ensure your chosen platform aligns with your property's characteristics and is tailored to meet your unique management requirements.

Budget constraints

Budget constraints play a significant role in determining the right solution for your rental property management needs.

Many platforms offer tiered pricing plans, with features and functionality vary based on cost. Assess your budget and prioritize the features you need most to find a solution that provides the best value for your money. 

Remember that some platforms, like Azibo, offer comprehensive solutions at no cost, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious landlords.

Scalability and future growth

As a property owner, you may plan to expand your rental business in the future. When selecting rent collection tools and property management software, consider their scalability and ability to accommodate your future growth.

Opt for a platform that can easily manage an increasing number of properties and tenants, allowing you to continue using the same solution as your business grows. This will save you time and resources in the long run, as you won't need to transition to a new platform when your rental portfolio expands.

Implementation and onboarding

Transitioning from traditional methods to digital solutions can be a significant shift for both landlords and tenants. It's essential to approach this change with a well-thought-out plan to minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth transition.

Begin by familiarizing yourself with the chosen rent collection tool and property management software, understanding its features, and how they align with your specific needs. Communicate the upcoming changes to your tenants, highlighting the benefits they can expect from the new system and providing them with the necessary resources and information to adapt to the digital platform.

Training and support are crucial components of a successful onboarding process for landlords and tenants. Select a platform that offers comprehensive training materials, such as video tutorials, user guides, and webinars, to help users learn the system effectively. 

Additionally, prioritize platforms with responsive customer support, ensuring that any questions or concerns are promptly addressed. Providing tenants with clear instructions on using the new system and offering ongoing support will contribute to a seamless transition and a positive experience for all parties involved.

Setting realistic expectations and timelines is essential to ensure a smooth onboarding process. Allow ample time for you and your tenants to adapt to the new platform, and be patient with any challenges that may arise during the transition. Monitor the progress of the implementation, address any issues or concerns as they emerge, and gather feedback from your tenants to make any necessary adjustments. 

By thoroughly planning the onboarding process and maintaining open lines of communication, you can successfully transition to a digital solution that streamlines your rental property management experience.

Final thoughts on rent collection tools and property management software

In conclusion, Azibo, Avail, Stessa, and SimplifyEm offer free pricing models with unlimited access to core features, making them attractive options for independent landlords. Azibo provides comprehensive features beyond rent collection such as rental applications, tenant screening, lease generation, and real estate accounting. 

Buildium and AppFolio are more expensive options with pricing plans based on the size of the portfolio, making them more suitable for larger property management companies. 

Overall, each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best platform for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Ready to put property management pain points in your past? Try Azibo’s free, all-in-one financial platform for landlords today.

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Important Note: This post is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be taken as legal, accounting, or tax advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for such services. Always consult your own legal, accounting, or tax counsel before taking any action based on this information.

Gemma Smith

With 7 years in property management, Gemma serves as a key content strategist at Azibo.com. While excelling in writing, editing, and SEO, she also enhances Azibo's social media presence. Passionately, Gemma educates others to make informed real estate investment decisions in the ever-changing market.

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