Software for Accounting and Property Management - New Park Owner


#1

I’m hopefully putting my first park under contract soon, and am looking for some recommendations on software I should start using right off the bat to streamline financial accounting and operations. The operation of this park should be relatively straightforward. Minimal POH and vacancies, we’ll invest some CapEx upfront to fix up the park but beyond that it should operate pretty consistently. Only planning to employ an onsite park manager, other activities will be performed by contractors.

Would it be redundant to subscribe to an accounting software such as Freshbooks, as well as a property management software such as RentManager? My understanding is that Freshbooks can handle direct billing/invoice/payment collections, so I’m not exactly sure if the added functionality of RentManager would be necessary to manage just one park. However, I’d like to start doing things the right way as soon as possible to avoid future hassles in records/bookkeeping. Any input from your prior experience is much appreciated!


#2

We love AppFolio. It doesn’t have everything that RentManager does, but for ease of use my opinion is it is far better. With a single park, the cost of some of these systems might be too much.

No matter what system you choose to go with, I would definitely try to find an all in one property management/accounting solution, it will make your life much easier.


#3

When I was managing just one park I used spreadsheets along with waveapps (free) for bookkeeping. It worked just fine, and was much faster to learn and setup than professional software packages.

If you have under ~75 units my personal opinion is professional software won’t save much time and will be expensive. Part of that depends on how comfortable you are with spreadsheets though.

I currently use Buildium and am underwhelmed - with scale it’s better than spreadsheets and implements some features really well, but it tends to be somewhat buggy and difficult to use at times.


#5

Appfolio is a good software but you need a minimum 50 units for them to run the interface for you. Rent manager is geared more towards mobile home parks because you have the ability to calculate sub-metered utilities after meter reads.

For mobile home parks, I would go with Rent manager, you can even do all notices via rent manager, of course you would need to cater them to the parks rules and regs. yourself but its still worth it.


#6

Thank you all for the feedback. Has anyone used Rentec Direct? It seems pretty fully featured, includes design and hosting of a web page for the park, and also gets you wholesale discounts on tenant background checks. Looks like it costs around $1 per lot/unit. How does this pricing compare to Appfolio and Rent Manager?

I’m wondering if it would be possible to negotiate a discount with these vendors for use on a Mobile Home Park, given that the monthly rent rates are considerably less than most apartments, and the use of functionality like repair work orders and tenant turnover are generally less than apartments. I might give this a shot, will report back on whether or not I have any success.


#7

We have 60 units and rent manager quoted us $75 a month + a $195 one time activation + $575 training and consultation one time charge. Total start up $845. You would have to pay extra for different features like online pay options web portals etc. I think Rent Manager would be great after some training. It is a great program if you are going to grow your portfolio or already have a huge number of lots. We decided on buildum. Easy to use and meets our needs at the moment.


#8

Thanks for the Rent Manager shout out everyone! @keithme, there are quite a few of us in the software realm that offer a wide variety of features - it really just depends on what you are looking to use. I would determine if you’d like to have all of the bells and whistles from the get-go or just a few features to start utilizing with your first park. Most importantly - go with software that can change and evolve around your business model as your business grows, not the other way around. And that goes for any software, not just property management.

To answer some of the feedback on this post, we do offer a standalone version where you purchase the software outright instead of having a monthly fee. The online version does offer many more features and the safety of our data center for backups. As for training, we offer Rent Manager University (free version available), which holds a vast library of training videos, free weekly training webinars, and a help file built into the software to walk you through each feature.

Good luck with your first park!