Rental property management software helps remote real estate investors to find and screen tenants, collect rent online, coordinate maintenance requests, and manage investment property accounting and finances.
Both Stessa—a Roofstock company—and AppFolio were recently recognized as 2 of the best software systems for rental properties in 2022.
In this article, we’ll compare both products to help you decide if Stessa or AppFolio is the better choice for your rental property business.
- Stessa is free rental asset management software for single-family rentals (SFRs), multifamily homes, and short-term vacation rentals.
- AppFolio offers 2 monthly subscription plans and requires a minimum number of units in a portfolio to be approved for an account, plus a one-time onboarding fee.
- Large property management companies frequently use AppFolio, and investors can now connect AppFolio to their Stessa accounts to automatically import income and expense transactions every month.
How Stessa and Appfolio work
Stessa and AppFolio both provide software solutions for rental property owners and property managers.
Stessa is cloud-based, free asset management software designed to provide powerful tools to real estate investors at the lowest possible cost. According to Investopedia’s 2022 review of the best accounting software for rental properties, Stessa is ranked as #1 for providing the best value.
After signing up for a free Stessa account, real estate investors and property managers can monitor property financial performance at the portfolio and property levels, create multiple portfolios, automate income and expense tracking, and generate financial reports.
AppFolio is a property management platform that provides a full suite of tools to help streamline rental property ownership.
Although AppFolio also receives a top rating from Investopedia for the best overall accounting software, it isn’t meant for small investors. In order to qualify for an account, AppFolio requires a minimum portfolio size of 50 units, an onboarding fee based on the portfolio size, and a minimum monthly fee.
Stessa is free software for rental property financial management. The software was designed by and for real estate investors and provides powerful tools for automatically tracking income and expenses, monitoring property performance at the portfolio and property levels, generating financial reports, and exporting tax-ready financials.
Stessa recently joined the Roofstock family and is currently used by tens of thousands of real estate investors to track over 190,000 properties with a total asset value of more than $50 billion.
After signing up, Stessa users can manage and grow a portfolio with confidence, save time with intuitive features, get optional premium services, such as rent analysis, and access the Stessa Tax Center for a free, personalized tax package.
Stessa is free, with optional premium services, such as market research and rent analysis, for a fee.
- Track SFRs, small multifamily residential properties, and short-term vacation rentals.
- Automate income and expense tracking by linking business bank accounts and property mortgage accounts.
- Get performance dashboards at the portfolio and property levels, including multiple rental property portfolios.
- Monitor key financial performance metrics in real time, including total portfolio value, income and cash flow, occupancy, net operating income, asset return, and outstanding mortgage debt.
- Create monthly financial reports in a single click, including tenant rent rolls, income statements, cash flow, and capital expense reports.
- Get automatic real estate balance sheet updates for assets and liabilities, including property values, outstanding mortgage balances, and owner equity.
- Upload, store, and organize real estate documents in the cloud safely and securely.
- Download Stessa’s iOS and Android apps to scan and upload expenses on the go.
- Create different levels of account access to rental property performance data when applying for a refinance or new loan or sharing financials with investment partners.
- Export tax-ready financials to make tax time a breeze.
- Get free resources from the Stessa Tax Center, including a free tax package, tax resources created in partnership with The Real Estate CPA, and a TurboTax discount exclusively for members of the Stessa Community.
- Integrate AppFolio with Stessa to automatically import monthly income and expense transactions.
Stessa is free and easy to use and can track SFRs, multifamily units, and short-term vacation rentals.
After entering a property address and linking bank and mortgage accounts, investors can monitor property performance from a comprehensive online dashboard for individual properties and entire portfolios.
Income and expenses are updated in real time, and financial reports, such as income and net cash-flow statements, capital expenses, tenant rent rolls, and real estate balance sheets with owner equity can be generated with just one click.
The Stessa Tax Center makes tax preparation a breeze, and investors can sign up for optional premium services, such as market research and rent analysis, for a fee.
Investopedia rated Stessa as offering the best value for rental property accounting software. However, there are some features that Stessa currently doesn’t provide, such as marketing vacant property, screening prospective tenants, signing leases, collecting rent online, and coordinating maintenance requests.
Investors can sign up for free services like these from other companies online, or subscribe to an all-in-one property management platform like AppFolio.
AppFolio was founded in 2006 and provides cloud-based property management software with basic and advanced features, including marketing, leasing, maintenance, operations, communication, service, accounting, and reporting.
The company is publicly listed on the Nasdaq and has more than 6 million units under management on its platform. While the software offers a wide variety of robust features, AppFolio isn’t a good match for investors or property managers with a small number of homes.
In order to qualify for an account with AppFolio, investors must have a minimum portfolio size of 50 units and pay a minimum monthly fee and a one-time onboarding fee based on portfolio size.
AppFolio offers 2 straightforward property management software pricing plans based on portfolio size:
This plan is designed for small to midsize portfolios with a minimum of 50 units and costs $280 a month, with additional units billed at $1.40 a month. The onboarding fee is based on portfolio size and starts at $400.
This plan is designed for portfolios of 1,000 units or more with a minimum of 500 units and costs $1,500 a month, with additional units billed at $3 a month. The onboarding fee varies based on the number of units in a portfolio and starts at $400.
The Plus plan includes all of the features in the Core plan, plus additional property management tools.
- Accounting and reporting
- Virtual marketing and leasing tools
- Resident and owner management
- Online maintenance
- Full mobile capabilities
- Continuous software updates
- All Core features
- Workflow management
- Performance insights
- Revenue management
- Data export capabilities
- Strategic account management
AppFolio is a good fit for investors and property managers with at least 50 units, due to the minimum portfolio size to qualify for an account and the cost of onboarding and monthly fees.
Property management software from AppFolio provides a comprehensive solution for rental property management, including marketing, leasing, maintenance, operations, communication, service, management, growth, accounting, and reporting.
The 2 biggest drawbacks to AppFolio are arguably the minimum required portfolio size and the monthly fee.
For example, the Core plan costs $280 a month and requires a minimum portfolio size of 50 units, while the Plus plan costs $1,500 a month and requires a minimum portfolio size of 500 units.
How to integrate AppFolio and Stessa
Although many investors may not find AppFolio to be a cost-effective solution for rental property management, many large property management companies with hundreds of units use AppFolio software.
Remote real estate investors frequently hire a local professional property management company to take care of day-to-day details, such as tenant communication and maintenance requests. There’s a good chance a property manager is already using AppFolio to track rent payments and expenses.
That’s why Stessa has developed an integration to connect with AppFolio. Connecting the 2 systems eliminates the time and trouble of manually entering AppFolio transactions into Stessa.
This recent blog post on Stessa Support explains how to import monthly income and expense transactions automatically every month if your property manager uses AppFolio:
- Ask the property manager to enable the owner portal on AppFolio and provide access.
- Have the property manager publish an owner statement to the AppFolio owner portal.
- Import transaction data from the owner statement to Stessa.
- Make sure the property address in Stessa matches the AppFolio address, (sometimes property managers use a nickname or partial address).
- Link Stessa to AppFolio by going to the Stessa External Accounts page, selecting Add Property Manager, and adding the full web address of the AppFolio owner portal under the Stessa Owner Portal drop-down menu.
Refresh the AppFolio connection with Stessa every 30 days using 2-factor authentication (2FA) by clicking the Fix It link in Stessa under Data Sources and following the prompts.