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7 Free Property Management Software That’ll Make Life Easier

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by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

Owning rental property can sometimes feel like a juggling act. You’ve got to advertise a vacant property and get it leased fast to generate cash flow, collect tenant rent and assess potential late fees, deal with maintenance requests and invoices, and monitor the financial performance of each rental property.

On top of all that, you need to find the time to think long-term about how to scale up and grow your rental property business. If all this sounds overwhelming, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Property management software can simplify your life as a real estate investor by automating many of these routine tasks and giving you important insights that drive better decisions.

What does property management software do?

The best property management tools provide an integrated solution for rental property investors and property managers to organize rental properties, collect rent, accomplish bookkeeping and accounting tasks efficiently, store tenant and lease details, generate financial statements, sync bank accounts, and (in some cases) earn competitive interest rates on cash balances.

Here are some of the most common features of this software:

  • Tenant management: Keep track of all your tenant data, including contact information, lease terms, payment history, and more. This software typically stores all essential information in one place, making it easy to manage multiple tenants.
  • Financial reporting: Get insights into your income, expenses, and net cash flow to make informed investment decisions and prepare for tax season. Property management software can generate financial reports that give you an overview of your properties’ performance.
  • Bank synchronization and reconciliation: The software can sync with your bank accounts. It automatically updates and reconciles transactions, saving you hours of tedious manual entry.
  • Tenant screening: Some software solutions offer built-in tenant screening services. These features can help you run background checks, credit reports, and eviction history so you know whether you’re leasing to reliable tenants.
  • Lease preparation: The software can also assist with lease preparation, helping you cover critical points and comply with local laws and regulations.
  • Online rent collection: Rather than keep track of checks or cash, your tenants can pay their rent online. It’s convenient for them and provides faster, more reliable payments for you.
  • Maintenance request management: This feature enables tenants to submit maintenance requests directly through the platform. You can track the requests, assign them to service providers, and monitor their progress until completion.
  • Secure document storage: Store all property-related documents securely in the cloud. From leases to inspection reports, everything is accessible anytime, anywhere.

With these factors in mind, let’s look at some of the best free property management tools available. We’ll start with our own, Stessa.

 

7 Best Free Property Management Software Systems

1. Stessa

Stessa is a leading property management tool that empowers investors and managers to optimize their rental properties’ performance. Built by investors for investors, it’s a holistic solution that simplifies your rental property management business.

The platform’s popular features include smart money management, automated income and expense tracking, receipt scanning, landlord banking, and personalized financial reporting. Plus, Stessa now offers free rental applications and RentPrep tenant screening, enhancing your ability to find reliable tenants.

Stessa users can access multiple financial management tools and get personalized recommendations and alerts to help increase revenue. Real-time insights and intuitive features help you auto-categorize income and expenses for easy reporting and tax preparation. You can also monitor your expenses on the go with Stessa’s iOS and Android smartphone apps that are designed to help you capture valuable tax deductions.

Laptop and mobile screenshot of transactions page

Wondering about data privacy? Stessa’s online document storage uses strong  security protocols that are designed to protect your data and give you peace of mind.

Stessa’s online rent collection feature also makes this critical property management function easier for landlords. You can automate essential tasks like deposits, receipts, and accounting, as well as rent reminders and recurring payments, to stay on top of your finances efficiently.

Here’s a quick overview of Stessa’s online rent collection functionality:

  • Deposit type: ACH
  • Deposit times: 2–5 business days
  • Landlord fees: None
  • Tenant fees: None
  • Autopay: Yes
  • Late fees: Yes
  • Real-time notifications: Yes
  • Automatic accounting: Yes

Another customer benefit is the interest rate on Stessa’s Cash Management deposit accounts, offering a significant increase over the national average of 0.07% on checking accounts (according to the FDIC as of January 2024).

You can see the latest interest rates offered for various Stessa plans below:

EssentialsManagePro
High yield Cash Management3.14% APY*3.14% APY*5.09% APY*
Get Started FreeGet Started FreeGet Started Free

That makes Stessa Cash Management an even more attractive option for landlords looking to earn interest on balances from automated rent collection deposits, CapEx accounts, and operating accounts.

Sign up for a free Stessa account.

 

2. Apartments.com

Apartments.com offers a full suite of online tools to lease and manage rental property, including marketing vacancies, screening applicants, signing leases, and collecting rent payments. Landlords can manage tenants, track maintenance requests, and organize expenses all in one place.

Listing a vacant property on Apartments.com is quick, easy, and 100% free. Owners of single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, or condos can readily find a qualified renter. Listings are automatically placed on 5 of the most popular rental websites, such as ForRent.com and Realtor.com, to reach millions of qualified renters.

Visit Apartments.com.

3. Hunt

Hunt is an all-in-one solution to help landlords manage rentals on autopilot. You can advertise listings on more than 50 online rental listing marketplaces, including Homes.com and Zumper, with built-in rental applications and tenant screening. 

Free landlord features on Hunt include advertising, unlimited photos and property details, online rental applications, eviction history checks for tenants, online rent collection to multiple bank accounts if desired, and exporting payment history. 

Landlords receive a universal inbox to streamline communications from interested applicants all in one place. Tenant screening includes standardized online applications, complete credit reports and background checks, and employment and rental history reports. Automated rent collection is free for landlords, and money is deposited directly into the landlord’s account.

Visit Hunt.

4. Innago

Innago is for all investors and all property types, including single-family rentals, student housing, and commercial buildings. Free property management features include tenant screening with credit and eviction reports, online lease preparation and signing, online rent collection, maintenance tracking, and tenant management. There are no monthly fees, no setup fees, and no contracts to sign.

Landlords benefit from the simple, effective features of Innago, such as automated communication, including rent due and lease expiration, easy invoice tracking, custom rental applications, mobile lease signing, late fee billing, and integration with QuickBooks. Customer service is always accessible, and the platform protects owner data with security measures.

Visit Innago.

5. Rentler

Getting started with Rentler is free and easy. Simply create your account and add your rental properties, including photos and amenities. Then, start accepting instant online applications and tenant screenings, set up online payments, and manage properties all within your Rentler dashboard. 

Features include listings, Rentler applications, online rent collection, 24/7 customer support, and maintenance tracking. Rentler is free for landlords, with optional paid features, such as a rentability report and online access to legal forms. 

The Rentler app is available on iOS and Android to help streamline communication between tenants and landlords, rent collection, and maintenance requests.

Visit Rentler.

6. TenantCloud

Do-it-yourself landlords searching for a basic property management software solution may find exactly what they need in TenantCloud. Additional services include tenant screening from TransUnion, a rental report with detailed rental estimates and market trend data, tenant insurance, and synchronization with QuickBooks online.

With TenantCloud, owners can manage properties and tenants through their online dashboard. Landlords can also keep track of rental information, including leases and expiration dates, accept and send payments, manage maintenance requests to increase tenant satisfaction, and easily communicate at no cost. 

Security is also a priority at TenantCloud. Their servers have 256-bit encryption. They back up data daily, only available to authorized users, and store it in secure AWS data centers. Landlords and tenants can access TenantCloud on the go with apps available for both Apple and Android devices.

Update: TenantCloud no longer offers a free version of their tool, only a free trial of their paid products.

Visit TenantCloud.

7. Avail

Avail is a robust, cloud-based rental management tool specifically designed to cater to the needs of DIY landlords. It’s primarily tailored for managing up to 10 units, offering a free plan with basic features for an unlimited number of units. Landlords desiring premium features can upgrade to a paid subscription.

Standard features include rental listings syndicated to sites such as Realtor.com and Zumper, tenant applications and screening reports (paid for by tenants), online rent payments, maintenance tickets and tracking, and rental property accounting.

Landlords updating to Avail’s paid plan can access premium features, such as FastPay rent payments, waived ACH fees, and customizable tenant applications and leases.

Visit Avail.

 

How to Choose the Right Property Management Software

Many property management software platforms focus on a  unique set of features, which often fall into one or more of three main categories:

Marketing and leasing

  • Syndicated marketing of vacant properties to high-traffic rental listing websites
  • Online rental application processing and tenant screening
  • Screening reports, including credit and background checks, rental history, and evictions
  • Lease documents and electronic signatures entirely online
  • Secure document storage, including tenant applications and executed leases

Property management

  • Online owner dashboard, where landlords can communicate with tenants and monitor property performance on an individual and portfolio level
  • Ability to share documents and financial reports with business partners and professional service providers, such as a financial planner, CPA, or real estate attorney
  • Option to create multiple user accounts for remote access by different members of the real estate team
  • Maintenance and repair request tracking, including a history of repairs and vendor notes

Accounting and reporting

  • Income and expense online tracking in real time, along with a paper trail for auditing purposes
  • Rent payment deposits into a bank account specified by the owner, including the option for multiple bank accounts
  • Unlimited financial reports, such as income statements and balance sheets, on both a property and portfolio level
  • Exportable tax-ready financials, which simplify filing at tax time and reduce fees from the accountant or CPA
  • Invoice and receipt scanning to track expenses on the go with iOS and Android smartphone apps

 

What to Look For in Free Property Management Software

Even though a property management software solution might be free, it’s still important to shop around. While it’s possible to change software if your first choice doesn’t perform as expected, the longer you use the system, the more data you have to transfer to a different application.

Here are some essential factors to consider when you begin looking for free property management software:

Hidden charges: Some property management software vendors advertise a free trial, but by the time you upload your property information and connect your account, monthly billing begins. Be sure to fully research any extra fees or hidden charges, and contact customer support if you have any questions.

Maximum properties: Most rental property investors find that once they own and manage one property, they’re soon ready to buy another. Many property management software companies limit the number of units you can manage for free before paying a monthly fee. 

Read reviews: Smart real estate investors learn from their peers so they don’t make the same mistakes. Numerous real estate platforms such as Stessa, Roofstock, and BiggerPockets all have extensive blogs with lots of valuable information. In addition, third party review sites like Capterra publish candid independent reviews from real landlords.

 

*Stessa is not a bank. Stessa is a financial technology company. Stessa Essentials is a free service. Stessa Pro is a paid monthly subscription service.  Terms and conditions, features and pricing are subject to change. This article, and the Stessa Blog in general, is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is not investment, tax, financial planning, financial, legal, or real estate advice. 

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