Track your rental property performance for FREE

Learn More

Rentec Direct vs. Buildium: A head-to-head comparison

man looking for house on computer
by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

Rentec Direct and Buildium are 2 popular software systems used by landlords and property managers for residential rental property. Both companies provide owners with various features, including marketing and advertising via online rental listing websites, tenant screening and rent collection, maintenance request coordination, and financial and tax reporting.

Both services are relatively affordable, with prices starting around $35 per month. However, before signing up for a monthly or annual subscription, investors may wish to explore the pros and cons of each application.

We’ll take a closer look at Rentec Direct and Buildium, review rental property financial software from Stessa that is 100% free, and explain why Stessa could be a better choice for real estate investors.

Key takeaways

  • Rentec Direct was designed by a real estate investor and offers a full suite of services for landlords and property managers, with prices starting at $35 per month.
  • Buildium is another good full-service option for landlords and managers, with prices beginning at $50 per month.
  • Both companies provide features such as syndication to high-traffic rental listing websites, online tenant screening and lease signing, rent collection, and financial and tax reporting.
  • Stessa is a free, cloud-based reporting and accounting software for unlimited properties and portfolios of single-family rentals (SFRs), multifamily homes, and short-term vacation rentals.
  • Of these 3 companies, Stessa has been recognized as offering the best value for rental property owners and the best reporting and accounting tool for landlords.


Rentec Direct overview

Rentec Direct is an online property management software system for landlords, apartment owners, and property managers with one to 2,500 units or more. The company was founded in 2007 by a real estate investor who was managing his rentals using an old-fashioned spreadsheet but became overwhelmed after the first few rentals. 

Despite searching for a landlord software solution, he found none that were up to the task. So, he drew on his background as a software developer to create Rentec Pro for landlords, followed a few years later by Rentec PM for property managers needing trust accounting for small to mid-sized property management communities.


Rentec Direct offers 2 pricing packages for landlords and property managers. Both plans work with an unlimited number of tenants, properties, and users.

Rentec Pro

Designed for landlords and investors who self-manage their properties:

  • $35 per month for one property with lower pricing for multiple properties
  • $32 per month if billed annually
  • Tenant screening options from $7 to $15 per package
  • Online tenant rent payments free for Automated Clearing House (ACH), 2.95% for credit card transactions
  • Optional electronic cash payment setup fee of $200, with $3.99 per payment fee paid by the tenant
  • Contact the company for pricing above 2,500 units

Rentec PM

Designed for property managers and agents who manage properties for owner clients:

  • $40 per month for one property with lower pricing for multiple properties
  • $36 per month if billed annually
  • Tenant screening options from $7 to $15 per package
  • Online tenant rent payments free for ACH, 2.95% for credit card transactions
  • Optional electronic cash payment setup fee $200, with $3.99 per payment fee paid by the tenant
  • Contact company for pricing above 2,500 units

Software features

Rentec Pro

  • Unlimited number of tenants and properties
  • Unlimited number of managers (user accounts)
  • Online property advertisement on popular listing websites like,,, and Zillow
  • Property management website to accept online applications and fees, capture prospective tenant leads, and more
  • Tenant screening and criminal history, including credit and criminal background reports, nationwide eviction searches, and Social Security number (SSN) validation
  • Customizable online rental applications 
  • HelloSign for Rentec Direct for uploading and signing lease documents online
  • Renters insurance requirements and tracking compliance for tenants and properties
  • Online rent payments, one-time or recurring, with payment by credit/debit card, ACH, or cash payment network
  • Automatic email and text message reminders, including rent due dates and scheduled maintenance
  • Automated rent increases and late fees
  • Secure tenant portal for making electronic rent payments, submitting work orders, and communicating about their rental
  • Maintenance and work order management, including attaching photos, vendor bids, and invoices for reference and approval
  • Mobile inspection app creates inspection checklist, takes photos, and generates downloadable PDF reports to share and store
  • Unlimited secure file storage with secure encryption and storage, and documents may be selectively shared with tenants and owners
  • Autosynced bank transactions to track and record income and expenses
  • Management of bank deposits and accounts
  • Customizable income and expense reports, operating statements, and tenant ledgers
  • Detailed rental and vacancy reports
  • 1099 e-file and Schedule E tax reports
  • Data sync with QuickBooks by exporting transaction ledgers
  • Free U.S.-based training and support from Rentec Direct’s Oregon office

Rentec PM

All features included in Rentec Pro, plus:

  • Trust account management and reporting to help property managers track individual owner income and expenses and provide necessary reports in the event of an audit
  • Owner portal allows owners to see simplified overall property performance data, view files, and share attachments
  • Owner payment via ACH to automatically transfer funds
  • Definition of user roles to make property management more efficient
  • Automated common area maintenance (CAM) charges


woman in office working on computer spreadsheets

Buildium overview

Buildium is an online property management software system for real estate investors and managers with one to 5,000 units or more. The software can be used for all residential property types, including SFRs, student housing, and community associations.

Buildium was launched in 2004 by real estate investors to make property management more straightforward and more manageable, and in 2017 reached a major milestone by surpassing 14,000 customers.


All 3 Buildium pricing plans include modules for Accounting, Maintenance, Tasks, Violations, Resident & Board Member Communications, and Online Portals.


  • Starts at $50 per month
  • Basic tenant screening
  • Standard reporting
  • Ticket customer support
  • Property inspections starting at $40/month
  • eSignatures $5/signature
  • Bank account setup fee of $99/account
  • Online payments fees of $1.00 for incoming and $0.50 for outgoing electronic funds transfers (EFTs)
  • Credit card fees are 2.95% per transaction


  • Starts at $160 per month
  • Basic and premium tenant screening
  • Standard reporting
  • Ticket and live phone customer support
  • Free property inspections
  • Unlimited eSignatures
  • First 5 bank account setups free, then $99/account
  • Online payments free for incoming EFTs, $0.50 per transaction for outgoing EFTs
  • Credit card fees 2.95% per transaction


  • Starts at $460 per month
  • Basic and premium tenant screening
  • Standard reporting
  • Ticket, live phone, and priority customer support
  • Free property inspections
  • Unlimited eSignatures
  • First 5 bank account setups free, then $99/account
  • Online payments free for incoming EFTs, $0.50 per transaction for outgoing EFTs
  • Credit card fees 2.95% per transaction

Software features


  • Property accounting
  • Company financials
  • Online payments
  • Retail cash payments
  • 1099 eFiling

Business operations

  • Owner portal
  • Property inspections
  • Resident site
  • Maintenance request tracking
  • Analytics and insights
  • Document storage
  • Renters insurance
  • Open application programming interface (API)


  • Rental listings
  • Showings coordinator
  • Rental applications
  • Tenant screening
  • Professional website
  • eSignature

Community Association Management

  • Accounting and budgeting
  • Online payments
  • Maintenance request tracking
  • Violations tracking
  • Board communications
  • Document management


Rentec Direct vs. Buildium

Selecting the right property management software system can be challenging when so many options are available. Here’s a look at how Rentec Direct and Buildium compare to one another, based on the top features that most rental property owners use.


Both Rentec Direct and Buildium offer a free website with all pricing plans. Both systems also syndicate vacant property listings on popular rental search websites, including,, Oodle,, RentPath, Trulia, Zillow, and Zumper.

Tenant screening

Tenant screening is also provided by Rentec Direct and Buildium, although the pricing structure is slightly different. 

Rentec offers 3 à la carte options for tenant screening: Basic tenant screening includes SSN validation, a nationwide criminal check, and a sex offender report. Enhanced adds a nationwide eviction search, while Premium adds a TransUnion credit report and a FICO score. Based on the tenant screening plan selected, pricing ranges from $7 to $15.

Buildium also offers 3 tenant screening options, ranging from $15 to $30 depending on the subscription plan. The screening process begins once a landlord requests a background check and provides a full credit, eviction, and criminal history report.


Both Rentec Direct and Buildium offer options for creating a lease document online or uploading a custom lease and e-signing documents. Electronic signatures are included in Rentec’s pricing plans at no additional fee, while the $5 per e-Signature fee charged in Buildium’s Essential plan is waived in the Growth and Premium plans. 

Online rent collection

Both companies also provide online rent payment options with similar fees. 

Rentec Direct offers free ACH tenant payments; credit card transactions are charged 2.95% of the amount paid, with the options of either the tenant or manager paying the fee. Rentec also offers the option of receiving electronic cash payments through the PayNearMe cash payment network, with a one-time setup cost of $200 and a cash payment fee of $3.99 paid by the tenant. 

Buildium ACH fees vary from $0 to $1.00 depending on the pricing plan, while credit card fees are 2.95% of the transaction amount.  

Financial reporting

Rentec Direct and Buildium both have comprehensive financial reporting systems, including income and expense statements, check registers, and bank reconciliations with just a few clicks. In addition, Rentec PM is trust account certified to do trust accounting, including three-way reconciliation between trial balance reports, bank reconciliation reports, and general ledger reports.

Tax management

Both systems provide landlords with tools to manage taxes, including Schedule E tax reports and 1099 e-filing. 


Stessa vs. Rentec Direct and Buildium

Rentec Direct and Buildium provide landlords with a full menu of services to manage rental property for a fee. They may be good options for investors, with many properties in their portfolios. However, smaller investors may find neither tool perfectly suits their needs.

That’s why more than 100,000 investors have already signed up for an account with Stessa, a Roofstock company. 

Stessa’s rental property financial management system is easy to use and 100% free. Investors use Stessa to track over 250,000 SFRs, multifamily units, and short-term vacation rentals with over $60 billion in asset value.

Stessa was created by and for real estate investors to provide the key features smaller rental property owners need. Landlords can track rental property performance at both the property and portfolio level from a single, comprehensive online dashboard, manage finances, and receive insights to maximize property performance. 

After signing up for a free Stessa account, entering basic property information, and linking bank and mortgage accounts, real estate investors can:

  • Track an unlimited number of properties and portfolios.
  • Make it easy for tenants to pay on time, and automate key tasks like deposits, receipts, and accounting.
  • Monitor rental property performance from a comprehensive online dashboard.
  • Automatically track income and expenses.
  • Reliably and automatically track income and expenses with unlimited free business or sole proprietorship accounts, which allow you to open a dedicated account for each rental property or portfolio.
  • Generate financial reports, including income and cash flow statements, capital expense reports, tenant rent rolls, and depreciation schedules.
  • The real estate balance sheet periodically updates property values and outstanding mortgage balances to report the current owner’s equity.
  • Organize and store all real estate documents safely and securely in the cloud and conveniently track expenses on the go with the iOS and Android apps.
  • Access the Stessa Tax Center year-round for free resources and how-to articles and videos, and receive a personalized Stessa Tax Guide to help make tax season a breeze.


Closing thoughts

While the software may not offer all the bells and whistles as Rentec Direct or Buildium, Stessa was named the top-ranked reporting and accounting tool for landlords in January 2022. 

All 3 companies were featured in the Best Accounting Software for Landlords report by Landlord Gurus, a website that provides advice on essential issues landlords and property managers face. Stessa came in first place, based on key ranking criteria, including income and expense tracking, financial reporting, tax preparation, bank integration, and cost.

Stessa is free to use, while fees for Rentec Direct and Buildium start at $35 to $50 per month for a single unit. Before committing to a subscription, take advantage of the free trial periods offered and research cost-effective alternatives, such as Stessa, to simplify tracking real estate investments.

Find this content useful? Share it with your friends!