As a landlord with a small property portfolio, you probably have a lot on your plate and are juggling many responsibilities. So, when it comes to managing your rental properties efficiently, you need every advantage you can get. That’s why choosing the right software is so important.
With so many options available, how do you know which one is right for you? This guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing a software platform. We’ll also recommend some of our favorite options to help make the selection process a bit easier.
How to choose the right software
There are a few essential elements to keep in mind when evaluating and choosing software for landlords. Here are our favorite tips to help you sift through the various options, assess how well each meets your needs, and ultimately make a final decision.
Decide what features you need
The first step is to decide what features you need in a software solution. For example, do you need something relatively simple that focuses on financial aspects like rent collection, accounting, and reporting? Or do you need something more robust with day-to-day property management features like maintenance request tracking and built-in tenant communications?
Make a list of the must-have features you need, and then look for software that not only includes most of what’s on your list, but also has positive reviews from real landlords.
Consider your budget
Once you know the features you want, it’s time to consider your budget. Landlord software platforms feature many different pricing structures and rates vary greatly depending on a number of factors.
Some offer flat monthly pricing, some charge per property or unit, and many also offer significant discounts for annual commitments. A few even offer free intro tiers that can work nicely for smaller portfolios of rental properties.
Get recommendations from other landlords with small portfolios
Ask other rental property owners for their recommendations. Chances are, someone you know has already gone through the same process and can offer suggestions based on their real-life experiences with various options.
Read online reviews
Another critical factor to consider is online reviews. Try to find candid reviews from real users on Google, Capterra, or other crowd-sourced sites that at least make attempts to verify the authenticity of the review content. These reviews can give you a good idea of the pros and cons of each option, whether other landlords are finding value, and may also help you understand which features are absolutely necessary and which are simply gravy.
10 software options for landlords with small portfolios
With these key decision criteria in mind, let’s take a close look at 10 of the best property management software options currently available for small landlords.
Free yourself from the endless tyranny of manual tasks with Stessa. Stessa is cloud-based software that offers a comprehensive suite of key features. It’s also a dynamic platform with active engineering and product teams that work to regularly release new functionality.
The platform helps landlords maximize net operating income and streamline property management tasks like tracking income and expenses, receipt scanning, drafting leases and tenant notices, and simplifying taxes.
Over 200,000 landlords are reaping the benefits of Stessa’s user-friendly system, and it’s currently rated the #1 landlord app (based on App Store ratings and total reviews as of Feb 2024). Landlords on the platform report saving up to $4,000 and over 100 hours of effort every year, a testament to the efficiency and financial advantages Stessa offers.
Whether you’re a seasoned real estate investor or a first-time landlord, Stessa provides many of the most important management tools you need to save time and run your portfolio efficiently. Features like automated income and expense tracking, purpose-built real estate reporting, landlord banking with a high APY, and an extensive library of legal templates all add up to one of the most compelling landlord software options available today.
- Property tracking: Monitor an unlimited number of properties and portfolios with the paid Stessa Pro plan, including single-family rentals, residential multifamily assets, and even short-term rentals.
- Online rent collection: Collect rent online with Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments from renters. Automatic rent reminders and optional late fee triggers make the rent collection process even more convenient.
- Income and expense tracking: Automate your income and expense tracking by linking your bank, credit card, and mortgage accounts.
- Rental applications and comprehensive tenant screening: Use Stessa’s tenant screening tool and free rental applications.
- Vacancy marketing: Publishing a vacancy for rent and get it syndicated to a variety of websites for maximum exposure to high quality tenants.
- Performance dashboards: Access detailed performance dashboards at both the portfolio and property level to understand key metrics like cash-on-cash return, NOI, and loan-to-value.
- Monthly reports: Generate regular reports, including income statements, net cash flow reports, capital expenses, and tenant rent rolls.
- Streamlined tax reporting: Assign income and expenses according to Schedule E to simplify your year-end tax reporting.
- Real estate balance sheet: Maintain a real estate balance sheet that periodically updates property values, mortgage balances, and owner equity.
- Mobile app: Scan receipts and track expenses on the go with highly-rated iOS and Android apps.
- Document organization: Organize and store all your real estate documents, invoices, and payment receipts in one place.
- Tax-ready financials: Export tax-ready financials and access the Stessa Tax Center for assistance during tax time.
- eSigning: Upload documents, tag them for digital signatures, and send them to tenants, vendors, partners, and more.
Stessa is part of Roofstock and recognized as the best accounting software for landlords in 2023 by Landlord Gurus, which offers expert advice on complex issues faced by landlords and property managers of all sizes.
Stessa’s tiered pricing model accommodates a variety of needs and budgets. You can always start with the robust features of the free plan and upgrade to a paid plan as your portfolio expands and your needs evolve.
2. Apartments.com (formerly Cozy)
With Apartments.com, landlords can manage their properties with a free, user-friendly platform that focuses on rental property marketing, tenant screening, lease signing, rent collection, and even tenant maintenance requests.
- Syndicated property listings on ForRent.com, Apartment Finder, and more
- Screen tenants and create leases
- Collect rent online
- Submit and manage rental maintenance requests
- Track rental expenses
- Optional paid services include premium listings, tenant screening, and application fees.
Avail is a rental management solution that promises to streamline everything from tenant sourcing to lease signing. Tailored to DIY landlords, it’s relatively easy to use for advertising vacancies, pre-screening applicants, processing payments, with the option to take advantage of additional premium features for a fee.
- Rental listings on sites like Realtor.com and Zumper
- Tenant screening, applications, and digital leases
- Online rent payments
- Credit, criminal, and eviction reports
- Maintenance tickets and tracking
- Property accounting
- Unlimited: Free for unlimited units
- Unlimited Plus: $7/unit per month (includes premium features, such as FastPay rent payments, waived ACH fees, and customizable tenant applications and leases)
The Hemlane platform works to automate tasks, such as advertising vacant properties and collecting rent and late fees. DIY landlords can connect with local leasing agents to take care of finding and placing a tenant while you handle other property management tasks yourself. Small landlords can be as hands-off or as hands-on as they choose while utilizing some or all of Hemlane’s available leasing and property management software features.
- Listing syndication to over 30 rental listing websites
- Application and tenant screening
- Lease tracking and management
- Income and expense tracking
- Maintenance and repair
Prices vary based on the number of units. Users can try the software for free and save up to 20% by selecting annual billing. These are Hemlane’s 3 monthly billing plans (based on 1 unit):
- Basic: $30/month
- Essential: $40/month (includes core features plus state-specific leases and repair coordination)
- Complete: $60/month (includes Basic and Essential features plus full repair coordination, a service professionals network, and connection to a local leasing agent)
5. REI Hub
REI Hub specializes in accounting software for landlords who manage long-term and short-term rentals. It also supports multifamily rental properties.
- Designed primarily to track rental property income and expense transactions from an accounting perspective
- Connect bank, credit card, and mortgage accounts
- Split mortgage payments into principal, interest, and property taxes
- Track tenants, leases, and expiration dates
- Generate profit and loss (P&L) statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheet reports
- Track fixed assets (including capital expenses) and accumulated depreciation
- Pull a Schedule E report for each property
REI Hub provides four flexible pricing options tailored to the number of units you manage. Each plan gives you full access to all features with no long-term commitments. Plus, they offer a complimentary 30-day trial to get you started.
- Essentials: $15 a month for up to 3 units
- Growth: $25 a month for up to 10 units
- Investor: $45 a month for up to 20 units
- Professional: $80 a month, unlimited units included
6. Rentec Direct
Rentec Direct(™) is an online property management software system designed for DIY landlords, apartment owners, and property managers. There are no start-up fees or long-term commitments, and you get unlimited US-based customer service and training.
- Property and tenant accounting
- Online property advertising and a property management website
- Online tenant applications and screening
- Online rent payments
- Automatic rent reminders
- Customizable income and expense reports
- Schedule E and 1099 tax reports
- Maintenance and work order tracking
- Option to synchronize with QuickBooks
Rentec Pro is for landlords and investors, and Rentec PM is for property managers. Prices vary based on the number of units. Both plans come with a 2-week free trial and a 10% discount for annual billing.
- Rentec Pro: $45/month (up to 10 units)
- Rentec PM: $55/month (up to 10 units)
RentRedi is a comprehensive property management platform for commercial and residential rentals. It not only streamlines communication between landlords and tenants but also offers an array of features to help property managers oversee all aspects of their properties – from rent collection to tenant communications.
- List and market properties to Realtor.com and Zillow
- Free marketing and listings page
- Custom applications, tenant screening, and e-signing for leases
- Online rent collection and an ability to accept cash payments
- Automated rent receipts and reminders
- Tenant and team communication tools
Premium maintenance tracking and rental property accounting are available as add-ons for an additional fee.
RentRedi has 3 different plans for an unlimited number of tenants and units.
- Monthly: $19.95/month
- 6 Months: $15/month
- Annual: $9/month
In addition, RentRedi partners with REI Hub to offer accounting plans for landlords who need financial reporting, with prices starting at an additional $25/month for up to 3 units. The company also partners with Latchel to provide maintenance service starting at an additional $15/unit per month after one-month free trial.
SimplifyEm is a comprehensive property management tool that automates routine tasks, manages finances, and facilitates tenant communication. It also offers reporting capabilities and integrates with Excel and QuickBooks for streamlined operations.
- Income and expense tracking
- Manage tenant and lease information
- Vendor management and year-end tax reporting
- Unlimited document storage
Features available for an additional fee include tenant screening, online rental applications and lease forms, online rent payments, owner and tenant portals, bank account management, and the ability to export to QuickBooks and Excel.
SimplifyEm offers subscription-based pricing plans based on the number of units under management, with a free trial period:
- P10: $35/month (up to 10 units)
- P20: $45/month (up to 20 units)
- P30: $55/month (up to 30 units)
- P50: $70/month (up to 50 units)
- P75: $85/month (up to 75 units)
- P100: $110/month (up to 100 units)
- P100+: $110/month plus $10/month per extra 10 units
- P2000: $2,010/month (up to 2000 units)
TenantCloud is a versatile rental property management and accounting software that offers portals for landlords, tenants, and service professionals. It integrates features like online rent collection, tenant screening, maintenance requests, property advertising, and invoicing. The platform also includes a unique “ServicePro” profile for business promotion and job opportunities.
- Listings, applications, and lead tracking
- Rent payments
- Tax reports
The company offers 3 pricing plans based on the features needed, plus a free trial and a 20% discount when paying annually:
- Starter: $13/month
- Growth: $45/month (core features plus property manager tools, owner portal, lease builder and landlord forms, and QuickBooks Online sync)
- Business: custom pricing (Starter and Growth plan features plus team management tools, task management and messaging, and listings auto-refresh)
10. Zillow Rental Manager
Zillow Rental Manager is a platform that helps landlords list their rental properties and find tenants. In addition to listing a property, landlords can create a free 3D home tour, screen tenants, upload leases, e-sign documents, and collect rent payments online. However, it wasn’t designed as a full-featured software platform for managing rental properties.
Although income and expense transactions are not automated, landlords can download a free rental income and expense worksheet from Zillow and manually enter transactions for up to 5 properties or units.
- Rental listings syndicated to Trulia and Hotpads
- Tenant screening with credit and background checks and eviction reports
- Create a rental lease using the online lease builder and circulate it for e-signatures
- Rent payment options include credit/debit card, auto-pay, and payment history
- Free to use
- Landlords can upgrade listings to premium for a one-time fee of $29.99 (good for up to 90 days), which includes extra ad visibility, pricing insights, and listing recommendations
Next steps: Try the tool built for small landlords
Choosing the right software for landlords with small portfolios can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market, it’s hard to know where to start. However, by considering your specific needs and budget, you can narrow down the field and find the best landlord software for your property.
We’ve discussed 10 popular software options for landlords with small portfolios. We’ve also explained why more than 200,000 other landlords have decided to give Stessa a try. With its robust features and intuitive interface, Stessa makes it easy to manage your rental properties and keep track of your finances. Plus, its free Essentials plan offers a no-risk way to see how well it meets your unique needs.
*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.