Stessa and Avail are two popular online platforms landlords use to manage their rental properties.
Both platforms work to streamline tenant screening, rent collection, income and expense tracking, financial reporting and other key tasks. So, what does each one bring to the table and what’s the verdict from demanding rental property owners?
In this detailed analysis, we explore the key features of each service along with their strengths and potential shortcomings. Take a look at this comparison table for a brief overview of these two software platforms before diving into the specifics:
|Limitations||Not a complete property management solution (no capability for handling maintenance requests, tenant communications, or lease agreements)||
|Final takeaway||Greater focus on helping real estate investors track financial transactions and optimize property investments||Greater focus on streamlining day-to-day landlord tasks, including a tenant portal for easier communication|
How Stessa and Avail work
Both Stessa and Avail simplify the rental property management process, but they do so in unique ways.
Stessa is comprehensive accounting software designed for residential real estate investors. Its automated tools track income and expenses, collect rent, and generate key performance metrics across all your owned properties. You can also open free landlord bank accounts for each of your rentals.
Avail is a service for both landlords and tenants. It offers tools to advertise vacancies, screen tenants, collect rent, and solicit maintenance requests, all of which is intended to bring greater efficiency to the landlord-tenant relationship.
Stessa, a Roofstock company, gives landlords a dedicated accounting platform to monitor their properties’ performance in one place. It organizes income and expense transactions and creates financial reports in just a few clicks, eliminating the need for paperwork.
Stessa caters to both small-scale landlords and large-scale investors and accommodates an unlimited number of properties. With a focus on working to optimize your investments, the software connects to your financial accounts and property management software, and you get a holistic view of your portfolio at a glance.
In the last 18 months, Stessa has also expanded its feature coverage to include tenant applications and screening, eSigning (with the paid Stessa Pro plan), rent collection, landlord banking services, and document storage. Its iOS and Android mobile apps keep you connected to your portfolio on the go and offer automated receipt scanning that’s particularly helpful around tax time.
Stessa’s tiered pricing model accommodates different needs and budgets.
The Stessa Essentials plan is free, offering core tools to rental property owners. Users can add as many properties and bank accounts as they like, run endless reports, and export their transaction data to Excel anytime.
For more advanced tools, Stessa Pro is $16/month when billed annually or $20/month for a monthly subscription. The additional features include more detailed insights and automation on tasks like budgeting and pro forma analysis, eSigning on up to five (5) documents per month through DocuSign, project expense tracking, and accelerated rent payments. You also get a higher interest APY with Stessa Cash Management, which offers competitive APY interest rates with no hidden or ongoing maintenance fees.
- Automated income and expense tracking: Organizes and categorizes transactions automatically from connected bank, lender, credit card, and property management accounts.
- Real-time performance metrics: Get 24/7 visibility into your portfolio’s performance.
- Financial reporting: Generate income statements, net cash flow reports, balance sheets (with the paid Stessa Pro plan), and more.
- Property management integration: Connect to your property management software for a complete portfolio summary.
- Free rent collection: Collect rent through ACH payments – free for property owners and tenants.
- Landlord banking: Open an FDIC-insured checking account for each property and seamlessly integrate it with Stessa’s financial tracking features.
- Unlimited properties: Add an unlimited number of properties.
- Collaborative access: Invite other investors with different access levels.
- Data security: Use industry-leading encryption to keep your data safe and secure.
- Insurance quotes: Get insurance quotes and policies for rental properties within Stessa from Steadily(™), a tech-enabled national landlord insurance provider.
- Tax resources: Access a suite of tax resources created in partnership with The Real Estate CPA.
- Rental applications and tenant screening: Use Stessa’s tenant screening tool and free rental applications.
- eSigning (partnered with DocuSign): 5 documents per month are included in the Stessa Pro plan. Upload your own document, tag it for digital signatures, and send to tenants, vendors, partners, etc.
Stessa has several unique advantages, making it a robust and well-rounded tool for residential real estate investors. One of its most significant offerings is the ability to provide a comprehensive overview of your investment portfolio.
With real-time performance metrics and automated income and expense tracking, Stessa gives property owners a clear understanding of their financial situation at any time. This level of transparency can be invaluable in making decisions and planning future investments.
The platform is also easy to use. Its ability to connect directly with your property management software and financial accounts can save you the substantial time and effort of manually inputting data. Large-scale investors find the unlimited property feature a big benefit for managing multiple properties across different states.
Stessa’s free rent collection service helps eliminate the need for third-party products, making the process more efficient for both tenants and landlords. The platform’s built-in rental application, eSigning, and screening tools provide another layer of convenience and make finding the right tenants easier.
The availability of tax resources and insurance quotes within the platform simplifies the more complex aspects of property ownership, such as tax preparation and getting proper coverage against common risks.
Finally, Stessa users also get access to their active Community forum – a place for real estate investors to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.
While Stessa provides property owners with a wide range of features, it doesn’t (yet) handle regular tasks like maintenance requests, tenant communications, or lease agreements. That could be a drawback for landlords seeking a more extensive property management solution.
Avail provides property management software for independent landlords. It was acquired in December 2020 by Move(R), which operates Realtor.com®.
The company helps DIY landlords list their units, find and onboard tenants, receive payments, and manage their property’s maintenance, bookkeeping, and tax reports. Additionally, it focuses on streamlining the renter’s experience thanks to its tenant-specific features.
Avail’s Unlimited plan is free for an unlimited amount of rental units. You can use several helpful features, including background screening, syndicated listings, a tenant portal, accounting software, maintenance tracking, and rent collection.
For more features, the Avail Unlimited Plus plan charges $7 per unit per month for unlimited units. Landlords can access customizable applications and lease forms, clone and reuse lease agreements, waive ACH fees, and create custom websites for their properties.
- Customizable tenant application forms
- Syndicated listing across multiple rental listing platforms to reach many prospective tenants
- Tenant screening with customizable reports
- Online rent and other fee collection, with payment reminders for tenants
- Property accounting software with downloadable transaction and tax reports
- FastPay access for faster processing of rent to the landlord’s account
- Maintenance tracking portal with in-app messaging and record-keeping capabilities
- Tenant portal allowing tenants to pay rent, sign lease agreements, make maintenance requests, and build their credit scores
- State-specific lease agreement templates
- Rent price analysis reports to help set a competitive asking rent
- Rental income calculator for estimating the viability of investing in a rental property
One of the advantages of Avail is its affordability, making it very accessible to independent landlords who are trying to save money. Even with the free subscription, you can link unlimited rental units and access key features like tenant screening (by opting for the tenant to pay for this service) and rent collection, as well as accounting software.
Avail also reduces the complexity of tax reporting. This accounting software makes filing taxes with the IRS easier and auto-populates data for your 1099-K form.
The platform is also user-friendly for anyone who isn’t tech-savvy. Plus, Avail provides a community forum where you can ask questions and get feedback from other Avail users.
The free subscription plan doesn’t allow landlords to access collected rental income immediately.
Although Avail automates rent collection through several payment methods, landlords must wait 3 to 5 business days to receive the money in their bank accounts. That may be unacceptable for landlords who use that rent income to offset property bills or mortgage payments.
Also, Avail’s accounting software is limited compared to some competitors. It lacks the ability to generate a number of financial reports or integrate with any accounting software that offers better reporting features.
Avail can also get expensive if you have a larger portfolio of properties, as they charge per unit instead of a flat monthly fee.
The bottom line: Stessa vs. Avail
Stessa and Avail are both highly beneficial tools for rental property owners; however, they serve different purposes and are best suited to different types of customers. Choosing between the two depends on whether your need leans more towards a financial management platform or a nuts and bolts property management solution.
Stessa is an accounting and portfolio management tool built for real estate investors. It offers automated income and expense tracking, real-time performance metrics, tenant screening and rent collection, eSigning, landlord banking accounts, and financial reporting among other key features.
Users can easily integrate Stessa’s software with their property management systems and financial accounts and get a comprehensive overview of their portfolios. Many of Stessa’s services are free, and the paid Pro plan has more advanced features.
Avail is an end-to-end platform assisting landlords in the daily management of their rental properties. It provides tools for advertising vacant properties, screening potential tenants, drafting and signing leases, collecting rent, and coordinating maintenance.
In addition, Avail has an online portal where tenants can pay rent, submit maintenance requests, and communicate with their landlords. Avail has both free and paid plans for landlords.
Overall, Stessa is more focused on helping real estate investors manage their finances and optimize their investments, while Avail helps to make many of the day-to-day tasks of being a landlord easier.
If you want to learn more about Stessa, go here.
*Stessa is not a bank. Stessa is a financial technology company. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. The Stessa Cash Management Visa® Debit Card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc., and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 through Blue Ridge Bank; Member FDIC.
Essentials is a free plan and Pro is a premium plan. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 3.12% on deposit accounts for new Essentials users signing up and 5.08% for the Pro users is accurate as of August 25, 2023. APY for the account may change at any time, before or after the account is opened. No minimum balance or opening deposit required. Fees could reduce earnings on the account.
Account holders can earn 1.10% cash back on debit card purchases. Cash back earned each month will be credited to your account by the next month’s statement cycle. ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or cash equivalents, loan payments and account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. No minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirements.
Terms and eligibility requirements apply. See T&C’s for cash back program for more details.