Real estate investors use rental property accounting software to automatically track income and expenses, generate financial reports, and create a trail to back up information on tax returns.
Stessa and Buildium are 2 of the best-known names in the real estate business. In fact, both companies were recently recognized as providing the best accounting software for rental properties in 2022.
While Stessa is free, Buildium charges a recurring subscription fee. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Stessa and Buildium to help you decide which is the better choice.
- Stessa is free rental property accounting and finance software for unlimited properties and portfolios of single-family rentals (SFRs), multifamily homes, and short-term vacation rentals.
- Buildium offers 3 monthly subscription plans with pricing based on the number of units in a portfolio and selected features.
- Stessa is recognized as offering the best value for real estate investors, while Buildium is ranked as the best for owners and managers with large property portfolios.
How Stessa and Buildium work
Stessa and Buildium provide rental property accounting and management software solutions for real estate investors. In fact, both companies are listed in Investopedia’s 2022 review of the best accounting software for rental properties.
Stessa is ranked #1 for providing the best value for rental property owners and managers. The company’s cloud-based software is free and can be used by both novice and experienced real estate investors to track an unlimited number of residential rental properties and portfolios.
Buildium is ranked #1 as the best rental property accounting software for large property portfolios. The company offers both monthly and annual subscription plans with prices varying based on the number of units and management and the desired services.
Stessa rental property financial management software is free and designed for both novice and sophisticated real estate investors. The software works with SFRs, residential multifamily properties, and short-term vacation rentals.
Stessa was founded in 2016 and is used by tens of thousands of investors to track over 250,000 rental properties with a combined total of over $60 billion. The company was acquired by Roofstock, a leading online investment marketplace for buying and selling SFR homes.
According to Investopedia, Stessa provides the best value for rental property accounting software in 2022, while Landlord Gurus rates Stessa as the best overall accounting and financial tracking software.
Stessa’s goal is to provide powerful tools to rental property owners at the lowest possible cost. That’s why Stessa software is free with optional premium services for a fee, such as rent analysis and market research.
- Automatically track income, expenses, assets, and liabilities by linking Stessa to bank and mortgage accounts.
- Use the comprehensive dashboard to view rental property performance in real time, at both the portfolio and property levels.
- Monitor key financial performance metrics, including income and cash flow, occupancy, net operating income, asset return, outstanding mortgage debt, and total portfolio value.
- Generate monthly financial reports in a single click, including income statements, cash flow, capital expense reports, tenant rent rolls, and real estate balance sheets.
- Collect rent online with free ACH transfers (more payment options coming soon) and a recurring payment option for tenants, as well as the ability to collect late fees.
- Get a real estate balance sheet that automatically updates assets and liabilities, including property values, outstanding mortgage balances, and owner’s equity.
- Download the Stessa apps for iOS and Android to scan and upload expenses on the go.
- Safely and securely upload, store, and organize real estate documents in the cloud with multilayer key management encryption.
- Create different levels of account access for lenders, business partners, and buyers and sellers.
- Export tax-ready financials to a certified public accountant (CPA) to make tax time a breeze.
- Get access to the Stessa Tax Center, which includes a free tax package, tax resources created in partnership with The Real Estate CPA, and a TurboTax offer exclusively for members of the Stessa Community.
Stessa is free and designed for both novice and experienced real estate investors with SFRs, multifamily units, and/or short-term vacation rentals. Users also have access to optional premium services, such as rent analysis and market research.
The software is intuitive and easy to use with no complicated onboarding required. After signing up for a free account, simply enter a property address, link bank and mortgage accounts, and begin monitoring rental property performance in real time.
Income and expense transactions are automatically recorded to the chart of accounts, and unlimited financial reports—such as income and net cash flow statements, capital expenses, tenant rent rolls, and real estate balance sheets with owner’s equity—can be generated with just a click.
Stessa also makes it easy for tenants to pay on time, and automate key tasks like deposits, receipts, and accounting. Stessa online rent collection is a win-win and is free for both landlords and tenants.
As an added benefit, Stessa’s Cash Management deposit accounts currently earn 2.00% APY (compared to the national average interest of 0.03% on checking accounts as of July 2022, according to the FDIC). Stessa Cash Management users can earn interest on balances from automated rent collection deposits, CapEx account, and operating account.
Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 2.00% is effective as of 8/5/2022. No minimum opening deposit or account balance required. Fees could affect earnings on the account. Stessa is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., member FDIC. The national rate is the average of rates paid by all insured depository institutions and credit unions for which data is available to the FDIC, with rates weighted by each institution’s share of domestic deposits.
Stessa receives top ratings from Investopedia and Landlord Gurus. But, there are some features that the company currently doesn’t provide, such as property marketing, tenant screening, and online rent payments.
However, these services are easy to find online for free. Companies such as Cozy and PayYourRent offer free or low-cost online rental management tools to use along with great rental property accounting software from Stessa.
Investors and property managers with up to 5,000 units may wish to take a closer look at Buildium. The company’s property management software is designed to work with residential properties, student housing, affordable housing, and community associations.
Buildium was launched in 2004 and had more than 14,000 customers by 2017. In December 2019, Buildium was acquired by RealPage, a multinational corporation that provides residential and commercial real estate property management software solutions.
According to Investopedia, Buildium is ranked as the best accounting software of 2022 for large property portfolios.
Buildium offers 3 plans with pricing that varies based on features and the number of units under management. All plans include modules for Resident & Board Member Communications, Maintenance, Tasks, Violations, Online Portals, and Accounting, along with a free marketing website.
All Buildium plans also come with a free, 14-day trial and a discount for an annual subscription.
The Essential plan is designed for portfolios with up to 150 units. Pricing currently begins at $50 a month for 1 to 20 units, and goes up to $235 a month for 150 units. The plan includes:
- Basic tenant screening
- Standard reporting
- Customer support via online ticket
The Essential plan also offers other products and services for an additional fee:
- Property inspections starting at $40 a month
- eSignatures at $5 a signature
- Online payments at $1 for each incoming electronic funds transfer (ETF) and $0.50 for each outgoing ETF
- Credit card fee of $2.95% per transaction
- Bank account set-up fee of $99 per account
- Begins at $50 a month
The Growth plan is designed for portfolios with up to 5,000 units. Pricing currently begins at $250 a month for 151 units and goes up to $5,400 a month for 5,000 units. The plan includes all of the items in the Essential plan, plus:
- Premium tenant screening
- Performance Analytics and Business Analytics and Insights reports
- Free property inspections
- Unlimited eSignatures
- Ticket and live phone customer support
- Bank account set-up fee free for first 5 accounts, then $99 per account
- Online payments waived for incoming ETFs and $0.50 for each outgoing ETFs
- Credit card fee of 2.95% per transaction
- Onboarding fee required for customers with more than 20 units
The Premium Package requires an annual subscription, and pricing currently ranges from $4,968 a year for 20 units to $159,000 a year for 5,000 units. Investors or property managers with more than 5,000 units in a portfolio can contact the company for specific pricing.
All of the features of the Essential and Growth plans are included in the Premium plan, plus:
- Open API
- Buildium Rewards (provides discounts based on residents’ usage of services through Buildium)
- Priority customer support
- Dedicated growth consultant for new client leads
- Onboarding fee required for customers with more than 20 units
Buildium software features
- Showing coordinator
- Tenant screening
- Professional website
- Owner and resident portals
- Maintenance request tracking
- Property inspections
- Renters insurance
- Document storage
- Analytics and insights
- Open API
- Online payments
- Retail cash payments for tenant rent
- Property accounting
- Company financial reporting
- 1099 eFiling
Buildium may be a good fit for investors and property managers with large rental property portfolios of up to 5,000 units, due to the recurring subscription fees that Buildium charges.
Investors seeking a full suite of property management tools may find that Buildium is worth the price. Buildium software provides features such as tenant screening and online rent payments, owner and resident portals for maintenance requests and notices, property inspections, and eSignatures for leases and addendums.
Because the software is designed for larger portfolios, real estate investors with smaller rental property portfolios may find that Buildium is too expensive, especially for a few units.
While Buildium does include valuable features, such as tenant screening and online rent payments, companies such as Cozy and TenantCloud also provide these services for free or for a minimal fee.
Stessa vs. Buildium: How to choose?
Both Stessa and Buildium aim to make owning and managing rental property easier by providing accounting and financial management software solutions.
Buildium uses a subscription pricing model, with prices currently ranging from $50 a month to $159,000 a year, depending on the number of units in a portfolio, services, and features. Buildium is a good match for large investors, property managers, and community associations.
On the other hand, Stessa was designed to offer powerful finance and accounting software tools to rental property owners at the lowest possible cost. Stessa is free and provides optional premium services, such as rent analysis and market research.