If you manage rental properties, you’ve probably heard of Zillow Rental Manager and Apartments.com (formerly Cozy). Both are popular choices for property management software. In this blog post, we’ll pit Zillow Rental Manager against Apartments.com in a side-by-side comparison of the tools and features each currently offers. We’ll evaluate each platform on features, ease of use, functionality, and price. By the end of this post, you should have a good idea of which platform is right for you.
We’ll also discuss free rental property management software from Stessa. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for a free, user-friendly solution to automatically track rental property income and expenses, collect rent online, and prepare year-end taxes.
- Zillow Rental Manager helps landlords determine asking rent, offers tenant screening, and lets renters pay their rent online.
- Apartments.com (formerly Cozy) provides features including marketing, applicant screening, and rent collection.
- Stessa is a free cloud-based reporting and accounting software with online rental payment functionality that tracks property and portfolio performance metrics for unlimited single-family houses, multiunit properties, and short-term vacation rentals.
Zillow Rental Manager overview
On Zillow Rental Manager, you can create one listing that will be distributed to HotPads, Zillow, and Trulia. According to the company’s internal data from 2021, these 3 online listing sites receive a combined total of more than 30 million visitors each month.
Zillow Rental Manager also offers their Rent Zestimate tool to help landlords determine the appropriate rent, a free 3D home tour app, tenant screening, lease uploads, digital signatures, and online rent payments.
Zillow Rental Manager does not accommodate submitting maintenance requests online or reporting and accounting. However, landlords can download a free rental income and expense worksheet from Zillow and manually enter transactions for up to 5 properties or units.
Current pricing (as of July 2022)
The first listing on Zillow Rental Manager is free until it expires or 30 days after the initial activation, whichever comes first. After that, landlords may reactive the listing and select a weekly or flat-fee payment option, depending on the property location:
- $4.99 a week for a rental property listed in Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, and Nebraska
- $9.99 a week for listing a rental property in all other states
Landlords have the option of paying a flat fee to list a rental property for up to 90 days in certain areas, with pricing varying by state:
- $29.99 in California and Washington
- $19.99 in Alaska, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wyoming
- $14.99 in Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Carolina
- $29.99 one-time fee for each listing for up to 90 days
- Increased exposure with higher positioning in local search results
- Access to customized insights on pricing, listing performance, leads, and recommendations for performance optimization
- Access to priority support
Tenant screening and online rent payments
- Tenant application and screening: $29 for each application and screening report, paid by the applicant
- Online rent payment with an Automated Clearing House (ACH) bank transfer: Free
- Online rent payment with a debit card: $9.95 fee paid by the tenant
- Online rent payment with a credit card: 2.95% transaction fee paid by the tenant
Zillow feed connect
Landlords using a third-party listing service, such as Apartments.com or TenantCloud, can syndicate their listings to Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads for a connection fee of $2.45 for each daily listing.
- List your first property for free for up to 30 days.
- Syndicate listings to Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads.
- Upgrade to a premium listing to increase local search exposure and receive pricing insights and listing recommendations.
- Use tools like Zillow Rent Zestimate and the 3D home tour app.
- Use Zillow Feed Connect to connect listings on other platforms to Zillow.
- Communicate with prospective tenants in a centralized message center.
- Accept applications, screen applicants, build a lease online (available in certain states), upload a lease, and digitally sign documents.
- Collect rent, utilities, and move-in fees online with payments deposited directly into your account within 3 to 5 business days.
- Allow tenants to set up autopay for recurring monthly rent payments.
- Download the Zillow Rental Income and Expense Worksheet to manually enter and track income and expenses for up to 5 rental properties or units.
Apartments.com (formerly Cozy) overview
Apartments.com (formerly Cozy) provides features like marketing, applicant screening, lease signing, and rent collection. Tenants can also make maintenance requests.
Landlords can also list and advertise vacant properties with rental property software from Apartments.com. You can use it to list single-family homes, townhouses, condos, and units in multifamily properties. Plus, homes for rent are advertised on some of the most popular rental listing websites, so you’ll reach over 25 million prospective renters monthly.
Current pricing (as of July 2022)
Apartments.com offers free rental property software. The company also provides premium listings, charges prospective tenants application and screening fees, and collects transaction fees if rent is paid with a debit or credit card.
- List your rental on 5 of the most active websites in the Apartments.com network, including ForRent.com and Apartamentos.com.
- Purchase a premium listing for more exposure on a total of 7 network sites.
- Enable prospective tenants to apply directly from the listing.
- Run tenant screening reports from TransUnion, including credit and background checks, debt payment histories, employment verifications, and previous addresses.
- Create and digitally sign state-specific lease agreements using the online leasing wizard.
- Provide online rent payments for free when tenants use an ACH transfer or for a small fee when tenants pay with a card.
- Track rent payments, prorated rent, security deposits, and late fees.
- Respond to online maintenance requests with photos and videos.
- Enter and track property expenses 24/7 online, and upload and store images and receipts to create records.
- Record operating expenses according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Schedule E category, then export data in CSV and PDF formats to prepare financial statements and tax returns.
How do Zillow Rental Manager and Apartments.com compare?
Zillow Rental Manager may be a good choice for landlords looking for a service to list a rental property, screen tenants, sign a lease, and collect the rent online. In addition to these features, Apartments.com also offers online maintenance requests and cloud-based income and expense tracking.
Here’s a comparison of some essential features currently available:
Both services syndicate listings to popular rental websites that reach millions of viewers each month and offer free and paid options.
Zillow Rental Manager places vacant properties on Zillow, Hotpads, and Trulia free for the first listing for up to 30 days. After that, landlords can extend the first listing or add additional listings for a weekly or flat fee, depending on the location, and purchase a premium listing to increase local search exposure.
The Apartments.com network consists of ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder, ApartmentHomeLiving, Apartamentos.com, and Apartments.com. Listings are free, and landlords have the option of purchasing a premium listing to increase search exposure with videos, a more prominent ad, and 2 additional websites: Doorsteps and Realtor.com.
Both Zillow Rental Manager and Apartments.com collect application and tenant screening fees of $29 paid by the applicant. Screening reports on Apartments.com are good for 30 days and can be used by the applicant for up to 10 other listings if the first landlord turns them down.
Zillow Rental Manager and Apartments.com offer online lease builders to create and sign lease documents online or upload an existing lease.
The lease wizard from Zillow Rental Manager may only be used in 25 states and select California markets. After the lease is executed, landlords can use free online storage from Apartments.com to organize and store documents, eliminating the need for paper copies.
Online rent collection
Landlords can collect rent online, along with other fees such as utilities and security deposits with Zillow Rental Manager and Apartments.com. ACH rent payments are free with both companies.
Zillow Rental Manager charges tenants debit card fees of $9.95 for each payment and credit card processing fees of 2.95% for each payment. On the other hand, Apartments.com charges a 2.75% fee for each debit or credit card payment.
Financial reporting and tax management
Zillow Rental Manager does not offer online financial reporting or tax management features. However, landlords may download the free Rental Income and Expense Worksheet from Zillow to manually enter and track income and expenses for up to 5 rental properties or units.
Landlords using Apartments.com can manually enter property expenses online according to Schedule E categories and store receipts and images to create records. In addition, income and expense transactions on Apartments.com can be downloaded in CSV and PDF formats to complete IRS Schedule E and file year-end taxes.
Stessa vs. Zillow Rental Manager vs. Apartments.com
Zillow Rental Manager and Apartments.com may lack some features landlords need, such as automatic income and expense tracking, online financial reporting, and tax preparation. That’s where Stessa, a Roofstock company, comes in.
Free rental property management software from Stessa provides powerful tools to investors with single-family rentals (SFRs), small multifamily buildings, short-term vacation properties, and entire rental property portfolios. As of March 2022, more than 100,000 investors already use Stessa to track over 250,000 properties with more than $60 billion in asset value:
- 100% free with optional premium services for real estate investors, like rent analysis and market research
- Unlimited SFRs, multifamily units, and short-term vacation rental property and portfolio tracking
- Comprehensive performance dashboards at the property and portfolio levels
- Automated income and expense tracking with linking of property bank and mortgage accounts
- Online rent collction with free ACH transfers (other payment options coming soon) and a recurring payment option for tenants, as well as the ability to collect late fees
- On-the-go expense tracking with the iOS and Android apps
- Safe, secure document storage
- Financial reports, including income, net cash flow, capital expense (CapEx) statements, tenant rent roll, and real estate balance sheet
- Tax-ready financials to make tax time a breeze
- Personalized tax package on the Stessa Tax Center, including an income statement, net-cash-flow report, and a ZIP file in a single email
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.
Go here to create a free Stessa account.
There are options to consider when it comes to property management software, including Zillow Rental Manager and Apartments.com (formerly Cozy), but Stessa could be the best solution overall.
Not only is the software free to use, but it also offers automatic income and expense tracking, comprehensive financial reporting, online rent payments, and streamlined tax readiness.
If you’re looking for an easy and effective way to track your rental properties and collect rent online, Stessa could be the perfect solution.