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Do Income Property Investors Need Property Management Software?

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One question that comes up from time to time is the need for rental property management software.  Is this really necessary?  Well, the answer depends on how many income properties you own, as well as the specific type of property you invest in. 

In terms of the number of properties, I have owned 16 at one time and did not need any management software.  But in the interest of full disclosure, I am a complete workaholic so perhaps I can handle more tasks manually than the average Joe.  I will also say that I was stretched extremely thin in that scenario, and I probably would not have been able to handle much more without some kind of assistance in the form of property management software.  So as a general rule, let’s say that once you have about 10 investment properties, it’s time to start considering the use of software to help with the management side of the business. 

In terms of the type of property, some are simply more complicated to manage than others.  For example, a 50-unit apartment complex will be more difficult to manage than a triplex.  Similarly, an office space, strip mall, or storage facility would all be more complex to manage than a relatively straight-forward residential income property.  Hopefully this is obvious so I won’t hammer home the point any more.

So this begs the question, what exactly does property management software do, and how can it help investors?  Well the first and perhaps most obvious benefit is that it helps keep track of all your tenants.  Much like a cheat sheet, having all your tenant information at your fingertips makes your life easier and more efficient.  Some software programs will even electronically store all your rental documents for easy indexing and searching. 

Aside from keeping tabs on tenants, property management software helps keep tabs on maintenance tasks, your contacts, financial information, vendor accounts, and bills to pay.  All in all, it’s all very nice to have, but probably not worth purchasing until you reach the Big Time.

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