If you’re managing commercial property, whether office spaces, retail units, or multi-family units, you probably have multiple properties, multiple tenants, and a huge pile of paperwork to track. It can feel overwhelming.
Effective real estate management software designed for commercial properties can be a game changer when it comes to streamlining, optimizing, and growing your business and portfolio.
And real estate management extends far beyond merely finding tenants and collecting rent. It involves property marketing, handling inquiries, tenant screening, generating legal documentation, property upkeep, maintenance scheduling, expense tracking, and monitoring the overall return on your investments.
The right real estate software package empowers you to automate many of these tasks, offering a time-saving lifeline, especially during hectic periods, and ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. Join us as we explore the world of real estate software and discover how it can revolutionize your property management journey.
In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the essential features to consider when searching for rental management software and introduce you to some of the top commercial real estate software solutions currently available.
Contents: Commercial Property Management Software
The right commercial property management software can revolutionize your business. Find the information that you need in our guide below.
- What Does Real Estate Management Software Do?
- Choosing Property Management Software: Key Features
- Best Commercial Property Management Software
- Find Your Ideal Commercial Real Estate Management Tool
Real estate management software is a powerful tool that can do many valuable things, from managing leases to tracking payments to pushing available properties to listing websites. Most software packages allow you to customize the system to do what you need since they are designed for property portfolios of all shapes and sizes.
Most good real estate management software offers the functionality below as a minimum:
- Accounting: Your software should be able to track day-to-day income, expenses, and cash flow, plus produce tax-ready accounts when requested.
- Payment Collection: Your software should be able to collect rental payments from tenants, allowing them to pay online. It should also be able to send out rent reminder emails as necessary and alert team members when rent is overdue.
- Vacancy Listing Syndication: Your software should be able to automatically send your vacancy listings to your selected platforms, such as Zillow, Avail, Apartments.com, and Rentometer.
- Communications: Your software should be able to manage communications such as automated reminders, responses to inquiries, and delegation of maintenance requests.
- Tenant Screening: Your software should be able to manage the tenant application process and send viable applicant information directly to tenant screening services such as RentPrep.
- Contract Management: Your software should act as a repository for all relevant documentation linked with a property and be able to produce customized contracts for new tenants, etc.
- Reporting and Tracking: Your software should be able to deliver powerful reporting and tracking of progress to help you measure your return on investment and identify patterns such as recurring maintenance issues.
Some real estate software will offer additional services, such as a tenant portal for tenants to access information about their rental contracts and property or sophisticated AI features for generating leads. However, the above is the minimum that landlords should expect from commercial property management software.
When choosing the right commercial real estate management software, start with a list of what you need your software to do. Know your budget, which should be based on what you can afford, the value of the time you’ll save, and the added efficiencies you’ll gain.
When coming up with your list of must-have features, be specific. Do you need a system to manage your day-to-day accounts and cash flow or one that can produce tax-ready reports? If you need a system that can send ads to online property sites, be specific about which sites so you can ensure compatibility.
Below is a list of the main features to consider.
One of the main reasons to invest in a lease management software system is to automate repetitive and routine tasks such as onboarding tenants and sending rent reminders to free up your time to do more important things.
Modern smart software systems that leverage AI can do much more. They can generate unique responses to common questions based on previous answers. These systems not only register maintenance requests but also contact relevant contractors, schedule viewings of available properties, and log these viewings in agents’ diaries.
Consider the mundane tasks that consume most of your time and whether the software you are looking at can automate those tasks.
While you may be looking for property management software that does it all, most of us use a variety of software platforms; ideally, they should talk to each other. The best real estate software will have an API that communicates with most platforms, such as WordPress sites, social media, SMS, Whatsapp, Google Workspace, Office 365, and property portals.
When looking at property management software solutions, you should list all the essential software you use to ensure integration and compatibility. That way, you can send updates directly to your tenants via SMS and easily pull document templates from Office.
If you’re a small business owner, you probably don’t work just from the office. So you won’t want software that only works on your office network. You’ll probably want to be able to log into your system from home and your mobile device when you’re on the road. Mobile applications are one of the most in-demand new features for most property management software.
Ideally, you’ll want to invest in scalable property management software. This means it’s manageable and affordable when you have a modest property portfolio, but you can scale up and use the same system as you expand your holdings and grow your business.
Not only will you want to keep your personal data safe, but you also have a duty to protect tenants’ personal and financial data. Look for solutions that use two-step password authentication and encrypt all data as it’s transferred.
While, in most cases, your real estate management software won’t be public-facing, a good interface design is essential. If the system is intuitive, you will spend less time on the phone with IT support and make fewer mistakes. It’s also easier to onboard new team members and teach them how to use the system as part of their role.
If you have a team that works for you, you’ll probably want to give them different access levels to your system. You may only want your marketing assistant to be able to push out property information and respond to inquiries but not see the tenants’ payment details. A system that allows you to create user profiles with different access levels can be very useful.
Based on the criteria above, user reviews, and experience with different software systems, we’ve chosen the market’s best real estate management software systems for different types of commercial properties. Whether you are managing office spaces, retail units, industrial spaces, or multifamily units, you will find great software that will work for you here.
Buildium – Best Overall
Buildium is the current market leader for lease management software and for good reason: It is a comprehensive and scalable system that can be used for property sales or rental management, and it has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. But because it’s a premium system, it also comes with a premium price tag.
The cost for Buildium starts at $52 per month. There is a 14-day free trial if you want to try before you buy. You’ll receive a 10% discount if you pay annually.
The system is excellent for automating rent collection and reminders for tenants, and the tenants can also check their lease status and rent due date through the tenant portal. Buildium uses Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments with ePay online and PayNEarMe for cash payments.
For landlords, the system provides comprehensive accounting, maintenance management using a ticketing system, and comprehensive communications options. The software can also create a free professional website to post listings and receive applications. When applications are received, it can send qualified tenants for screening and execute online leases with eSignatures.
The system produces sophisticated reports and can also provide smart analytics and insights based on resident behavior. This functionality is beneficial when managing larger residential apartment complexes or student housing.
- A comprehensive system that does it all
- Intuitive backend and well-designed frontend
- Scalable with the size of your business
- Premium system with a high price point
- All online payments have a transaction fee
If you’re looking for premium real estate management software for a fast-growing business, Buildium is one of the top choices. The software grows with you, and they are constantly upgrading and adding new features.
AppFolio – Best AI-Powered Software
AppFolio is another premium rental property management software, which means it’s pricey. However, it has many useful AI features that make it stand out. Expect to pay a minimum of $280 per month base fee plus a monthly fee of around $1.40 per unit. But if you have an extensive property portfolio, AppFolio is worth the cost.
You can use AppFolio for any kind of property, including commercial property, student housing, and community association, and it also supports investment management.
It all starts with marketing, with a professional website that helps generate leads, organize showings, and even deliver virtual showings. The AI-powered leasing assistant can help screen tenants, check for proof of insurance, create online leases, take online payments, manage maintenance, and automate accounts payable. You can automate a lot of the office busy work, leaving you more face-time with tenants.
The software is designed to support diverse teams, meaning you have configurable user profiles and workflows so everyone can focus on their own tasks. Meanwhile, all team activity feeds into a universal picture for you. Robust training gets everyone up to speed quickly.
Sophisticated reporting and dashboard metrics are available, so it’s easy to monitor where you are. There are also audit logs to help resolve issues when they do arise. AppFolio integrates with most relevant platforms seamlessly.
- Sophisticated system with a wide variety of tools available
- Smart AI-powered tools to free up team time
- Individual user profiles and workflows
- Premium system with a high price tag
- Designed only for large property portfolios
If you have a large portfolio and a team working for you, you need software that will allow everyone to work together most efficiently. AppFolio meets that need and frees up time using sophisticated and smartly applied AI.
Can’t decide? Read our detailed comparison of Buildium and AppFolio.
RealPage Commercial – Best For Industrial Property
Unlike the two software suites above that are designed to work with all kinds of properties, RealPage Commercial is specifically designed for commercial portfolios. The square footage pricing model makes it particularly affordable for industrial properties.
Lease administration features include automatically generated boilerplate documents, tracking of lease lifecycles, and custom fields to accommodate unique data and requests. RealPage offers recoveries where it can display all missed billings, expense exclusions, gross-ups, and so forth. It also manages CPI increases and percentage rent for commercial leases.
Tenants can also manage their relationship with you through the tenant portal, where they can make payments and service requests, review statements, and download required paperwork.
Pricing is based on the type of property you’re working with, and there are different rates for office and retail assets vs. industrial assets. There’s also a unique square footage pricing model that can be a more affordable option. Roughly, RealPage Commercial costs about $12.50 per month per 10,000 square feet for retail space and $7.30 per month per 10,000 square feet of industrial space.
- Features specifically tailored for commercial properties
- Powerful tenant portal to manage relationships
- Affordable square footage payment model
- Less adaptable than more general real estate software
- IT support from the company can be slow
If you have a portfolio of commercial properties and want real estate management software that can seamlessly integrate all of your administrative functions, RealPage does a fantastic job.
Rentec Direct – Best For Multiple Units
This real estate software is specifically designed for landlords and property managers with between 25 and 5,000 units, which makes it ideal for multi-family homes, office spaces, and retail units. It’s popular because of the simple pricing model and plentiful free training available.
Rentec Direct handles ledgers and financial reports. The software engages with tenants through an online portal where they can pay rent and submit requests, and you can track all of this on the back end, which you can access from your computer or smartphone. The software also offers advanced features such as online vacancy publishing and website generation.
Prices start at $50 per month for 25 units with free setup and onboarding and increases to just under $5,000 per month for 5,000 units, which is less than $1 per unit. There is a two-week free trial if you want to try before you buy.
- Fast and accessible customer services
- Lots of valuable features for landlords
- More affordable than many competitors
- You must have between 25 and 5,000 units to use the service
- Customer service runs on US time zones only
Rentec Direct stands out as one of the most affordable property management software solutions for commercial real estate, but that doesn’t mean it lacks the same great features as the more expensive options.
Managing commercial rental properties is a complex process. There are many loose ends to keep on top of, and responsiveness to existing and potential tenants is vital. A forgotten email or an overlooked payment can cause major headaches in the long run.
Real estate management software is designed to help you keep track of everything that needs to be done and automate tasks where possible to give you more time for other things. A good system can truly revolutionize your business.
The best solution for you depends on what you do, the kind of properties you have, and the scale of your business. Follow our guide and recommendations to choose the right commercial real estate software solution for you.