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There are plenty of options out there when it comes to property management software. If you’re a property manager like me, you don’t have the time to look into each software to find out which one would work best for you. Luckily, I did it for you and wanted to share with you two of the top contenders in a friendly little head-to-head competition: Buildium vs. Appfolio.
It doesn’t matter if you have five properties or 10,000 units that you look over or own, being a landlord is too much work for just one person. I sifted through all of the best property management software programs to find a couple that help landlords and property owners tackle tasks and relieve some of the stress of all the work there is to do.
Buildium and Appfolio are amazing software programs that can do some amazing things such as list vacant units across multiple sites, collect rent online, automatically charge tenants late fees, and even help you with 1099 tax forms!
Below you will find out which software I declared as the overall winner, but ultimately the choice is up to you! Whether you have a commercial property, residential, or a bunch of student housing properties, these software programs can do a lot more for you than you think!
You and I both know that everything comes at a cost, so before opening your wallet and blindly choosing property management software, take a look at what sets Appfolio and Buildium apart from other software programs like them. Let’s dive into it!
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A Table Of Contents For Buildium vs Appfolio
Buildium vs Appfolio
Appfolio and Buildium are both amazing software, but one has to come out as the overall winner. I have to give the crown to Buildium for a myriad of reasons. It’s incredibly user friendly and easy to use. If you don’t have a lot of experience with technology or software, Buildium is great for you since it’s so easy to learn how to use.
People that have used multiple property management software programs chose Buildium 96% of the time over the other options. It’s an inexpensive option that still has plenty of amazing features that the more expensive software programs have.
If you’ve ever struggled with writing a lease, eviction notice, or pet policy, you’ll be happy to hear that Buildium comes with 50 templates that you can use by quickly filling in the information for your property to make it custom.
One thing that sets Buildium apart from every other property management software program on the market is that it has its own academy. Buildium Academy is packed with a ton of material in the form of courses to make you the best property manager or landlord you can be.
The courses have quizzes throughout to test your knowledge on what you’ve learned in the courses. Even if you’ve been in the business for years, you’d be surprised at what you can learn in the academy; I know I was.
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Buildium may be the overall winner but do you know what sets it apart from Appfolio? What to these software programs have in common? Maybe Appfolio will work better for your business than Buildium would. I’m going to be answering all of these questions and more in my comparison review.
I wanted to share with you which of the key features of these two software programs have in common so it’s easier for you to compare the two.
Check out these features to see if they’re important to you or if they’ll make a big difference in your work life; they definitely changed my work life entirely! Below you’ll find a list of the features you’ll be reading about today in order:
- Mobile Functionality
- Tenant Screening
- Advertising Vacancies
Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
There are so many property management software programs available, it can be hard to find which one will work perfectly for you. A lot of them have different features than others, but what features does Buildium and Appfolio have in common? Hopefully reading this comparison will help you narrow down which software will meet your needs.
On that note, when two software programs have the same or similar features, you may think the programs work the same. This usually isn’t the case, especially when things like price and the number of units you have play a part. Let me tell you a little bit more about what Buildium and Appfolio have in common.
This day in age, nearly every person you know has a cell phone. Not only that, but they have their phone on them at all times. If you’ve ever forgotten your phone and been unable to go and get it, you know how much it can throw off your day.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we rely heavily on your phones. They help us keep in contact with those who matter most to us and phones can keep us connected to the world around us. If you own multiple properties, having a phone is an absolute must.
Chances are you use your phone to call and set up showings with probably tenants, take notes during inspections, or call in a professional to help with a maintenance issue. I know I use my phone a lot at work and it’s important to me that the property software program I choose is mobile friendly.
It may surprise you to know that this is where most property management software programs fall short. Many don’t even have apps at all; though you can use your mobile device browser to get to their website, an app just runs smoother and is much more convenient. Thus, if you’re like me and use your phone a lot on the job, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure the software you choose is mobile friendly.
Appfolio On Mobile
Something that sets Appfolio apart from most other property management software programs is the fact that it has four mobile apps in total. Rentec Direct is the only other software that I know of that provides this.
There are two apps available for tenants that are portals that can be used to pay rent or communicate with landlords. You can find the iOS versions of the apps here, and the Android versions are on the Google Play store.
Similarly, there are two apps available for landlords and property owners. These apps have all of the same features as the desktop software, which is another rare thing to find when it comes to this type of software. You can easily download the iOS apps for Apple devices, or the Android versions here.
Buildium On Mobile
With Buildium, you’ll be able to easily collect rent via your mobile device or look at maintenance requests live as they come in. They have an app available for any mobile device, which can come in handy if you have multiple properties.
If you have an Apple device, you’ll be able to download their mobile app from the App Store. If you use an Android device, you’ll find the same app on the Google Play Store!
The winner when it comes to mobile functionality has to go to Appfolio. Not only are there four apps available (two across two operating systems), the apps work just like the full desktop software.
A lot of the time property management companies will make their mobile app capable of a handful of tasks and features, whereas the Appfolio has all the same features it has on desktop! Appfolio knows that communication between tenant and landlord is important and their apps are proof of that.
Another amazing feature that property management software programs can have is the ability to screen tenants. If you’re already swamped with a million things to do, screening tenants is just another task to add onto the list, which is why it’s one of my favorite software features.
When someone is screened, the software will perform three important tasks: a credit check, a background check, and a list of any prior evictions. This service isn’t free and usually is handled by a third party. What you can do is charge an application fee for potential renters and use that to pay the software to run the screening for you.
Screening is a crucial step to make sure your properties stay safe and that you have tenants who are going to pay rent on time every month.
You also may like to know that there are software programs that allow the potential renter to perform the screening on their computer. This can be great if they’re a little unsure of what the results may show, or if their a little nervous to share sensitive information like their social security number with a stranger.
Buildium Marketing And Screening Feature
Buildium is one of the top property management software options when it comes to their screening features. You’ll be able to easily narrow down which applicants make the cut according to your income or credit score requirements.
Appfolio Marketing and Screening Feature
Appfolio also has an amazing screening feature. It can do all of the great things that Buildium can do, can be used to keep your properties safe, and make sure you have tenants that can afford to live there.
This really could go either way for a winner. I will give Buildium the crown because the software is well known for the screening features it has. Whichever software you go with, this is an amazing feature to have at your disposal.
Have you ever spent hours listing available units for sale across multiple sites online? Filling out the same information over and over again is not only mundane, but it’s incredibly time consuming. What if I told you that property management software programs like Appfolio and Buildium could do this for you?
You won’t have to sit at your desk uploading photos and videos of each vacant property over and over again until it’s listed on every site.
For most software, you simply fill in the information such as how many bedrooms and bathrooms, the rent price, and upload photos. After you fill out this information once, it’s basically a one click process for the software to put this information on all the popular sites such as Trulia or Zillow!
If you have a lot of properties, this feature will come in handy pretty quickly. None of us like having vacant units. When there are units that don’t have tenants, we are losing out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars every month. This feature not only saves you time, but can get you that income faster than you filling out the information manually on each website.
Buildium’s Marketing And Screening Feature
All of the features listed above, Buildium can do. This is another feature that this software is specifically known for and is a great choice if you have several properties or units to list!
Appfolio’s Marketing And Screening Feature
Appfolio has all of these same features with the addition of letting you see potential leads. This can come in handy for people that have a lot of property, especially if it’s commercial.
Another category where the winning title really could go to either Buildium or Appfolio but with the potential leads feature that Appfolio has, they take the cake this round. Again, either software will work great but if this is a feature you’re looking for specifically, Appfolio will be more beneficial to you.
So, you’ve read a few of the features that both Appfolio and Buildium share. These software options are both amazing choices and will improve your work life drastically. It doesn’t matter which type of property you have, Appfolio and Buildium work well for residential property, commercial and student housing!
You’ve also read that these options are great for those of us who use our phones a lot at work. This allows you to get tasks completed on the go, and you won’t even need to physically be at the property to tackle some of these tasks thanks to the amazing features these software programs have!
Buildium may have been the winner overall for me, but which software will work best for you?
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It doesn’t matter if you choose Buildium or Appfolio, both of these property management software programs bring a lot to the table. Overall, these two options are actually pretty different from each other, but with this comparison of Buildium vs Appfolio, you have a better idea of what they have in common and which one performs better in those categories.
There are a handful of things that make Buildium stand out to me. I like that it has a ton of features while still remaining relatively inexpensive. You aren’t sacrificing things that it can do just because of the low price tag. I’ve been using Buildium for several months now and I’m actually surprised by how much money it saved me.
I don’t have to spend extra money on an accountant, there’s no running around collecting late rent fees and I have so much more free time since I don’t have to spend hours listing available units for rent. I also enjoyed that it came with a 15-day free trial so I could really take the software for a test drive without having to provide a credit card number!
For those of you that don’t have time to use a free trial, you can take advantage of the free demo that Buildium offers. Free demos usually take about two hours and a customer service agent will show you the ropes of the software and answer any questions you may have.
Appfolio also offers a free demo if you’re interested in this software as well. You have enough work on your plate already and a software like one of the two I compared today will help you with so many tasks such as collecting rent, creating leasing or eviction papers, notifying tenants if there are any upcoming events they need to be aware of, and more.
If you don’t like either of the options listed above, there are plenty more out there to choose from. You could take a look at Cozy or Rentec Direct to see if either of those software programs would work better for you.
If you’re tired of being a one person team with a huge workload each day, consider adding a property management software to your life like I did. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and I hope it is for you as well. Good luck!