As an agency principal, building a profitable rent roll is your number one priority. And when you’re just starting out, putting the right systems in place will mean the difference between scoring sustainable profits or ending up in the red.
If you aren't using property management software, chances are you (and your staff!) are facing mounting pressure that is squeezing your profit margins.
Great property management staff are hard to find (and expensive to keep), competition for listings is fierce and inflation is increasing the cost of operating expenses. It’s no wonder that the latest Macquarie Business Banking report has revealed that a whopping 57% of real estate businesses are experiencing sub-20% profitability for the last financial year.
What is property management software?
In a nutshell, property management software are digital tools and programs that help property managers work smarter, not harder. Rather than relying on manual spreadsheets, printed paperwork and physical filing systems, these tools streamline all the aspects of property management from leasing to inspections, maintenance and even record keeping.
What makes property management software so powerful is its ability to take the weight off property management teams and free up their time to focus on building solid and long-term relationships with customers. Instead of getting bogged down in their inbox or signing documents, your property managers can streamline their day-to-day tasks and spend more time adding value to your rent roll.
In fact, some of the best property management software has the ability to give you a single view of your portfolio with real-time data and reporting on how your rent roll is tracking. Additional features like smart nudges and tips on how to improve your rent roll’s profitability are good bonuses.
The rise of proptech in property management
You don’t have to look far to see that proptech is changing the game in the property industry. While Australia’s startup ecosystem isn’t as advanced as the US or UK, there’s an impressive 381 proptech companies across the country (a whopping 428% increase from 2013 to 2019).
Real estate is a sector long overdue for an upgrade - but what’s taken so long? A lack of resources and resistance to change are two of the top reasons why the industry is lagging behind when it comes to digitisation.
While it’s possible to manage rent rolls using wet signatures and spreadsheets, it’s nearly impossible to scale by doing things manually. The pandemic forced real estate agencies to go digital and we have seen the rise of proptech over the past two years.
The obvious benefits of proptech make it an easy choice for property managers:
- Save time: turning to tech for collecting signatures, securing owner approval and communicating with tenants can make these tasks quicker and more efficient.
- Streamline routine tasks: from scheduling routine inspections to collecting rental payments, property managers can do away with repetitive mundane tasks and focus on building lasting relationships instead.
- Scale with fewer headaches: more properties under management means more operational complexity and more stress on your team. Proptech enables agencies to scale their rent roll with systems and processes in place as supportive measures.
While there are plenty of apps, platforms and tools out there claiming to automate the property management experience, it’s important to remember that great software isn’t enough. You need great people to power it and foster good relationships with your customers, too.
What that in mind, let’s dive into the best property management software on the market and our top picks for what innovative agencies need to scale their business.
What are the best property management software options in Australia?
With hundreds of tools on the market, you want to make sure you’re picking the right solution for your agency. Here’s three of the top-performing tools in the industry right now and what you need to know about these property management software options.
PropertyMe is one of the most popular tools used by property managers in Australia and New Zealand. This cloud-based software helps property managers automate their daily tasks, store all their records digitally in one place and the bonus addition of a clever little communications suite.
If you’re looking to scale your property management business, PropertyMe gives you the ability to automate repetitive tasks and develop workflows that take pressure off your team. It offers the ability to streamline any time-consuming tasks and it’s a good tool if you’re looking to scale without hiring extra staff.
However, PropertyMe isn’t a perfect solution. While it does have handy messaging features and task management systems, it doesn’t have templates for everything and it does lack the categories you’ll likely need for tasks. Plus, the login system can be clunky which might slow down your team.
Console is pitched as an all-in-one platform, offering a range of apps, portals and integrations for property management teams and their customers.
Console brings together a range of apps and offers a stack of handy features like workflow automation, advanced reporting and simplified compliance systems. It also has a unique Console Pay feature, allowing agencies to process direct debits from their tenant’s bank accounts (helping to reduce the chance of rental arrears).
There’s no denying that Console is a smart tool to automate your processes and put workflows in place (particularly if you’re just beginning to build your rent roll). However, the user experience of the platform isn’t perfect and can be clunky to navigate. Plus, you’re reliant on several apps that need to integrate. You don’t score any hands-on support from a team of property professionals either.
MRI Software Australia
With a stack of tools under its belt, MRI Software have a range of property management apps for agencies to explore. Property Tree is their automated property management software, using cloud-based tech to help agencies of all sizes scale their rent roll.
Their fundamental offerings encompass trustworthy trust accounting software, robust automation capabilities, and a secure, compliant platform that enables property managers to differentiate themselves in front of their customers. Using a centralized dashboard, users can efficiently handle communications, maintenance, and inspections, while also establishing connections with both owners and tenants.
One of the significant drawbacks of MRI’s tools is the price tag, especially if you need to subscribe to multiple pieces of software. For emerging agencies and property management teams, it can be hard to justify the expense.
How much does property management software cost?
You want to make every dollar count in your agency. So, it’s important to understand the costs of property management software and ensure you’re picking a solution that delivers a strong return on your investment.
Property Management Software Price Comparison
Core Product (up to 100 properties)
From $110 per month + $495 onboarding fee ($1,320 annually)
Premium Product (min. 250 properties under management)
From $375 per month ($4,500 annually)
Property Tree (Customisable)
From $120 per month ($1,440 +GST annually)
These tools only offer software, so keep in mind that you’ll also need to hire property managers to put these platforms into action. This can add up to a considerable expense.
We know the average property manager in Australia is paid $70,000 per annum, and many agencies need a handful of people to manage a rent roll of a few hundred properties.
If you’ve got three property managers taking care of your rent roll, you’ll be spending upwards of $210,000 per year on wages alone.
Why property professionals need more than just software
Real estate is, and always will be, a business built on people and relationships.
While proptech is an exciting step forward for the real estate industry, it’s not a full-service solution. If you’re a property principal, you already know some problems won’t be solved by software alone.
- Tech doesn’t solve staffing challenges: a whopping 23% of property managers surveyed in MRI’s Voice of the Property Manager report say they’re planning to leave the industry within 12 months. Software is powered by people, and that challenge doesn’t go away by signing up for a new app alone.
- Tech isn’t built with your existing workflows in mind: unfortunately, many software platforms require you to retrofit your processes into their system. By failing to take into account the unique needs of your property managers, these tools can end up slowing your people down, rather than taking work off their plate.
- Tech doesn’t always work together: most proptech platforms are built on integrations or require some level of joint functionality. If you use multiple systems that aren't compatible or don’t speak to each other correctly, you’ll still have to do the manual work of keeping data updated across your tools and platforms.
While property management software does solve some of the headaches of the business, it doesn’t address the biggest challenge facing the real estate industry: finding (and retaining) the best people.
How :Different for Agencies is changing the game in property management software
Signing up for another piece of software isn’t your only option. At :Different, we've built a totally new way of handling property management that combines the best people with the best tools.
:Different for Agencies solves the biggest challenges faced by property managers with the first, truly all-in-one solution that makes scaling a property management business simple.
We give you access to a team of property-obsessed experts and specialised professionals to support your team in managing your rent roll; in fact, we handle every aspect of managing a rent roll.
Our property and operations managers have helped shape our tech-driven platform, and are here to take the legwork out of delivering a top-notch customer experience.
With :Different for Agencies, you can:
- Focus on what you love: spend more time selling properties and less time navigating the complexities of a rent roll.
- Unlock a guaranteed margin: gain a predictable cash flow without the hefty upfront investment.
- Grow your rent roll: level-up your customer experience and efficiently capture and convert high-quality leads.
- Make staffing challenges obsolete: we offer training, support and meaningful career progression to create unique pathways for the industry's best people.
Ready to get more out of your rent roll and build your business while staying in control? Chat with our team and book a demo of :Different for Agencies.
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