Lots of property managers still use a pencil and paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage their investments. By doing so they are giving themselves a lot more work to do because there are good tools available to help them. There is lots of specialist property management software to choose from that is flexible, inexpensive and easy to use. There is no need to sign up for a long-term commitment or to pay a recurring annual payment. As property management programs can sometimes be complex, getting one with support and training included in the subscription fee is advisable. Support and training does not do you any good, however, if they are not available when you need them; therefore be sure that the software company’s office hours are extended, especially if time zone differential is an issue. In addition, be sure that the management program has been developed by an expert instead of someone who has limited experience. A developer who actually spent some time in property management is more likely to address all of its issues, from single-family homes to commercial property investment. The program you purchase should also contain the following features:

– Efficient data management. You will spend a lot of time entering records and searching through databases and so your property management software must make it easy for you to do those tasks. Getting software that makes these routine tasks a pain will soon cause you to give up on it. You might need to try out a trial version of the software to assess this for yourself.

– A full accounting package. Whether you prefer the simplicity of cash or the detail provided by an accrual method, the management program you purchase should support it. And, because a property manager is continually reading reports and calculating late fees and discounts, pick a program that does it automatically. The reports should be available at any time and for any period.

– Check writing. When you have to deal with a lot of checks, it is great to be able to just print them off with a click of a button. Not having this feature in the property management software that you choose will cost you a lot of time in the long run. Your software vendor should be able to put you in contact with a company that makes the kind of check forms you will need to print on to.

– Reminders. As a property manager, there will be plenty of important appointments and projects that you do not want to forget, so choose a program that offers automatic reminders either as pop-ups or emails. Be sure to send automatic reminders especially for late rent payments and leases that are about to expire.

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