How To Build Property Management Software From Scratch

・10 min read
How To Build Property Management Software From Scratch

Global real estate management software industry size was valued at USD 8.98 Billion in 2017. The global real estate management software market is expected to reach USD 12.89 Billion by 2025. According to IbisWorld, there are currently over 290,000 businesses in the property management sector in the USA.

Since 2008 there has been a visible rise of investments in the real estate sector. However, investors now are much smarter than they were a decade ago and they expect sophisticated solutions such as property management software.

Do you want to build property management software? This article will answer the most common questions regarding the topic and help you build an excellent product.

What is a Property Management System (PMS)?

A property management system is software designed for property managers, owners, and operators to automate and simplify key business processes in managing properties.

Those business processes may involve communication between tenants and landlords, finances or data storage. Property management system software is usually based in the cloud, but can also run on a local server.

Property management systems are used in industries and fields like:

  • hospitality
  • commercial real estate
  • local governments
  • manufacturing and logistics

PMS solutions are designed for property types like apartment buildings, houses, single-family, and multiple-unit properties who are renting either for the short- or long-term.

Commercial property management systems

Perfect for owners of office buildings and retail sites. They use the PMS to:

  • reduce wait time on property maintenance
  • customize online reporting
  • gather lease data
  • collect online rent payments
  • schedule rent increases

Hotel management systems

Hotels and hostels use property management software to:

  • book rooms
  • manage bills
  • assign rooms
  • check guests in and out
  • track room availability

Home Owners Associations (HOA) and condo management systems

HOA management systems are designed for condominiums, townhouses, co-ops and property HOA. Those systems include features like:

  • reporting
  • e-payments
  • accounting
  • initial resident screening for sublets

Industrial property management systems

Used for offices, warehouses, logistic facilities and industrial properties. They have essential functions like:

  • facility maintenance management
  • space management
  • lease administration

We can also divide property management software by functions, which are as follows:

  • Applicant screening (AppFolio, Yardi, OnSite) - help to find qualified residents, generate a summary of important data like criminal history etc
  • Customer (tenant-owner) relationship management (CRM) (Buildium, Property Solutions, Leasehawk) - focused on financial reporting and offer lease tracking, automatic rent collection, tenant screening
  • Web-based portals and marketing apps (Zillow.com, Realpage, Rentbits) - help in lead generation and provide easy tools for real estate website design
  • Internet property listings (Trulia, Apartments, Airbnb) - connect renters with tenants and buyers
  • Short-term rentals management (Guesty, Kigo, Airsorted) - improve efficiency throughout the entire process from screening potential candidates to payments
  • Virtual tour software - as the name suggests it allows taking visitors on virtual tours. Property managers and homeowners can upload photos and videos of property for sale or rent
  • Contract software (Gatekeeper) - manage legal aspects and automates the process
  • Revenue management (Rainmarket, Sphere) - predict the behaviour of each customer segment and optimize product availability and price
  • Speed management (BuyersAccess, Avidxchange) - going paperless, centralizing and strengthening the internal control to gain profitability
  • Utility billing and energy management apps (Conservice, NWP) - help utility and energy managers gather utility bills and usage data from various sources
  • Payments software (PayLease, PayYourRent) - streamline the rent payment and collection process
  • Accounting apps (Intuit, MRI) - real estate agents, brokerage firms, landlords and property investors can keep track of business finances
  • Maintenance and lease management software (RentManager, RenTec) - track lease details to manage critical dates and financial obligations effectively.
  • Residential community systems (I-Neighbour, Nextdoor, HOA app) - enable secure access and interaction among condo, co-op and HOA residents using IoT technology
  • Integrated workplace management systems (MPulse, OfficeSpace) - optimize the use of workplace resources like management of real estate portfolio
  • All-in-one solutions (AppFolio, PropertyWare, Yardi) - owner and renter portals, rent payments, maintenance requests, accounting, reporting, bulk text messaging.

Why create property management software

Property management market is still relatively young yet very promising. Let’s look at the benefits of building a property management system:

Multiple property management

This is probably one of the most important reasons why property owners think about creating a PMS. This type of software eases the processes of accounting, reporting and communicating. All the necessary information can be found in the owner's portal.

Property management software speeds up business processes by reducing third-party tools so you can achieve better standardisation of management and increase its efficiency.

Scalability

PMS is a product with the potential for broad functionality. With businesses growing, they are likely to expand the system with more features like revenue management or tenant screening. Keep in mind that scalability of an online real estate management system is only available with a custom software solution.

Data storage and protection

No more paper reports and documents. PMS allows you to access the information with just a few clicks. What is more, it ensures maximum security. Note that the most convenient access to data is with a web-based system rather than a local-based one.

Automated tasks

Automation is a business’ best friend. By automating repetitive tasks like property vacancy posting, billing or responses to tenants your team will be able to focus more on productive assignments. Additionally, the risk of errors is significantly reduced.

Unlimited channels

With a custom property management system, you can cover all possible channels for distributing your rental or hotel services. No need to choose between Airbnb or Expedia.

24/7 customer support

You can integrate your solution with chatbots or virtual assistants to provide your guest with excellent support whenever and wherever.

Customer loyalty

A good PMS can take your business to the next level. With mobile availability, notifications, personalised marketing you will make your clients feel respected and appreciated. What is more, your system can support multiple languages and currencies which will strengthen the relationship with your customers even more.

Must-have features of PMS

A property management system will have different functionalities depending on its purpose. For example, a hotel management system will have online receptionists and housekeeping management features while industrial property management will have monitoring assets and inventory functions. However, we can all those functions down to a couple of core ones like:

Online payments

Payment integration will help you reduce the time spent on billing, decrease costs spent on paper documents and securely collect money.

By offering online payments, you offer your clients a quick solution as well as give the ability to view their account balances or receive receipts. Online payments work well with automatic notifications and email reminders.

Reporting

Reports will give you lots of information about how your business is doing covering expenses, income, fees, payments and property availability. Those reports can be customized to the needs of your business by adding extra columns or sorting by various variables.

Document management

Your PMS can store all the information about your properties, renters and finances. A custom solution will allow you to upload, download and manage documents like flow statements or rent rolls.

Communication

A built-in messenger feature allows you to contact renters directly via text message or email. You can send messages in bulk or individually, create groups and store the chat history within the system.

Calendar

Definitely one of the most essential features of a good PMS. Calendars are designed to display reservations from different channels, property availability and guests status. It will allow you to schedule meetings with tenants, create rent collection reminders etc.

Accounting

Your PMS can be integrated with a financial module that will help you work with loans, payments, bank accounts, debts etc. All in one place, securely stored and available with just a few clicks.

How to Develop A Property Management System

There are two ways in which you can develop a property management system: create a custom solution or use a ready-built one.

Custom development

A custom-made system will give you lots of flexibility and freedom when it comes to features integrated within it. Consider also benefits like:

  • everything will be tailored to the needs of your business
  • scalability
  • high-quality solution
  • easy integration with APIs and various tools like PayPal or Stripe
  • custom UX designed for your target audience

However, this type of solution can be more expensive and take more time to create, but give you independence.

SaaS

Sofware as a Service is a service subscription that provides you with a pre-build software. Here you will pay a monthly fee to access the system. Such ready-made systems are suitable for property management companies just starting out on the real estate market.

SaaS solutions are generally less expensive than a custom solution however have a limited set of functionalities, there are little to none abilities to customize it and you always have to depend on external tech support. What is more, not all of them support different languages and currencies.

5 easy steps to develop the next-gen property management application

If you choose to build a custom solution, no matter if it is going to be with an in-house team or outsourced development, expect the process to conclude in 5 steps:

  1. Define goal

Think about the perfect solution you want to create. About its must-have features, look, whether it is going to be available or mobile or desktop.

  1. Market analyze - an innovative idea

Analyze the market, look at the competition. Determine your target clients, research their problems and give them solutions in your product. Explore the grey area to gain a competitive edge.

  1. Design your MVP

Design an MVP with basic features and a beautiful design that can be released to a small testing group. Gather their feedback and implement changes accordingly.

  1. Development process - employ AI, big data, business intelligence, blockchain

AI is helpful in detecting patterns, data analysis and security enhancement. By using big data, you will be able to reduce maintenance costs and prepare a predictive analysis.

It won’t be long before blockchain in real estate becomes a new standard. PMS may well evolve into a blockchain-powered ecosystem that develops and manages entire operations for the real estate industry, so keep that option in mind.

  1. Testing, optimization and launch

Before the official release, test your software. This will help to avoid errors and misbehaviours. Optimize it for mobile devices of various types and sizes as well as different internet browsers. If all is well - launch it! Follow a marketing strategy to build a customer base and gain recognition on the market.

Conclusions

The rental market constantly is looking for ways to optimize and standardize processes. With property management software they can track and automate the back-office operations, property-related function and finances. A PMS streamlines owner-tenant-property-manager communication and provides a unified channel of interaction.

A custom solution allows businesses to expand and create a one-of-a-kind design and features. If you recognize the advantages of building one, teams at Selleo will be happy to help you with that. Our expert developers and graphic designers will create a cutting-edge solution and our QA specialist will ensure it is of the highest quality.

If you want to read more about building a solution like Booking.com or Airbnb, read our articles How To Create A Booking Website Like Booking.com? and How To Build A Website Like Airbnb?. You can also review our portfolio.

Related articles