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Real Estate

Creating a Custom Property Management App for Real Estate

Andrii Horiachko
17 August 2020 • 16 min read
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Creating a Custom Property Management App for Real Estate

The real estate business is increasing dramatically these days. To satisfy clients and increase revenue, it’s not uncommon for businesses to automate processes. Some companies buy popular property management systems for real estate agencies or hotels. Others invest in customized software.

According to the NAR report of 2019, 44% of home buyers began their search online and use more often website and mobile applications than real estate agents, especially when speaking about the young generation

technologies in real estate

If you have a real estate company, you’ll want to do business with a platform or set up a proprietary system through which you can grab some of that traffic. 

 

 

What is Property Management Software? 

A property management app is composed of software that is designed to automate business processes in property management. 

That might mean communication between tenants and landlords. It could be reservations and hotel bookings. It might be customer support, billing, checking-in or out, or marketing.

 

Types of Property Management Apps

Here is an overview of the common types of property management software:

  • Apps for Rental Property Management for Long and Short-Term Rentals 

This type of app can make it easier for the rental manager and the individual or family looking to rent. An example would be Zillow Rental Manager or Property Buddy.

zillow

  • Residential Property Management Apps for Houses, Apartments, & Multi-Unit Buildings

These sorts of apps are mainly used by managing companies and landlords. Examples include Buildium and AppFolio Property Manager.

appfolio

  • Apps for Condominium Property Management for HOA Properties, Condos, Co-Ops, and Townhouses

This sort of renter’s app is for more specific types of properties. Some examples are Easy Storage Solutions or Rentec Direct. 

  • Vacation Rental Property Management Software

This type of app would be for management companies that rent out vacation properties. Rentals United or Guesty are two good ones. 

guesty

Source: Guesty

  • Commercial Property Management App for Retail and Office Space

If your company has commercial property space available, an app can help you get a tenant in there as quickly as possible. Something like InnQuest might be the way to go.  

  • Property Management Accounting Software

You also might want software that can help you with the accounting aspect of property management. AppFolio and Sage work well for this. 

  • Apps for Industrial Property Management for Logistics and Warehouse Facilities, Industrial Properties, and Offices

Buildium is probably the most popular tool for these sorts of rental. 

Besides, there are two types of property management apps. The first is commercial products. The second is custom property management software. The latter can be made to match an owner’s needs perfectly. This sort of PMS is also highly scalable. 

However, compared with mass-market offerings, these custom solutions are more expensive. 

Custom property management systems have many potential benefits. This is why bespoke real estate management software development is gaining momentum these days, despite the higher prices.

 

Why Build a Custom Rental Property Management App?

Here are several arguments why you should consider building your own landlord property management app.

  • Fast and Easy Management 

If you set up your software system, you will know everything about it and how it operates. You won’t have to take any time to learn the tools of a new platform.

  • Task Automation

The main goal of any custom product for property or hotel management is to reduce the number of daily tasks. By delegating much of the routine work, you’ll free up time to look into new business opportunities.

  • A New Channel for Getting Customers 

You can heavily promote a customized software platform or app for your property management business. If your potential customers are impressed by it, they might mention it to their friends and families.

  • 24/7 Customer Support

According to Bain & Company research businesses that provide better customer experiences get revenues between 4% and 8% above the average on the market. So setting up a 24/7 customer support system on your software platform is something that today’s customers are going to demand especially when speaking about the hospitality and property industries.

  • A More Secure and Safe Solution

When you develop your software, your dev team is the one that can put all the safeguards in place that you want. That way, you can reassure your customers that their information is safe with you.   

  • Powerful Analytics

Business intelligence is one of the most powerful technologies for real estate that can impact dramatically on business success. So if you always want to have your finger on the pulse of what is happening with your company you should have tools in place to track growth and performance.

  • Effective Communication

You can put a system in place on your app or platform to communicate with both your customers and employees. 

  • Higher Customer Loyalty

A customized real estate platform that your customers like to use will keep them coming back. 

  • Managing Multiple Properties

Managing several properties at once can be a significant challenge. If your app is the one-stop place where you can do that, it’s going to make your life a lot easier. 

  • Scalability

Bespoke PMS is designed for further expansion. In time, you can easily modify what you have as your holdings increase or your business model adjusts. 

  • Easy Backup and Recovery

You always want to be sure that all information contained on your app can be quickly recovered and backed up. Bespoke PMS is the way to do that.

 

Features of Rental Property Apps 

Now you can see that custom management solutions are crucial for any property business. There are no strict rules concerning the functionality of a home management app. However, we recommend considering these must-have features. 

 

Property Management Apps for Landlords

  • Property Listings Manager

A customized property listing feature is helpful if your hotel deals with numerous online travel agents (OTAs) or landlords who rent multiple properties. You can handle all of your accounts in OTA platforms and update room or apartment availability regularly.

You can also eliminate overbooking risks and add reservations made by a receptionist offline.

  • Task System

As you develop a rental property management software to take over some of your daily burdens, consider integrating a task management module. Recurring tasks can be automated. Unique, one-time activities can still be done manually.

Developing a mobile task manager allows your team to be flexible and fulfill their assignments on the go. While you can always track supervising task status on your smartphone as it’s done in the before-mentioned Getsy app.

task management for property management app

  • Automated Processes

The software should automate routine tasks, such as accounting and communication. Automatic notifications should also be included, as should online check-ins, auto-responses, payments, and more.

You can create different email templates to deliver personalized messages to users if you’d like. You can schedule the best time to send them as well.

  • Multi-Calendar

This is another one of the essentials for a property management system for hotels or rental business. 

Multi-calendars are designed to display reservations that come from different channels all in one place. This is where you would see room availability and guest status.

calendar booking feature

Multi-calendars also let you add details about each reservation so you can know as much as possible about each guest and their potential needs. 

  • Reports and Analytics

Advanced reporting tools need to be a part of any custom property management platform as well. 

The property business is complicated. Your software should have a reporting feature that covers all possible business aspects. That might include housekeeping, income, expenses, fees, payments, and available or occupied rooms.

The inclusion of smart statistics can help you understand where your business is heading. You can adjust your strategy as you identify strengths and weaknesses. For convenient sharing, you should make sure that your reports are downloadable in different formats.

  • Accounting for Agencies or Multiple Properties 

Property management software (PMS) can be used to track your profits. You can create reports with it. You can also control contractor payments, as well as payments to property owners or vendors. You should use those reports for tax purposes. For example, here is how the accounting dashboard of the Managecasa software looks like:

  • Safety Regulations 

Today IoT technologies in real estate are on the rise. Adding IoT connectivity to your software will allow you to better manage the buildings in which you have a controlling interest. You can connect smart devices like smoke detectors or furnaces with your app. That way, you’ll get real-time notifications if something goes wrong.

  • Contacting the Tenant 

Contacting the tenants in case of an emergency is easy if you have one or two houses for rent. But what if you have many properties, and don’t remember the names and contact details of every person? You can quickly find the needed information when you keep it in your app.

 

Property Management Apps for Tenants

  • Payment Solutions

A household management app should have integrating deposit and balance payment options. It should have email reminders and notifications. You might also want to add group payments, upselling possibilities, currency conversions, and surcharges to your PMS.

You can add the payment history and credit report then they will be able to see all payment details. Here is how our engineers’ team developed a credit reporting feature for the OnRadpad app.

onradpad app

  • Direct Communication with the Property Owner 

Online communication with the landlord is often desirable. One of the most common things that often happens is that something gets broken and needs to be repaired. It might take a lot of time and effort as for landlords as well for tenants to deal with that thing. Here can help such a feature as we built for the property management app Proper. That’s not only an effective communication tool for landlords and tenants but also a solution when something at home needs to be quickly fixed. The app allows you to communicate quickly with landlord regarding this repair issue, send photos of broken things or what needs to be repaired, and even find 3rd parties contracts to get that issue fixed quickly. While a landlord can control the repair, share the bill or pay for the service within the app.  

property management platform

  • Home Maintenance Automatization 

Tenants perform many maintenance duties, and you can automate some of them. Garbage and recycling might be on that list, as well as cleaning, landscaping, and small repairs. 

You can set them up, then add notifications or automatic payments to service providers. That makes the tenant experience more enjoyable.

  • Keyless Experience

These days, you can add functionality to your app so that a tenant doesn’t have to use a key to get into the property to look at it. That will lead potentially to a higher number of property showings and faster rents. One of these features examples our engineers’ team built into Rently app to provide keyless access. to the property

keyless access

  • Online Receptionist

If you’re focused on the guest-centric approach, you’ll probably like the idea of a virtual concierge. Your tenants will like it too. With this feature, you can take the pressure off your admin staff and deliver an excellent customer experience.

What can virtual assistants do?

  • They allow for fast and easy booking, check-ins, check-outs
  • They can collect guest data
  • They reduce paperwork
  • Users can interact with them to select rooms or apartments
  • You can program them to upsell services and additional products 

Here is an example of an AI-powered hotel assistant by Mezi:

virtual receptionist

Source: TechCrunch

 

Building a Custom Property Management System: Steps & Cost

The dev process starts with the discovery phase. That is when a general overview of the product, its steps, and features will be discussed. 

After business analysis, there will be wireframing and prototyping. This stage is devoted to UX design, understanding the target audience, and creating user journeys and flows. 

The UX deliverables will be hi-fi wireframes and low-fi prototypes. Once the client has agreed to the prototype, that’s when UI design starts.

Next are front and back-end development. You’ll decide what technologies to use to implement your features depending on its main purpose like whether that is a real estate listing app or solely property management solution. We together figure out what database to use, and also what program languages and CRM. It’s also critical to find out the best solution for your app realization to meet your timeline and budget like using real estate APIs integrations, SDKs, or building features from scratch as well.

The development stage happens along with continuous testing run by QA engineers. How much time IT specialists need to complete your app will depend on its complexity.

Hence, now you should get a clear understanding of what the property management solution is, why its’ so helpful for real estate businesses, and why and when you should develop your custom property manager app.

Anyway, if you still have some questions about your idea or project, drop us a line, and we will back to you with a free quote. Our software developers team has experience in solutions development for real estate, so together we will deliver a truly cutting-edge solution on the market. 

 

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