How to Develop a Custom Property Management App for Real Estate

How to Develop a Custom Property Management App for Real Estate

26 November 2021 • 22 min read

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate business is increasing these days dramatically. Since the onset of the crisis, median home list prices have been up 23%. 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.

In this article, you will learn the details on how to develop property management software for real estate and why your business needs one. We’re sharing our experience in the real estate industry based on our successful custom apartment software development such as Rently, French Real Estate Association, Apartmii, and RadPad.

According to the NAR report of 2021, 97% of home buyers began their search online and used websites and mobile applications more than real estate agents, especially when speaking about the younger generation.

Use of Internet to Search for Homes

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.

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 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.

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

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

Managing companies and landlords mainly use these sorts of apps. Examples include Buildium and AppFolio Property Manager.

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

  • 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.

Vacation Rental Property Management Software

  • 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.

Commercial Property Management App for Retail and Office Space

  • 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.

Property Management Accounting Software

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

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 rentals.

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. That's why bespoke real estate management software development is gaining momentum these days, despite the higher prices.

Furthermore, there is software that scans rent prices and may improve your earnings. Read more about it here.

WHY BUILD A CUSTOM RENTAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT APP?

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

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 will 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.

Slava Ivanov

Slava Ivanov

Global IT partnerships and Strategic development

Contact Slava to get all the information on real estate and proptech software development

Learn more

Powerful Analytics

Business intelligence is one of the most powerful technologies for real estate that can dramatically impact 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 on your app or platform to communicate with 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 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 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 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 System for Property management software

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

It is another one of the essentials for a property management system for hotels or rental businesses.

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

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.

Multi-calendar for property management software solution

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 manage better 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 every person's name and contact details? You can quickly find the needed information when you keep it in your app.

Read also: Blockchain Use Cases in the Real Estate Industry

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 Radpad app.

Payment solution for property management 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 for landlords and tenants to deal with that thing. One of our solutions – property management app Proper – can help here. That's an effective communication tool for landlords and tenants and a solution when something at home needs to be quickly fixed. The app allows you to communicate quickly with the landlord regarding this repair issue, send photos of broken things or what needs to be repaired, and even find 3rd parties contracts to fix that issue quickly. While a landlord can control the repair, share the bill, or pay for the service within the app.

Direct Communication with the Property Owner

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 potentially lead to a higher number of property showings and faster rents. Our engineers' team built one of these features into the Rently app to provide keyless access to the property.

Keyless Experience for property management app

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:

AI-powered hotel assistant by Mezi

Read also: Real Estate Website Development Guide.

Custom Property App Development Cost

When it comes to property management app development, the first thing you must decide is what you will develop: MVP or full version of property app. Next, you need to decide on the following components:

  • The set of features
  • The software provider (freelancers, in-house team, or a development agency)
  • The location of software providers
  • The software development methodology
  • Launch date

Based on our expertise, we know that building a custom property management system MVP development costs could be between $ 10,000 and $ 50,000.

What about the details of the complete application development? You can find information about the time and price for each stage of app development below. And you can understand the required budget and timing of your project.

Bringing IoT into the property rental industry

A fully IoT-powered rental showing process that doesn't require the agent to be physically on-site.

Read more

Bringing IoT into the property rental industry

1. Estimation, Research & UI/UX design

Time: 280 hours

Cost: $8 400

The development process always starts with the discovery phase. That is when a general overview of the product, its steps, and features will be discussed. We study your requirements, needs, and wishes for your project. Then our company creates a list of items for analysis. We collect all the necessary data and process it to find patterns that are relevant to your expectations. And our company approves with you all details of your future streaming service.

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.

2. Development

Time: 640 hours

Cost: $25 600

Depending on its main purpose, you'll decide what technologies to use to implement your features, like a real estate listing app or solely a 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.

3. Testing & Launch

Time: 240 hours

Cost: $6 480

The development stage happens along with continuous testing run by QA engineers – we do many different tests to check if everything works correctly in your application. Our team corrects errors if they occur. 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 it's so helpful for real estate businesses, and why and when you should develop your property management software.Then we agree with you on the final version of your property management service. And then our team launches your project.

4. Creating technical documentation

Time: 40 hours

Cost: $1 600

The company's IT specialists create a document that contains all the necessary information about your application.

So, we figured out the approximate prices and time for each stage of development. And now, for convenience, we will present all this below in one table.

#

Stages

Time

Cost

1

Estimation, Research & UI/UX design

280 hours

$8 400

2

Development

640 hours

$25 600

3

Testing

240 hours

$6 480

4

Creating technical documentation

40 hours

$1 600

Total

1 200 hours (5 month)

$42 080

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Do you want to get the precise time and the cost of a streaming service project development? If you still have some questions about your idea or project, drop us a line, and we will get 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. Contact our Softermii team, and we will help you.

Property Management Application Challenges

Property software development can be quite challenging. But if you know the main challenges before starting rental property management software development, it's easier to avoid possible emerging problems. After all, forewarned is forearmed. Here are the things to look out for:

Testing stage

When creating a rental property management software, some companies want to save as much money on development as possible, often omitting a crucial testing stage. And such a choice can bring lots of problems as the solution may not work properly and bring financial and reputational losses. The best way to create a seamlessly working app with a comfortable budget is to find a trusted partner with hands-on experience in the real estate and proptech industries.

Security issues

Privacy-related concerns are an important issue for all kinds of companies – from big enterprises to middle and small-sized businesses. Real estate companies usually operate with sensitive data such as tenants, vendors, and employees' personal, banking, and financial information. When developing a real estate solution, the company has to pay special attention to data security – the development team must follow all security protocols to prevent possible data breaches and leaks.

Define the Right Target Audience

Although it sometimes might seem quite obvious, choosing the right target audience for property management software solutions can actually be a problem. It is crucial to define the target audience before starting the development process. According to the 2021 NAR report, there's a major growth in the millennial generation as home buyers and tenants, while Gen Xers and Boomers are more often among landlords and sellers. It's necessary to understand who you're dealing with to implement the correct features and to make the UX as user-friendly as possible.

Softermii Experience

We in Softermii have a wide range of experience in developing custom property management solutions. Over seven years, we have been creating products driven by IoT, AI, video conferencing, and AR/VR.

Furthermore, we have developed a number of successful apps in the real estate industry. These include Proper as a property management tool, Rently as an instant property tour solution, an app for real estate agents, and RadPad as a rental app for landlords and tenants. Our real estate projects received widespread praise, and RadPad was named one of the Top 10 Best New Apps for two years in a row.

Also, we've created Apartmii – a custom engine that is immediately ready to be integrated into any real estate application. It helps to shorten development time and save costs without losing the quality of the product. With the help of new real estate technologies, Apartmii provides users with a safer and easier experience. It employs AI to learn about user behavior, VR for virtual tours, AR to highlight features, a basic UI for anyone to use, a live video tour to get the online experience as close to real-life as possible, and automatic credit scores for rental applicants.

Final thought

After mobile applications were introduced to the real estate industry, purchasing, renting, or managing property has become simpler than ever. All parties involved in the search process, from agents to brokers to consumers, benefit from these apps. Especially as homebuyers and tenants are more likely than ever to use online searches, a professional and well-developed real estate app can be a huge success.

Softermii ensures that you are completely prepared to join and remain in the market with a competitive app. We will help you discover the digital potential of your real estate business and turn your idea into a seamless digital experience. Contact us for a free consultation and begin your developmental process now.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is real estate management software?

Property management apps aim to facilitate landlords and real estate professionals to track leases, residents, and maintenance tasks, collect rent, and manage finances to reduce costs and streamline operations. It can also include reservations and hotel bookings, customer support, billing, checking in or out, and even marketing.

What is the best software for property management?

The main goal of building custom property management is to streamline and automate the day-to-day responsibilities of landlords and property owners or managers. So, the best software is the one that fulfills its goals and objectives flawlessly and takes the business to a new level.

What are the benefits of a custom property management solution?

Custom property management systems fulfill multiple goals at once – they offer fast and easy management, task automation, effective communication, higher security standards, customer loyalty, etc. Also, they are easily scalable to let your business grow. That's why bespoke real estate management software development is gaining momentum these days, despite the higher prices.

Where can property management software be used?

Property management solutions can cover a wide range of real estate spheres. Some of them are Booking, Catering, Real estate and property maintenance, Insurance, Financial management, Listings, Communication, etc.

What are essential features for property management platforms?

The features highly depend on the tasks your property management software solution aims to cover. However, there are a few we recommend implementing: listing manager, task system, automated processes, reports and analytics, payment, communication tool, accounting, video-tour, and online receptionist.

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