AppFolio: The Basics

AppFolio is one of the top cloud-based property management software platforms available today. With name-brand recognition and a plethora of services (like scalable technology, Smart Bill entry, and mobile inspections, to name a few) there’s no question as to why this software is one of the best. 

The big question: is it right for you? Allow us to lend our expertise to the topic, and let’s dig in!

Who Should Be Using Appfolio?
  • Property managers or owners who manage 200+ doors. 
    • Appfolio Core (AppFolio’s plan designed for small to mid-size portfolios) has a flat fee of $1.40 per unit, per month, with a minimum monthly fee of $280. This rate breaks down to a minimum of 200 doors. If you have less than 200 doors but expect to hit the 200 mark soon, Appfolio can still be an excellent choice for you.
  • Businesses that may not have the budget for a large physical staff (this is more and more relevant in a post-covid world). 
  • Those who wish to manage property on the go. 
    • Appfolio’s mobile offering is second to none and works on both iOS and Android. This mobile management system is so all-encompassing, that it feels like its own ecosystem. 
  • Property managers with residential properties in their portfolio. 
    • While Appfolio is best suited for multifamily, single-family, and student housing, they also have carve-outs for HOA and commercial properties. 

What Can Be Automated in Appfolio?
  • Smart Bill Entry
    • Smart Bill Entry reads PDF invoices, extracts vital information, and processes it for more efficient bill payment.
    • Invoices are automatically forwarded to AppFolio (via email or mail) where they are then received, scanned, processed, and then digitally posted to your Online Portal for review. Once you approve the invoice, AppFolio facilitates an electronic payment to the vendor. *Note: At this point, there is still a need for a human to review what the AI puts in the system. You train the system over time to become more accurate. 
  • Real-time Flexible Reporting
    • Access and interpret your data with customizable reports.
  • Performance Insights
    • Create customizable dashboards with real-time data visualizations. 
  • Online Payments
    • Send and receive all payments through your online platform.
  • Late Fee Waivers
    • Whether you prefer to handle waivers in bulk or case-by-case, you can easily adjust and customize how you process late fees.
  • CAM Tracking & Reconciliation
    • Track, bill, and reconcile CAM (Common Area Maintenance) expenses and income.
  • Late Fees
    • Late fees are assessed precisely, and tenants are notified promptly according to lease agreements.
  • Corporate Accounting
  • Bank Integrations
    • Appfolio’s financial partnerships and integrations allow you to securely automate your accounting processes. 
  • Owner & Vendor eCheck
    • For owners and vendors who require eCheck payments.
  • Owner Contributions
    • Owners can make secure monetary contributions via credit/debit card or eCheck (ACH) to the property of their choice. This allows the owner to contribute funds for capital improvements or large expenses via electronic means through the owner portal. If an owner wants to use their personal credit card, the system will allow them to do this rather than paying the vendor directly and then sending the backup (vendor invoices and the accompanying proof of payment) to the accounting team for them to enter, thus making it a one-step process.
  • Tenant Debt Collections
    • AppFolio partnered with Hunter Warfield collections agency and created a process where you can quickly and easily turn over past tenants to the collections agency, report tenants to credit bureaus, and increase your revenue by recovering money that would otherwise go uncollected—all from within AppFolio.
  • Bulk Tenant Charges
    • Bulk tenant charges can be uploaded.
  • Payment Plans
    • Life happens. Deferred rent payment agreements can help and Appfolio can help ensure that they are accounted for and stay on track. 
  • Holding Deposits
    • Multiple applicant and refund deposits can easily be managed directly from escrow.
  • Loan Tracking
    • Monitor loans payable.

Phew…that was a long list of automations! We weren’t kidding when we said this software will streamline your systems and your business!

Are There Any Additional Costs Outside Of The Flat Monthly Fee?

Here are some upcharges you may encounter when working with Appfolio:

  • Premium lead generation
    • Online listings to generate leads for vacancies.
    • By activating a listing as “Premium,” your vacancy is published to leading, pay-to-list sites and receives featured placement on most sites (including free sites). Your listing will continue to appear on all free sites.
    • You only pay for verified leads from Premium sites, which means you only pay for leads that are unique – real people interested in your property.
    • AppFolio allows you to set a budgeted amount, so the leads stop once that amount is met. 
  • Websites 
    • Appfolio can design, build and manage websites for your business.
  • Appfolio Plus
    • An upgraded system designed for complex businesses managing 1,000+ units.
  • 24/7 Maintenance Contact Center
  • Online payments
  • Insurance Services
  • Tenant Screening
  • AI Leasing Assistant
Can Appfolio Costs Be Written Off?
  • Yes! Property management software is a business expense that can be written off.
  • You can also bill back your costs to clients as a monthly property management software fee.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Switch To Appfolio?
  1. You want to have seamless communication with your owners and tenants (through both SMS and online portals).
  2. You’re ready to work remotely on the road. Appfolio is extremely mobile-friendly and has the best app-friendly system available (according to our reliable accounting experts here at Proper).
  3. You like to network and party. Seriously! Appfolio’s yearly customer conference in sunny Santa Barbara is legendary in the property management world.
How Long Does It Take To Get Set Up In Appfolio, And What Does It Involve?
  • Allot at least two weeks to get set up in Appfolio. Transitioning from another software can take up to two months. 
  • Make sure you have the bandwidth to handle this undertaking, whether internally or with temporary hires. 
  • Be prepared to store all historical data in another system (like an external drive) as you will need that data.
Does Appfolio Offer Any Training?

Yes! Training begins with a demo, but you can also learn about Appfolio at your own pace with their full online training videos.

Outside of training videos, the website features a robust help section. Once you are subscribed to Appfolio’s system, you can utilize other users in the community and ask them questions, similar to an Appfolio-centric Reddit. Also, if you hire a team that’s already experienced in AppFolio to operate it for you it’s super helpful 😉

Any Pain Points?

The most common complaint from Appfolio users is its customer service. If you prefer to speak to a live human on the phone when you have an issue, you may be disappointed to find that Appfolio will always push you toward its online chatbots or help center to solve your problem.

A workaround for this issue is working with us at Proper! We will provide you with your own specialized team of property accountants who are experts in Appfolio. With our extensive experience, we can confidently steer you through any rough patches in Appfolio. 

Schedule a time to talk with us today, and we’ll have you sailing on smooth financial waters in no time.