First and foremost, what even is cloud-based property management software?

It does just what it says on the tin: it’s software for managing property. It is an essential tool for all property managers and keeps buildings running properly.

Property management software is used for any and all combinations of the following:

  • Rental payment
  • Tenant screening
  • Leasing management
  • Building maintenance
  • Tenant portal
  • Budgeting
  • Accounting (our personal favorite)

Here’s where Proper comes into the picture. Proper is a property management accounting service that uses AI and machine learning technology to power our Fortune 500 level accounting team. We are experts in cloud-based property management software and are trained in Appfolio, Rent Manager, Yardi, and more. When you hire Proper, we take over maintaining all your accounting within whatever platform you’re using, eliminating the need for an in-house accounting team. 

Imagine that choosing a property management software is like choosing a luxury vehicle (I’m imagining a Bentley), and Proper is your personal driver. You can sit in the back seat working on managing your properties, while we make sure your portfolio is steered in the right direction.

There are two types of property management software: 

Server-based: The more traditional of the two. It must be manually installed and lives on physical servers and hard drives. Remember installing Microsoft Word on your computer from a CD? Remember your computer even having a CD drive? Remember CDs? Almost feels Amish now.

Cloud-based: The more modern and widely used of the two. It requires no physical hardware and lives on the cloud (along with all our Facebook albums of class reunions, favorite cat videos on our phones, and important Dropbox documents). 

In terms of convenience and everyday application, think of these two as Venmo (cloud-based property management software) versus paper checks (server-based). 

There’s a plethora of reasons cloud-based property management software bests a traditional version:
Freedom:
  • You can property manage from anywhere, on the go. 
  • Now, more than ever, we know the importance of being able to work remotely. Work from home is the new normal. 
  • You can access your cloud-based property management software from anywhere that has an internet connection — be it your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can be in the Starbucks drive-thru or your home office or sunning on a beach in Maui. 
  • The traditional model keeps you tied to your property management office. Having to work solely from a physical location is extremely limiting and inconvenient in today’s world. This limited accessibility also limits how well you are able to manage your property. 
Updating with ease:
  • Cloud-based PMS has the ability to adapt and update regularly. 
  • Just like the Uber app on your phone, or your laptop’s OS, your cloud-based property management system is ever-evolving based on customer needs.
  • Whereas a server-based system is almost impossible to update. 
    • Doing so would take an immense amount of effort and funds: technicians, time, labor, new physical drives. 
    • This is why most traditional servers are never updated at all. Imagine if you were still using the very first ipod ever made instead of Spotify. The horror!
Storage:
  • All of your data is automatically and constantly backed up to the cloud. 
  • No more losing valuable information because someone forgot to do a manual backup of their computer.
Streamlining
  • A traditional software often requires an IT person or department for regular use and maintenance. Not the case with cloud-based. 
  • Keep in mind, IT will only problem-solve technical issues, they cannot help you with logistics, human error, or an unbalanced balance sheet.
Less Expense: 
  • It costs less and you get so much more for your money. Bottom line. 
Synchronicity Across Platforms: 
  • Cloud-based property management software works well with other cloud provider’s programs. 
  • It’s typical to use a third-party provider to address accounting. The highly popular Appfolio, for instance, works seamlessly with Proper. 
Not that jazzed about managing technology and your portfolio?

No problem! A relationship manager at Proper can do it for you. Someone like David — a real life human who manages your account personally and who you can contact directly. This is an invaluable asset.

Having a powerful PMS platform requires operators who are specialized in the aspects of this business and the tools they are using, and that requires extensive training or diligent hiring. I have seen too many times underutilization, misuse, and rigging, all at the expense of the surprise and owner. Before you get started with Proper, we work to identify these flaws, explain why they may have happened, and then put processes in place to prevent these issues.

David Lyons, Relationship Manager at Proper

*Most property management software will offer you a “deluxe” version that includes a tutorial and a hotline, but no PMS offers a David. 

So how do you choose the cloud-based property management software that’s right for you? 
Here are the top systems that Proper supports:
  • AppFolio Full of advanced features and hugely popular, AppFolio is best suited for property managers with large portfolios. Best features: AI leasing assistant and 24/7 contact center for tenant’s maintenance requests. 
  • Yardi A simple and extremely versatile system that works for all kinds of properties — multifamily, affordable housing, self storage, shopping malls, and even airports. Best features: free training and no minimum or maximum number of units required.
  • Buildium A property management software built by property managers. A robust and all-encompassing software that is most suitable for small to mid sized residential portfolios. Best features: unlimited number of account users (did you hear that, Netflix?), automatic listing syndication, and quick electronic payment processing. 
  • Rent Manager Highly customizable and user-friendly software that is tailored to customer needs. A great option for properties of all sizes. Best features: texting app and regular updates based on property managers’ requests. 
  • Entrata An easy-to-use software with open API (Application Programming Interface — a software intermediary that enables two applications to talk to each other), so Entrata can easily chat it up with Proper. This property management software is best suited to multifamily properties. Best Features: intuitiveness, ability to go paperless, and the offsite invoice team (allows property managers to email invoices in bulk to Entrata for manual entry).

If you have questions about what’s best for your property needs or how Proper will work with your current property management system, we’re happy to help and available to talk.