Choosing a Condo Management Software
There is currently a vast amount of property management systems on the market to help you run and maintain your properties. At first glance, it can be very overwhelming and daunting when trying to decide which condo management software to choose. It may even be tempting to pick one of the various free management systems on the market. It's easy to see why, especially for a new building.
The added cost and inconvenience of weighing the options may seem like it's a task that can be pushed to a later date. However, taking the time to pick the management system that will work best for you and your building is a wise decision that could save you tons of time and money (not to mention headaches) in the future.
Let's start with the basics; there are two types of property management systems that you need to be aware of, premised based software and web based software.
The difference between these two types of software are as follows:
Premise Based Condominium Software
Premise based software costs more upfront, but you ultimately own the software. All the information collected by the software is stored locally in the management office.
Web Based Condo Software
Web-based Software is faster and has a lower initial cost. You don't own the software; however, this software is continually being upgraded with no hardware or software maintenance required. Information is stored remotely off site in the cloud, which means it can be accessed from anywhere using a smart device. Training and ongoing technical support are included as part of the package.
Why Should I Invest in Condo Management Software?
Investing in the proper management system for your building can help streamline your efforts by keeping your documentation and records organized and within reach.
This is vital for the sustainability of any company. By taking the steps to move towards a paperless office (or at least use less paper), you will maximize efficiencies and cut administrative costs. Besides, taking action to be more environmentally friendly can only strengthen your image and creditability with both your existing and potential clients.
Depending on your needs, the right management system will produce detailed reports and charts seamlessly and provide you with accurate information that will help you run your building efficiently.
By choosing to go with a less reputable, or even free management system, you run the risk of not complying with condo laws. This could ultimately cost you thousands of dollars in fines, penalties or legal costs.
Even more critical than staying current is finding a management system that is reliable. Nothing is more frustrating, for both the staff and the tenants then to have a system that crashes or is unavailable.
Customer service is one of the most important factors to consider when investing in a property management system. Out-dated and poor customer service can be frustrating and can cost you a lot in time and money. This is especially true if the software is complicated and hard to use.
Saving money upfront, only to find that most of your time is spent on the phone with poor service, isn't much of a savings in the long term. Reputable Management systems may cost more, but their well-educated support and training staff will quickly pay for itself.
Again, it's understandable that free software will attract even the best manager. And to be fair, it may be a quick solution when focusing on the immediate situation. However, be sure that whatever software you decide to use it can grow with you, or you may be forced to switch down the road, which will incur costs that weren't anticipated at the outset.
The following are some of the standard costs that are often associated with free software:
- Add-on Modules
- Upgrade Fees
Deciding Which Property Management System to Use
We have made a list of things to keep in mind when deciding on which property management system to use. The following is a checklist of questions to ask yourself:
1. Will it be easy to migrate our existing data to the new system?
2. Can the product take all of our existing data, as well as handle our data needs in the future?
3. Are there accounting features integrated and included in the software? Are the templates flexible enough for our business and will they comply with laws or local requirements?
4. Will the product help with the elimination of paper?
5. Will the software allow me to email owners and keep track of the interactions?
6. Will it let me create and manage work orders?
7. Will it allow electronic payments from residents or owners?
8. Is my data secure? Can I add restricted users?
9. Is the software user-friendly? Is it easy to navigate and search for information?
10. Is the software easy to learn and be trained on?
11. How much training is included? Are there easy to understand software resources online?
12. Is there an additional cost for product support?
13. How often will the software be updated?
14. Are client services available by phone or by email?
15. Am I able to have unique branding and a unique website for the building?
16. Can I provide an owner portal for residents to easily important information?
17. Is the software innovative? Will it stay up to date and continue to offer new services that are relevant in the future?
There are many factors that should be considered when deciding to buy a management system. Make sure to take the time and do your research before using any particular system, paid or not. By investing in the right system that fits your needs now, you will save yourself countless hours and thousands or dollar in the future.