Did you know that the vacancy rate of rental units in the second quarter was over 5%? Keeping track of vacancies, maintenance, and monthly payments is quite the task as an investor.
If you’re a real estate investor with holdings in multiple properties, then you know that property management can be a lot of work. There are many different tools and platforms available to help landlords manage their portfolios, but it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you.
In this article, we’ll compare AppFolio vs. Buildium, two of the most popular online property management platforms available today.
AppFolio: A Quick Overview
AppFolio is a cloud-based property management software that offers a wide range of features to help landlords manage their properties more effectively. These features include online marketing of vacant units, tenant screening, leasing, rent collection, and financial reporting. AppFolio also offers a mobile app for tenants and landlords to use for communication and maintenance requests.
AppFolio is a platform that is growing in popularity due to its ease of use and its wide range of features. It is a good choice for landlords who have multiple properties and are looking for a way to streamline their property management.
Buildium: A Quick Overview
Buildium is another cloud-based property management software that offers many of the same features as AppFolio. However, there are some key differences between the two.
For example, Buildium is an excellent managed software for those who manage residential units, especially if you are managing less than 200 units.
Buildium also offers a mobile app for tenants and landlords.
Like AppFolio, Buildium is a good choice for landlords who have multiple properties and are looking to streamline their property management.
AppFolio has a monthly subscription pricing model with different tiers depending on the number of units you have.
The pricing for Buildium has a monthly subscription model that has different tiers. They do take into account the number of units, but there are no minimum requirements.
Let’s take a look at both of them in detail.
AppFolio Pricing Tiers
There are two different tiers with AppFolio; Core and Plus. However, AppFolio also offers commercial and residential leasing.
For the Core residential pricing, you can expect features such as:
- Marketing tools
- Streamlined leasing
- Management platform
- Maintenance management
The pricing for the Core residential plan starts at $1.40 per unit. However, AppFolio requires a minimum of 50 units to get started.
Altogether, when starting out, you are looking at a minimum of $280 plus start-up fees, which depend on the size of your portfolio, even if you have around 50 units.
As for Plus, you can expect all the features available in the Core tier, as well as:
- Workflow management
- Accurate insights
- Revenue management
- Exporting capabilities
- Account management
The Plus residential plan starts at $3 per unit. However, you need at least 500 units per month to qualify for this tier. The minimum you are paying for this tier is $1,500 per month, plus the starting fees, depending on your portfolio.
Buildium Pricing Details
While AppFolio has two tiers within the residential industry, Buildium has three tiers, starting with Essential, following with Growth, and finally Premium. These three tiers are all for residential leasing, so let’s take a look at each.
With the Essential plan, you can expect features such as:
- Tenant screening
- Customer support
With these options, you can also add additional features for an extra price. For example, you can add inspection starting at $40 per month, eLeases at $5 per lease, plus extra charges for bank accounts, online payments, and credit card payments. Additionally, the starting price of this tier starts at $50 per month but can increase with the number of units within your portfolio.
With the Growth plan, you have access to the features of the Essential plan, but some of these features will upgrade to premium features.
For example, instead of basic tenant screening, you have access to premium screening. The customer support now includes ticketing, as with the Essential plan, as well as live customer support.
Additionally, you will see:
- Free property inspections
- Unlimited eLeases
- First five bank accounts for free
- And online payments for free
The Growth plan starts at $160 per month, with no minimum requirement. Of course, as with the other plans, this pricing depends on your portfolio size.
Finally, we have the Premium plan. This plan starts at $460 per month and includes all the features mentioned above. Additionally, you will see other features, such as:
- Priority customer reports
- EFT fees waived
- Open API
Budgeting is crucial to your success, but you also need to know what you are getting for the price. The prices of each cloud-based software are quite significant, but remember that these are starting prices. The price of Buildium increases as your portfolio grows in size.
So while Buildium is a good option for investors with a smaller number of units, it can increase as your company grows.
Software Overview: AppFolio vs. Buildium
Pricing is crucial. One of the biggest reasons why investors fail is their failure to budget. However, it is also important to know what you are paying for to make sure that it makes the most sense for your enterprise.
Let’s take a look at the features of each software next.
AppFolio: What You Get
One of the biggest features that many clients like about AppFolio is the AI leasing assistant. With this feature, you can automatically set in motion the process of screening tenants, booking appointments, and qualifying leads.
Additionally, AppFolio offers full-time customer service. This means that you can contact someone outside of business hours to help you with any questions or concerns that you may have.
Finally, some of the other features that AppFolio can help you and your team oversee the workflow of your properties, keep accurate records with the revenue management feature, and export your data into a variety of formats.
It will also help you with:
- Business operations
- And communications
Each of these features is integrated within the platform and works seamlessly with each other. It even allows you to track offenses by tenants, late payments, and even maintenance requests.
Buildium: What You Get
With Buildium, you can take advantage of the various features available in each tier to help you manage your enterprise.
One of the best parts of Buildium is that it does not require minimum units, and neither does it charge per unit. This means that if you have less than 200 units, you might be better off starting with Buildium.
Another feature that Buildium offers is live phone support. However, only with the Growth plan. Some reviews do state that the customer service is unreliable.
Finally, they offer a marketing website included within their pricing. AppFolio also offers a marketing website, but there is an additional fee.
Using the marketing website that both of these companies offer is great because they offer integrations within the app, allowing tenants to login into the tenant portal and communicate and handle their affairs.
AppFolio and Buildium: Feature Comparison
Since both platforms are geared towards real estate management, you can expect that many of their features overlap. So let’s take a look at these features and determine which platform works better for you.
Both platforms offer listings management. This includes the ability to post your vacant units online, track applications, and even collect rent electronically.
Both platforms allow you to list your vacancies on popular listing websites like Zillow and apartments.com.
However, where AppFolio differs is the aforementioned AI assistant named Lisa. Lisa handles the day-to-day tasks such as scheduling showings and screening included in the application process.
Both platforms allow you to manage these listings within the portal.
As a property manager, you know that one of the most important aspects is tenant screening.
With AppFolio, you can take advantage of their app to conduct criminal and eviction checks on applicants, as well as employment and income verification.
Buildium offers a similar service called TransUnion. With TransUnion, you can also conduct these types of screenings.
The benefit of using TransUnion is that it is a third-party app, which means that if you ever decide to switch platforms, your tenant screening data can come with you.
Leasing is another important aspect of property management, and both platforms offer similar features. Both AppFolio and Buildium allow you to create custom lease agreements as well as add e-signatures. Additionally, both platforms allow you to collect rent electronically and even set up automatic late fees.
However, where AppFolio shines is its app. With the AppFolio app, you can collect rent, track late payments, and even send maintenance requests.
Buildium does offer a mobile app, but it is not as comprehensive as the AppFolio app.
Both platforms offer financial reporting. This feature is important because it allows you to track your income and expenses as well as generate reports for tax purposes.
AppFolio offers a variety of reports, including a Profit & Loss report, a Balance Sheet report, and even a Tenant Ledger report. Buildium also offers similar reports. However, depending on the tier, their reporting system is not as detailed and easy to use as AppFolio.
Complying with the government is important, and both platforms offer similar features to help you stay compliant. Both AppFolio and Buildium allow you to create W-940 and W-99 forms as well as file annual tax returns.
The Verdict Between Buildium and AppFolio
So which platform is better for you?
It really depends on your needs as a property manager. If you are looking for a comprehensive platform that offers AI assistance, AppFolio may be the better option.
However, if you are looking for a more affordable option with similar features, Buildium may be the way to go. No matter which platform you choose, AppFolio and Buildium offer similar features essential for property management.
The most important difference between the two is that AppFolio is specifically designed to appeal to investors with a large number of units. If you have more than 200 units, you have a better chance of getting your money’s worth out of AppFolio.
However, if you are starting out and managing under 150 units, you may want to try Buildium. You can always switch platforms later if you find that one is not working out for you.
How Balance Asset Solutions Can Help
At Balance Asset Solutions, we understand that property management can be time-consuming and overwhelming.
That’s why we offer a full range of services to help take the burden off of your shoulders. From bookkeeping and accounting to financial reporting and tax management, our team of experts can handle it all. We help your company run smoothly and efficiently so that you can focus on what’s important: your properties and your tenants.
We specialize in AppFolio consulting and training to help you get the best out of the app. AppFolio offers many features that can save you time and money, but it can be difficult to learn how to use them all.
Our team of experts will train you and your staff on how to use AppFolio to its full potential.
Additionally, we offer a wide range of services specifically designed for AppFolio users, including bookkeeping, accounting, financial reporting, and tax management.
If you are an AppFolio user in need of assistance, we can help.
Learn More About Appfolio Consulting and Training
The debate between AppFolio vs. Buildium is one that has been going on for years. Both platforms offer similar features and pricing structures, but they each have their own unique benefits.
We hope that this comparison helped you make the right decision. Are you looking for more information?
To learn more about AppFolio consulting and training, contact us today. One of our experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have.