With property management software, experience counts

Originally created in the early 80s, RentManager is property management software that takes advantage of their experience to produce software property managers will appreciate. One feature that stands out from most software is the capability to create and track loans. The owner-financed loans allow property managers to pre-qualify loans on the spot and charge the principal and interest directly to the tenant. RentManager utilizes their experience to think about features property managers need, and go one step further and design features property managers want. We spoke with Andy Williams from RentManager to learn more.

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APM: Please tell us more about RentManager.

Andy: Rent Manager, in its earliest form, came out in 1982. Since that time the software is continuously evolving. In 2002, we released the latest version. We have around 14,000 users worldwide. Rent Manager does everything from basic property management functionality, to in‑depth accounting, to leasing. There are marketing features and VOIP integration.

APM: Can you please provide more detail about the features?

Andy: A lot of software products give you a check box of features. I think one of our strengths is that we focus on the little things too, the details that other software passes over. We make sure to focus on features that really make a difference doing day‑to‑day operations.

Rent Manager offers full accounting. We provide drill down reporting and full double-entry accounting, electronic payments, check scanning and money order scanning. We’re working on doing some things with automated tables. We integrated web portals, where tenants can go online and make payments. Landlords can go online and look at their reports or place work orders.

Potential tenants can view vacant properties and apply online. RentManager integrates with all the major website portals, so that PM’s can advertise their vacancies.We supply a lot of industry specific features such as a built-in report writer. If clients want industry specific features we have the following: commercial management, manufactured homes, apartment and management company features.We’re trying to provide a product that covers a lot of ground without being too overwhelming.

APM: What makes you stand out from your competition?

Andy: I think experience matters. We’ve been doing this for a long time. There are only a handful of competitors that have been around as long as we have. We’ve also had three chances, three times to get this right. It’s evolved three times. We’re working on the fourth evolution right now.

We’ve learn from our mistakes. You can’t just hit the same program and add code over and over again. You end up with a product that looks out of place in a bunch of spaghetti. I guess that’s geek talk for code that just touches everything, and it just becomes a mess. I think something that makes us standout is definitely our experience. The other part is the attention- to- detail. Every keystroke counts. A lot of applications don’t take that into account. They believe a pretty interface simplifies things, but you lose a little bit of the detail and you lose some of the ability to customize.

APM: If we were to talk to your top customers, what do you think they would say?

Andy: They like the flexibility in our software. They love our support team. Larger customers find that it’s easy to manage, and it doesn’t require a lot of training to teach their staff what they need to do.

APM: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Andy: Every company is different. There is no one size fits all. I think that’s probably one of our biggest assets is the ability to scale. You can customize the look and feel of the product. You can customize fields and change the way it looks.

We offer our customers multiple options. They can buy the product or they can use our cloud service and get to us at anywhere at any time.. When I say these things are integrated, I mean they’re truly part of the code. If I take a payment, it automatically comes in. It updates the tenant record. It updates the bank balance. It tells me, “Hey, there are funds here, and it’s approved a payment.” It is in real‑time.

If we do a resident screening, you don’t have to wait 15 minutes to get your results. You click a button, and within 5-10 seconds, you have your screen up with the tenant’s history.

We go very in‑depth in our user permissions to give people the flexibility to lock their database down to any level they want. I think when you grow and start adding rental units, you don’t necessarily want to keep adding more staff just because you’re adding rental units. I think when you’re doing this, you have to have that option to be able to go in and customize it.

We also have an inspection piece, a mobile service piece. It’s a web‑based app that basically allows people to go out and do all their service work from their mobile device.

The ARM inspection piece is a nice one that allows people to go out and inspect their units, and automatically scan and attach information. They can create their own checklist, scan‑in pictures and attach them from right there.

APM: You guys basically offer several services within one solution, right?

Andy: Oh, yeah. We try to do everything a customer might need down to financing loans to a tenant if they need to.

APM: Do you want to talk more about the financing loans part? That’s actually something I haven’t heard before.

Andy: Yea, this was really designed for the manufactured home industry, but it does have applications elsewhere. In that industry, it’s getting tougher to find financing for people that want to purchase a home. They’re purchasing the home, and providing a financing option for the tenant.We have a loan module in the product that allows you to finance a loan to your tenant. It calculates the interest, principal, the escrow basically all the different loan aspects. It gives you the schedule so you can keep track of it.

We’re a customer‑based company. Everything we do is for the customer.

To Sum It Up!

Given that RentManager has been in existence since the 80s, the kinks are ironed out providing a product property managers will enjoy. RentManager offers several features including Loan Manager. Property managers can monitor owner-approved loans with this feature and avoid the hassle of dealing with outside loan programs.

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