Buildium vs AppFolio: Which Software is Right for Your Portfolio?

Buildium vs Appfolio

Are you searching for a good property management software? If you do a little research, you’ll almost certainly come across both AppFolio® and Buildium®. Though both platforms have gained immense popularity in recent years, it may be tough to tell which is right for your unique needs. That’s why, we have curated this Buildium vs Appfolio blog to help you choose the best one for your portfolio.

In this guide, we’ll look at two of the most well-established names in property management software: AppFolio and Buildium. Both are leading software solutions in the market as they continue to expand their interface with new capabilities. All of the features are specifically designed for property managers and owners alike.

Are you considering investing in either of these platforms?  If yes, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll go over their scope, features, and pricing. After that, we’ll compare them head-to-head to determine how each software solves the major challenges that property investors or managers face. 

Buildium Overview

Buildium Overview

Buildium stands out as a premier property management software in 2024. It has an integrated accounting system particularly designed to make the work of real estate owners easier. The software gained top marks in tenant screening and garnered a perfect 5 out of 5 rating from various users across the world. Landlords and property investors wanting to make the process of various facets of property management simpler must try Buidlium. 

Buildium Pricing

Buildium offers flexible pricing tiers tailored to different business needs. The different starting Buildium pricing for each plan:

  1. Essential: Starting at $55 per month
  2. Growth: Starting at $174 per month
  3. Premium: Starting at $375 per month

Buildium Reviews

The software has gained good ratings for various Buildium features. User feedback and industry analysis reveal widespread acclaim for Buildium, particularly for its:

  1. Online rent payment functions
  2. Maintenance request management, 
  3. Features like spanning accounting, leasing, communication, etc.
  4. Mobile application

Buildium Features

Many Buildium features can be found on the dashboard once you log in to the software. Some of them include:

  1. Tenant Communication: Buildium facilitates seamless communication between property managers, tenants, and property owners through dedicated portals and messaging systems.
  2. Financial Organization: The platform provides comprehensive financial management tools, including accounting, budgeting, invoicing, and reporting functionalities.
  3. Expense Tracking: Buildium allows property managers to track expenses related to maintenance, repairs, utilities, and other operational costs. Thus, it provides insights into budget management.
  4. Maintenance and Work Requests: Tenants can easily submit maintenance requests through the Buildium platform. It’s an advantage as it enables property managers to efficiently track and manage maintenance tasks.
  5. Easy Rental Application Processes: Buildium simplifies the rental application process for both tenants and property managers, from initial application submission to lease signing.
  6. Online Rent Payment: Another Buildium advantage is that tenants can conveniently pay rent online through its secure payment processing system. Thus, the tool helps reduce late payments and improves cash flow for property owners.
  7. Listing Syndication: The software allows property managers to syndicate rental listings across various online platforms to attract potential tenants.
  8. Tenant Screening: Buildium offers tenant screening services, including background checks and credit reports, to help property managers make informed leasing decisions.

Buildium Benefits

Some of the Buildium advantages include:

  1. Centralizes property management tasks, including accounting, communication, maintenance, etc.
  2. Improves communication between owners and tenants
  3. Tracks income and expenses easily
  4. Simplifies maintenance management by allowing tenants to submit maintenance requests online
  5. Allows businesses to scale as they evolve
  6. Protects sensitive documents from data breaches
  7. Easy to accessible dashboard after Buildium sign in

Buildium Pros

  1. Streamlined operations through centralized property management tools
  2. Dedicated portals for tenants, property owners, and managers
  3. Robust accounting features for tracking income and expenses
  4. Simplified maintenance management with online request submission
  5. Convenient online rent payment options.
  6. Scalable pricing plans and customizable Buildium features 
  7. Compliance tools for lease management and tenant screening
  8. Emphasis on data security and confidentiality to protect sensitive information
  9. Fully mobile-responsive platform for accessibility and flexibility

Buildium Cons

  1. Limited listing marketing tools compared to some competitors
  2. Lack of dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) tools
  3. Additional fees may apply for onboarding support
  4. Portfolio performance and analytics features available in higher-tier plans
  5. Not recommended for property managers with fewer than 100 units
  6. Some users report difficulties in setting up late fee charges
  7. Limited customization options for late fees
  8. No free subscription plan is available

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AppFolio Overview

AppFolio Overview

AppFolio is a comprehensive property management system utilized by property managers to oversee a variety of portfolios. They include residential, commercial, student housing, and community associations. It offers a range of features facilitating tasks like automatic listing distribution, marketing website creation, electronic lease management, and tenant and owner communication tools. Additionally, it boasts advanced functionalities such as an AI leasing assistant and a 24/7 maintenance contact center.

AppFolio Pricing

The structure of AppFolio pricing is based on the number of units managed, with a minimum monthly fee enforced for a certain number of units. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing for different portfolio types:

1. Residential:

  • a) Core: $1.40 per unit
  • Plus: $3.00 per unit

2. Commercial:

  • a) Core: $1.50 per unit
  • b) Plus: $3.00 per unit

3. Community Associations:

  • a) Core: $0.80 per unit
  • b) Plus: Not Applicable

AppFolio Reviews

AppFolio has gained positive reviews from users and industry experts alike. Here are some key points highlighted in reviews:

1. Comprehensive features covering all aspects of property management

2. User-friendly interface facilitating easy navigation and task management

3. Automation capabilities reduce manual tasks and increase efficiency

4. Responsive customer support with helpful resources and training materials

5. Scalable for property managers of all sizes, from independent landlords to large companies

AppFolio Features

Some of the essential AppFolio features that can be found once you perform an AppFolio login are as follows:

1. Property Marketing:

  • a) Customizable property listings
  • b) Automatic listing syndication to popular websites
  • c) Rent estimation tool
  • d) Integration with marketing websites

2. Applicant Management:

  • a) Guest cards for leads
  • b) Online rental applications
  • c) AI leasing assistant
  • d) Tenant screening
  • e) Customizable e-Leases

3. Resident Management:

  • a) Online tenant portal for rent payments and maintenance requests
  • b) Online owner portal for property performance tracking
  • c) Communication module for text and email conversations
  • d) Maintenance management tools
  • e) Property inspection mobile application

4. Rent Collections and Payments:

  • a) Receivables management for rent and dues collection
  • b) Support for various payment methods including credit cards and eChecks
  • c) Payables management for paying owners and vendors

5. Accounting:

  • a) Accounts receivable
  • b) Smart bill entry for invoice processing
  • c) Bank reconciliations
  • d) Financial reporting capabilities

6. Reporting:

  • a) Real-time customizable reports on leasing, transactions, property metrics, and tenant data

7. Analytics:

  • a) Advanced analytics module for insights into property performance with interactive dashboards and charts.

AppFolio Benefits

Some of the AppFolio Advantages are as follows:

1. Automates various aspects of property management accounting

2. Helps property managers reach a wider audience and fill vacancies faster

3. Makes the process of finding and qualifying tenants

4. Facilitates simpler communication between property managers and tenants

5. Makes it easier for tenants to pay and for property managers to track payments

6. Provides real-time customizable reports and advanced analytics tools 

AppFolio Pros

1. A suite of property management tools

2. Specific AppFolio login portals for owners, investors, property managers, tenants, etc. 

2. Customizable property listings with automatic syndication to popular rental listing websites

3. Efficient applicant management with features like online rental applications and AI leasing assistance

4. Streamlined rent collection and payment processing with support for various payment methods

5. Accounting module automates tasks like accounts receivable and bank reconciliations

6. Real-time reporting and analytics tools provide insights into property performance

AppFolio Cons

1. Additional charges for certain features such as AI leasing assistant 

2. Pricing is based on the number of units managed with a minimum monthly fee

Buildium vs AppFolio: Rental Listings

AppFolio focuses on flexibility and service through its automation-driven advancements. Lisa, AppFolio’s AI Leasing Assistant, manages routine tasks like scheduling showings. Moreover, AppFolio enables virtual showings as part of the lead-to-lease process. The listings are syndicated across online platforms such as Apartments.com, Zillow, and Zumper.

In contrast, Buildium provides rental property owners with a complimentary website with every pricing plan. Once a vacant listing is posted on the owner’s website, Buildium promotes listings across various online platforms. They include Apartment List, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, PadMapper, Zillow Rental Network, and Zumper.

Buildium vs AppFolio: Tenant Screening

In AppFolio, property owners can easily set leasing criteria in advance to quickly screen applicants. Tenant screening, an additional service with AppFolio, examines various aspects. Such as a potential tenant’s credit score, rental and eviction history, criminal background, and more.

On the other hand, Buildium’s tenant screening service is powered by TransUnion. When a landlord requests a tenant background check, the screening process starts. Buildium offers in-detail credit, criminal, and eviction information, with results displayed on the owner’s dashboard. Applicants are promptly informed of their acceptance or rejection and are added to the Resident Center to start accepting online rent payments.

Buildium vs AppFolio: Leasing

With AppFolio, landlords can make personalized, branded leases that can be easily signed electronically using any mobile device. Plus, lease renewals are automated and includes updating lease dates and rental amounts.

On the contrary, Buildium’s e-Leases assist landlords in handling the entire leasing process online. It gathers applicant signatures from any device with internet access. Landlords can swiftly set up lease templates, electronically sign leases and addendums, and securely store documents online for convenient access from anywhere.

Buildium vs AppFolio: Online Rent Collection

Both AppFolio and Buildium enable landlords to gather tenant rent payments electronically, schedule automatic late fees, and accept partial payments:

  1. AppFolio: Contact for current pricing.
  2. Buildium: Electronic fund transfers (EFTs) range from $0 to $1.00 depending on the pricing plan, while credit card fees amount to 2.95% of the transaction value

Buildium vs AppFolio: Tax Management

Both AppFolio and Buildium offer various tools to property owners that assist them in tax management. That includes electronic filing of 1099-MISCs and 1099-NECs.

Buildium vs AppFolio: Financial Reporting

AppFolio offers property owners flexible, real-time reporting with the help of over 80 customizable reports. They cover various aspects of business:

  1. Owner statements
  2. Income statements
  3. Sash flow statements
  4. Balance sheets
  5. Rent rolls

In contrast, Buildium simplifies rental property accounting by facilitating online bill payments and automatically recording recurring expenses. It provides detailed accounting reports and essential financial metrics, all accessible with minimal effort, such as:

  1. Monthly profits
  2. Real estate balance sheets
  3. Income statements
  4. Cash flows
  5. Bank reconciliations

Buildium vs AppFolio: User Experience

Buildium is well known for its user-friendly interface that emphasizes simplicity while retaining functionality. Its dashboard provides convenient access to essential features, and customizable workflows help streamline tasks. The mobile app enhances user experience by enabling property managers to handle tasks on their mobile devices.

AppFolio earns praise for its sleek and modern interface, designed to deliver a seamless user experience. Intuitive navigation and customizable dashboards facilitate easy access to vital information and efficient task completion for property managers. The mobile app enables users to manage properties and communicate with tenants remotely.

Buildium vs AppFolio: Customer Support and Training

Buildium’s plans offer various levels of support, ranging from ticket support in the Essential plan to live phone support in the Growth plan. Additional services like onboarding and priority support are available for an extra fee, with priority support included for free in the Premium plan. Plus, dedicated customer success management is provided for eligible customers.

AppFolio provides standard multichannel support across all pricing tiers. The enhanced support and live customer support are offered in its Plus and Max plans. Max subscribers also receive dedicated customer success management. While AppFolio offers onboarding services, the pricing and access details for these services are not specified.

Need to streamline your property management business?

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Buildium vs AppFolio: Integrations and API Access

Buildium offers a Marketplace of partner solutions tailored to property and association managers’ diverse requirements. These integrated solutions span staffing, lead generation, utility setup, etc. On the other hand, AppFolio provides its own partner ecosystem called the AppFolio Stack marketplace. Additionally, with their MAX plan, property managers gain access to a two-way open API, enabling integration with third-party apps like QuickBooks and custom builds to meet evolving business needs

Buildium vs AppFolio: Security Measures

Buildium focuses on various data security measures, including employing encryption, secure access controls, and regular security audits. It adheres to industry standards like SOC 2 Type II and GDPR to safeguard sensitive information. Whereas AppFolio also prioritizes security. It uses encryption protocols, multi-factor authentication, and stringent access controls. Regular security audits and compliance with standards such as SOC 2 Type II and GDPR ensure the utmost protection of user data.

Buildium vs AppFolio: Growth Tools

Expanding your property management business goes beyond just acquiring new properties. Utilizing growth-focused tools within your management platform can significantly boost business revenue. Buildium’s tailored software caters to growth-oriented property and association managers, offering various avenues to increase revenue:

  1. Buildium Rewards incentivizes managers with credit toward their Buildium invoice by encouraging tenants to sign up for Rent Reporting.
  2. Through Buildium Marketplace partners like PetScreening.com and HomeWiseDocs, managers can create new revenue streams.
  3. Buildium Property Insurance allows managers to offer liability insurance to residents, either covering the cost themselves or passing it on via an administrative fee.

AppFolio’s AppFolio Stack offers similar revenue-generating apps like PetScreening.com and HomeWiseDocs. However, unlike Buildium, users pay only for the integrated apps rather than a general subscription fee plus individual partner fees. Additionally, AppFolio provides master liability insurance and allows property managers to charge an administration fee.

Buildium vs AppFolio: Bottom Line

Choosing the right software isn’t just about comparing features and prices. It involves examining what each platform offers and how well it aligns with your goals.

Buildium and AppFolio offer similar features, so the decision boils down to which one suits your needs best as a property or association manager. If your main focus is on achieving tangible and measurable growth, Buildium might be the better choice for your business.

The good news is, there’s more support available to help you make your decision. Buildium offers a free 14-day trial, allowing you to test its technology without any risk or need for a credit card. You can try it out here and see if it’s the right fit for you.

If you need further assistance with deciding on the property management software, our experts are here to help. Contact us to get immediate support. 

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