5 steps to developing a custom property management system
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5 steps to developing a custom property management system

12 min
Jul 21 2020
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The global property management market has grown considerably over the last decade. This is especially true for industries like real estate and hospitality. Analysts are sure it will reach $12.9 billion by 2025. As of 2020, the United States alone is represented by more than 270,000 businesses in this field. What is more interesting, the companies started noticing that tech-savvy solutions lead to increasing demand from consumers — and then bring increased revenue. In this article, we’ll find out how to build real estate management software that helps you simplify all processes, attract more customers, and hook the new ones along with those you already have.
Table of contents

What is a Property Management System?

Property Management System (PMS) is a software (client-server configured) application to manage operations in real estate, hospitality, logistics, and manufacturing industries. It replaces a lot of time-consuming and inefficient spreadsheets and paper processes related to booking reservations, guest checking-in/out, KPI reporting, accommodation rates, billing, etc. Powered by web and cloud technologies, modern custom property management software solutions surpass the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model far beyond the common front desk.
Normally, developers build a property management system for operators, property managers, owners, or landlords. Since their first usage in the 1980s, such platforms have become a “must-have” feature to most hotels and commercial, residential rental companies.

Types of Property Management Systems (PMS)

Basically, the types of PMS are related to property types. So, depending on the property, you own or manage, consider property management software development, respectively. Below we’ll have a look at the five most popular types.

Residential PMS

This residential PMS will fit all your needs if you own houses, duplexes (triplexes), or apartment buildings. This way, you can keep all your tenants under control, no matter how many of them choose short-term rent. With the help of the PMS, you will be able to:
  • Sign rental agreements online,.
  • Organize tenants database,.
  • Track multiple occupancy leases at a time,.
  • Receive payments via different methods (credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, etc.),.
  • Schedule maintenance and inspections.

HOA and Condo PMS

Managing one condominium could be rather tricky, but what if you have a dozen condos? Well, you can make property management software for condominiums, townhouses, and co-ops, and, thus, automate a lot of tasks. For example:
  • Create daily/weekly/monthly reports,
  • Manage accounting,
  • Schedule and receive payments,
  • Organize maintenance.

Commercial PMS

If you aim at customers who operate in retail, finance, insurance, or IT, you will need commercial property management system development. Most office skyscrapers and shopping mall owners already have such platforms; however, hundreds of their colleagues still don’t. The last ones are trying to rely on CRMs, underestimating the benefits of custom solutions which allow:
  • Organize data from numerous renters,
  • Schedule payments and rent increases,
  • Receive payments online,
  • Manage property maintenance,
  • Create custom reports.

Hotel PMS

With the help of appropriate PMS, hoteliers manage to not only save their time and nerves but also save budget and significantly increase revenue. The reason for this can be easily found in the points below:
  • Tracking rooms status,
  • Checking guests in/out,
  • Searchable client database,
  • Assigning apartments,
  • Managing bills.

Industrial PMS

Industrial PMS is designed for owners of warehouses, logistics facilities, and industrial properties. Their main goal is to:
  • Track database updates, Manage facility maintenance, Calculate space, Schedule and receive payments.

Advantages of a Custom Real Estate Management Software Development

Cost reduction

Tons of paper documents, spreadsheets, and non-integrated applications require much time, workforce, and other resources, which means money. Some property owners used to consider ready-to-use PMS solutions, e.g., AppFolio or Propertyware. However, they usually find out shortly that besides monthly payments for subscription, there are also various fees, per-seat costs, maintenance and upgrade costs, etc. Alternatively, in case you order custom property management software solutions, you know exactly what you paid for. Moreover, you get extra features developed for your business exclusively.

Efficient data storage

Now, all the information related to your properties, renters, and finances can be stored in one place. You are free to upload/download files, search with filters, as well as manage rent rolls and balance sheet documents. You can also track maintenance issues requested by tenants and check the status of the tasks assigned to workers.

Multiple property management

Property management system development means you won’t experience double-booking or spend much time working with several property listings. Posting a vacancy to multiple channels and checking its status will be easy. With the help of multi-calendar, you will be able to track updates from different channels and navigate bookings in a matter of seconds.
5 steps to developing a custom property management system

Automated tasks

When it comes to hotel and rental businesses, it seems that everything needs human interaction. But in reality, a lot of flows and processes can be easily handled by a PMS. Accounting, reporting, payments, auto-responses, notifications — just to name a few.
Automated tasks

Scalability

In a modern world where IoT, Blockchain, AI, and other technologies can dramatically change the game, it is good to have custom software adapted to different scenarios. You don’t have to wait for new releases like your colleagues who preferred ready-made variants. You can add new features, initiate API integrations, or re-design anything whenever your business needs it.

Data protection

When you create management software for real estate, security is a top priority. To prevent data leaks and system breaches, back-end specialists implement encrypted protocols and two-factor authentication.

Localization

Languages and currency support are crucial for international businesses. Ready-made solutions may not have the language your customers use, or there could be absent a cryptocurrency payment option that you are interested in. This is why it is preferable to choose a custom property management system — once you lend an office to the IT team somewhere in Europe, you can easily accept their payments in Ether.

How to Make a Property Management System Software: 5 Main Steps

In recent years, more and more real estate owners want to make a property management software solution better, rebuild it, or create a new one from scratch. In some cases, not only ready-made solutions don’t meet their expectations, but also the custom ones, which may sound pretty surprising. This is why you need to understand the five main steps of the development before you actually build a property management system.

1. Concept and strategy

This is where technical and non-technical requirements are gathered in a single vision. At this stage, not only designers and developers are involved, but also marketers and business analysts. After you define your business needs, target audience, and main goals, the concept and strategy will be clear, and the developers will understand what they have to do next.

2. Wireframing

Wireframing means that a prototype of the product is being built. Not an MVP exactly, but something you can already measure and adjust. Here, various user journeys, flows, and processes are created. Once a customer approves the prototype, designers and front-end specialists start working on the user interface.

3. UI/UX design of the property management software features

Here, you decide how your future product will look like. Please note that you need to take both sides into account: since not only the management will use it, but also renters and applicants, the owner portal and user portal UIs should be considered. Remember that search field, filters, drop-down menus, and drag & drop features make navigation easier.

4. Front-end and back-end development

This is where the developers actually build software for apartment or warehouse management. QA and feedback processing normally comes along with the development. No matter how many features and integrations you implement, the whole platform should be lightweight and straightforward. Are you satisfied with the speed? Do you think every tab and button is clear and in the right place? Do you feel safe once logged in or transferred payment? Although you can change or fix anything anytime, it’s better to ask yourself and developers these questions before the launch.

5. Post-launch support

PMS maintenance and support are important even if you have your own IT department. Due to the specific coding, configuration, and integrations, it is strongly recommended to keep communicating with the team that was asked to create management software for real estate. First, your IT and support team will need to be trained. Second, some bugs may appear. Third, after using the system in real life, you would probably want to add or alter something.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Property Management System?

The cost of the property management software development may vary depending on the region you choose for outsourcing. The price discussed with some offshore developers could be the lowest on the market; however, the same might go for the quality. And don’t forget about communication difficulties. While looking for the best option in terms of price and quality, consider development companies from Eastern Europe. Here at Exceed Team, we offer the best solutions for the money so that you can be sure — the balance between your budget and the features you require will be kept.
StageInitial price
Concept and strategy$5,000
Wireframing$7,000
UI/UX design$5,000
front-end and back-end development$120,000
Post-launch support$50/hour

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

  • Limited functionality
Some customers tend to save as much money as possible. Normally, they don’t consider real estate management software development preferring ready-made SaaS subscriptions. Eventually, they realize the lack of features and capabilities but rarely switch to the custom solution. Consequently, this affects their work and potential income.
  • Dependency on tech support
Most of the popular PMS SaaS claims they provide 24/7 support, so you can contact them regarding any issue or query and get help. But we all know what happens in the real world. You submit a ticket, then wait for a few hours when someone responds, then you need to provide screenshots or describe in detail. Sometimes, you can contact support via email or chat and make things go faster, but there is no guarantee the person you got does have appropriate knowledge and skills to solve the problem. When you opt for a custom PMS solution, your development team is always in touch and knows the product in detail, which helps to fasten the issue settlement.
  • Wrong design and technologies
SaaS models presume that all the businesses have the same model, follow the same flows and processes. Indeed, at first glance, all hotels, for instance, function in the same way. But if you dig deeper, you’ll notice the difference. When using something universal, you have to yield and make yourself feel comfortable with the interface and tools you are paying for, even if you really don’t. When you decide to build software for apartment management, it’s up to you to determine how your platform will look like and how it will work.
  • No customization
When you choose a software-as-a-service model, you can’t expect any customization for your business. Salespeople will try to convince you that you’ll get a better product after each update and that your feedback could be used in the next releases. Apparently, this won’t happen. Just imagine how many clients such companies have — they just can’t consider every single query or “should have” feedback.
Alternatively, when you order to make a property management system software, you are the stakeholder. So you can discuss and implement any feature or any integration you want.

Exceed Team Experience

Here, at Exceed Team, we believe that each business has its own vision and ideology, which should be brought to the world and not limited by any frames. This is why we don’t meet client expectations. We exceed them. And when we are asked how to develop a real estate management software so that it would impress anyone who starts working with it, we say: “Let’s find out!” Having created solutions for the real estate industry in the U.S. and Europe which utilized the latest technologies, we are ready to face any challenge in the field.

Final Thoughts

Although ready-made platforms are still popular among numerous property owners and managers, they can’t compete with tailor-made solutions in any way. The value of a custom PMS is unbeatable in the long-term, which is an indisputable benefit. So, to fully experience other advantages of a custom PMS, feel free to contact us and discuss everything regarding your perfect property management system.
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