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  • Wanted & Recommendations

    Property portfolio management software

    Hi guys.

    Been browsing this forum for a while but virgin poster!

    We have a portfolio of about 180 properties. All self managed. Ranging from rooms to 3 bed houses and everything in between.

    We are trying to update our systems a bit. Spent the last 20 years using excel spreadsheets while is become a challenge just to keep up to date.

    Does anyone know of any software, cheap or even better free, that can do the whole management side of it. Log rents, store tenant details, notify when EPC's and gas safe is due, notify when rent is due, etc.

    Thanks in advance!

    Ian

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    Hi Ian,

    Curious why someone with 180 properties is looking for "cheap" property management software?

    [Image: cheaper.jpg]

    Property software costs are tax deductible. Smile

    Have you had a look at Arthur?

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    Hi Vanessa,

    When I say cheap, I mean, not one of the packages that charges per property. I've seen a few that are like £5 - £15 per property per month which is eye watering when worked out over a year.

    We are happy to pay a fixed yearly fee or buy a decent package, but obviously if its too much, we would prefer to stick with the archaic system we have.

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    Hi Ian,

    On the off-chance that your properties are based within the M25, there is another option.

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    Stay with excel, just learn to script the repeating tasks, keep all transactions in a single table use exportasPDF to create the rent schedules.

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    Hi Arran,

    I was considering this, sitting down over a few weekends and learning the more advanced features. But then I though, if I do that, surely i'm better to learn MS Access instead?

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    Evolution path is Excel -> Access -> SQL Server, the same scripting language is used for Excel and Access, VBA.  Access you will need to build forms for data entry, where as excel you can use the spread sheet itself.  There is a limit per table of 1,000,000 rows for excel.

    SQL Server gives you web based management, so the application or system you develop is not sitting on your pc.

    My background is Unix, Oracle, Informix, SQL, 4GL. I started with excel because it was easy and have not as yet exhausted its functionality.

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    Hi Ian

    we own a property management company and I think we would struggle to control everything if we did not use a property management system. These days there is so much new legislation in place that proof you have sent various documents, historical inspections, notes on conversations etc are essential in proving your actions as a landlord.

     We use Jupix which i is charged per user so I think it is competitive. But I have used Rentpro as well.

    Fiona


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    Hi Ian,

    We are a Property Management Company, we use RentPro for our Management system, quite simple to use! You should be able to run a trial period to see how it works.

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    OK - here is our evolution - possibly you might say a regression, but functionally this year we are now light years ahead of where we were with *all* our data!

    Initially a few years ago with a couple of properties (HMO), got set up with LPM. Handy database running on one computer. Caused me to structure and record a few things that I might not otherwise have thought of

    A few HMOs later, needed a bookkeeper to help with some data inputting (mainly on costs / expenses). Moved LPM to a server (LPM is Windows, so just used Win 10 Pro single remote login facility), could have done LPM database remote login. Single user software an issue though

    Now with a property manager and business process outsource remote bookkeeper, and progression of 'Cloud' generally, wanted Cloud software. Opted for Arthur (though very pricey per room/tenancy and per month) and had a three month run in / transfer Jan-March 2018 anticipating live for the new tax year (personal and companies) 2018-2019. Found it complex and impenetrable - and many things worked better elsewhere. For example we were just Zapping its Calendar across to Google Calendar which already aggregated a lot more things (eg serviced apartment calendars, national calendars etc etc); and very much of property business data is *amorphous* - such as library of knowledge information, photos and videos shared with diverse parties, manuals for kit in houses, online tenancy application form etc etc - and bits of that mounted into 'intranet' web sites for houses, tenancy processes etc. That was already much better shaped in G Suite. So in a couple of days I built a couple of Google Sheets for Rent, Deposit and Room tracking and for Property Management Tracking, and a form for inspections. This is much faster, slicker and configurable than Arthur and it only took another couple of days to have set up everything from Jan 2019 forward into that system. We quit Arthur mid-2018 in favour of just developing our own platform, all integrated in G Suite.  While relational database thinking serves part of LL/lettings activity, there is a massive amount of property business data that is more amorphous. Anyway, for queries and synthesis and integration with sheets, the =QUERY command can contain the gamut of SQL commands, very powerful even for a non-computer amateur. I would say you definitely need a secure cloud solution, every document (incl also all receipts and invoices) scanned and OCR'd, fully searchable resource etc and on the scale you are at, you may be best simply to build the system that you most need, rather than to get an off the shelf solution, mostly costly where subscription cloud services are concerned.  If G Suite ever comes to contain a full blown integral SQL database, then of course that would for some things be slightly better than a synthesis of Sheets. The level of function and integration that we now have in G Suite (G Suite for Business) is stunning compared with what we have ever had before, basically we can have any conversation with anyone anywhere (investors, tenants, contractors etc etc) and be able to search up anything or drill to a defined folder, pull up docs, info, pics, whatever - assuming the phone, tablet or computer has an internet connection. Selective controlled read or write shares to anyone is all feasible. Total backup (dynamic and to secure offline) and backup-backup and backup-backup-backup is also very straightforward - obviously don't want to lose this resource of tens of thousands of files!  And at under 7 pounds per month per user (3 within the organisation in our case, me, property manager, bookkeeper), no complaints.

    Concerning stuff like Gas Safety, best to aggregate them all into one week of the year (if in one geographical locality, or even if not), say July, and test all CHSs/radiators at the same time - and use a private contractor not for example British Gas.

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