Property Management Software Development Guide: Key Steps, Challenges & Features

Property Management Software Development Guide: Key Steps, Challenges & Features

With real estate and hospitality industries becoming increasingly more digitized, the demand for property management software (PMS) is growing rapidly. Property management applications enable landlords and tenants to streamline and automate many routine operations, including collecting rent, booking hotel rooms, or requesting maintenance. Whether you own, manage, or rent any property, this type of software can make your life much easier. So, let’s talk about property management systems, their benefits, must-have features, development process, and property management software price.

What is property management software?

A property management app is a software solution that allows real estate companies and property managers to streamline operations and automate numerous processes, such as billing, maintenance, housekeeping, listing, and financial management. It can be deployed in any type of property, from hotels and resorts to office buildings and industrial real estate. Property management system software can be used not only by landlords and managers but also by tenants and guests.

Types of property management systems

To create property management software, you need to learn all the details. Before diving into key features your app must have or software development cost, let’s take a look at the main types of property management systems:

  • Residential property management software. These apps assist homeowners, landlords, and leasing companies in such tasks as managing properties, scheduling maintenance, and handling numerous leases at once. Tenants can use housing management software for paying rent or signing digital contracts. The most well-known residential property management system examples are Buildium and AppFolio Property Manager.
  • Industrial property management software. Property rent management systems for industrial real estate offer owners and managers essential features for maintaining and inspecting properties. Features like equipment tracking, inventory management, and preventive maintenance scheduling enable managers to ensure that properties are up to code and regulations and run as smoothly as possible. Two widely used solutions for industrial properties’ rental management are CRESSblue and SOFT4RealEstate.
  • Condominium property management for commercial sites. For people managing commercial properties, such as office buildings or retail sites, real estate management systems provide numerous capabilities, including instant rent collection, maintenance scheduling, real-time occupancy tracking, and lease contracts management. Examples of property management systems for commercial real estate include Rentec Direct and Yardi.
  • Hotel and hostel management systems. The hospitality industry introduced real estate technologies a long time ago and continues to use them to streamline workflow. Hotels, hostels, and resorts use software solutions to scale and automate such day-to-day operations as room reservations, housekeeping scheduling, checking guests in and out, and even online marketing. Some well-known examples of this type of solution are Preno and Little Hotelier.
  • Homeowners association management software. Homeowners Association (HOA) software is used by owners of condominiums, townhouses, single-home developments, and co-ops. These solutions can be used for communicating with other residents, getting information about homeowners, scheduling HOA meetings, and automating accounting operations.

As you can see, property management software plays a crucial role in the real estate industry. So, let;s talk about the key benefits of PMS and reasons behind its popularity .

Benefits of property management system software development

So why do you need to build property management software? Here are the main reasons for seriously considering software development services for a property management.

  • Increased scalability. Off-the-shelf solutions won’t be able to scale with your business. To create a future-proof app, consider hiring a property management software development service Custom solutions, especially cloud-based property management software, will seamlessly scale back and forth according to your business needs without technical issues and downtime in case of an increased number of users. Also, adding new features and implementing cutting-edge technologies will enable you to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Data protection. Digital property management always involves handling sensitive personal data. With a custom solution, you will be able to control security measures yourself and implement the newest techniques and methodologies as soon as possible to stay one step ahead of potential cyber threats.
  • Task automation. Every PMS is focused on automating repetitive day-to-day tasks. It allows you to reduce the number of employees and save money on salaries. Remaining team members will be able to focus more on strategic tasks and high-priority assignments. Also, with processes automation the chance of human error is reduced significantly.
  • Multiple property management. Property management companies constantly handle several listings at once, and PMS can help with this task. With real estate management tools, employees can easily access reporting and accounting, streamline operations, instantly communicate with potential tenants, and keep track of many properties at once.
  • Customer support. Real estate and hospitality professionals need to be in touch with clients 24/7. PMS with chatbot or virtual assistant integrations can provide constant customer support and help companies build better relationships with users.

PMS offers homeowners, landlords, real estate agents, and tenants significant advantages and provides them with tools to automate and optimize countless processes. But what features does your custom app need to have to impact your real estate business?

Key features

So, before developing property management software, it is crucial to learn about key PMS features. There is no strict set of rules when it comes to the app’s functionality, and you should include features that align with your business needs and product vision.

  • Payments and accounting. One of the main goals behind rental property management software development is to enable seamless and convenient rent collection. By offering different options for in-app payment, reminders via email, and notifications, real estate companies and landlords ensure on-time transfers. Robust accounting features help companies to streamline financial operations and generate extensive reports.
  • Inventory management. This feature is crucial for the online real estate management system for industrial and commercial properties. Comprehensive inventory management allows owners and tenants to reduce equipment downtime and improve key operations.
  • Data analytics and reports generation. Hospitality and rental property management companies need to process and summarize data to fine-tune business strategies and improve operations. Data analytics and reporting features allow employees to save time and present information in a structured and engaging manner.
  • User portals. For seamless navigation within your app, you need to create several user portals with different functionalities. Usually, PMS has an owners portal, tenants portal, and applicants portal.
  • Communication channels. In the real estate industry, clear and instant communication is key to success. Having great communication tools is a must-have for your app. Using PMS, owners and managers need to be able to update policies, send notifications, or contact individual tenants.
  • Online leases. Apartment management apps have to enable tenants to submit and sign online lease offers immediately. This feature saves a lot of time and makes the whole process of using apartment management apps more convenient.

Remember, the list of PMS features is not carved in stone and there is no universal set of functionalities that your app must have to succeed. Consult with your tech team, marketing professionals, and business analysts to determine which features are good fit for your solution.

Property management software development process: step-by-step guide

Now, when we have covered the basics, let’s talk about how to develop property management software and how much does property management software cost.

  • Discovery phase and prototyping. Every custom property management app should start with the discovery phase. During this process, you and your development team discuss your future application, conduct market research, create a product roadmap, and maybe even build a usable prototype to test some core functionalities.

    You can outsource the discovery phase to a product development company with experience in the real estate industry or try to go through this process with an in-house team only. Just remember that this stage requires marketing professionals, business analysts, and project managers.

    The discovery phase should not be rushed, as it will serve as a strong foundation for your future application. A thorough analysis of market niche, target audience, and business requirements will also allow you to optimize property management software development cost.

  • UI/UX design. After the discovery phase is over, your team can start working on the app's design. During this stage your development team needs to create an appealing and user-friendly interface that will align with your overall visual branding. It is important to remember that many property management solutions, such as apartment property management apps or applications for commercial sites, will be used not only by owners and landlords, but also by tenants.

    Create two user portals with a unique set of features and don’t forget to test usability of all features presented within your PMS. Based on your feedback or data gathered from the target audience, your team can determine the final app cost estimate. After this phase is over, front-end and back-end development can start.

  • Front-end and back-end development. This is the stage when your vision comes to life. If the discovery phase was successful and you received all necessary deliverables, such as a list of core features, project documentation, and product roadmap, your development team should not experience any problems.

    Based on the complexities of the features, the tech stack you and your team have chosen, the number of third-party integrations, and the development timeframe, the app development cost will differ. Simple apps with limited functionalities can cost you around $20,000, but more complex solutions that have more chances for success in the modern real estate landscape will cost closer to $100,000.

  • Release and post-launch support. After your real estate property software has been launched, it is crucial to continue working with the software development team on ongoing maintenance and support, including security patches, updates, and bug fixes. To ensure data security and great user experience, don’t underestimate this phase.

Developing custom property management software from scratch can seem challenging, especially if this is your first software development project, but with a good understanding of PMS types and key features and thorough discovery phase, you can build an excellent product.


With numerous technological advancements, selling, renting, or managing property became significantly easier. Property management apps are real game changers for homeowners, tenants, and real estate professionals. Great applications can help you attract new clients and gain a competitive advantage in the real estate market. With this guide, you will learn about property management software's key benefits, types, essential features, and the development process itself. This information will enable you to discover the full potential of your real estate business and translate your ideas into a digital product.