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How to build a property management solution

When you decide to develop a property management platform, you should clearly understand the way ahead. Here’s a roadmap to follow when building your real estate software and a list of things to keep in mind while you’re doing it.

Real estate management software development step by step

The requirements for real estate software are actually no different from the requirements of any other management software: data must be stored in a database, users must be able to perform various tasks via a dashboard, the platform must ensure secure billing and provide in-depth analytics, and so on. 

As a result, the key development phases are the same as for any enterprise-grade software:

  • Discovery phase. This is where you discuss your project requirements with the business analyst and product owner. A project manager and team leaders can join the process if needed. This stage results in a preliminary scope of work and an initial project roadmap.
  • Wireframing/prototyping. At this stage, you get clickable prototypes of all the screens in your future software to test out user stories and finalize your ideas.
  • UI/UX design. This is where you see the final design and can test the usability of the features you’ve requested. Based on your feedback, the team finalizes the tech stack selection, and you can determine your total project estimates.
  • Development. During this stage, your development team delivers your mobile and/or web app and implements the frontend and backend functionality you require.
  • Release and ongoing support. This is where the product is tested and released. You may also sign a long-term support contract for ongoing platform updates and maintenance.

As a result of this process, you get property management software uniquely suited for your needs and business goals. However, this is possible only if your development team delivers on its promises. If this doesn’t happen, you can end up with a mess of buggy code along with wasted time and opportunities

Challenges and concerns when building real estate software

Building a platform nobody will use is obviously not the best investment of time and money. As a result, you need to focus on the biggest concerns from the very start of the property management software development process:

  • UI/UX efficiency. Any user should be able to perform any task without too much hassle. Plan for a combination of texts and images to create a consistent and intuitive user journey.
  • Compatibility. Your PMS must be able to seamlessly import and export data via API integrations. Plan for compatibility with other tools you use from the start.
  • Cybersecurity. Billing automation is an important part of most property management apps, which means users will enter sensitive banking details. Make sure that this data—as well as passwords and other personal information—will be securely encrypted, hashed, and stored.
  • Support. Software crashes can happen for any number of reasons. It’s vital to have a retainer contract with your property management web developers, who should be able to solve any tech issues and explain any complexities to your end-users.
  • A future-proof technology stack. Your property management software will need to work and remain competitive in the years ahead. This means that when you decide to hire a software development team to deliver a property management system for real estate, they shouldn’t use a technology stack just because it’s time-tested or adopt the latest shiny tech which could be abandoned in a year or two. Instead, your stack should be current, stable, and unlikely to be replaced or discontinued in the near future

The best way to meet these challenges effectively is to hire skilled professionals who can deal with them. 

Why outsource property management software development?

In general, there are two ways to access the expertise needed to develop real estate software: by building an in-house team or by outsourcing. 

Outsourcing offers standard benefits such as cost reduction and zero recruitment expenses, but there are several more positive outcomes you may not have considered:

  • Relevant expertise. Unless your company specializes in property management software development, you’ll be in unknown territory and be unprepared for serious challenges. Gaining access to developers with relevant expertise can save you a ton of time and nerves—not to mention the cost of fixing expensive mistakes.
  • Experience in developing similar solutions. This is another advantage of expertise—a team that’s successfully developed a PMS in the past is more likely to have ready solutions and modules at their fingertips, which can significantly reduce your overall development time and budget.
  • A result-oriented team. An outsourcing partner is contractually bound by your service level agreement (SLA) to deliver results. In contrast, an in-house team has less pressure to deliver on time, which can lead to missed deadlines that you’re powerless to cope with.

In summary, outsourcing the real estate software development process to skilled professionals is a good way to get a highly performant and robust platform with all the features you need. 

This brings us to the next question: what should those features be?

ommon property management software features

Property management tools come with a wide range of functionality, but obviously, some features are core. Here’s a list of the essential features of real estate management software.

  • Lease management. This helps you deal with rental property and manage all your tenant-related processes.
  • Inventory management. This is essential for industrial and commercial property applications. It reduces equipment downtime and improves operational performance.
  • Data analytics. This allows you to view crucial facility reports and data in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Payments and accounting. These cover all payment-related operations, from rent collection to tracking utility bills and maintenance expenses.
  • Landlord/tenant portals. These are useful for tasks such as handling tenant requests and maintenance tickets and timely communication.
  • Administrative tools. These include communication channels, calendars, listing management, and tools for other administrative tasks.
  • Integration with various rental and listing platforms. This helps you centralize your property listings and publish them seamlessly across different platforms. 
  • Housekeeping module. This feature helps schedule and oversee housekeeping tasks and personnel performance.
  • Booking module. This helps applicants select and book rental spaces and allows landlords to pre-screen and approve booking applications.

This list is not exhaustive and will be significantly expanded by a team that knows the details of PMS development. 

How can you know which of the real estate software development companies you contact will be able to implement the features you need? The answer is simple—look at their portfolio. Make sure that when you outsource, the team’s previous expertise is relevant to your needs

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