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A New Breed of Software  [ iStockAnalyst ]
July 26, 2008 09:57 PM
By: Marc Courtenay   
Saturday, July 26, 2008 3:47 PM
Sectors: Computer and Technology 

As home prices continue to fall, those looking to acquire rental properties will find themselves in an ideal market along with the thousands of property managers these property owners turn to simplify their life.

But how do property managers simplify their life? How does a property management company grow and manage their business without increasing their staff, information technology, cost or time. The answer is simple, software. But not just the same traditional software property managers have struggled with over the years. No, what I'm talking about is a new breed of software which is revolutionizing the way small and medium sized businesses operate. It's called software as a service or SaaS. SaaS is a model of software deployment where an application is hosted as a service and provided to customers across the Internet. Another name for this is "web-based" software.

Leading the charge is a company called AppFolio, makers of AppFolio Property Manager, web-based property management software. Released to the public in late May, AppFolio Property Manager offers a complete general ledger accounting solution with an ever-expanding list of time saving features that make managing thousands of properties a relatively easy task. Some features include: instant universal search, Google Maps integration, check printing in a variety of formats, letter writing, automated rent and bill posting, unit vacancy tracking, expense breakdown by unit and rent increase automation.

AppFolio Property Manager, being web-based, is accessed and operated over the internet. For property managers this comes with many advantages over traditional software. For one, employees can access the application and work from anywhere. In addition, AppFolio can rollout features to the application frequently and seamlessly without any effort or disruption to the user.

But property managers would be mistaken if they thought software was all they were getting out of the deal. As SaaS implies, AppFolio Property Manager is perhaps better thought of as a service. A service which includes free data migration, training, support, data backup and ongoing software upgrades.

SaaS is the future and it's companies like AppFolio that make its advantages over traditional software as obvious as the ongoing housing correction and the investment opportunities that lay ahead.