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How to Choose the Right Property Management Software

Are you still using Excel to keep track of all your details? Or maybe you’re not impressed with your current Property Management Software (PMS) and looking to upgrade?


Property management is notoriously difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. By leveraging the right Property Management Software and partnering with industry experts, your life can become a whole lot easier.  


Manufactured Housing owner searching for property management software

 

What Is Property Management Software? 

Property Management Software (PMS) is a digital tool designed to help owners and operators handle various aspects of managing residential or commercial properties. Property Management Software can streamline all sorts of day-to-day operations including resident screening, rent collection, and utility billing. 

 


Why Is Specialized Software Important for Manufactured Housing Communities? 

The world of manufactured housing is full of unique needs, challenges, and regulations; selecting Property Management Software tailored to those intricacies significantly impacts the operational effectiveness and profitability of your community.


Specialized software for manufactured housing communities addresses unique requirements that general Property Management Software might overlook - for instance, understanding the unique relationship between the lot and the home, managing sites versus "units" or other incorrect nomenclature, and handling specific regulatory compliance issues.


Above all, the right software allows property managers to optimize operations effectively and efficiently.  With a clear understanding of PMS and its importance, the next step is identifying the specific needs of your manufactured housing community. Our industry experts have put together a list of factors to consider when shopping for Property Management Software for your manufactured housing community. 



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Manufactured Housing Software vs. General Property Management Software 

Understanding the distinct requirements of manufactured housing is key to choosing the right Property Management Software. To illustrate the differences and why a specialized approach is critical, here's a comparison chart highlighting the unique features and capabilities of each:   

Feature/Need 

Manufactured Housing  

Property Management 

Software 

General  

Property Management

 Software 

Proper Terminology 

Fields and reports are labeled with proper MH-specific terms like "sites" or  

“lots” and "residents". 

Typically uses general real estate terms (like “tenants” and “units”) which don't align with the specific needs of manufactured housing. 

Site-Specific Management 

Handles the nuances of managing diverse site types within a community, such as vacant lots and inventory homes. 

Generally designed for managing uniform units (like apartments), without specific features for different types. 

Regulatory Compliance 

Includes features to handle the specific regulatory requirements unique to manufactured housing, such as utility compliance and license management. 

Focuses on broad property management regulations; may not include specific regulations for manufactured housing.  

Lease Management 

Tailored to manage site-specific leases that can vary significantly from one site to another within the same community due to factors such as prospectus management or rent control. 

Standard lease management features aimed at uniform lease types across all units. 

Utility Management 

Thorough utility tracking, monthly rate recertification, and high-end integrated billing to maximize recovery and compliance. 

Typically lacks monthly rate recertification and thorough professional analysis – leading to possible compliance issues.  

Tenant Screening & Onboarding 

Specialized screening processes that cater to the unique needs of manufactured housing communities. Integrated seamlessly with PMS, reducing redundant data entry and errors. 

General screening processes designed for a wide range of residential properties, and data may not transfer to PMS. 

Financial Reporting & Analysis 

Detailed tracking and easy, customizable reporting with visibility into different types of sites, including revenue occupied vs physically occupied sites. 

Less likely to differentiate between different types of revenue streams within a property. Reports are hard to read, using non MH-specific terms. 

Scalability & Customization 

Highly customizable and scalable, addressing the growth and reporting needs of expanding manufactured housing communities. 

Scalable but may not offer the same level of customization for specific types of properties like manufactured homes. 

After reviewing the differences highlighted in the comparison chart, it's evident that manufactured housing communities have specific needs that general Property Management Software often fails to address. Choosing a PMS that is tailored to the intricacies of manufactured housing not only improves compliance and recovery, but also enhances the day-to-day operational efficiency and overall management experience.   


Now that we have a clearer picture of the unique features and capabilities of specialized Property Management Software for manufactured housing, it’s crucial to align these features with your community's specific operational needs. Understanding these needs will help ensure that the software not only addresses your current challenges but also supports your growth and adaptation over time. 

 


Understanding Your Operational Needs in Manufactured Housing 

Before selecting Property Management Software, you must understand your specific operational needs and the unique challenges of your industry. Identifying these requirements will help you choose a PMS that not only fits your current needs but also scales with your growth. 


Common Operational Challenges: 

  • Inventory Management: Efficiently managing your housing inventory is vital. You need to maintain accurate records of each site’s status, whether occupied, vacant, or under maintenance. 

  • Compliance Management: Staying compliant with often-confusing state laws and local regulations is essential, particularly concerning utility billing, lease agreements, rent collection practices, and eviction procedures. 

  • Business Licenses and Permits: Keeping track of licenses and permits is crucial for compliance with local regulations. Your PMS should help you track, store, and manage these efficiently. 

  • Variability in Site Types: Manufactured housing communities often feature a variety of site types, each requiring specific management tactics. 

  • Site Inspections: Regular inspections are key to compliance and safety. The right PMS should automate scheduling and tracking inspections. 


With a more solid understanding of your specific operational needs and the unique challenges within manufactured housing, let’s take a more detailed look into the key features you’ll want to consider when choosing Property Management Software. 

 


6 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Property Management Software 

After identifying these operational challenges, it’s important to choose Property Management Software equipped with features that can effectively address them. With that, here are the essential features you'll need: 


1. Built Specifically for the Manufactured Housing Industry 

  • Make sure the software you choose is designed with the unique needs and regulations of manufactured housing in mind. This ensures the software aligns with your industry's specific terminology and needs. 

    • Does the system use appropriate terminology like "residents" and "sites" instead of "units" and "tenants"? Proper terminology allows community managers to easily navigate the system and streamlines data entry, reporting, and day-to-day tasks. This terminology also shows up on resident-facing documents and invoices.   

    • Can you easily add categories specific to manufactured housing, such as dealer-owned or lender-owned homes? This flexibility allows you to customize the system to your community's specific needs.  


  • Inventory Management: Tracks the status of each community-owned home, whether occupied, vacant, or under maintenance.  This helps you stay organized and proactive in managing your properties. 

  • Titling: Documents the titling process, which is crucial in manufactured housing where ownership specifics are vital. This helps you avoid legal complications and helps maintain ownership records virtually. 

  • Inspections and Licenses: Set up site inspections and track necessary licenses, reducing manual oversight and enhancing compliance. This keeps your community compliant and ensures a well-maintained and safe community for residents

  • Compliance: With all of your information in one place, it’s easier to stay on top of deadlines and regulations. This protects you from legal issues, ensures your communities align with current regulations, and streamlines your day-to-day operations. 


3. Operational Efficiency 

  • Prospect and Lease Management: Streamlines the entire resident lifecycle from initial contact to lease renewal, enhancing resident acquisition and retention. This enhances resident satisfaction and streamlines leasing operations. 

  • Financial Operations: Integrates rent collection, resident charges, utility billing, and comprehensive financial reporting to simplify financial management and increase visibility. This provides financial clarity and helps you stay on top of your property's financial health. 


4. Revenue Management

  • Utility Billing: Manages utility billing seamlessly - everything from meter readings to rate changes and integrated billing - all while complying with ever-changing local regulations. This maximizes your utility recovery and ensures accurate billing. 

  • Rent Adjustments: Facilitates timely and complex rent adjustments across your community, whether it’s by percentage, specific dollar amount, rounding to the nearest dollar or penny, incorporating assumption agreements, or using a combination of the above. This helps you optimize revenue by never missing an increase. 

  • Reporting: Provides insights such as usage patterns and cost recovery rates, helping in making informed decisions. This helps you make data-driven decisions and optimize operational efficiency. 


5. Understands Revenue-Producing Sites vs. Non-Revenue-Producing Sites 

  • In manufactured housing, some sites are revenue-producing while others might be vacant homes or simply dirt lots. Your PMS should be capable of differentiating and tracking all these types accurately. This ensures accurate financial tracking and helps optimize site usage. 


  • Your PMS should centralize all your operations, from inventory management and prospect tracking to screening, lease creation, delinquency tracking, legal notices, move-outs, security deposits, refunds, and collections. Everything should be easy to manage from a single platform with intuitive workflows for key processes. This enhances operational efficiency and reduces administrative burdens. 

 

These key features are essentials for manufactured housing owners and operators. ManageAmerica embodies all these key features, providing a comprehensive end-to-end online property management and accounts receivable system ideal for owners and operators of all sizes. 

  


Selecting the Right Vendor 

Choosing the right vendor for your Property Management Software (PMS) is crucial, impacting not only the effectiveness of the software but also the efficiency of your property management operations. 


  • Industry Expertise: It's essential to select a vendor with deep industry expertise in manufactured housing.  

  • Support and Training: The level of free support and training provided by a vendor is critical for the successful implementation and ongoing utilization of a PMS. 


Selecting a vendor like ManageAmerica, known for its 25 years of industry expertise and robust and free customer support, ensures that your investment in a PMS not only meets but exceeds your property management expectations, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your operations in manufactured housing. 

 


Elevate Your Property Management with ManageAmerica 

Choosing the right Property Management Software (PMS) is essential for successfully managing a manufactured housing community. The right PMS should effectively address your community's challenges, ultimately simplifying your operations. 

 

Here’s a brief recap of the key features to look for in a Property Management Software


 Consider a high-end solution like ManageAmerica, which offers a comprehensive solution that embodies all the key features essential for exceptional property management, from industry-specific functionalities to advanced revenue management tools. 


Experience firsthand the capabilities of ManageAmerica’s platform by scheduling a demo with one of our experts. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions, discuss your specific needs, and see how ManageAmerica can seamlessly integrate into your systems to drive efficiency and growth. Join the many who have already elevated their property management with ManageAmerica! 



Frequently Asked Questions

What key functionalities should property management software for mobile homes include? 

  • Resident Management: Streamline tasks from initial contact to lease renewals, including screening, onboarding, communication, and delinquency tracking. 

  • Financial Management: Integrate rent collection, resident charges, utility billing, and reporting for financial clarity and improved visibility. 

  • Inventory Management: Track the status of each home (occupied, vacant, under maintenance) for better organization and proactive management. 

  • Compliance Management: Facilitate adherence to regulations regarding titling, inspections, licenses, and utility billing. 

  • Revenue Management: Manage utility billing, automate rent adjustments, and provide reports for data-driven decisions to optimize revenue. 

  • Site Management: Track site types (occupied, vacant lots), manage specific needs of each site, and schedule inspections for better site utilization. 

  • Industry-Specific Terminology: Utilize terms like "sites" and "residents" instead of "units" and "tenants" for clear communication and data entry. 

How can property management software streamline day-to-day operations in manufactured housing? 

Why is industry-specific property management software important for manufactured housing communities? 

How does customizable property management software benefit manufactured housing operators? 

What are the benefits of having a scalable property management system in manufactured housing? 


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