How to Develop Custom Property Management System Software: A Step-by-Step Guide

Did you know that the market for global property management system software is projected to reach USD 24.18 billion in 2024 and up to USD 50.79 billion by 2032? This represents a clear opportunity for software developers and stakeholders with an interest in developing the best property management software.

When we think about property management systems and software, many may think that this type of software would be used mainly by those managing vacation rentals, but there are various market segments. You have residential property managers, commercial property managers, entrepreneurs engaging in Airbnb (and other short-term rental) arbitrage, HOA (Homeowner’s Association) management companies, and real estate investment firms along with REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), just to name a few. This could also mean finance professionals using property management accounting software.

Developing custom property management system software to cater to the specific needs of your software users is key. In this article, we’re sharing the step-by-step of developing a custom PMS (property management system) software.

Identifying the Property Management Systems Needed

If you want to build the best property management software, it’s important to know the possible features to include and align them with your specific needs or your client’s needs.

Property management systems can include things like lease applications, including tenant screening, rent payments, maintenance request tracking, financial reporting and general accounting, incident reports, and general requests management. Some even give you the ability to list properties on popular real estate marketplaces. You also need to know the size and type of properties that will be managed, the average volume of tenants, and any local regulatory compliance factors to keep in mind based on where this software will be used.

All these moving parts ensure that both the individual or company managing the property and the tenants have a good experience. For rental software, it’s also important to know if you will be dealing with mostly short-term rentals, long-term rentals, or a combination of both. Rental software can also include advanced features like identity verification, fraud checks, credit history reports, and more.

Choosing the Right Development Approach

The next step involves selecting the appropriate development approach. Are we going the custom development route and doing everything from scratch, or are we customizing from the infrastructure already in place?

Developers will have more flexibility if they are building from scratch, but it will require more time. Other options would be to use open-source frameworks and libraries. There are also platform-as-a-service (PaaS) tools, which allow developers to have access to pre-written code and some underlying infrastructure to speed up the development process. Property management system software development is a complex process, and choosing the right development approach is key.

Designing the System Architecture

Now that you have your development strategy, It’s time to think about creating your system architecture. In order to successfully develop a property management system, you will need a clear architectural design. Consider this a blueprint that describes the functionality of your software. You will also want to divide the various functions, such as financial reporting and tenant administration, into modules first.

Create a data model to store user, lease, and property information effectively. Based on your needs or your client’s needs, create distinct user interfaces such as web and mobile apps for tenants, property managers, and maintenance staff.

Next, create a map showing the data flow across the modules. For example, show how rent payments are linked to tenant information. When you map out your software, remember to do so in a way that your client, who may not understand developer language, will understand. A tool like Lucidchart could be helpful in this instance.

Next, you need to think about integrating with third-party services for payment processing and such. Encrypting data and implementing user access controls are crucial for security.

A modular architecture makes it simple to build your business. It’s also good to know that scalability options are provided via cloud-based solutions, and maintenance is easier with clear coding standards.  

Developing Your Core Features and Implementing Advanced Features

Now that you have the architecture blueprint in place, your team can start building the core features for your property management software. Remember to focus on essential functionalities such as property listing, tenant management, application approvals, lease tracking, rent collection, and accounting. Prioritize user experience to ensure intuitive navigation and efficient task execution for both mobile and desktop applications.

The best property management software goes beyond the basic functionalities, however, so consider implementing advanced features to improve the functionalities. This may include features to automate communication with tenants, predictive maintenance scheduling, analytics, and reporting tools.

For any SaaS platform, having integration partners is key. That way, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for features and services such as payment gateways, listing syndication, identity verification, fraud detection, credit checks, or CRM systems.

These features add value, which is key as this market keeps growing, and it will differentiate your software in a competitive market.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Before deploying your custom property management system software, in-depth testing is essential to identify and fix any issues. Conduct thorough unit testing, integration testing, and user experience testing to ensure the software performs as expected. Consider working with external subject matter experts for unbiased feedback and testing.

Quality assurance ensures a seamless user experience and minimizes disruptions post-launch, which is another important piece of the puzzle for becoming a sought-after provider for custom property management system software building.

Deployment, Training and Continuous Improvement

Once testing is complete, it’s time to deploy your custom software. Coordinate with stakeholders to schedule the deployment and provide necessary training to users. Create clear communication and training material to cater to various learning styles. This will help create a smooth transition to the new system and minimize potential downtime.

This process doesn’t end with deployment. Continuous improvement is always needed to keep your property management system software relevant and efficient. Have systems in place to collect feedback from users, monitor performance metrics, and stay ahead of industry trends to identify areas for opportunities. As the demand grows, if you proactively stay up to date with user trends and market changes, you’ll be able to create software products that cater to the evolving needs of end users.

Developing custom property management system software requires careful planning, execution, and ongoing testing and refinement. By understanding the exact requirements of your users, choosing the right development approach, and prioritizing the right features, you can create a tailored solution that optimizes the experience of your clients and all users.

Ashutosh Kumar

Ashutosh is a Senior Technical Architect at Taazaa. He has more than 15 years of experience in .Net Technology, and enjoys learning new technologies in order to provide fresh solutions for our clients.