Rental property inspections are the most reliable way to monitor every unit in your portfolio. Regular inspections can turn up issues from minor damage to major safety issues, or simply bring your attention to out-dated units that need a little sprucing up or even major renovations to meet market needs.
More and more, property managers are turning to software to help them conduct and complete thorough inspections that allow them to document issues using photos and open and track maintenance tickets on the spot.
Of course, the right software can help you make rental inspections more efficient and more thorough. But did you know that it can also make your property management business more attractive to prospective clients?
According to Buildium’s Industry Report, rental inspection software was one of the most sought-after tools by rental owners and property inspection reports with photos was one of the top six types of information owners were looking for from their property managers.
In this article (and in the video below), we’ll walk you through exactly what property management inspection software can do, give you a list of some of the best options available, and how you can choose software that meets your needs.
- What Is Property Management Inspection Software?
- How We Chose the Property Management Inspection Software on Our List
- The 5 Best Property Management Inspection Software Options
- 1. HappyCo + Buildium: A Top-Notch Inspection App + Property Management Software
- 2. zInspector: Property Inspection Software for Small Landlords
- 3. RentCheck: Reliable Resident-Led Property Inspection Software
- 4. SnapInspect: A Simplified Property Inspection App
- 5. Google AppSheet: DIY, Customizable Property Management Inspection Software
- Which Property Management Inspection Software Solution Should You Choose?
What Is Property Management Inspection Software?
Inspection software can either come as part of a comprehensive suite of property management solutions, or separately as a purpose-built tool for specific inspection tasks—something we’ll explore in our list of the top solutions. In general, the best software helps you schedule, complete, and document inspections digitally through a web-based platform, a mobile app, or, ideally, a combination of the two.
If you’re new to property management, adding inspection software to your initial tech investment might seem like a no-brainer—it’s an easy way to set yourself up for success from the start.
But what if you already have an established way of doing things? Can introducing new software help, rather than hinder, your well-oiled machine? Is the cost of the software and training required really worth it?
The answer is yes.
No matter the size of your business, or the state of your operations, inspection software is a smart investment. Here’s why.
Why You Need Property Inspection Software
Having a thorough and easily repeatable inspection process is the best way to identify issues with your property early on. From seasonal checks of outdoor areas to prepping units in between tenants, you’ll want to conduct inspections efficiently, in a way that doesn’t waste your time or disrupt your residents’ lives.
Property inspection software makes it easy to:
- conduct walkthroughs quickly
- visually document the condition of your units to protect tenants from paying for existing damages and owners from paying for damages caused by tenants
- capture all the data you need in one place, with readily available digital records
- share detailed notes and photos with owners, vendors, and your team
- protect the interests of their owners against false damage claims
- open tickets for repairs and maintenance work by sharing details directly from inspection records
Whether you’re catching potential damages before they become costly, staying compliant with local regulations, or simply conducting a routine checkup, the right software is likely worth the investment cost.
Desktop Software vs a Property Management Inspection App
You can’t conduct inspections from behind a desk, so being able to use software on the go is essential. A property management inspection app gives you this mobility.
To get the most out of an app, however, you should double-check that the mobile app you choose doesn’t skimp on the benefits that desktop or web-based software provides. There are a couple ways to do that.
Option 1: Choose a Stand-Alone App
First, choose software that is built specifically for mobile use and has the full range of features that make inspection software so valuable (we’ll talk more about these features later). The problem is that many of the apps out there don’t quite stack up to their desktop and web-based counterparts, since they often aren’t integrated with other property management software.
Option 2: Look for Integrations with All-in-One Property Management Software
The alternative—and often better—choice is to find property management software that offers a comprehensive set of features, including everything from tenant communication to accounting, that can integrate easily with a third-party inspection app. That way, you’ll have all the benefits of a dedicated mobile app for inspections and also be able to easily use the details from each inspection to open a work order, share updates with owners, store unit walkthrough and repair notes alongside other lease information for each of your tenants, and use other time-saving capabilities that an integrated software approach provides.
We’ll cover both types of solutions in our list and note potential integrations, if they’re available.
How We Chose the Property Management Inspection Software on Our List
When looking at the technology out there, not all features are created equal. That’s why we’ve included these exceptionally valuable capabilities in our criteria when choosing property management inspection software:
Time-Saving Templates: Templates are a major way to save time using inspection software. We looked for solutions that let you create and store templates for each type of inspection you conduct, so you’ll never have to start from scratch.
Simplified Tenant Communication: Often, the space you’re inspecting will be tenant-occupied. The software you choose should provide a way to reach out to tenants ahead of a scheduled walkthrough, send them reminders as the date approaches, and update them on any issues or next steps that emerge from the inspection.
Mobile App Capabilities: In comparing mobile app capabilities, we’ve focused on how intuitive each interface is to use, the features they include, and how well they integrate with web-based and desktop software.
On-the-Go Photos: Photos add a valuable visual element to documentation that can help when handling disputes or putting together reports, so the ability to take photos using your phone’s built-in camera and link them to your inspection reports should be on your list of must-have features. You should also have a way to timestamp each photo for future reference.
Syncing Between Mobile and Desktop: Once you’ve captured all the details you need using a mobile app, you’ll want to be able to access those details from your desktop. Everything from notes to photos should sync easily between applications.
Fast Work Orders and Inspection Reports: After conducting an inspection, you’ll want an easy way to act on your findings. Inspection software should make it easy to create and open work orders using the details you’ve collected. It should be just as easy to generate reports that you can keep for your records and share with owners.
Customization: No two properties are exactly alike, so you’ll also want to look for at least some degree of customization in the templates available to you, the notes you can store, and the ways you can share inspection details.
1. HappyCo + Buildium: A Top-Notch Inspection App + Property Management Software
HappyCo® is designed to help multifamily property owners, managers, and teams identify problems, document property conditions, and manage their work orders. Its simple checklist-style interface displays all the details you need for each inspection and report in an easy-to-navigate format.
HappyCo integrates with Buildium, so property managers can perform thorough inspections on the go and sync their data with Buildium in one simple step, using the Inspections by Happy Co mobile app.
From there, you can view and share inspection details using Buildium’s communication portals and HappyCo, and tie inspections to your leasing process. Overall, get a more complete picture of every unit, property, and active lease in your portfolio.
HappyCo is free of charge as part of Buildium’s Growth and Premium plans.
HappyCo has an impressive lineup of features for all types of inspection and maintenance tasks. Highlights include:
- Virtual inspections
- Guest inspections that let you delegate inspections to team members, vendors, and even residents
- Real-time due diligence monitoring
- Intuitive work order management lists
- A digital management tool for larger projects
- IVR technology automatically captures and routes your missed calls
- Performance reporting and analytics powered by Looker
HappyCo’s inspection checklist forms are fully customizable, allowing you to adjust sections, items, ratings, and more depending on your property type and unit layouts. They also provide several templates so you don’t have to build one completely from scratch.
There are also reporting features that include a history of all your walkthroughs, including key data points like scoring, photos, comments, and more. The app also automatically saves drafts and syncs data across all users, even if your internet cuts out.
HappyCo’s subscriptions are priced per unit, per month and require a minimum of 250 units. You can reach out to them directly for specific pricing details.
5. Google AppSheet: DIY, Customizable Property Management Inspection Software
Google AppSheet® is a unique entry on this list. It allows you to build the application you need to complete inspections and work orders, without prior coding knowledge.
While it may take more upfront time to create and fine-tune your app, the main benefit here is the level of customization and control you have.
On the flip side, you’ll likely be losing out on the user-tested features, client and tenant-ready design, and the direct technical support and onboarding that other options on this list provide.
Because the software is offered through Google, you can easily integrate your apps with other Workspace tools the company offers, such as Gmail, Sheets, and Spaces. You can also connect your app to third-party software such as Salesforce, Office 365, and Dropbox.
Because Google AppSheet takes a more DIY approach to software, its features are most limited to your specific needs and the amount of time and team resources you want to spend developing your app. The library of pre-existing templates can give you an idea of what you can include.
Some recommended elements you can build into your app include automated workflows, filters for data, templates for all the types of inspections you’ll be conducting, and automated emails, SMS, and push notifications for users.
You can utilize the AppSheet Editor to generate prototypes of your app and prompt smart suggestions to customize fields quickly.
AppSheet has four pricing tiers:
The Starter plan costs $5 per user per month and includes basic application and automation features and the ability to connect your app to cloud file storage providers and spreadsheets.
The Core plan costs $10 per user per month and adds on some advanced automation features, security controls, and email customer support.
The Enterprise Standard plan is priced based on a quote from the AppSheet team and includes the Core plan’s features plus connection to APIs and SaaS services, team management controls, prioritized customer support, and machine learning modeling.
The Enterprise Plus plan also requires a quote and adds on enterprise data services and more governance controls.
Which Property Management Inspection Software Solution Should You Choose?
To choose the best inspection software from the list, consider your priorities. How large is your business? Are you looking for a quick-fix approach for a specific task or would your business benefit from comprehensive property management software? Is simplicity or customization a bigger priority for your team?
If you want to leave the door open for future growth, and the automation of other management tasks to save even more time, we recommend selecting inspection software that also covers all your property management bases in one package.
At Buildium, we offer a free 14-day trial with no credit card required. You can see for yourself, risk-free, how Buildium’s inspection tools and wide selection of other leasing features can benefit your business.