Buildium Game Changer
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Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Aug 11, 2022 1:07 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 11, 2022 1:32 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Aug 11, 2022 1:54 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 11, 2022 2:21 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by renne [TX]) Aug 11, 2022 3:29 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by Sisco [MO]) Aug 11, 2022 3:59 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Aug 11, 2022 4:28 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by Jason [VA]) Aug 11, 2022 4:29 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by Bill [KY]) Aug 11, 2022 9:13 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by 6x6 [TN]) Aug 11, 2022 9:29 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Aug 12, 2022 9:13 AM
       Buildium Game Changer (by WMH [NC]) Aug 12, 2022 10:28 AM
       Buildium Game Changer (by 6x6 [TN]) Aug 12, 2022 8:00 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by Libi [NY]) Aug 12, 2022 8:19 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by Small potatoes [NY]) Aug 14, 2022 10:57 AM
       Buildium Game Changer (by Chris [CT]) Aug 15, 2022 5:02 PM
       Buildium Game Changer (by Annie [IN]) Aug 18, 2022 1:55 PM

Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 1:07 PM

Mr. LL/Jeffrey our gracious host always challenges us to improve our processes. I have to say that hands down, one of the most significant changes I've made this year is investing in professional property management software: Buildium.

Just got an application from a young man who is marrying one of my existing tenants. He filled it all out online and paid the app fee. I clicked a button to order his background, credit, and eviction reports. Cost of $15. His app fee of $25 covers this and gives me enough to buy a 6 pack of decent suds.

Reports come in within 1-2 hours usually. Buildium balances the info on his app against my criteria for renters regarding income, credit history, and eviction (I don't take evictees, unless it's been 5 years and they've paid back what was owed).

I believe he'll be a no-brainer to add to the lease as he was very thorough and timely with his app. Plus the existing tenant is the street smart type of gal who doesn't mess around with goofs. When the time comes, all I do is click the "Approve" button, then click another button "Add Cosigner", then an update to their lease goes out for him to e-sign... once he does that, the deed is done. All his application info automatically transfers to my contact database: email, phone, bank info and Buildium will now include him on all future emails, notices, etc.

Back in the day, onboarding an approved tenant into my system of homemade spreadsheets took me 15-20 minutes. This takes 10 seconds. Everything is right there in one place: the lease, the tenant ledger, their contact info, reminders of lease renewals, payment history, auto-added late fees (if necessary), even a copy of the in-home inspections videos are uploaded and stored!

Now here's the part some might balk at: the cost. I paid about $1700 for the year.

BUT, here's what's nice: ACH is free to me and my tenants. No more $60-$70 a month of processing fees.

Buildium syndicates to all the big boy ad sites (Zillow, Zumper) and all their affiliates. One click activates the listing to all of them. Only costs me $16/month for preimum placements on all these sites, a significant savings over paying $20 - $30 per property per site!

Also, once I convert my website over, I won't have to pay $120 for the bi-annual hosting fee in Weebly and the $25 domain fee to Go Daddy. All of that is included in my account.

And finally, they have PDF editing and e-signing for leases/document! So once my PDFFiller annual drops off, that's another $180 per year I'll save.

I figure out the total cost savings will bring me down to around $80/month more than what I was paying for all of these separate services, but then I have a one-stop shop for my entire business. I can even generate 1099s for contactors and mail them simply with adding them to the software as Vendors. Buildium sums up what I pay them and mails their 1099 and sends me a copy for my records. All included in the cost of membership. No more ordering those forms a few months in advance and waiting for them to show up, filling out those blasted triplicate carbonless forms manually or paying my accountant to do it. Should save a couple hundred bucks in professional fees this year!

There's so much more I haven't even gotten to try out yet: analytics, budgeting, cost segregation, generating personal financial statements, tax prep, etc. So much power for such a reasonable cost.

If you think you might at all be interested, I'd encourage you to check it out! They have different "levels" of subscription based on your unit count. I'm in the middle level.

They have an excellent onboarding team to train you and help get set up. It's a lot of work getting your data set up, especially if you're tracking investment equity like I do, but now it's paying the dividends!


Buildium Game Changer (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 1:32 PM

Sounds like a very good system. I struggle with selection of these sorts of systems. As an accountant, I'm very familiar with QuickBooks my billing and 1099 work as well as my accounting for properties occurs there. I also use clear now for collection and to a lesser extent turbo tenant. I have been using turbotenant for billing utilities but I'm going to get rid of it and use QuickBooks for that now. I'll use turbo tenant only for esigning and communication with tenants.

Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 1:54 PM

I hear you GKARL. I'm not an accountant: I'm a software developer! Even worse!

I thought that my spreadsheets and Quicken (yes, QUICKEN) that I developed over th eyears was a pretty good system. And to be fair, it was. The problem, though, is one Mr. LL brought up a few days ago in another post: "What will happen to your business if for some medical reason you are no longer able to perform those duties?"

My multiple spreadsheets in multiple folders... my antique Quicken 2000 copy (22 years old, still kickin'! but I lost the disc so I can't install it if/when my machine ever dies!) "tribal knowledge in my head".... I'd have to write a 100 page manual just for how everything works! And then, I'd still have to convince someone to read all that.

But with Buildium, it's a one-stop shop. Accounting, Tenants, Leases, Listings, SEcurity Deposits, Bank Accounts: everything in ONE PLACE.

It's also exquisitely well-documented with hundreds of step-by-step tutorials and videos on their Help Center and YouTube.

In the worst case scenario, I or my representative (if I were in a coma, etc) could pass over my login ID to a professional property management company who already uses Buildium and they'd know EXACTLY how to have my business humming in 30 minutes or less. They'd know how to do everything and where everything is. Nothing would change for the tenants.

What price would we put on being able to hand your entire business management off to someone in less time than it takes to take a shower and make breakfast?

So the value is not only in the time it saves me and the flexibility to expand my business, it's also future planning for disasters. And even then, what if I just decide I don't want to do the day to day management any more and hand it off? Buildium can port all my data over to a PM company who already has a Buildium account. Effortless transition.

There are many software packages out there that do property management. This is the one I know. It's quite simply amazing how much stress this takes away, and I believe it will scale with me easily as I grow my business and one day make handing it over to someone else super easy!


Buildium Game Changer (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 2:21 PM

You raise a good point Sid with the hand off to someone else in the event something happens. QB is fairly simple for me, but perhaps not for someone else. I've been thinking about training my wife how to handle certain tasks. There's not much to do though as I have much of the stuff automated with automatic billing and transaction coding. But like you say, it's not something that's a seamless hand-off.

Buildium Game Changer (by renne [TX]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 3:29 PM

S i d,

Thank you for this post. We use a property management software, but I feel like I'm still juggling lots of "homemade" spreadsheets and services.

I'm going to talk to my software people- perhaps they offer those similar benefits and I'm just not taking advantage of them.

Buildium Game Changer (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 3:59 PM

You mentioned that it took some time to set up. Hours?Days? Weeks?

I assume that you already had your chart of accounts in place. Is the check writing, bill paying any more cumbersome than your old system?

Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 4:28 PM

Sisco, I didn't track time, but just off the top of my head...

I had five hours of formal training sessions with Buildium, and outside of that probably took another 15-20 hours to get all my data imported, organized, and everything customized to my liking. I already had most of my data organized in spreadsheets, but to get it into Buildium's import file in the correct format took a little work.

I don't use checks hardly. Buildium has ACH for both collecting rent and paying contractors. Any that still don't do electronic payments I run thru my Bank's online bill pay, which mails them a paper check.

The one part that took me awhile to understand is how it uses General Ledger entries and offsetting GL Accounts to track both sides of every transaction. It was 25 years ago that I took basic business accounting, so I didn't recall all of that. Debits and Credits all have to match. So you have a Security Deposit Liability Account, then a Security Deposit Credit Account; Rent Liability and Rent Credit, etc. But there's some serious power behind all that data tracking. With a click of a couple of buttons I can produce a professional looking chart of Cash Flow, Equity, and a Balance Sheet just like any professional business would. I could've gone with a much simpler set up, but I chose to dive in deep and use this to replace my old Quicken program. I'm still double entering into both systems, but this next month I'm going to try just using Buildium only.

Oh, another thing I love: online automatic account reconciliation with my bank. I've got it linked into Buildium so it will download transactions and I can just click "Add" to put it into my bank ledger. Also, re-occuring transactions, such as my lawn mower guy and utilities bills can be set to add every week or every month, then I can edit the amounts if needed to match up at reconciliation. Buildium will try to match and auto-clear the transactions, but if it needs my help, I can review and make adjustments. It'll save me about 30 minutes each month balancing my checking accounts manually in Quicken once I cut that loose. Plus it's really easy to find missing transactions if the bank sends something to Buildium and I forgot to add it in.

One more tidbit: online inspections! I haven't messed with this at all yet, but supposedly when I go to do my 2 or 3 inspections per year of a property I can make notes and take pictures in real time that will upload into the tenant's account. So any problems are documented ad categorized as I create them, and will set follow up reminders (i.e. Car parked in grass, check back in 2 days). --184.4.xx.xx

Buildium Game Changer (by Jason [VA]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 4:29 PM

Iím not a software developer by any means but I do respect your skill set. Instead of paying to use somebody elseís software, would it have any advantage to develop your own? Iíve programmed my leases to generate automatically based on the data pulled from the application. That by itself has saved me countless hours and taken human error out of the equation. But Iíve never tried to automate the entire process like youíre describing.

Buildium Game Changer (by Bill [KY]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 9:13 PM

I migrated over from cozy to Itís free. Rent Collection, credit/eviction/criminal reports, lease upload, auto late rent, etc. Price is right.

Sid, how many units would you suggest youíd need to make this worthwhile given your experience? Seems like I remember several years ago buildium had a 50 unit min but I could be mistaken. Iím smallÖ4 doors looking to go to 10 and then who knows from there. Thx

Buildium Game Changer (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Aug 11, 2022 9:29 PM

If you are a software developer, I am surprised that you did not develop your own system to do all of this or more?

You are one smart cookie, so if it took you hours, and you are techy, then it would take me years to figure out. It sounds like a great system though.

What happens to all of your information, if Buildium goes under?

What if they get hacked?

Thank you for sharing your processes.

Buildium Game Changer (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Aug 12, 2022 9:13 AM

Bill, the "medium" plan I'm on allows up to 50 units included in the price, but you can pay a little extra to go over to the big plan that professional PM companies use.

What's the magic number of units to make it worthwhile? I don't know. I have 31 residential and 14 commercial, and I find it very much worth it.

Why didn't I program my own? 2 reasons.

1) This is high level stuff done on a web platform. Not all software developers program web stuff... I don't. I'm old school green screen back end type stuff that you find in warehouses, not the fancy pointy-clicky-tippy-tap stuff. Plus, even if I did do it, a system this sophisticated would require 1000+ hours to develop. At that rate vs what I paid, I'm "saving" $1.70 per hour of work. Not interested in working for such wages.

2) As I mentioned above part of the value is, if something ever happened to me, I or my representative could hand it over to a property management company that already uses Buildium and they could make a seamless transition in no time at all. If I develop my own software, then I have to be able to teach someone how to use it or they just have to pick up my properties and tenants from scratch. This was all covered above in my part where I mentioned what Jeffrey said: "What's your plan if for some reason you medically can't do the job any more?" The transition becomes considerably more difficult using a home-grown system.

What happens if they get hacked and/or their system goes down? Same as any other system. Deal with it until it comes back online. I am not immune to tech problems with my current system. If my hard drive on my computer dies: I don't have the disc any more to reload my financial software (Quicken 2000), so unless I could scrounge a copy online somewhere, all of my backed up data would sit there on a thumb drive or in the Cloud...useless.

Keep in mind too: I'm getting access to Zillow/Zumper and their entire base for far cheaper than what your average person who places ads one at a time. Also the convenience of 1-click to blast my ads out everywhere. I don't get that if I go it alone.

It wasn't a quick decision: I've been thinking about needing to upgrade to something like this for a couple of years. Then after seeing a seminar with a local pro PM back about 4-5 months ago and hearing him talking about how much time it saved him and gave opportunity to increase profits, I was convinced this one works for me. --184.4.xx.xx

Buildium Game Changer (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Aug 12, 2022 10:28 AM

We have a demo set up for next week. I've been teaching my son our personal system, but your comments, Sid, made me realize that maybe now would be the time to switch to a professional system that anyone can use.

Buildium Game Changer (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Aug 12, 2022 8:00 PM

Thank you Sid

Buildium Game Changer (by Libi [NY]) Posted on: Aug 12, 2022 8:19 PM

Sid, can you tell more about formal training sessions with Buildium?

Buildium Game Changer (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Aug 14, 2022 10:57 AM

SID, I'm not sure buildium matches your criteria to the applicants info. I have the entry level tier and am a legacy user. I don't genetate my own Transunion reports so they come when the applicant gets to it. entering credit card info is a 3 step process. what is free to you are add ons to me and I don't do them except 1099s which are 25 bucks to start. not sure I want to pay double for what you have. I'm also confused about zillow. it was not integrated well for a couple of years, recently was sorted out, w still having to pay zillow directly and now zillow is free outside of buildium. one glitch still is if I have more than one zillow listing I can't deactivate just one, it's all our nothing (I was trying to save money). each one costs 1.9 a day. I never liked the duplication that tasks and work orders presents. but I have made use of assigning vendors and having them submit invoices w pics. also make use of automated email for rent acknowledgement.except for entering credit card transactions the account function and reporting is excellent. I give my reports to the accountant and I'm done.

Buildium Game Changer (by Chris [CT]) Posted on: Aug 15, 2022 5:02 PM

Buildium is one of the best things I have ever done for my rental business, I transitioned over two years ago.

This fall I'm going to transition to the professional with more then 50 units as I bring my new project online. I'm looking forward to getting even more out of it.

I don't even think about the cost its worth every cent.

Buildium Game Changer (by Annie [IN]) Posted on: Aug 18, 2022 1:55 PM

BUILDIUM has worked very well for us. WE have all but 2 or 3 of our 60+ tenants paying via the BUILDIUM site; we charge those who still want to pay with a paper check or MO $15 a month fee (trip to PO, back to office to do the accounting, and trip to Bank). Those who are leery of the website for paying their rent don't seem to mind (I have one tenant that pays with MO, sends it with tracking, and the $15 fee -- if he wants to waste his money, OK by me).

It has made renewal leases easier for us, especially with the HelloSign feature.

The only problem is that you still cannot do "one-off" docs with the HellowSign -- it only does leases. Recently had a tenant wanting to add her boyfriend to the lease and we wanted to do an addendum to the lease. Had to do it the old fashioned way with paper, but BUILDIUM says they are working on maybe adding these "one-off" scenarios to the mix.

One challenge we have had is getting the tenants to use the Portal for maintenance issues -- they still want to e-mail or call, but we gently remind them every time to please use the Portal. That way we have all things related to the tenants all in one place. IF it is an emergency, they can call, otherwise we want them to use the Portal.

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