Buildium vs Appfolio: These rival online property management software are for managers of small and large portfolios comprised of residential, student, commercial, or community housing. Pricing is based on numbers of units with some differences once a user reaches a certain number of units. Buildium starts at $47, while Appfolio starts at $250.
When to Use Buildium
Buildium is best for portfolios under 100 units. Though it can handle larger portfolios, Buildium can become cost-prohibitive for landlords managing over 100 units. Buildium offers credit and background checks, online maintenance requests, online rent collection, and simple reporting. Pricing for Buildium starts at $47 and you can get a free 15-day trial with no credit card requirement.
When to Use Appfolio
Appfolio’s minimum monthly prices are $250 for Property Manager and $1,500 for Pro. Use Property Manager for small to mid-sized portfolios and Plus for large portfolios with 500 or more units. Appfolio lets you automate with an all-in-one cloud-based system so you can focus on your bottom line. Get a free demo on their site.
When to Use Avail as an Alternative
If you’re a DIY landlord who specializes in residential properties, you might want to consider Avail. Avail is a residential property management platform where you can advertise vacancies, screen tenants, collect rents, track maintenance, communicate with tenants, and find state-specific digital leases. Pricing for Avail begins at $0 to $10 a month for one unit.
Buildium vs Appfolio at a Glance
Starting at $47/ month; 15-day free trial
Per-unit tiered pricing; required minimum. Free demo.
Online Rent Collection
Online Leases and e-signing
Ease of Use
How We Evaluated Buildium & Appfolio
We evaluated Buildium vs Appfolio based on what property managers and landlords most look for in property management software. We investigated affordability, online rent collections, access to online rental documents and e-signatures, accounting, maintenance tracking, and listing syndication. We also considered customer support, client reviews, and ease of use.
We compared Buildium vs Appfolio based on criteria including:
- Pricing: We looked for transparent pricing and affordability in comparison to the product features.
- Online Rent Collection: Collecting rent and fees online, and simple payment processing is important in saving landlords from having to chase rental income and go to the bank for deposits.
- Background screening: Having tools to properly screen potential tenants is crucial to the success of investment rental property, so landlords look for tools that provide accurate reporting at their fingertips.
- Electronic signatures and documents: The best online property management software gives access to templates and documents online and offers e-signing capabilities, reducing having to create, print, and meet with tenants for signatures.
- Accounting: We evaluated for seamless financial management and reporting functionality in a simple to use platform.
- Maintenance tracking: It’s important to be able to communicate with tenants, contractors, and perform inspections of units. We assessed these products based upon how easy it was to upload information into the system and communicate with vendors and tenants.
- Listing syndication: We compared based on syndication with popular rental websites, ability to create a marketing website, and effortlessly receiving rental applications.
- Client reviews: We searched the internet for customer reviews to help better inform your decision on which online property management software to choose.
- Customer support: We based our assessment on what customer support tools are available to users and customer experience.
- Ease of use: We considered how simple the sites are to navigate, find what is needed, and upload information into the platform. We also considered the communication tools and integrations with other products and sites.
Buildium and Appfolio are very similar in their online property management software tools and resources. However, Appfolio received higher customer ratings, customer support ranked higher, and pricing for over 100 properties was more affordable than Buildium, making Appfolio our top pick for online rental property software.
Buildium vs Appfolio: Pricing & Features
When comparing Buildium vs Appfolio we found Appfolio’s pricing to be more affordable than Buildium’s pricing, especially for portfolios larger than 100 units. Both online property management software charge additional fees for add-on services, with Appfolio including more features in their packages than Buildium with no additional fees.
Buildium Pricing & Features
Rentals, Associations, Student Housing, Affordable Housing
Same property types; additional features in Pro
Minimum Monthly Fees
Starting at $47/month; 15-day free trial
Starting at $156/month; 15-day free trial
Add-ons available for additional fees
Add-ons available for additional fees
Buildium Core pricing begins at $47 a month for the first 20 units and increases by $15 for every 20 units added. Core is available for up to 150 units for $243 a month. Core includes landlord and tenant communication, leasing management, accounting tools, maintenance management, board member tracking, and event tracking. There are additional fees for online payments, e-leases, and mobile inspections.
Buildium Pro pricing begins at $156 a month for the first 50 units (minimum of 15 units recommended for Pro) and increases to $208 for 51 to 100 units. For every additional 50 units, the price increases. Pro includes everything in Core plus additional features.
These two screenshots for the Buildium Core and Pro packages show which features are included in each option, along with pricing for add-ons. In Buildium’s Core package, landlords are charged $5 per document for electronic leases. Basic tenant screening is $15 and there is a $99 fee for mobile property inspections, plus $65 a month. Pro includes mobile inspections, 30 leases per month, and premium tenant screening.
Buildium Core and Pro Pricing & Features
Buildium charges additional fees for add-ons including 1099 e-filing for $25, plus $3 per form. EZMail is a Buildium service where it will print and mail customer documents. It’s 80 cents for one page, plus 15 cents for each additional page. There’s also a Showings Coordinator starting at $30 a month, where property managers and landlords can automate scheduling, follow-ups, and prospective tenant management.
Some Buildium features include:
Online Rent Collection
Landlords can collect rent, late fees, and other fees for utilities, and so on. Tenants can connect their bank accounts and set up recurring payments, or make cash payments without a bank account, credit card, or ID at participating PayNearMe stores. Buildium also allows landlords to collect rental application and background check fees directly from tenants.
Buildium’s Core and Pro packages offer access to tenant background screening for a fee. Background screening includes criminal, credit, and eviction histories. Core charges $15 per screen for basic screening and Pro charges $18 per screen for premium background checks. Many landlords charge tenants for these fees, so it can be no cost to landlords. Fees to applicants are higher.
Electronic Signatures and Documents
Buildium provides electronic lease templates with e-signing so landlords don’t have to create and upload their own documents, have tenants print, sign, and send them back. Buildium also lets users upload their own leases, and the templates are customizable so landlords can add their own specific fields. The rental agreement templates use autofill so landlords can import applicant data right into the lease.
Buildium’s built-in accounting software allows users to track budgets, rent, and vendor payments in the cloud. They can also make and accept payments online. Buildium lets users create reports, including income statements, balance sheets, and general ledgers. It includes convenient built-in calculators and an e-filing tool to help prepare for filing taxes. For an additional fee, Buildium will generate 1099s online for both property owners and vendors.
Using Buildium, landlords and tenants can submit work orders, attach videos, documents, and add images to their maintenance tasks. Landlords can keep tenants in the loop by sending status updates from any device. They can also set up recurring schedules for routine and preventative maintenance. Maintenance tracking integrates with the accounting feature, so landlords can conveniently pay their vendors.
Buildium Listing Syndication
Buildium provides landlords with a customizable website and rental listing syndication on sites like Apartment List, Zillow.com, Trulia, Yahoo, and HotPads. They can use their unique listing link to advertise on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. The software allows landlords to customize descriptions, include photos and videos of the space, and store the unit details, so when a unit becomes vacant, everything is ready for syndication.
Additional Buildium Features
Appfolio Pricing & Features
Appfolio Property Manager
Residential, Commercial, Community Associations, Student Housing
Same property types, typically over 1,000 units
Rates by Property Type
Residential & Student $1.25
Community Associations 80 cents
Residential & Student $3.00
Community Associations 85 cents
Minimum Monthly Fees
Required $250 minimum monthly fee
Required $1,500 minimum monthly fee
Appfolio Property Manager is for smaller portfolios consisting of residential, commercial, community associations and student housing. Monthly fees are $1.25 per unit for residential and student housing, $1.50 for commercial, and $0.80 for community associations. There’s a required minimum monthly fee of $250. The minimum number of units in the portfolio starts at 312 for community association, 200 for residential and student housing, and 167 for commercial properties.
Appfolio Plus is for large-scale portfolios. Monthly per unit fees are $3 for residential and student housing, $1.50 per unit for commercial properties, and 85 cents per unit for community associations. The required minimum monthly fee is $1,500. The minimum number of units start at 1,765 for community association, 500 for residential and student housing, and 1,000 for commercial properties.
Appfolio Core and Plus programs contain features such as communication between owners and tenants, built-in marketing tools, leasing management, and online property maintenance. Additional features in Plus are revenue management, configurable workflows, and data export capabilities.
Appfolio Property Manager and Pro Pricing & Features
Appfolio users can purchase additional tools and services such as an artificial Intelligence (AI) leasing assistant that can communicate in real time with prospective renters and track leasing performance. Owners can also add on premium leads, utilities management, and tenant debt collections.
Some Appfolio features include:
Online Rent Collection
Appfolio’s online rent collecting capabilities are similar to Buildium’s. Renters can pay with credit and debit cards or e-checks. Late fees are assessed automatically. Like Buildium, Appfolio offers electronic cash payments which tenants can make at a 7-Eleven or ACE Cash Express location. Rent payments can be split between roommates. The software also allows for collecting other tenant expenses like utilities.
Appfolio offers two applicant screening packages. One includes eviction and credit screening and the other includes credit, eviction and criminal checks. FICO scores are also included. Appfolio doesn’t provide the costs for background screening on its website or through online searches, but landlords can either pay for the screening or have the tenant pay.
Electronic Signatures and Documents
Appfolio’s leasing capabilities are the same as Buildium’s. Appfolio also provides online leases and e-signatures and online leases are customizable. Upon creation, information from the rental application is automatically merged into the lease. Landlords have access to an unlimited number of leases, which differs from Buildium which charges for leases. Appfolio also lets landlords create separate leases and split rent for roommates, like Buildium.
Appfolio’s built-in accounting software is easy to use. Landlords can track expenses, create budgets, and analyze income and expenses for each property they manage. Appfolio provides bank account syncing so landlords can quickly reconcile their accounts each month without reviewing every transaction. The same as Buildium, landlords can create the various necessary financial reports.
Like Buildium, Appfolio’s maintenance tracking also allows tenants to submit online maintenance requests directly from their chosen device. For an additional fee, landlords can use the 24/7 answering service to avoid emergency calls during evenings and weekends. This service calls and dispatches the landlord’s chosen vendors to the property and logs all activities into the database. Landlords can also use the inspection feature to manage their responsibilities and inspect their property.
Appfolio Listing Syndication
Appfolio provides a custom, paid website that landlords can use for each of their properties. Appfolio includes listing syndication for vacancies to hundreds of sites including Trulia, Rentals.com, Zillow, and Apartments.com. Landlords can also download professionally formatted HTML code and images to manually post on sites like Craigslist. There is also a built-in rent comparison tool to make sure landlords are getting the maximum rental income for their units.
Additional Appfolio Features
Buildium vs Appfolio: Ease of Use
Both Appfolio and Buildium are generally easy to use once users learn the online property management software. Both sites offer online education for their platforms as well as tech support. Users reported that Buildium became more difficult to manage with larger portfolios, therefore, we recommend Appfolio for portfolios over 100 units. The biggest benefit to both platforms is the ability for landlords to streamline their property management.
Buildium Ease of Use
In addition to becoming more expensive with over 100 units, the Buildium platform is more difficult to manage once the number of units reaches 100. There are some sections you can’t complete without filling out the same information in a different location in the software, making it confusing for users. Otherwise, the software is easy to navigate, and overall integrations work well. Uploading and storing documents, photos, and videos is simple and instructions are easy to follow.
Appfolio Ease of Use
Appfolio is easy to use, but with a learning curve. Once users learned how to use the software, it simplified their property management. Appfolio’s platform is clear, with simple instructions, and everything is easy to find. The site has tutorials and great customer support. Occasionally, the accounting software has had some glitches, but Appfolio’s tech team has historically worked quickly to resolve them.
Buildium vs Appfolio: Customer Service
Buildium and Appfolio both offer similar customer service via phone, email, a help center, and chat. Users reported that sometimes getting a response from customer service took a little time for both online property management software providers. Overall ratings for customer service with both platforms was ranked relatively high. A unique difference is Appfolio’s live online customer support survey, updated every hour.
Buildium Customer Service
Buildium’s phone customer service is available from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. The site has an easy-to-use Help Center with a search function, an FAQs section, chat, and an online form to submit a support ticket. There is also a self-guided online training program called Buildium Academy to learn how to use the software. Buildium Customer Support is overall good with mixed reviews and demonstrated effort at increasing customer happiness.
Appfolio Customer Service
Appfolio customer support services include phone, email, and chat. The site also has a live public Customer Support Survey unedited and updated every hour with customer responses. Customers are asked to rate their experience at the end of every support session and it is posted live on the site. Survey results were very high. Complaints were mostly around wait time in receiving support.
Buildium vs Appfolio: Customer Reviews
Customer reviews of Buildium and Appfolio were generally high with Buildium ranking 4.5 out of 5 stars and Appfolio 4.7 out of 5 stars. Customer reviews for each online property management software were mostly positive and customers appreciated how using the software eased their landlord responsibilities. Negative reviews for both companies stemmed from wait time for a response to queries.
Buildium Customer Reviews
Customer reviews of Buildium ranked 4.5 out of 5. Customers reported that the software was easy to use across multiple devices and allowed teams to communicate with ease. They also liked the accounting features that kept all their financial information in one convenient and easily accessible place. The reviews also showed high ranking for the value customers receive for the price they paid for the software.
Additional Buildium reviews include:
- Useful email and text message features
- Top rated property inspection software
- Great ability to review and update progress of work orders
- Dedicated Buildium team
- Third party features difficult to use
Appfolio Customer Reviews
Customer reviews of Appfolio ranked 4.7 out of 5. Customers reported that customer support was outstanding, and commended the company on keeping up-to-date with industry and customer needs. Negative reviews we found stated that response-time was sometimes slow, long-term customers didn’t like the new price changes, and some new developments took a long time to be available.
Additional Appfolio Customer Reviews include:
- Simplified online payment processing
- Superior marketing interface
- Easy, intuitive navigation
- Great support team
- Forums are helpful
- Great for organizing over 300 units
When comparing Buildium vs Appfolio, it’s easy to see that the two online property management software offer similar products and services. Both offer fairly comparable online leasing with e-signatures, access to syndicated listings, maintenance tracking, accounting tools, and board member management.
We ranked Appfolio higher since its fees are typically lower, the software has had fewer glitches, customer reviews are more favorable, and there are more features included at no extra charge. Appfolio offers a free demo to try the software before you buy it.