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AppFolio vs. Yardi vs. Buildium: Which is right for you?

If you’re in the market for property management software, there are some big-time players to consider before you reach for your credit card. To help you feel confident before inputting those 16 digits, we compared AppFolio vs. Yardi vs. Buildium. 

As three of the more popular software platforms, they’re bound to come up in your research. But just because they’re popular doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be the best choice for you and your business. 

So follow along as we first discuss the market that each software serves, followed by a look at three of the most critical aspects of these platforms, including: 

  • The portfolio sizes each accommodate 
  • Critical features included in each platform
  • Their pricing structures
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Market Overview

Before we jump into our three categories, a brief market overview of each platform is required. While each plays in the property management software space, understanding the core markets of each platform will help you determine which platform fits the bill. 

AppFolio

AppFolio provides support for the following markets and property types:

  • Single-family
  • Multifamily
  • Student housing
  • Affordable housing
  • Community associations
  • Commercial real estate
  • Investment management

Clearly, AppFolio has a wide range of support for clients of all types. If you have a mixed portfolio with single-family and multifamily homes, affordable housing units, and commercial real estate, AppFolio’s solution might be for you. 

On the other hand, AppFolio’s pricing could be a hindrance if you have a smaller portfolio. We’ll dive into that below in our pricing section. 

Yardi

Yardi’s software offerings are a bit more complicated. Just poking around on their website, you’ll notice that Yardi supports all the different markets that AppFolio does, but they have some additions that give way to the notion that their platform can support massive property types, including: 

  • Military housing
  • Self-storage
  • Airports
  • Ports
  • Harbors
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Government

So, in comparing AppFolio vs. Yardi, each solution does have a fair amount of overlap, yet Yardi can help property managers in enormous industries like harbors and airports. If that’s overkill, which we suspect could be for most, Yardi offers support for these markets via a few different solutions. 

Their names are Yardi Breeze and Yardi Voyager, and we’ll discuss them next. 

Yardi Breeze

With Breeze in the name, you can assume the software is easier to use than the usual software built for governments, which is their Yardi Voyager platform. Breeze enables managers to work with the following property types: 

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Affordable
  • Self-storage
  • Community associations
  • Manufactured housing

Perhaps, when comparing Yardi vs. AppFolio, some property managers and landlords should really be looking to see how Yardi Breeze compares to AppFolio. 

Yardi Voyager

Voyager is the more robust alternative to Breeze, and it is built for enormous organizations. It gets confusing because Voyager manages many of the same property types as Breeze, including residential and multifamily. So, from here on out, we’ll use Yardi Breeze in our comparison since they’re more in line with the other options we discuss. 

Depending on your specific needs and portfolio size, you should contact Yardi for more information about the best solution for you. If you’re a smaller business, Breeze will likely fulfill your needs. 

Buildium

Finally, we get to Buildium. Of the three, in our comparison of Buildium vs. AppFolio vs. Yardi, Builidium looks more tailored to landlords and medium-sized property managers. The software can help manage the following portfolios:

  • Residential properties
  • Community associations
  • Commercial properties
  • Affordable housing
  • Student housing

For many DIYers and medium-to-small-scale property managers, Buildium could present a compelling option. 

Criteria We Examined

We selected three factors when examining the following software: portfolio size, must-have features, and budget considerations. We’ll discuss each software and how it addresses these categories in each section. 

Portfolio Size

Based on our brief market analysis of the types of properties and organizations each software platform manages, you probably know which software to move forward with. But, if you’ve skimmed the article, we’ll break it down briefly. 

AppFolio

AppFolio’s property management software solution is made to handle medium-to-large-sized organizations, as evidenced by its 50-unit minimum. 

Yardi

Yardi has two software solutions to fit your needs, but the company mainly focuses on supporting large-scale organizations. 

Buildium

If you were to examine Buildium vs. Appfolio or Yardi vs. Buildium, you’d see that Buildium plays in a very different space. Buildium designed its software to be used by small- to medium-sized organizations, and no minimum number of units is required.

Features

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. For busy property managers, the features you can access via each platform will dictate what you can get done with the platform. We’ll give you an overview of each so you know what to expect. 

AppFolio

For property managers, AppFolio includes several critical features. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Tenant Communication and Service
  • Online payments
  • Accounting and Reporting
  • Smart Maintenance
  • Debt Collection
  • Risk Mitigation

Features like tenant communication, accounting, and maintenance can be essential for larger-scale property managers. With more tenants, these tasks become even more challenging because there is more to do. 

But, if you’re a small business, these features may be overkill, especially if all you really need to do is market some properties and screen tenants. 

Yardi Breeze

Again, we will examine Yardi Breeze’s features for simplicity’s sake. They’re robust enough in their own right without diving into the features of harbor management software. The following are the key features for landlords and property managers but know that there are many more. 

  • Property Accounting
  • Vacancy and Prospect Tracking
  • Online Applications
  • Online Payments
  • Online Maintenance
  • Email & Text Communication
  • Resident Screening
  • Vendor Payments

For property managers and landlords, Yardi Breeze’s features are pretty compelling, but because of the company’s overall focus on large-scale organizations, you may end up paying more than you need to for software features you won’t use.

Buildium

Bringing up the rear is Buildium. Buildium includes the core features you’d expect from property management software, including:

  • Property Accounting
  • Online Rent Collection
  • Maintenance Request Management
  • Online Leasing
  • Resident Center
  • Tenant Screening
  • Renters and Property Insurance

Clearly, there is a good amount of crossover between Yardi, AppFolio, and Buildium. For those seeking features like property listing and tenant screening, you probably can’t go wrong with any of them. The problem is there’s a high risk of paying for features you don’t need if you make the wrong decision.

With that said, let’s take a look at our final category: pricing

Pricing

AppFolio

AppFolio lists three separate pricing tiers: Core, Plus, and Max. With the Core tier, property managers and landlords must spend a minimum of $298 monthly. And that’s just for the base tier. 

As you move up in tiers, the amount spent per unit increases from $1.49/unit in Core to $3.20/unit in Plus. At $5/unit in Max, many smaller landlords will need to consider a different option as AppFolio’s pricing will likely be prohibitive. 

That said, if you meet the 50-unit minimum requirement and want to utilize a solid management solution that’s easy to use, AppFolio might be for you. 

Yardi

If you’ve skipped to this section and missed our disclaimer, we’ll discuss Yardi pricing in terms of Yardi Breeze. The main reason is that Yardi Breeze is likely the solution most landlords and property managers are looking for, and second, you’ll need to contact Yardi to get a custom quote for Yardi Voyager. 

Yardi Breeze breaks Breeze pricing into two tiers. There’s Breeze and Breeze Premier. 

Breeze starts at $1 per unit per month, with a minimum spend of $100 monthly.

On the other hand, Yardi Breeze Premier is still $1 per unit per month, but there is a $400 minimum per month. With that extra cost, property managers and landlords gain access to many additional features not included in the base Breeze tier. 

Buildium

Regarding Buildium’s cost, a comparison AppFolio vs. Buildium makes sense as each has three pricing tiers. When landlords and owners step up in tiers, more features become available across the platforms. In Buildium’s case, the tiers are Essential, Growth, and Premium. 

Essential starts at $55 a month, and Growth will run you $174/month. Bringing up the rear is Premium, which costs $375/month. All tiers increase in price as you add units over 20. Compared to AppFolio and Yardi, it could be a more cost-effective solution, depending on your specific needs. 

Be aware, however, that the price escalates quickly as you move up in tiers and add units. 

Who’s the Winner?

Ultimately, the winner depends on what matters to you. Some will want a complex property management software solution that can manage thousands of units and communicate with tenants. If that’s what you need, AppFolio might be the best choice because it’s easy to use. 

On the other hand, if you’re a smaller property management company or independent landlord, AppFolio will likely be overkill. Instead, Buildium and Yardi Breeze might be a better choice. But even then, those solutions can still be overwhelming for the needs of an independent landlord. 

Alternatively, consider a free solution like TurboTenant. 

Why Choose TurboTenant Instead?

TurboTenant is free property management software that can help landlords professionalize their businesses with online rent payments, digital rental applications, thorough tenant screening, and other features that make property management easy. In fact, TurboTenant offers much of the same functionality for a fraction of the cost when compared to AppFolio vs. Yardi vs. Buildium. 

Plus, it’s effortless to use, and you’ll never need to type in those 16 digits to access it. If you feel like unlocking all of TurboTenant, including access to state-specific lease agreements, Premium costs less than $10/month.

Try TurboTenant for free today, and make manual property management a thing of the past. 

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