By Roger Harris
October 2000 - There's much to recommend the Tenant Pro's newest property management system. Ease of use tops the list.
Developed by Property Automation Software Corp. of Richardson, Texas, Tenant Pro 5.0 loads fast and is easy to set up. You don't need to be a software engineer to have the system up and running in a morning. Tenant Pro combines a versatile accounting system with a powerful database management package that automates day-to-day management tasks.
For a starting price of $495 to manage up to 50 units, Tenant Pro enables you to write checks, collect rents, make deposits, create work orders, write leases, and send mass mailings, among other things – with all of it automated.
Need to record and deposit rent checks? Call up the appropriate template, enter the check number, click to create a deposit slip, and all of the unit records are updated automatically. Use the "batch" function and the system automatically prompts you through processing multiple checks.
Beyond the everyday tasks, Tenant Pro has an impressive reporting function that enables managers to quickly generate 120 different financial and management reports that keep property owners happy, such as cash-flow statements, balance sheets, and vacancy listings.
Property managers also will appreciate the ability to screen rental applicants through RegAccess, an integrated module (sold separately for $99) that enables users to download credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Users can also check court records to see if an applicant has been evicted or sued by previous landlords for non-payment of rent.
In other words, Tenant Pro has just about everything you need to run apartment complexes and condos, single-family homes and duplexes, and even mini-storage operations.
Other property management software systems provide similar functions, but ease of operation is the hallmark of Tenant Pro. CPA Software News gave the program a five-star "Top Contender" rating, describing its easy-to-use functionality as "perfect for residential property management, either by owner/operators or by management firms or light commercial property management."
Developing a product that is easy to use and suitable for property managers of all sizes was Property Automation Software's goal when it introduced the first version of Tenant Pro nearly two years ago, according to company president Jacob Garza. Since then, Tenant Pro has gone through several upgrades. For its latest version, released last March, Property Automation Software added several reporting functions designed for managers of community associations.
"We think we have a very robust product for the professional property manager, whether he has two units or 10,000," Mr. Garza says.
With a menu of multimedia demos, Tenant Pro guides you through every feature. Even a rookie property manager will have little trouble following the step-by-step instructions that detail how to create dozens of templates customized for different types of properties. For those who want more comprehensive tutorials, a separate training CD is sold for $99.
Even with the best of training, questions inevitably arise at some point. Many answers can be found in a searchable manual that comes with Tenant Pro. (Accessing the manual requires Adobe Acrobat.) If you need to talk to an expert, Property Automation Software provides technical support via phone, or you can access tech support online at www.tenantpro.com.
Tenant Pro is available in both Windows and Macintosh versions. Starting at $495 for managing up to 50 units, the price increases at a reasonable rate – up to 100 properties for $695, 250 units for $895, 500 units for $1,295, and an unlimited number of units for $1,795.
System requirements: IBM 486 or higher (Intel processor recommended) with 16 MB RAM (32 MB recommended) and 20 MB free disk space; Windows NT4.0/2000/98/95; CD-ROM drive or 3.5-inch disks; laser, inkjet, or dot matrix printer.
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