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How to develop property management software from scratch?

How to make property management software

If your real estate business has not yet had a digital transformation, you’re probably falling behind the competition. However your odds of catching up are high with Erbis

There are many moving parts when it comes to property management. For example, people regularly face problems when collecting rent, communicating with tenants, repairing facilities, or cleaning rooms. Keeping track of all the issues is daunting, which is why property management app development is becoming increasingly relevant.

With the proper real estate app, users can automate many tasks. They can accept online payments, order housekeeping services, and sign agreements - all in one place.

If you are going to engage in property management software development, you will need to carry out careful planning and select the appropriate technologies. This post will walk you along the path of custom development. So, if you want to break into one of the most promising business areas, follow this guide.

Define requirements

First, decide what kind of property management software you want to develop.

  • Will your app serve apartment building tenants or travelers who rent accommodation for a short time?

  • Will the end users be landlords, renters, or both?

  • Will you develop software for a specific company (construction or real estate agency) or act as an intermediary platform that brings together sellers and buyers?

The answers to the above questions will largely determine the features set and technologies of a condo management app.

In any case, no matter what type of real estate platform you choose, you will have to specify the following project requirements before starting development: 

Target audience

This provides a detailed portrait of the end customer and describes the problems that your product would solve. For example, a target user of the property management software could be a tourist with limited budget and a great desire to see the world.

Product value

This explains how the target audience will benefit from using your product. For example, the tourist mentioned earlier could use your service to rent comfortable accommodation at a price lower than in a hotel.

Functional requirements

These describe the features the system would include and how it should respond to certain inputs. In a property management platform, these could be accommodation listings, filters, ratings, payments, locations, in-app chat, KYC checks, and more.

Non-functional requirements

These determine system characteristics such as performance, reliability, and scalability, as well as system compliance with legal norms and business rules. Non-functional requirements describe the IT infrastructure of the project and set focus on cloud technologies or on-premises tools.

Third-party integrations

Third-party integrations are all the external services with which your app will communicate. In a property management solutionsuch services can be a payment gateway, GIS, text messengers, embedded forms, widgets, etc.

Defining requirements of the property management project
Defining requirements of the property management project

Compose a team

It's important to partner with a team that understands your business and operations to create a software solution tailored to your specific needs.

When looking for a property digital transformation partner, consider their experience in similar projects, their understanding of your business, and their ability to meet your budget and timeline constraints. 

Once you've found the right team, you'll need to work with them to determine your specific requirements. 

If you already have a project specification, you should present it to your software development provider and ask their opinion about the requisite features, chosen technologies, and also to set deadlines.

If your property project is at the idea stage, it is better to order a discovery phase and see how the team is going to handle the implementation. 

After the discovery phase you will receive a detailed project estimate that will list:

  • development phases

  • team composition

  • milestones

  • technologies

  • features

  • сosts

If this resonates with your product vision, you can sign a contract and start developing your real estate management app.

Build PoC and prototype

You need to ensure the technical capabilities to create your product exist before you launch full-fledged implementation. Proof of Concept (PoC) will help you validate your product ideas by developing a technical solution for the most complex product feature. When you confirm the feasibility of the most challenging app part, you can move on to the next step of project implementation.

Note: PoC is usually required for grand new projects as there may be nothing comparable. However, if you develop a property app like Zillow or Airbnb, you can skip the PoC phase because developers know how to build its core functionality.

When you understand the technical side of the project, move on to creating a product prototype. Unlike PoC, the prototype focuses on visual representation rather than development peculiarities and shows the user's journey through your real estate app.

The development team may decide to create a prototype in the form of black-and-white wireframe or a clickable product version in Figma. The prototype detail depends on project specifics and should be decided based on available time and budget.

Prototype of property management app Gate, developed by Erbis

Present to investors

At the beginning of the business growth path, it is crucial to convince investors that your product has a good chance to succeed. One of the best ways to present your product to investors is through a pitch deck. 

The pitch deck is a slide presentation that explains your product, its value proposition, and your business plan. It should be clear, concise, and well-organized, and it should be able to explain your product in 10 minutes or less.

Your pitch deck should also include information about your team, such as their backgrounds and experience. Investors will want to know that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to take your company to the next level.

Finally, make sure you have a clear goal for your presentation. What do you want investors to walk away with? What do you need from them? Make sure your pitch deck addresses these questions clearly and convincingly.

Pitch deck example
Pitch deck example

Create an MVP

An MVP (minimum viable product) is a scaled-down version of your property management app that includes only the most essential features. It allows you to test the marketability of your idea, get early feedback from your target audience, and make necessary changes before you invest too much time and money into your product.

The MVP is a critical step in the product development process, as it reduces the risk of building something that nobody wants. You can think of the MVP as the final step in validating your idea. If you get positive customer feedback, you can safely proceed to use advanced technologies to build a full-fledged property management app.

Airbnb MVP vs. Airbnb today
Airbnb MVP vs. Airbnb today

Test, test, test

The QA process is crucial for ensuring that your app functions properly and meets the needs of property managers and tenants alike. By conducting rigorous testing, you can catch and fix any potential issues before they become bigger problems. Also, you can prevent unreasonable costs as you detect issues early, before they evolve into critical bugs.

To succeed in real estate digital transformation, you should adopt the best practices of QA in SDLC. Particularly, you should conduct testing along with development and make QA an integral part of your CI/CD pipeline. 

At Erbis, we always adopt CI/CD techniques for project-specific needs. To achieve the best results, we usually combine automated QA with manual quality control. While auto tests undertake logic-relative bugs, manual checks identify less critical issues which, however, have a significant impact on user experience and overall brand reputation.

Go to market

When your property app is developed and tested, it's time to introduce it to the world. However, if you don't have a well-prepared go-to-market strategy, your product risks being ignored by the customers and getting lost on the shelves of app stores.

The go-to-market strategy is a planned way of delivering a software product to a new target market. It includes:

  1. Identifying business cases and product fit

  2. Clarifying value proposition

  3. Developing pricing strategy

  4. Creating a promotion plan

  5. Identifying distribution channels

  6. Recreating the user journey

  7. Settings metrics and KPIs.

Given that property management industry trends point to a growing number of apps, you need to pay special attention to your go-to-market strategy in order to win over your target audience.

Creating a unique selling proposition as part of your property app marketing plan
Creating a unique selling proposition as part of your property app marketing plan

Scale up

As an ambitious entrepreneur, you are likely planning to expand your business and grow your customer base. For that, you need to use advanced technologies that allow easy scaling while maintaining high standard app performance.

Cloud solutions provide ample opportunities for scaling property management apps. By developing software in the cloud, you get access to advanced IT tools, unlimited server space, and sophisticated data protection mechanisms. 

Leading cloud providers meet the needs of both startups and enterprises. They provide instances on demand or upon reservation, differential pricing, and for making bundle discounts.

In addition, cloud technologies can help solve the most challenging issues and help develop AI-based features in property management apps.

Cloud adoption by organizations worldwide, source: Statista
Cloud adoption by organizations worldwide, source: Statista

Conclusion

Property management is a complex process that can be improved by using a property management app. By developing software for property management, you can

  • automate workflow

  • set up better communication

  • reduce operational costs

  • grow your customer base

  • increase overall business efficiency

If you're interested in optimizing business processes through the development of a real estate app, please, get in touch. Our consultants will study your project and advise a solution that 100% meets your business needs.

October 06, 2022