Questions to Ask When Evaluating Software Providers for Property Management

The use of technology in the property management industry is not new. Technology solutions have been available since at least the 1990s – before email and internet were widely available. But even 5 years ago, there wasn’t nearly the amount nor the need for these technology solutions, especially for the industry as a whole to tie them to a specific category of tech. Now, PropTech is an established category, receiving $32B in private investment in 2021 alone. 

But it’s not just software companies that are driving the growth of the PropTech category. The explosion of technology solutions couldn’t happen without a growing appetite amongst property management companies for technology solutions that reduce costs, create operational efficiencies and improve the resident experience. Technology is only as strong as it is at making a return on investment. With this as the backdrop, the NAA Apartmentalize conference session, “Integrated or Point Solutions? Get Married or Play the Field?” focused on educating property management companies on how to evaluate new technology solutions and how to strategically manage their “technology stack”.  

Panelists, which included Jennifer Staciokas, Executive Managing Director, Property Management at Western Wealth Communities, Lucas Haldeman, Chief Executive Officer at SmartRent, Ellen Thompson, Founder & CEO at Respage, Guntram Weissenberger, Owner/President at Westover Companies, highlighted a number of points to consider when evaluating new technology: 

The need to continuously evaluate your technology stack: Perhaps back a decade or more ago, you could “set it and forget it” when it came to the technology that you use to run your property and your property management company. This is no longer the case. Technology is evolving at a fast pace and while adding and changing software isn’t seamless and easy for your organization or your staff, you need to continuously review your existing solutions and monitor the market for new solutions to address challenges you are facing or you will fall behind your competitors. Panelists recommended assembling a sort of technology steering committee composed of different groups within your organization to be responsible for identifying and evaluating your existing technology stack as well as new solutions that you want to consider. 

Meticulously defining the problem(s) you expect new technologies to solve: Before diving into the evaluation process, it’s important to define the problem the technology is expected to solve and the goals or results you expect it to deliver. Whether you’re adding a new solution or changing out an existing solution, you want to make sure you understand exactly how the solution you choose is going to solve the specific problem you have. This will guide your evaluation and selection process as well as measurement of early results as you begin implementing the new solution. 

Conduct a thorough evaluation of the solutions and providers you are considering: Walking around the Apartmentalize exhibit hall it’s easy to get excited about the providers that you meet and the new technology that you see. Sales teams will invariably push you to move fast, but it’s important that you take the time to evaluate the solution and the provider thoroughly to avoid any potential unpleasant surprises down the road. You’ll want to enlist your team in the evaluation process and pay careful attention to the following: 

  • Does the technology solve the problem you’ve identified? If so, how? What results should you expect? What results have other property management companies seen when implementing the technology? 
  • How well does the solution integrate with other software you are currently using or might use in the future? Most every software provider will claim that they can integrate with solutions, but many aren’t actually open systems that can be easily integrated with. Ask detailed questions – how many and what data fields are shared between the systems? Is there custom work required on the part of either you or the provider to make the integration happen? Be very concerned if they tell you the integration is on their roadmap. Everything is on a roadmap somewhere. Make sure you understand if development has commenced or not and consider requiring a clause in your contract if the integration isn’t available yet. 
  • Does the product roadmap align with your priorities? Ask for details about what is on their short term (3-6 month) product roadmap and their longer term product roadmap (2-3 years). Inquire about how are priorities for the roadmap determined? You should expect that customers drive the roadmap. There should be a customer advisory board in place or a process for soliciting enhancement ideas from customers and there should be evidence that enhancement ideas from customers actually get implemented. Beware that some of the larger organizations tend to build basic capabilities to address a need and then move on to something completely different versus really investing in building out capabilities in specific areas. Maybe this is fine for you or maybe it is not. 
  • Are they sufficiently financially stable and long term viable for your organization’s risk tolerance?  New capabilities often emerge from new entrants that are funded by someone – venture capital or private equity firms, property management companies, etc. The advantage of these new entrants is that they are focused on the problems they are solving, and individual customers often have a greater say in the direction their solution takes.  But when you implement a solution, you are making an investment in integrating it with your current technologies, training your organization to use it, etc. So it’s important to understand and be comfortable with where this organization might be 6 months, 1 year, etc. down the line. You need to consider whether it has a future as a stand-alone company or if it is more likely to be bought by another provider in the industry. History shows that in some cases an acquiring company makes decisions about the solution that no longer make it viable for you to use, so it’s important to weigh the value of the solution versus any risks that you may be incurring by implementing it. 
  • How will they support you in getting up and running and with any issues that arise? The success of this solution in addressing the problem you’ve identified depends on your team adopting and using the solution the way it was intended. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand: 
    • Onboarding: How long does it take? What are your responsibilities? What are the provider’s responsibilities? When can you get started? All properties at once? One or two to work out the kinks? Divide into waves?  
    • Training: How does your team learn to use the solution? Does the provider offer personalized training? Do you want train the trainer or the provider to train your entire team? Is training done through video tutorials only? Consider what will work best for your team because getting value from the solution is dependent on your team using it. You only have one chance to get everyone comfortable with using the solution. 
    • Ongoing Support: What is the customer support process? What is the turn around time on issue resolution? Some organizations will offer email only support or will charge you based on number of customer support tickets. Ask questions. Check reviews and references. The solution won’t deliver value if your team can’t get answers to questions that they have or if the value is offset by the cost of getting help. Beyond just how support tickets are handled, make sure you understand if they have an account management or customer success process, as having a point person that is familiar with your organization will go a long way in helping ensure you are getting the most out of the solution.  

If you’re interested in ResMan as a software provider for your daily operations, book a demo to see the product up close.

Affordable Housing Development: A Blueprint for Getting NIMBY Communities to Say “Yes” 

While NAA’s Apartmentalize conference isn’t known for delivering exceptional Affordable Housing content, the organization is trying to up its game in this area. Thursday’s session, “Affordable Ain’t All Bad. YIMBY From a Young Company’s Perspective!” presented by Karla Burck, EVP Development at KCG Companies and Kimberly Hurd, EVP, Property Management, KCG Residential, LLC, provided some great insights into how Affordable Housing developers can work with “NIMBY” (Not in My Back Yard) communities and gain support for desperately needed new affordable housing.  

During the session, Karla and Kimberly walked through two case studies – one in Anderson, SC and the second in Ellenwood, GA, sharing detailed information about the opposition they faced and how they were able to change minds and gain government, industry and community support for the projects. They talked about how it’s critical to understand constituents and what their concerns and priorities are and then work to address concerns and structure the project in a way that it addresses some of the communities’ priorities, so it becomes a win-win for everyone. Below we cover three types of constituents that KCG worked with and how they were able to move them from NIMBY to YIMBY. 


In the case of KCG’s Anderson, SC project, the local government knew they needed affordable housing in the city to attract more businesses but faced opposition from the community. The government also knew that they had an issue with the water system (a concern that was shared by the community) and desperately needed funding for improvements. The water system issue presented an opportunity to build alignment and make the project a win-win. 

For the Ellenwood, GA project, the local government was opposed to “Affordable Housing”, but at least one councilman understood that there was a need for apartments since the area had become unaffordable and many workers were being forced further and further out of town. A priority for the councilman and the local government in general was to bring medical offices to the community, something that KCG knew would be difficult to do without housing available nearby for those that would work in those offices. To get the councilman on board, KCG was able to show that many of the area workers (bus drivers, custodians, government employees, etc.) had salaries that were at or below 60% AMI and they would qualify to live in the planned affordable housing community. KCG also recommended that the councilman call the medical providers he was hoping to attract to the community to understand what was keeping them from coming. It turns out housing for their employees was a top concern. Getting that one councilman on board was a key turning point. 


As with most LIHTC projects, communities worry that when affordable housing comes to the community, it will bring murderers, thieves, rapists, child molesters, and poor people with problems that will burden the community. Property values will drop, schools will decline, and the community will be less safe. Quoting studies that disprove these concerns generally isn’t effective because constituents don’t believe those studies are relevant to their specific community. KCG focused on working directly with community leaders and influencers by being very open and transparent with them. They took them through the tenant selection plan so they understood the profile of someone who would qualify (and not qualify) to live in the community – income levels, criminal history, etc. They also compared salaries that qualified with salaries of workers that were already in the community so they could see that it was housing meant for them and not poor people from somewhere else.  

In Anderson, SC in particular, Section 8 housing experience shaped their perception of affordable housing, and KCG was able to demonstrate that Section 8 vouchers only accounted for 10% of tenants in communities that they managed. They also shared the requirements they put in place in the affordable properties they manage to ensure the grounds and buildings are well-maintained and consistent with what the community would expect. They talked about how they enforce policies and the consequences if tenants violate them.  

Beyond addressing concerns, KCG also went a step further to understand what needs the community had. In Anderson, SC, residents were concerned about the water system, and KCG allocated $1,000 per unit to improve the water system – funding that the water company desperately needed. In Ellenwood, GA, the community wanted restaurants. KCG brought in restaurant owners and operators to talk about what is needed to make a community a viable place to open a restaurant – number of households and housing for workers were key criteria.   


Perhaps those with the most at stake are those whose property borders the affordable housing community. KCG met with neighbors to understand their specific concerns and what they could feasibly do to address them. In the case of the Ellenwood, GA property, the neighbors hadn’t realized that the vacant land had been rezoned to be commercial, so it was helpful for them to understand that regardless they were going to have neighbors that were not single family residences. The neighbors were most concerned about preserving trees and minimizing traffic. KCG was able to preserve an area on the property where the trees would remain, and they agreed to put a gate at the second entrance that would only be accessible to emergency personnel. 

KCG believes that the approach they have taken in engaging the local government and community in dialog, aligning the project to deliver something those constituents want, and providing visibility and transparency into how tenants will be selected and how the property will be managed has been critical to gaining approval for the projects. They look forward to continuing to build affordable housing where it’s needed using this blueprint, and hope that others are able to do so as well. 

ResMan offers Affordable Housing Property Management and Compliance capabilities for HUD, LIHTC, and Rural Development properties. To learn more about our solution, visit