Best Property Management Software 2020

AppFolio vs. Buildium

Is AppFolio or Buildium the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best property management tool to help grow your business.

Property managers use property management software to optimize and automate important tasks they conduct daily. There are several property management solutions in the market, which can make it tough to determine the best solution for your business.

However, if you're reading this article, then you're on the right path. This guide will help you choose between two of the most popular property management solutions, AppFolio and Buildium. We will highlight the differences, including an in-depth look into their unique features, and make it simpler to decide which tool is best for you.

Comparison Summary

AppFolio and Buildium are both all-in-one property management solutions used by thousands of property managers each. They are used to manage various portfolio types, and offer a variety of tools to help you throughout the property management lifecycle. These tools allow you to syndicate property listings, screen tenants, automatically collect payments, and manage maintenance requests.

When comparing the two, it's important to focus on the specific tools offered by each vendor, and the corresponding subscription price. Here's a quick test to determine which solution is best for you:

You'll prefer AppFolio if:

  • You manage more than 150 units
  • You manage commercial properties
  • Desire advanced features such as an AI leasing assistant and 24/7 maintenance contact center
Schedule an AppFolio Demo
You'll prefer Buildium if:

  • You manage less than 150 units
  • You desire a property marketing website to be included in the subscription price
  • You would like to contact customer service by phone
Free Buildium Trial

Table of Contents

AppFolio & Buildium Price Comparison

AppFolio and Buildium both charge a monthly subscription fee that depends on the number of units you manage and the plan you choose. AppFolio starts at $1.25 per unit per month for residential properties, and has a 50 unit & $250 monthly fee minimum. Buildium starts at $50 per month, and offers a 10% discount for annual contracts.

Depending on the number of units you manage, here’s the more affordable tool:

  • Less than 150 units: Buildium is cheaper due to AppFolio’s $250 minimum
  • 150 to 750 units: Pricing is similar for both tools
  • More than 750 units: Buildium is cheaper

Here is a table comparing the monthly cost per unit for AppFolio’s base plan and Buildium’s Growth Plan:

Number of UnitsAppFolioBuildium
50 units$250$160
100 units$250$210
150 units$250$250
200 units$250$250
300 units$375$400
500 units$625$600
750 units$938$860
1000 units$1250$1100
2000 units$2500$2140
5000 units$6250$5200

Appfolio Pricing Details

AppFolio pricing is based on the number of units that you manage, the plan you choose, and portfolio type. Details are provided in the table below.

Portfolio TypeBasic Plan Monthly FeePlus Plan Monthly Fee

Residential

$1.25 per unit$3.00 per unit
Commercial$1.50 per unit$3.00 per unit
Community Associations$.80 per unit$.85 per unit
Student Housing$1.25 per unit$3.00 per unit

AppFolio charges additional fees for some features and services. Details are provided below.

  • Credit, eviction, criminal check: $20.00 per screening
  • AI Leasing Assistant: $2.50 per unit per month. 500 unit minimum
  • 24/7 Maintenance Contact Center: $1.50 per unit per month. 200 unit minimum
  • Marketing Website: $99.00 per month. $2,000 setup fee

For a full pricing breakdown, check out our in-depth review for AppFolio.

Buildium Pricing Details

Buildium’s pricing starts at $50 per month and depends on the volume of units you manage and the plan you choose.

  • Essential Plan: Starting at $50 per month
  • Growth Plan: Starting at $160 per month
  • Premium Plan: Starting at $460 per month
  • Credit card transaction fee: 2.75%
  • EFT transaction fee: $0.50 (fee waived for Growth and Premium Plan)
  • Basic Tenant Screening: $15 for customers. $30 for applicant
  • Premium Tenant Screening: $18 per screening. $99 setup fee
  • Free Trial

AppFolio & Buildium Feature Comparison

AppFolio and Buildium are both all-in-one solutions that include the core set of features needed to manage the entire property management lifecycle. Both platforms include tools to automatically syndicate property listings, screen tenants, automatically collect payments, track maintenance requests, and manage finances.

Although there is an overlap between the two solutions, there are key differentiators you should consider before making your purchase:

  • AppFolio is the more feature-rich option and includes tools to help manage a high volume of properties. These tools include their AI leasing assistant and 24/7 maintenance contact center.
  • Buildium has slightly less features, but is the more cost-effective solution for those managing small to medium sized portfolios. Buildium offers a free marketing website, live phone support, and does not have a unit or monthly fee minimum.

For a full analysis of their features, read our AppFolio and Buildium reviews.

FeatureAppFolioBuildium
Customizable Rental ApplicationsYesYes
Marketing WebsiteYesYes
Rental Price Analysis ToolYesYes
One-click Listing SyndicationYesYes
Electronic LeasesYesYes
AI Leasing AssistantYesNo
Automatic Payment CollectionYesYes
Online Tenant PortalYesYes
Online Owner PortalYesYes
Maintenance ManagementYesYes
24/7 Maintenance Contact CenterYesNo
Built-in Messaging Chat BoxYesYes
Two-way textingYesYes
EmailYesYes
Bulk MessagingYesYes
Property Inspection ToolYesYes
Mobile ApplicationsYesYes
ReportingYesYes
AccountingYesYes
CAM ChargesYesYes
1099 eFillingYesYes

AppFolio's Unique Features

AppFolio has two features not found in Buildium: the AI leasing assistant and 24/7 maintenance contact center. These features automate the tasks of responding to rental inquiries and fielding maintenance calls which are particularly difficult to manage as you scale. This makes AppFolio the better option for property managers managing a high volume of properties.

AI Leasing Assistant

AppFolio offers an AI leasing assistant that is useful for property managers experiencing a high volume of rental inquiries. This tool uses artificial intelligence to speak to your prospective tenants through text messages and email. The AI leasing assistant will automatically book showings, qualify leads, and cross-sell units. Additionally, all data that the AI assistant receives are recorded into AppFolio.

This tool is geared for clients managing a high volume of units. AppFolio requires a minimum of 500 units for implementation, and charges $2.50 per unit per month.

24/7 Maintenance Contact Center

AppFolio’s 24/7 maintenance contact center is useful for property managers who receive a high volume of maintenance request calls from tenants. AppFolio agents are available 24/7 to field your incoming maintenance calls, create work orders, and dispatch pre-approved vendors. These agents have access to your account, and can record the service requests directly into the platform.

The 24/7 maintenance contact center service costs $1.50 per unit per month. Additionally, AppFolio requires a 200 unit minimum for implementation.

Buildium's Unique Features

Buildium offers several features not found in AppFolio. It's important to understand the features below to determine if Buildium is ideal for your business.

No Unit or Monthly Fee Minimum

Unlike AppFolio, Buildium does not enforce a minimum requirement for the number of units you manage, or the monthly fees you pay. Property managers managing less than 50 units will not be able to implement AppFolio. Additionally, AppFolio has a $250 minimum monthly fee regardless of the number of units you manage. This makes AppFolio more expensive than Buildium if you manage less than 150 units.

Live Phone Support

With Buildium, you can call into their customer support line to assist you with issues using their product. AppFolio only supports email support tickets, and some customers have reported that AppFolio's customer service can be difficult to reach and slow to respond.

Marketing Website

Both AppFolio and Buildium offer custom marketing websites where you can post your rental listings. The advantages of using a website from these tools rather than a general solution like Squarespace or Wix is that they share information with AppFolio and Buildium’s applications, and tenants can login to their portal.

However, Buildium includes this feature in their subscription cost whereas AppFolio charges an extra fee. Here is a breakdown of AppFolio’s marketing website cost: Monthly Hosting Fee: $99 per site Setup & 1st Website: $2,000 Setup & additional websites: $750 [/list

While potentially worthwhile, this is a significant cost. If a marketing website is a must-have feature for you, you might prefer Buildium over AppFolio.

Bottom Line

AppFolio and Buildium are all-in-one property management solutions used by thousands of property managers to automate repetitive tasks and increase operational efficiency. Both platforms include the core set of features that property managers need including automatic property listing syndication, tenant screening, automated payment collection, maintenance management tools, and accounting & reporting modules.

If saving money on your monthly software subscription is critical, then Buildium is likely your best option. It’s typically 10-20% cheaper than AppFolio. On the other hand, if advanced features like AppFolio’s AI leasing assistant and 24/7 maintenance contact center are important to you, then you’ll probably prefer AppFolio.

If you’re interested, visit AppFolio or Buildium today to get started.

Lloyd Park

Lloyd Park is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where he conducts in-depth analyses of software markets and products. Lloyd also has experience managing the development of software platforms and is an expert in content production & media software.

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