The Best Free Property Management Tools

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Property management software is a critical component when managing any property or block of properties. It helps with efficiency in handling different tasks that would otherwise be challenging and time-consuming.

Such duties include financial management, marketing, tracking of inventory, and rental application screening, to name a few.

If you’re looking to get started with property management, whether that’s through Right-to-Manage or you’re a property owner wanting to manage your own portfolio, these FREE property management tools will help you get going.


Cozy enjoys a lot of market popularity, and the basic package is free. Some of the benefits include comprehensive online property listings, in-depth lease agreement terms, photo gallery, and pet and amenity policies, among others. Tenants can also apply directly under the portal.

  • Pricing: The software is free to use. You will, however, pay for screening reports, rent estimates, card payments, and express payouts.
  • Pros: All the core benefits are free and there is no limit on number of tenant applications.
  • Cons: It could be difficult to use for some people and it doesn’t provide access to accounting and maintenance reports.

Rentec Direct

The basic platform on Rentec Direct is free and works well for small property owners. Some of the functionalities include expense and income tracking, tenant and property accounting, as well as tenant screening.

  • Pricing: The basic package is free. The pro and premium packages cost $35 and $40 per month, respectively
  • Pros: It will help you streamline your Property Management services, and the software is easy-to-use
  • Cons: The task organization and Financial Reporting features need improvement, and you can only manage up to ten units on the free version

Tenant Cloud

Tenant Cloud has the advantage of being free for the first 75 units. For numbers above that, you will need to pay a minimum of $9 per month, which is still very affordable. You get help with different property management tasks such as vacancy listings, handling maintenance requests, collecting rent, among others.

  • Pricing: Free for up to 75 units
  • Pros: Includes lots of features to help you and is easy-to-use
  • Cons: The accounting and reporting features need improvement


Free Tools for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

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Check out these free tools for commercial real estate brokers, they are not affiliate links.

Yes, they are all free no credit card needed.

Compstak Exchange

Free for brokers, appraisers and researchers, CompStak Exchange is a platform for real estate professionals to exchange lease comps in an efficient manner. Exchange comp information you have to get credits and redeem those credits for comps you need, when you need them. Simple.

LeaseMatrix Office Space Calculator

Quickly calculate how much office space you need by inputting the quantity of each type of space you need within your office. You’ll enter the number of private offices, cubicles, meeting rooms, receptions areas, and kitchens. There’re default dimensions for each type of space, but these can be changed. After your data is entered, you’ll see your total usable area and total rentable area.

LoopNet Trends

This widget from LoopNet allows you to get customized market trend graphs based on location and property type. You can get the code and use it to paste these graphs on your website or blog to show how current prices and rents compare to historical data. All you have to do to get access is sign up for a free LoopNet account.

The News Funnel

The News Funnel is a news aggregator and content platform for the real estate industry. You can sign up for a free customized news feed so that you see the real estate news relevant to you.

Customize your feed by filtering for market, industry segment, areas of interest, or keywords. It’s also a great distribution platform for real estate companies to upload and showcase their press releases, videos, blogs, and market research.


You can set up your own press room for free and issue multiple free press releases monthly. PRLog has distribution to all of the major search engines with numerous RSS feeds. You can also distribute to your own RSS feeds. It integrates well with all of the social sharing and media platforms.


This is a web-based CRE tool that will help you expedite asset valuation and investment analysis. You can use it on its own, or with your existing Excel, but they have plenty of reasons listed on their site why you should use Valuate over Excel.

You can try it out without creating an account and interact with the slick interface to edit Cap Rate, Square Footage, Holding period and more. You can also create a free account to get even more access, all without a credit card.

Waterstone Defeasance

This company specializes in the defeasance process when you’re selling a property or refinancing a loan. The free calculator available on their website can give you a quick estimate of your defeasance costs by entering a handful of data related to the loan.

Commercial Property Loan Calculator

This tool figures payments on a commercial property, offering payment amounts for P & I, Interest-Only and Balloon repayments — along with providing a monthly amortization schedule. This calculator automatically figures the balloon payment based on the entered loan amortization period.

Commercial Property Balloon Loan Calculator

This tool figures a loan’s monthly and balloon payments, based on the amount borrowed, the loan term and the annual interest rate. Then, once you have calculated the monthly payment, click on the “Create Amortization Schedule” button to create a report you can print out. This calculator automatically figures the loan amortization period based on the desired balloon payment.



Due diligence is one of the very first steps to building this strong foundation with your clients. If the loan broker does not do his due diligence and makes a deal with a borrower that is less than trustworthy, it could mean thousands of dollars lost and a black mark on his career. Even before offering loan types, or financing options to potential clients, some amount of due diligence should be done.

So, What Is “Due Diligence”?

Due diligence is the process of verifying the information that clients give to the broker in the original loan request. Based on this information, the broker will make the decision on whether to move forward or not. The main purpose of due diligence is to determine if there are risks involved and what impact they may or may not have on the loan agreement.

During the due diligence stage, we hope that the client will be as open and honest about their credit, business financial information and property as they can be. It is wise to remind clients that their credit report will reveal quite a lot of information, and that transparency is the best way to obtain a loan quickly.

Due diligence can include background checks, internet searches, and contacting references. You will need to look closely at a potential client’s bank records, payment history, and business ethics. Depending upon the type of loan and the loan amount, the due diligence phase could take 30 days or more to complete. It is definitely recommended that you notify your clients of this to maintain that important transparency.

Although it may seem invasive to ask your clients for so much personal information, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that you are not spending time trying to secure financing for businesses that just aren’t qualified to repay a loan.

Not only is due diligence a form of protection for you, the business loan broker, but it also protects your lenders. Performing due diligence on your end saves time and finances for the lenders and they will appreciate you vetting the borrowers before referring making introductions.

We talk a lot about the relationships that you are constantly nurturing as a business loan broker and this is no exception. Start every relationship with trust and insist that every client be transparent.

Due diligence is a business loan broker’s insurance and could be the difference between the best deal of your career and the deal that ends your career.


The “Five Cs” of Credit Analysis

Capacity to repay is the most critical of the five factors. The prospective lender will want to know exactly how you intend to repay the loan. The lender will consider the cash flow from the business, the timing of the repayment, and the probability of successful repayment of the loan.

Payment history of existing credit relationships — personal or commercial — is considered an indicator of future payment performance. Prospective lenders also will want to know about your contingent sources of repayment.

Capital is the money you have personally invested in the business and is an indication of how much you have at risk should the business fail.

Prospective lenders and investors will expect you to have contributed from your own assets and taken on personal financial risk to establish the business before asking them to commit any funding.

Collateral or guarantees are additional forms of security you can provide the lender. Giving a lender collateral means that you pledge an asset you own, such as your home, to the lender with the agreement that it will be the repayment source in case you can’t repay the loan.

A guarantee, on the other hand, is just that — someone else signs a guarantee document promising to repay the loan if you can’t. Some lenders may require such a guarantee in addition to collateral as security for a loan.

Conditions focus on the intended purpose of the loan. Will the money be used for working capital, additional equipment, or inventory?

The lender also will consider the local economic climate and conditions both within your industry and in other industries that could affect your business.

Character is the general impression you make on the potential lender or investor. The lender will form a subjective opinion as to whether you are sufficiently trustworthy to repay the loan or generate a return on funds invested in your company.

Your educational background and experience in business and in your industry will be reviewed. The quality of your references and the background and experience of your employees also will be taken into consideration.

What do the 5 Cs of Credit mean to a small business?

One of the most common questions among small business owners seeking financing is, “What will the bank be looking for from me and my business?” While each lending situation is unique, many banks utilize some variation of evaluating the five Cs of credit when making credit decisions: character, capacity, capital, conditions and collateral.

  1. Character. What is the character of the company’s management? What is management’s reputation in the industry and the community?

Lenders want to put their money with those who have impeccable credentials and references. The way the owner/manager treats employees and customers, the way he or she takes responsibility, timeliness in fulfilling obligations are all part of the character question.

This is really about the owner or manager and his/her personal leadership. How the owner or manager conducts business and personal life gives the lender a clue about how he/she is likely to handle leadership as a manager.

It’s a banker’s responsibility to look at the downside of making a loan. The  owner/manager’s character immediately comes into play if there is a business crisis, for example.

Small business owners place their personal stamp on everything that affects their companies. Often, banks do not differentiate between the owner and the business. This is one of the reasons why the credit scoring process evolved, with a large component being personal credit history.

  1. Capacity. What is the company’s borrowing history and record of repayment? How much debt can the company handle? Will it be able to honor the obligation and repay the debt?

There are numerous financial benchmarks, such as debt and liquidity ratios, that lenders evaluate before advancing funds. Become familiar with the expected pattern in the particular industry. Some industries can take a higher debt load; others may operate with less liquidity.

  1. Capital. How well capitalized is the company? How much money has been invested in the business? Lenders often want to see that the owner has a financial commitment and has taken on risk for the company.

Both the company’s financial statements and the personal credit are keys to the capital question. If the company is operating with a negative net worth, for example, will the owner be prepared to add more of his or her own money?

How far will his or her personal resources support both the owner and the business as it is growing? If the company has not yet made profits, this may be offset by an excellent customer list and payment history. All of these issues intertwine.

  1. Conditions. What are the current economic conditions, and how do they affect the  company? If the business is sensitive to economic downturns, for example, the bank wants to feel comfortable with the fact that the business is managing productivity and expenses.

What are the trends for the industry, and how does the company fit within them? Are there any economic or political hot potatoes that could negatively affect the growth of the business?

  1. Collateral. While cash flow will nearly always be the primary source of loan repayment, bankers should look closely at the secondary source of repayment. Collateral represents assets that the company pledges as an alternate repayment source for the loan. Most collateral is in the form of hard assets, such as real estate and office or manufacturing equipment.

Alternatively, accounts receivable and inventory can be pledged as collateral, though in some countries, these “movable assets” are not well supported by the legal framework. The collateral issue is a bigger challenge for service businesses, as they have fewer hard assets to pledge.

Until the business is proven, a loan should nearly always have collateral. If it doesn’t come from the business, the bank should look to personal assets.

Keep in mind that, in evaluating the five C’s of credit, lenders don’t give equal weight to each area.

Lenders are cautious, and one weak area could offset all the other strengths. For example, if the industry is sensitive to economic swings, the company may have difficulty getting a loan during an economic downturn — even if all other factors are strong. And if the owner is not perceived as a person of character and integrity, there’s little likelihood he or she will receive a loan, no matter how good the financial statements may be.

Lenders evaluate the company as a total package, which is often more than the sum of the parts. The biggest element, however, will always be the owner.

10 Fundamentals Beginning Real Estate Investors Should Know

  1. The Cup Is Always Half Full

New real estate investors are very nervous on the first deal and start to panic at every obstacle. These emotions are natural considering most are spending their life savings on an investment property. Never let your emotions get too high or too low because both can cost you time and money.

  1. The Value Is in The Experience

Your first flip isn’t all about the profits. Many first-time investors won’t make a killing off of their first property, so it’s key to keep in mind that there’s also value in the time spent managing the acquisition and renovations, learning from mistakes and seeing the project through to completion.

  1. Setting Aside Working Capital Is Key

Many new investors fail when they are hit with unexpected and major expenses or income loss such as significant repairs or a major tenant vacating. To avoid this, make sure to set aside enough working capital in reserves to account for these problems so that you can carry the property through the tough times.

  1. Discipline Will Help You Stay on Budget

First-time investors are sometimes so eager to get started; they will abandon their set numbers. This may lead to overspending on the acquisition or on the improvements. My most disciplined clients won’t go over their set budget. What seems like a negligible amount can impact returns.

  1. Return Calculations Can Be Misleading

In commercial real estate, it is very common to advertise cash on cash returns, capitalization rates, and internal rate of return for investment properties. I wish more early investors understood how easily manipulated those figures can be and that you could provide 10 seasoned industry professions the same data and come up with a wide range of IRR estimates

  1. Lying Will Ruin Your Reputation

Reality TV shows are pure entertainment and do not accurately reflect investing, so don’t rely on them at all for your education. Get involved with people who actively invest in your local area.

  1. You Won’t Get Far Without Mentors and Partners

There are successful investors out there, right now, with decades of experience, who would be happy to help you on your journey. Find a way to add value for them, and in return ask if they can help you in your real estate investing business.

  1. Having the Right Team Is Priceless

Working with a well-seasoned professional team is key. Often, real estate investors are looking to rent out the property, but the first-timers don’t work with a team of professionals to think through cost estimates, financing options, profitability and different aspects of being a landlord or occupancy rates.

  1. The Details Are in The Contracts

I can’t tell you how many people I have known, including myself early on, that just trusted the personality running the deal, and never understood what they were investing in.

  1. Plans Are Useless, But Planning Is Indispensable

We see a lot of first-time investors purchasing investment properties. While there is a multitude of impactful factors, the end reason the project is being done is to make money. To keep everything on track and in perspective, create a Pro-forma (projected) profit and loss statement to determine the impact and timing of decisions and investments.


Tips for Choosing the Best Commercial Mortgage Broker

Tips for Choosing the Best Commercial Mortgage Broker

When you decided to work with a commercial mortgage broker, you definitely made a smart choice.

However, it is more important for you to realize that if you get the right broker to work with, it can save you thousands of dollars but working with the wrong one can cost you just the same.

The basic things that a broker should assist you with include preparation of loan package, selection of lender, loan package submission to multiple lenders, loan package evaluation and preparation for closing.

Get Recommendations from Trusted Individuals

To begin your search for a commercial mortgage broker, you can first ask around for recommendations from your established connections of business associates.

Get in touch with the smartest and most successful commercial investor that you know and get contacts from them if possible.

Given that they are smart and successful, then there is a great chance that they did work with a reliable commercial mortgage broker.

Look for Someone with Commercial Mortgage Expertise

You must of course select someone that has demonstrated experience and education in the industry of commercial mortgages and does not focus on residential mortgages because those are two very different things.

Find out if the broker has the experience and the contacts that will give you better chances in closing your loan in a timely manner.

Remember, there is a wide range of commercial property types out there and you need to be working with someone who was already able to close a deal that is particular to what you require.

Look for someone who specializes in the type of investment property that you prefer. An example of which is if you want an apartment complex, then you must find a broker who specializes in apartment complexes.

Know that you are paying for expertise so you have to make sure that you are working with an expert.

Start Your Search Ahead of Time

A good idea would be to select a broker even before you need one. In doing so, you are giving your broker ample time to conduct additional research for your property type and loan options before you are ready to pursue the application.

Commercial mortgage closing sometimes need to happen fast and you do not want to be caught in a situation where there is no one to look after your best interests.

Familiarize Yourself with the Commercial Mortgage Process

Having said this, you have to make sure that the broker you are working with is really looking after your best interests and not about the interest of the lender or themselves. Keep your eyes open during the whole process and be sure to ask questions if things are not clear to you.

Clarify your concerns such as the points they charge, fees, how many lender contacts they maintain, among other things, so you will have an idea more or less as to how the broker works.

Do not be in the dark about the whole process and educate yourself. Learn about the commercial industry and the basics of the loan process yourself. Find time to talk to a few brokers about the options they may offer you for your specific property type.

Loan-To-Cost Ratio LTC Explained Winston Rowe and Associates

What is Loan To Cost Ratio LTC

The loan-to-cost (LTC) ratio is a metric used in commercial real estate construction to compare the financing of a project (as offered by a loan) with the cost of building the project.

The LTC ratio allows commercial real estate lenders to determine the risk of offering a construction loan. Similar to the LTC ratio, the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio compares the construction loan amount with the fair-market value of the project.

The LTC ratio is used to calculate the percentage of a loan or the amount that a lender is willing to provide to finance a project based on the hard cost of the construction budget. After the construction has been completed, the entire project will have a new value. For this reason, the LTC ratio and the LTV ratio are used side by side in commercial real estate construction.


Assume that the hard construction cost of a commercial real estate project is $200,000. To ensure that the borrower has some equity at stake in the project, the lender provides a $160,000 loan.

This keeps the project slightly more balanced and encourages the borrower to see the project through. The LTC ratio on this project is 80 percent.

Loan-to-Value Ratio

The LTV ratio compares the total loan given for a project against the value of the project after completion. Considering the above example, assume that the future value of the project, once completed, is double the hard construction costs.

If the total loan given for the project, after completion, is $320,000, the LTV ratio for this project is also 80 percent.

Significance to Lenders

The LTC ratio helps to delineate the risk or risk level of providing financing for a construction project.

Ultimately, a higher LTC ratio means that it is a riskier venture for lenders. Most lenders provide loans that finance only a certain percentage of a project.

In general, most lenders finance up to 80 percent of a project. Some lenders finance a greater percentage, but this typically involves a significantly higher interest rate.

While the LTC ratio – as well as the LTV ratio – are both mitigating factors for lenders that are considering the provision of a loan, they must also consider other factors.

Lenders consider the location and value of the property on which the project is being built, the credibility and experience of builders, and the borrowers’ credit record and loan history as well.

Commercial Loan Due Diligence Approach and Methodology

Commercial Loan Due Diligence Approach and Methodology

Due diligence is an important exercise in a loan transaction because it allows the lender to make an informed decision as to whether it should lend money to the borrower and, if so, on what terms. A thorough due diligence review of the borrower and its business ensures that the loan does not involve legal risks that the lender is unaware of that could endanger the repayment of its loan. Due diligence is an effective tool for uncovering aspects of the borrower’s business that can either:

Introduce new negotiating points for the pricing and terms of the loan.

Lead to changes to:

the collateral package that secures the loan; or

other credit support for the borrower’s repayment obligations, such as guarantees or insurance.

Cause the lender to withdraw from the deal.

The failure to identify significant legal risks in a loan transaction can cause problems for a lender, ranging from an unfavorable business transaction to legal liability and the obligation to pay damages.

The scope of a due diligence investigation is driven by:

The type of transaction.

The parties involved.

The level of risk the lender is willing to assume.

Counsel must know which questions to ask and the proper steps to follow to carry out a sufficiently detailed review that serves their clients’ interests. Due diligence typically involves a large number of documents that must be exchanged and carefully examined. This often requires coordination of a team of reviewing attorneys, good organizational skills and planning a well-defined scope to the due diligence exercise.

Depending on the transaction and the nature of the borrower’s business, due diligence concerns may vary. For example, a lender’s credit analysis and due diligence review of a business with extensive real estate holdings will focus on different issues than a lender’s credit analysis and due diligence review of a holding company with assets consisting largely of securities in subsidiaries and intellectual property.


Commercial Real Estate Loan Check List Winston Rowe & Associates

Commercial Loan Processing

Winston Rowe & Associates, a national no advance fee commercial real estate advisory and financing firm. Their primary objective is to provide the most reliable and efficient means of sourcing both debt and equity for your commercial real estate loans.

They have prepared this article to provide insight into the supporting documentation needed to perform the due diligence and underwrite a commercial real estate transaction. This is not a comprehensive list of supporting documentation, only a general guideline.

General Supporting Documents Needed For Commercial Real Estate Financing:

1. Last 3 Years Personal Tax Returns (For Purchase or Refinance)
2. Last 3 Years Business Tax Returns (Needed From Seller and Buyer For a Purchase)
3. Personal Financial Statement (For all Guarantors of the Loan)
4. Business Profit & Loss 3 Years (From Seller and Buyer for Purchase or Refinance)
5. Articles of Incorporation (Buyer and Seller for Purchase and Refinance)
6. Schedule of Tenant Leases (For Purchase or Refinance)
7. Schedule of Units With Square Foot Per Unit (For Purchase or Refinance)
8. Resume (For Buyers)
9. Schedule of All Assets Owned (For Buyers and Refinancing)
10. 4506 (T) IRS Form (Patriot ACT Requirements for All CRE Transactions)
11.Purchase Agreement Executed (For a Purchase)
12.TRI Merge Credit Report (For Purchase and Refinance for all Guarantors)
13. Exterior Photos of Subject Property (For Purchase and Refinance)
14. Interior Photos of Subject Property (For Purchase and Refinance)
15. Most Recent Appraisal (For Purchase and Refinance)
16. Current Property Insurance Binder (For Purchase and Refinance)
17. Signed and Dated Personal Financial Statement (For Purchase and Refinance)

Winston Rowe & Associates provides no upfront fee bridge loans in the following states.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine,  Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia,   Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming