Buildium vs AppFolio: An In-Depth Comparison for Property Managers


Property management today is as much a digital endeavor as a hands-on role, with numerous software solutions designed to streamline this complex job. 

The right software can significantly enhance operational efficiency, improve tenant relations, and bolster financial oversight, acting as the backbone of modern property management practices. 

Among the plethora of options, Buildium Property Management Software and AppFolio stand out as leading choices. 

While both platforms strive to simplify the lives of property managers by offering comprehensive tools for managing leases, maintenance, and finances, they each bring unique strengths to the table. 

This article delves into the nuances of these software solutions, comparing their key features to help you make an informed decision based on your property management needs.


Overview of Property Management Software

Before diving into the comparison, let’s look at what property management software is and its role in modern property management. This type of software acts as a digital toolkit, enabling property managers to efficiently handle:

  • Tenant Screening: Automates the process of evaluating prospective tenants to ensure reliability and suitability.
  • Rent Collection: Facilitates secure and convenient online payment options for tenants, streamlining the collection process.
  • Maintenance Requests: Offers a platform for tenants to report maintenance issues and for managers to track and respond to these requests promptly.
  • Financial Reporting: Generates detailed financial reports, helping property managers oversee the financial health of their properties.
  • Lease Management: Manages all aspects of the lease lifecycle, from signing to renewal or termination.
  • Communication Tools: Provides channels for effective communication between property managers, tenants, and owners.

As the demands on property managers evolve in the digital age, the need for software that not only streamlines these tasks but also ensures security and offers residents easy access to services has become increasingly important.

Platform Overviews: Buildium vs. AppFolio

Both Buildium and AppFolio have carved out significant niches within the property management software industry, offering tools and features designed to simplify the multifaceted role of property managers. 

Before we delve into their nuances, here is a brief introduction to each platform:


A preview of Buildium

A comprehensive property management solution, Buildium stands out for its user-friendly interface and extensive feature set. Buildium caters to the needs of property managers overseeing residential properties, community associations, and student housing. 

It emphasizes ease of use, efficient property operations, and strong tenant communication channels.


A preview of Appfolio

Tailored for property managers and real estate professionals seeking a scalable and integrated approach, AppFolio offers a robust platform that supports a wide range of property types, from residential to commercial real estate. 

It’s known for its advanced technology, including AI-driven insights, and a focus on streamlining every aspect of property management, from online leasing to maintenance requests.

Shared Features Comparison: Buildium vs. AppFolio

Buildium and AppFolio share many key features essential for streamlining the day-to-day operations of property management. However, the way they implement these features can differ, offering unique advantages to property managers based on their specific needs. 

This section delves into these shared features, comparing how each platform approaches leasing tools, maintenance management, financial management and reporting, tenant and owner portals, tenant screening, and their integration and marketplace capabilities.

Leasing Tools

Buildium streamlines the leasing process, enabling property managers to create listings, screen applicants, and manage leases entirely online. 

It offers custom templates for lease agreements, electronic signatures that can be collected from various devices, and secure storage for easy access by all parties involved. Leases can be quickly modified, offering flexibility and convenience.

AppFolio provides a leasing CRM that includes custom-branded leases, eSignatures, automated renewals, and configurable rental fee processes. 

It’s designed for a highly configurable and streamlined workflow, tailored to the unique operational models of different property management companies.

Maintenance Management

Both platforms facilitate efficient maintenance request handling, tracking, and vendor coordination. 

Buildium offers a robust system for logging maintenance requests and tracking their progress, while AppFolio streamlines the workflow, allowing for quick assignment and follow-up with vendors.

Financial Management and Reporting

Buildium features automatic bank reconciliation, comprehensive reporting on cash flow, balance sheets, and more, ensuring adherence to trust accounting rules. Its financial reporting capabilities are designed for quick generation and deep insights.

AppFolio boasts real-time reporting features, including income, cash flow, and bank activity insights, alongside smart bill entry for scanning and processing PDF invoices.

Tenant and Owner Portals

Buildium’s Resident Center acts as a community hub, offering maintenance tracking, payment history management, and document sharing, accessible via desktop and mobile apps.

AppFolio offers an online portal with on-demand resident tools, facilitating online payments, centralized document storage, and text messaging communication, eliminating the need for additional software integrations.

Tenant Screening

Buildium partners with TransUnion for comprehensive background checks, including credit, criminal, and eviction history, with custom recommendations based on credit score requirements.

AppFolio provides tenant screening as an add-on feature, covering credit scores, rental and employment history, and criminal records.

Integration and Marketplace

Buildium’s Proptech Marketplace is a dynamic ecosystem offering a variety of apps for collections fulfillment, productivity, resident services, and more, allowing seamless integration with its suite.

AppFolio also hosts a comparable marketplace called AppFolio Stack. It features a wide range of proptech solutions and apps, with easy search and deploy functionality.

Unique Features: Distinguishing Buildium and AppFolio

While both Buildium and AppFolio offer a robust set of features for property management, certain unique offerings set them apart, tailoring each platform to different needs and preferences. 

This section explores these distinct capabilities, highlighting how each service can uniquely benefit its users.

Buildium’s Free Marketing Website

Buildium's free marketing offer

Buildium offers a unique advantage for property managers seeking to enhance their online presence with a free, hosted website

This platform serves as a 24/7 digital front, boosting a property management brand by allowing users to employ a customizable template, upload logos, and host essential documents for easy sharing. 

This not only streamlines communication by integrating Resident Center and Owner Portal login links but also ensures accessibility for users with disabilities through a built-in web solution. 

Property details, from amenities to pricing, are easily listed with a simple click, and the site is fully equipped to accept rental applications, turning interested visitors into potential tenants. 

This marketing website acts as a comprehensive communication hub, facilitating interactions with residents, owners, vendors, and employees, reducing the need for direct office calls.

AppFolio’s AI-Driven Realm-X

Appfolio Realm-X

AppFolio introduces Realm-X, an innovative conversational interface designed to redefine the working experience within its platform. 

Realm-X aims to automate tasks through its ability to understand and execute commands, from answering questions and fetching reports to completing tasks and initiating processes. 

This AI-driven feature allows users to teach Realm-X their specific workflows, automating common tasks and freeing up time for building relationships. 

Beyond Realm-X, AppFolio’s suite includes AI-powered tools like smart bill entry, AI leasing assistant Lisa, and smart maintenance solutions, all aimed at leveraging the latest in machine learning to enhance productivity and operational efficiency.

Pricing Models: Buildium vs. AppFolio

Understanding the pricing structure of property management software is crucial for property managers to determine which platform best fits their budget and operational needs. 

Buildium and AppFolio offer different pricing models and tiers, each designed to cater to various sizes and types of property management businesses. Here’s a comparison of what each platform offers in terms of pricing and included features.


  • Included in Every Plan: Free marketing website, standard reports (balance sheets, cash flow, budgets, actuals), accounting, maintenance, tasks, violations, online portals, and resident and board member communications.
  • Essential Plan: Starts at $55 per month. Includes tenant screening, online payments, and ticketed support. Does not include eSignatures, which are an additional $5 each. Bank account setup fees apply.
  • Growth Plan: Begins at $174 per month. Offers unlimited eSignatures, enhanced tenant screening, 5 free bank accounts, and live support. Priority support and onboarding are add-ons.
  • Premium Plan: Priced from $375 per month. Priority support, and 15 bank accounts. Onboarding remains an add-on option.


  • Core: Starts at $1.40 per unit/month. Includes property accounting & reports, marketing & leasing, work order management, inspections, mobility, portals & communication, and standard support.
  • Plus: Begins at $3 per unit/month. Adds affordable housing capabilities, advanced leasing metrics, purchase orders, AppFolio Stack premium integrations, and enhanced support.
  • Max: From $5 per unit/month. Includes everything in Plus, with leasing CRM, leasing signals, custom fields, database API, and dedicated customer success management.

Both Buildium and AppFolio structure their pricing to scale with the needs of their users, from basic functionalities for small portfolios to advanced features for large operations. 

Choosing the right plan depends on the specific requirements of each property management business, including the number of units managed, desired features, and the level of support needed.

Final Thoughts

Buildium and AppFolio stand out as premier property management platforms, each equipped to adeptly handle leasing, maintenance, and financial operations with a rich set of features. 

The decision to choose between them hinges on your unique needs, from the intricacies of functionality to budget constraints. Yet, it’s crucial to note that both platforms stop short of incorporating security and access control features for various premises. 

This is where Proptia steps in, seamlessly filling this gap by offering sophisticated software and hardware solutions for comprehensive visitor and resident management, including advanced gate control and credentialed access

By integrating Proptia with either Buildium or AppFolio, you unlock a holistic property management ecosystem. 

Explore more about enhancing your property management strategy on our insights page, or reach out for personalized support.