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Maxwell Systems — Colonial Property Management

From the January 2006 Review of Property
Management Software

The Colonial Property Management system provides full rental property management
for multi-family, single-family and commercial properties, as well as tenant
organizations. The system supports multiple databases, including MSDE, Oracle
and SQL, which makes it scalable to businesses with any number of properties
and units. Colonial includes full accounting functionality through integrated
GL, AP and AR systems. This high-end program starts at about $3,000. Maxwell
Systems also offers a variety of construction-related applications, including
a construction option that can be integrated with the property management system.

Upon opening the program, Colonial presents the user with a customized Tickler
Notifications window, which provides a list of items needing attention by that
user. This to-do list can be easily printed or canceled. Two interfaces are
available to users: either a more traditional icon- and button-based system
or an Explorer-style menu format that provides expandable and collapsible folders
for primary program features. The Explorer format gives users more customization
options with the addition of the My Favorites section, in which users can create
links to the features or functions they use most frequently.

The modular system includes options for Accounting, Property Management, Distribution
and Construction. Each of these modules has its own setup utility (this is visible
in the Explorer view, but not as obvious in the alternate view). These utilities
simplify the creation of new tenants, properties, vendors and other entities.

Lists for tenants, properties, et al, are presented in a long format, but
the system allows searching by several parameters, as well as filtering options
by state, city, ZIP, region, keyword and many other items. Data screens provide
a tabbed window with lookup fields for some entries, as well as the ability
to attach notes, images, documents or web sites to any item, whether properties,
units, vendors, tenants, transactions or work orders. Additionally, user-created
fields allow the addition of any special information.

The core Tenant Accounting feature of the property management system can support
multiple types of rental properties, including multi- and single-family dwellings,
commercial and industrial, and retail. It also provides GL, AP, AR and bank
reconciliation options, which can be further supported by optional property
budgeting and forecasting modules and a common area maintenance reconciliation
function. The accounting system can support an unlimited number of separate
sets of books, which is a necessity for companies managing the property of others.
For management of retail properties, the system can track reported sales figures
for tenants for the purpose of billing percent rent to generate statistical
reports. Colonial also has available payroll and tenant services functions.

Other specific modules include work order management, property forecasting,
electronic banking capabilities, investor distributions, corporate AP workflow,
and an executive information system.

All of the system’s modules integrate with the core system and with its
accounting functions. The program can also export most reports and data into
Word, Excel or *.PDF formats.

REPORTING – 4.5 Stars
A variety of reporting options is available in each module, including more than
a hundred customizable pre-built reports, or outside report writers can be used
thanks to the system’s ODBC-compliant structure. The system has extensive
report generation and data mining capabilities because of the database structure,
resulting in a query system that can find virtually any information within the
system. Printing options can be accessed from any screen with one click thanks
to an icon at the top right of all windows, and all reports can be output to
Excel or saved in *.PDF format.

SUPPORT – 4.5 Stars
Colonial provides an excellent built-in Help utility, with context-sensitive
assistance available just by clicking an icon on the toolbar, which opens a
screen with information regarding the system screen on which the user resides.
The company’s web site provides a Customer Care center, where users have
access to FAQs, a knowledge database, and tracking of support cases and enhancement

Maxwell has geared its Colonial property management suite for use by REITs (Real
Estate Investment Trusts) and other larger property management groups. The system
offers an exceptionally strong backbone with its database structure, which also
enables greater control over the information within. A comprehensive array of
modules completes the suite.

2006 Overall Rating – 4.5 Stars