Landlord Tips

Landlords: Ditch Spreadsheets for Accounting Software

Spreadsheets are old fashioned and limiting. Landlord accounting software to superior.

Managing rental properties efficiently is crucial for success. One of the most tedious tasks landlords face is tracking rental income and expenses. Many landlords resort to using spreadsheets for this purpose, but are spreadsheets the best option? In this blog post, we’ll delve into why landlords should abandon spreadsheets and opt for dedicated rental property management software instead.

The Spreadsheet Struggle w/ Rental Income and Expenses

Spreadsheets have been a longtime go-to for many landlords to track their rental income and expenses. They offer a basic way to organize data and perform simple calculations. However, as property portfolios grow, spreadsheets become increasingly inadequate for comprehensive property management. Here’s why:

  1. Prone to Errors: Despite their utility, spreadsheets are prone to human error. One small mistake in a formula or cell can lead to significant inaccuracies, impacting financial records and decision-making.
  2. Limited Functionality: Spreadsheets have limited functionalities compared to dedicated rental property management software. They lack features tailored specifically for property management, such as automatic recording of online rent payment and report generation like a profit and loss statement.

The Benefits of Landlord Accounting Software

On the other hand, rental property management software offers a plethora of benefits that streamline processes:

  1. Automated Tracking: Rental property management software automates the tracking of rental income and expenses. It syncs with bank accounts, allowing transactions to be imported automatically, reducing manual data entry and minimizing errors.
  2. Comprehensive Reporting: These platforms generate comprehensive reports, providing landlords with insights into their property performance, cash flow, and expenses. With just a few clicks, landlords can access detailed financial statements and tax reports like a Schedule E Helper report with
  3. Scalability: As landlords scale their property portfolios, rental property management software scales with them. Whether managing a single unit or multiple properties, these platforms offer scalability and flexibility to accommodate growing needs.

While spreadsheets may suffice for basic tracking, they fall short in meeting the complex needs of modern property management. Landlord accounting software can help landlords improve efficiency, minimize errors, and ultimately maximize returns on their investments. With the right tools in hand, managing rental properties becomes less of a burden and more of a streamlined, profitable endeavor.

Landlord Tips

Items Landlords Should Include in a Tenant Welcome Packet

Welcome packets are a nice gesture and helpful for new tenants.

Welcoming new tenants to your rental property is an important step in fostering a positive landlord tenant relationship. One effective way to make a great first impression and set the tone for a successful tenancy is by providing a tenant welcome packet. This packet serves as a helpful resource for tenants, ensuring they have all the necessary information and resources at their fingertips. Here are a few things landlords should include in the tenant welcome packet:

Cover Letter

Begin the welcome packet with a friendly cover letter. Express your gratitude for choosing your property, provide your contact information, and let them know you are available for questions or concerns. Include emergency contact details for urgent matters, such as maintenance or security issues.

Lease Agreement & Property Rules/Checklists

Include a copy of the signed lease agreement. This is a crucial document that outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including rent amount, due dates, and rules. Encourage tenants to review it thoroughly and keep a copy for their records.

Clearly outline the rules and regulations specific to your property. This can include policies on noise, parking, trash disposal, and any other important guidelines to ensure a harmonious living environment. Include a detailed move-in/move-out checklist. This document helps protect both landlords and tenants by documenting the condition of the property upon arrival and departure. Encourage tenants to complete and return it promptly.

Utilities Information & Appliance Manuals

Include details on utility providers, contact numbers, and information on how tenants can set up or transfer utility services in their name if necessary. This ensures a smooth transition for tenants. If your rental property comes with appliances, provide manuals for each one. This can be especially helpful for tenants unfamiliar with the appliances in the unit, allowing them to troubleshoot issues and use the appliances efficiently.

Offer a list of nearby services and amenities such as grocery stores, medical facilities, schools, public transportation, and recreational areas. This information helps tenants acclimate to the neighborhood and feel more at home.

Welcome Gift

Consider including a small welcome gift, such as a local restaurant gift card or a basket of essential household items. This thoughtful gesture goes a long way in making tenants feel valued and appreciated. If you want to expense the gift, remember to record it at or another income expense tracking tool.

A well-crafted tenant welcome packet sets the stage for a positive landlord-tenant relationship. By providing essential information and resources upfront, you not only make the move-in process smoother but also contribute to a more positive living experience for your tenants. Remember, a happy tenant is more likely to be a responsible and long-term tenant.


Landlord Bookkeeping

As boring as it may be, landlord bookkeeping is valuable at tax time.

Owning and managing rental property is a business activity. Running a business requires the need to track income and expenses for tax and business health purposes. So landlord bookkeeping becomes an important task and requires different types of records: (a) a record of your income and expenses, and (b) documentation of your income and expenses.

Income & Expense Records

Tracking rental property income and expenses will help you complete rental property-related tax forms, such as Form 1040 Schedule E. The tax forms will determine if you earned a profit or incurred a loss for that year from your rental property. Schedule E is organized by property address, so you’ll want to be sure to keep records separate for each address. And it’s a good thing to know how well your business is doing.

Supporting Documentation

Documentation of your income and expenses will come in handy if you are audited. Receipts, credit card statements, and cancelled checks will prove the income earned and expenses incurred should the IRS question the information reported to them. Supporting documentation will create a paper trail and prove that your claims are correct and the tax deductions you receive are legitimate.

Worth It

Good landlord bookkeeping habits will maximize the tax benefits of owning and managing rental property. Income expense tracking and maintaining supporting documentation will reduce the stress if audited. Plus, they will let you know how your landlording business is doing financially, and provide overall piece of mind.

Landlord Tips

Pros and Cons of Including Utilities in the Rent

There are pros and cons for landlords who include utilities in the rent.

As a landlord, striking the right balance between providing an attractive rental property and managing costs is crucial. One decision that often comes into play is whether to include utilities in the rent. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of including utilities in the rent for landlords.


  1. Streamlined Finances: One of the primary advantages for landlords is simplified financial management. Including utilities in the rent means a predictable, fixed income each month. This streamlining can make budgeting and planning for property expenses more straightforward, reducing the likelihood of financial surprises.
  2. Competitive Edge: Offering a rental property with included utilities can make it more attractive to potential tenants. Some tenants appreciate the convenience of a single, fixed monthly payment that covers all essential services. This could give your property a competitive edge in the rental market, potentially attracting a larger pool of tenants.
  3. Reduced Administrative Burden: Managing utility payments, dealing with late fees, and ensuring timely payments from tenants can be time-consuming. When utilities are included in the rent, landlords can reduce the administrative burden associated with tracking and managing separate bills. And for those landlords using an income expense tracking tool like, recording a single amount is faster than dealing with different amounts to track.


  1. Potential for Higher Costs: While including utilities simplifies financial management, landlords must carefully calculate and set the rent to account for average utility costs. There is a risk of setting the rent too high if utility expenses are overestimated, potentially deterring cost-conscious tenants. And there is a risk of setting it too low and not covering all utility expenses.
  2. Limited Tenant Accountability: When landlords include utilities, tenants may be less motivated to conserve energy or water, leading to higher overall usage. This lack of individual accountability can result in increased utility costs for landlords. Implementing energy-efficient appliances or clearly outlining expectations in the lease agreement can help mitigate this issue.
  3. Complexity in Shared Spaces: For landlords managing multi-unit properties, including utilities in the rent can become complex when shared spaces, such as hallways or common areas, are involved. Determining the fair distribution of these costs among tenants can be challenging, potentially leading to disputes or additional administrative tasks.

In conclusion, the decision to include utilities in the rent as a landlord involves a careful consideration of your financial goals, the rental market in your area, and the nature of your property. While it offers simplicity and competitive advantages, it’s essential to weigh these against the potential for higher costs and the complexities that may arise, especially in multi-unit properties. By understanding the pros and cons of including utilities in the rent, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your overall property management strategy.

Landlord Tips

How Landlords Can Automate Income Expense Tracking

Landlords can automate income expense tracking with related services.

As we’ve already discussed, landlords need to keep good records of their rental property income and expenses. They need this information to satisfy tax reporting requirements. It is also valuable information to see if renting is generating positive income. Unfortunately, tracking income and expenses is time consuming and boring. With all of the options available from a spreadsheet to landlord accounting software, each one has its pros and cons. is a free tool and a way landlords can automate income expense tracking for their rental property.

Related Services to Automate Income Expense Tracking

Landlords who use ClearNow for online rent payment benefit from the automatic recording of rents received and service fees paid in For example, when tenants pay rent via ClearNow, the rent landlords receive is automatically recorded in Similarly, the fees landlords pay to collect rent online is also automatically recorded in the landlord software. So just by using ClearNow, landlords can save time and eliminate the need to manually record rental income and the associated expenses every month.

Designed for landlords, is simple yet powerful landlord accounting software. Because it is free, landlords lose little when trying it out before taking out their wallets and purchasing software for their rental property needs.

Landlord Tips

The Art of Painting: Benefits for Landlords

Painting can make rental property look and feel new!

Landlords have a challenging job from finding the right tenants to maintaining the property’s condition. One often overlooked aspect of property management is the importance of regular painting. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of painting for landlords and why it should be an integral part of property maintenance.

  1. Enhanced Curb Appeal

First impressions matter, and this couldn’t be truer in the world of real estate. A well-maintained and freshly painted property will attract more potential tenants. It creates a positive first impression. Improved curb appeal helps reduce vacancy periods ensuring a steady income stream for landlords.

  1. Increased Property Value

Painting isn’t just about aesthetics. It also adds value to your property. When you invest in quality paint and professional painting services, you’re essentially increasing the worth of your investment. This can be particularly beneficial if you plan to sell the property in the future, as a freshly painted interior and exterior can boost your resale value.

  1. Protection Against Wear and Tear

Rental properties endure a higher level of wear and tear compared to owner occupied homes. Regular painting helps protect your property’s surfaces from damage caused by daily use, weather, and other external factors. For example, cracks in walls and ceilings can be entry points for pests such as insects and rodents. Regular painting helps seal these gaps, making it difficult for pests to infiltrate your property. Painting as a preventive measure can save you money on costly repairs and replacements down the line.

4. Tenant Retention

Happy tenants are more likely to stay longer, reducing tenant turnover and the associated costs of finding new tenants. A freshly painted property can make your current tenants feel more comfortable and satisfied, increasing the likelihood that they’ll renew their lease.

5. Energy Efficiency

When you paint your property, you have the opportunity to choose energy-efficient paint options. Lighter paint colors, for example, can reflect more sunlight, reducing the need for artificial lighting and potentially lowering utility bills for both you and your tenants.


The benefits of painting for landlords are not just a cosmetic enhancement for rental properties. From improving curb appeal and property value to protecting against wear and tear, the benefits are clear. So, if you’re a landlord looking to enhance your property’s appeal and long-term value, consider making painting a regular part of your property maintenance routine. The investment in paint and professional services will pay off in the form of happier tenants, reduced turnover, and a more valuable investment. And an added bonus is that landlords can expense the costs related to painting rental property. Be sure to track this expense with a landlord accounting tool like

Landlord Taxes

Paying the Rental Property Tax Bill

Landlords use to record expenses like the infamous tax bill.

As a landlord, managing your rental properties efficiently and keeping finances in order are crucial for a successful and stress-free business. One financial responsibility landlords must address is the payment of their rental property tax bill. While this may seem like another item to do, there are tools that make this process smoother and more organized. We will explore the importance of paying your rental property tax bill on time and how using an income and expense tracking tool like can help simplify the process.

Importance of Paying Your Rental Property Tax Bill

Paying your rental property tax bill is a non-negotiable aspect of being a landlord. Failure to do so can result in penalties, fines, and even legal issues. To avoid these consequences, it’s essential to ensure your taxes are paid on time. Here’s why it’s crucial:

  1. Legal Compliance: Paying your taxes is not just a financial responsibility but also a legal one. Failure to meet your tax obligations can lead to legal troubles that can be costly and time-consuming.
  2. Financial Planning: Paying your taxes on time helps you budget effectively and maintain a clear financial picture of your rental property business. is Free

To streamline the process of paying your rental property tax bill and keeping track of your property-related finances, consider using a free and dedicated income and expense tracking tool like Here’s how it can help:

  1. Income and Expense Tracking: allows you to track your rental property income and expenses. Its reports like the profit and loss statement help you see if you are profitable or not.
  2. Organized Records: With a user-friendly interface, this free tool helps you maintain organized records of all your financial transactions related to your rental properties.
  3. Tax Deduction Management: can help you identify potential tax deductions related to your rental property business, which can ultimately reduce your tax liability. Its Schedule E Helper Report mimics Schedule E of your Form 1040 making tax preparation for you (or your accountant) easier.

Paying your rental property tax bill and managing your property finances are paramount for a successful and stress-free landlord experience. Utilizing tools like can simplify the process and help you stay on top of your financial responsibilities. It also helps with understanding how you may need to adjust rents given your expenses. With the right tools, you can focus on growing your rental property business while maintaining your financial house in order.

Landlord Tips

Tips to Prepare for a Rental Property Showing

Cleaning and decorating can prepare for a rental property showing.

Landlords need to invest time and money to prepare for a rental property showing. Filling vacancies quickly affect the bottom line. The longer the unit stays empty, the less rent revenue the landlord enjoys. Here are some quick and easy things landlords can do to prepare for a rental property showing.

Clean Inside

The most ideal tenant will leave the rental property in the same pristine condition as when they moved in. Unfortunately, this is not reality. Standard wear and tear require landlords to clean the inside of the property. Investing in a cleaning service will save landlords time with this chore. Once the unit is cleaned, landlords can address maintenance issues.


With a clean unit, landlords can focus on areas of renovations or improvements. For example, replacing flooring or appliances, repairing plumbing, or painting walls will freshen up the look and feel of the property. Similar to a cleaning service, landlords can schedule painters, electricians, and plumbers to address areas of concern.

Clean Outside

First impressions can be a deal breaker. If a prospective tenant cannot get past the exterior of the rental property, then the landlord loses a potential tenant. Landlords can hire lawn maintenance services to ensure the exterior of the property is in pristine condition. Cutting the grass, trimming trees, and power washing the building are simple steps that can create a clean and positive impression.

Stage to Prepare for a Rental Property Showing

For many, it is much easier to visualize a room when it is furnished. Landlords can help tenants make a decision by staging the property. In these cases, landlords can hire companies that take care of decorating the property so tenants can get a feel of how it would be to live in.


Landlords should keep track of the expenses involved when they prepare for a rental property showing. Using landlord accounting software like make it easier to track many of these expenses that can be deducted at tax time.


Landlord Accounting Profit and Loss Statement

The profit and loss statement shows if a landlord is making money . . . or not.

Landlord accounting is essentially bookkeeping for rental property. Tracking income and expenses is important for tax purposes and overall good business practice. The data from tracking what the rental property brings in versus what it spends to operate can be used to create helpful reports. One report in particular, the profit and loss statement, can gauge the health of the business and assist at tax time.

The profit and loss statement is a report that summarizes revenues received and expenses incurred with managing rental property. It is also known in shorthand as the P&L. It reveals how well or poorly the business is doing by its net income or loss. With this report, landlords can identify areas to reduce expenses or make improvements to strengthen the business.

Landlord accounting software makes it easy to generate a profit and loss statement. Since landlords need to record income and expenses, it’s nice to benefit from this task with helpful reports like the P&L. If landlords track income and expenses by hand or with a spreadsheet, these methods generally do not generate a profit and loss statement. Consider for landlord accounting. It’s free, easy to use, and generates reports including a profit and loss statement.


Free Rental Property Expense Tracker for Landlords

Recording income and expenses is important when managing rental property.

Managing rental properties can be rewarding and challenging. As a business owner, it is good practice to stay on top of your expenses and maintain accurate financial records. An expense tracking system helps ensure you maximize profits and make informed decisions. Fortunately, there are many tools available to simplify this process. One such tool is a free rental property expense tracker.

Landlord Benefits

  1. Organize and record income and expenses: Keeping track of rental property finances can be time-consuming. A rental property expense tracker can help automate the process, allowing you to more easily organize and categorize expenses. By recording expenses into predefined categories such as maintenance, repairs, utilities, and more, you gain a clear understanding of where your money is going. This organized approach not only saves time but also helps you analyze your spending patterns and identify areas for potential cost-cutting.
  2. Generate financial reports: As a property owner, it is helpful to have a comprehensive overview of your rental property’s financial performance. Good landlord accounting software offers built-in reporting features that provide valuable insights into your income and expenses. For example, a free rental property expense tracker designed just for landlords is It provides reports such as profit and loss statements and a Schedule E helper report to assist at tax time. Reports empower you to make informed decisions, and they can simplify tax preparation by providing accurate records of deductible expenses. There are some free spreadsheets for landlords, but they may not provide any reporting.
  3. Simplify tax season: Tax season can be overwhelming for property owners, but a rental property expense tracker can simplify the process. By maintaining well-organized financial records throughout the year, you’ll have all the information you need to prepare your tax returns efficiently.

Using a free rental property expense tracker helps landlords from categorizing expenses to generating financial reports and simplifying tax season. These benefits can save time, reduce stress, and maximize profits.