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Landlord Tips

Free Tools for Small Landlords

Free Tools Small Landlord
Free tools for small landlords help them succeed.

Small landlords own and manage at least one unit and maybe max out around 10. Compared to large property management companies, small landlords may be more price sensitive. To help them succeed, there are free tools for small landlords.

Free Income Expense Tracking

Regardless of size, landlords need a recordkeeping tool when managing rental property. For small landlords, accounting software like QuickBooks is expensive and overly complicated taking quite a bit of time to learn. On the other hand, an Excel spreadsheet is free, however, it isn’t powerful enough. It is not easy to create helpful reports from basic spreadsheets. RentalIncomeExpense.com is landlord accounting software that is free, easy to use, and generates meaningful reports.

Free Tenant Screening

Finding the right tenant makes landlording easier. The ideal tenant is one that will pay rent on time and keep the rental property in tip top shape. So tenant screening becomes really important. A free tenant screening option for small landlords is provided by SmartMove (a TransUnion service). SmartMove charges a fee for the credit reports, however, the landlord can designate the applicant (tenant) to pay the fee as many landlords bundle that fee as part of an application fee.

Free Vacancy Listing

Online advertising is one of the most popular and wide-reaching methods today. Landlords can advertise listings with a real estate specific site. Some are free like Realtor.com and Apartments.com. Others, like Zillow, charge a fee, however, Zillow owns other listing sites which means you maximize your reach as your listings are on multiple sites.

These free tools for small landlords can be effective and make landlording easier.

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Landlord Tips

Income Expense Tracking for Long Distance Landlords

Income Expense Long Distance Landlord
Income expense tracking is easy for long distance landlords.

A long distance landlord is someone who does not live near their rental property. Landlording success is not determined by how close or far you live to your rentals. A few simple tips including income expense tracking for long distance landlords can make them a success.

Rely on the Community

When situations arise with the rental, like a broken toilet, long distance landlords cannot be there to remedy the situation. Instead, they have to rely on people who can be present and help quickly and successfully. Having an electrician, plumber, and handyperson that can address a situation quickly (and bill you later) will give you peace of mind. Adding to that local team can be a landscaper who will ensure your property looks good and is cared for. An alternative to organizing a local team would be hiring a property management company. It is important to interview a few to compare their services and fees.

Apply Technology

Technology is a long distance landlord’s friend. Something as simple as communicating with tenants by text or email can be easy and effective. Additionally, installing cameras around the property can provide safety measures for the tenant and give the long distance landlord a view of the property.

Screen Tenants

Having a tenant you can trust, that will take care of your rental property, and pay rent on time is every landlord’s dream. Screening tenants become even more important for long distance landlords. Taking the time to review applications, interviewing tenants, and performing background checks become essential in an attempt to finding great tenants.

Income expense tracking for long distance landlords is important, especially when the landlord is not able to do any of the work themselves. Free landlord accounting tools like RentalIncomeExpense.com make it easy for landlords to record income and expenses. Landlords can be successful even when they do not live close to their rental property.

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Landlord Tips

Save Money with Tenant Turnover

Save Money Tenant Turnover
Landlords can save money with tenant turnover by keeping things simple.

Landlords need tenants. A great tenant is one that resides for a long time, pays the rent on time, and keeps the rental property in tip top shape. However, no matter how great the tenant, there is bound to be some work between tenants. Cleaning up a little between tenants is far better than repairing property damage. With some really simple changes, landlords can save money with tenant turnover.

Simple is Key to Saving Money with Tenant Turnover

Keeping things simple will save landlords time and money with tenant turnover. Appliances that are of good quality and not complicated can be a better value over the long term. Well made appliances with few bells and whistles enable tenants to use them with greater ease. Repairs on simpler appliances may be easier, cheaper, and infrequent.

A beautiful landscape can be as simple as a well maintained lawn. Flowers and other shrubbery can certainly beautify a rental property. They can also require more maintenance and thus more cost for the landlord. Relying on tenants to maintain the beauty may not be feasible as tenants may not have such interest.

Simplifying the flooring in the rental property may be an upfront cost, but it will save the landlords in the long term. By removing carpet, landlords eliminate the need to shampoo or deal with stains or odors between tenants. Using durable flooring such as tile or reengineered wood can simplify the cleaning process.

Landlords can save money with tenant turnover by keeping things simple. To this end, free landlord accounting software like RentalIncomeExpense.com make the expense recording simple (and free).

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General

Property Management Software Benefits

Property Management Software Benefits
Property management software is meant to make landlording easier.

Property management software makes landlording easier. It helps new landlords as well as those who have been managing rentals for years. There are many tools available to help make landlording easier. We will touch upon just a few of the many benefits of software for landlords.

Recordkeeping

One of the major benefits is tracking income and expenses in one central location. Maintaining good accounting records makes tax time easier. Plus, records can tell a story as it is important to understand how well your rental property business is doing. Ultimately, good recordkeeping provides peace of mind. Software with recordkeeping features can range from paid software like Buildium to free software like RentalIncomeExpense.com. Cost, ease-of-use, and features such as reports are items to consider when deciding on which software to pursue.

Tenant Screening/Applications

Renting to a great tenants makes landlording more enjoyable and easier. So finding such tenants makes the tenant screening process all the more important. Some property management software has the application and screening process built in. On the other hand, there are some stand alone services, like SmartMove, that focus specifically on tenant screening.

Landlords have choice when it comes to finding the right landlording software for their needs. They will find the solution that best fits their budget and is easy to use.

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Landlord Tips

Landlord Tips for a Strong Tenant Relationship

Tips For Strong Tenant Relationship
There are simple tips for a strong tenant relationship.

Landlords are in the business of providing housing. Their customers are tenants, and landlords should not ignore the popular motto, “the customer is always right.” Maintaining a strong relationship with tenants is advantageous for the landlord. A landlord’s ideal tenant is one that pays rent on time and takes care of the rental property. When a landlord has such a tenant, then their goal should be to reduce the chance of tenant turnover. Finding a new tenant is a time consuming task. Time is money. Making the tenant experience friendly can lead to a positive and long lasting relationship. Here are a few easy landlord tips for a strong tenant relationship.

Listen

There will be times when tenants make requests. Before immediately saying “no”, landlords who first listen may earn the respect of tenants. For example, tenants may want to paint rooms a different color. The cost of paint or hiring a company to paint can be relatively minor when landlords can enjoy the long term benefit of a satisfied tenant. Landlords who use accounting software like RentalIncomeExpense.com can easily track an expense like paint. And landlords who offer to cover the cost of painting rooms will score even higher with tenants!

Communicate

Something as simple as calling or emailing tenants to see how they are doing can have a meaningful impact on tenants. It can show the landlord cares. At the same time, landlords who respond promptly to tenant issues or concerns convey the importance of the landlord tenant relationship. No one likes to be ignored. As in most relationships, helping each other out and feeling heard are important qualities. The landlord tenant relationship is no exception and simple tips for a strong tenant relationship with listening and communicating can go a long way.

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General

Free and Easy Income Expense Tracking for Landlords

Income Expense Tracking Landlords
RentalIncomeExpense.com is designed specifically for landlords – Free & easy recordkeeping.

Landlords need an easy to use and affordable recordkeeping tool when managing rental property. Property management software like QuickBooks is expensive and overly complicated for the small landlord. Landlords need to spend a bit of time understanding how to set up accounts and then recording data into QuickBooks. An Excel spreadsheet, however, isn’t nearly powerful enough. Basic spreadsheets cannot easily generate the different reports landlords need. RentalIncomeExpense.com is the solution. It is free and easy income expense tracking for landlords.

Designed specifically for landlords, RentalIncomeExpense.com follows the same income and expense categories as those on Schedule E of Form 1040. So there is no setting up of accounts. Landlords simply record income and expenses as incurred and assign them to existing accounts. It’s Schedule E helper report makes tax time fast and easy for you and your accountant. In addition to the Schedule E helper report, RentalIncomeExpense.com provides landlords with a profit and loss report which helps them understand how well their rental property business is doing.

Income expense tracking for landlords does not have to be costly or complicated. RentalIncomeExpense.com is free and easy making it a top choice for landlord recordkeeping needs.

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General

Rental Property Wear & Tear or Damage

Wear and Tear or Damages
Landlords incur costs when prepping rental property for the next tenant.

When a tenant vacates at the end of the lease, landlords have an opportunity to assess the state of the rental property. Normal wear and tear are items related to everyday living and are to be expected. Damage or negligent abuse by the tenant, however, is not normal and can be grounds for holding the security deposit. It is important for landlords to recognize the differences between normal wear and tear and damages.

Normal wear and tear include items such as minor holes, fading paint, and floor scratches. These items occur from everyday living. For example, small holes are present if the tenant hung photos on the walls. It is customary for landlords to clean the rental property for the next tenant. Cleaning includes filling minor holes in the wall, applying a fresh coat of paint, and even waxing floors.

Damage, on the other hand, are signs of intentional abuse or neglect by the tenant. For example, unusually large holes in the walls or unapproved wallpaper or painting are not normal wear and tear. Withholding some or all of the security deposit can be grounds in order for the landlord to cover the cost to repair damages.

Landlord recordkeeping is important to maintain. Whether the unit needs repairs due to normal wear and tear or damages, landlords incur cost and should record such expenses. RentalIncomeExpense.com is free landlord accounting software. With this free accounting tool, it is easy to record rental property income and expenses that align with Schedule E categories. Reports such as Profit and Loss and Schedule E Helper guide landlords as they manage their rental properties.

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Landlord Taxes

20% Pass Through Tax Deduction for Landlords

20 Percent Deduction
The 20% pass through tax deduction is a great benefit for landlords.

In the United States, the tax code has been widely seen as favorable for landlords. For instance, landlords can reduce their taxes by way of depreciation, and they can offset salary income with losses. In addition, they can shelter capital gains with a 1031 exchange. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 introduced a significant benefit of a 20% pass through tax deduction for landlords. This deduction enables landlords to deduct up to 20% of net rental income from income tax.

What is the 20% pass through tax deduction?

From 2018 through 2026, the 20% pass through tax deduction allows landlords to be taxed on 80% of rental net income. Specifically, this deduction is only for pass-through entities where landlords run their rental business as a sole proprietor, LLC, or S corporation. Overall, a pass-through entity is a common business type where individuals pay their profits on their individual taxpayer rates.

Who can qualify?

The IRS has a safe harbor rule which simplifies the determination for how landlords can qualify for the tax deduction:

  1. Maintain separate records to reflect the income and expenses for each rental real estate enterprise.
  2. Perform 250 or more hours of rental services each year for each rental real estate enterprise. The safe harbor provides a list of rental services that qualify for this requirement.
  3. Keep detailed records on the hours and descriptions of all services performed.

The amount landlords can deduct depends on income qualifications. For example, landlords can deduct the full 20% if taxable income is less than $157,500 as a single filer or $315,000 if married filing jointly. However, for higher income levels, a calculation will determine the deduction amount. In other words, tax software or accounting professionals will need to perform the calculation.

To qualify, keep good records!

Well organized landlords track rental income and expenses, and good data helps landlords understand how well the rental business is doing. In conclusion, the 20% pass through tax deduction for landlords and the safe harbor provisions to qualify reinforce the importance of good recordkeeping. There are online tools that help track rental income and expenses. One of them, RentalIncomeExpense.com, is even free!

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Landlord Taxes

Make Tax Time Easier with Landlord Software

Tax Time Easier
Tracking rental income and expenses with accounting software makes tax time easier.

Well, we’re approaching that time of year again. Prepping income tax returns is an annual event most people do not get excited about but must be done. As we make new resolutions at the beginning of every year, hopefully one of yours is to use landlord software to make tax time easier.

Landlord Software Tracks Rental Income and Expenses

Landlord software to track rental income and expenses makes life really easy. It can generate reports that tell you how well your rental property business is doing. For example, a profit and loss statement is a financial review of the business’ revenues and expenses over a period of time.

You have a lot of choice. For tax time, there are some excellent and free landlord income and expense tracking software such as RentalIncomeExpense.com. With RentalIncomeExpense.com, you can generate a Schedule E Helper report that mimics the Schedule E you will have to file with your taxes. Schedule E is one of the many schedules that are part of the IRS Form 1040. Taxpayers use Schedule E to report income and expenses from supplemental income. Landlords need to file Schedule E with their form 1040 to report income (or loss) from rental property.

The information and speed you will achieve with landlord software will make tax time less of a chore!

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General

Ways to Advertise Rental Property

tips to advertise your rental property
There are numerous low cost ways to advertise your rental property.

Every business needs customers to generate revenue. For landlords, those customers are tenants. So when a tenant vacates, it is critical for the landlord to fill the empty unit as quickly as possible. The longer the rental property is empty, the longer the landlord does not make any money. Here are some tips on how landlords can advertise rental property:

1. Decide Where to Advertise

Landlords should think about where most of their tenants will search for an available property to rent. Online advertising is one of the most popular and wide-reaching methods today.

Landlords can advertise listings with a real estate specific site such as Zillow or Apartments.com. Other online options include social media platforms like Facebook or Nextdoor or a more general site such as the ever popular Craigslist. Many of these online advertising options are free, which is a real plus for the landlord’s bottom line.

A simple yard sign can still catch the eyes of a promising tenant. The cost for the “For Rent” sign in your yard is minimal.

2. Post High Quality Pictures

For tenants who prefer to search online, pictures become a critical basis for decision making. Landlords should post high quality photos of the empty unit so tenants searching online have a good idea of the rental property and can make a decision from the photos alone. With today’s smartphones, landlords can take their own high quality photos instead of hiring a professional photographer. Once a tenant is serious about renting a particular property, they benefit from a physical walk through of the rental property.

3. Be Responsive to Inquiries

In describing your rental property, identify key selling points. For example, you will want to mention if you accept online rent payment, as that may be an important criteria for tenants. While the description of your property for rent should be thorough, tenants may have questions. Providing accurate contact information and responding promptly to inquiries makes your unit and your reputation as a landlord positive selling points. In terms of cost here, it will be your time again. Being a responsive landlord will help you meet your goal of filling your vacancy as quickly as possible.

Good Advertising will Fill an Empty Unit

Advertising your rental property online or on paper, showing your rental property with good pictures, and being responsive to inquiries are all steps in the right direction to filling your vacancy. The cost to advertise your rental property is reasonable, especially for some online listings. For any costs you do incur to advertise your rental property, be sure to track them with a good tool such as RentalIncomeExpense.com, which is free, follows the Schedule E income and expense categories, and enables you to generate reports.