As a landlord, managing rental properties can be a time-consuming and stressful task. Finding tenants, collecting rent payments, and dealing with maintenance issues can be a challenge to track. Fortunately, there are many free landlord software options available to help streamline the process.
Some key features of landlord software include online rent payment processing, tenant screening, lease management, and maintenance tracking. There are services that include one or all of these features and can range from free to a monthly subscription.
RentalIncomeExpense.com is free and designed specifically for landlords. It follows the same income and expense categories as those on Schedule E of Form 1040. Landlords simply record income and expenses as incurred and assign them to existing income and expense accounts. Its Schedule E helper report makes tax time fast and easy for landlords and their accountants. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Owning and managing rental property is a business activity. Landlording can be a full or part time gig. Whether you create a separate business for it or not, landlord record keeping for rental property is important for tax purposes. The two main types of records are the income and expenses and the supporting documentation of the income and expenses.
Income & Expense Records
Landlord record keeping for rental property makes it easier to complete tax forms, such as Form 1040 Schedule E. The tax forms determine if you made a profit or had a loss for that year from your rental property. Schedule E organizes activity by each property, so you’ll want to keep income and expense records for each rental address.
Supporting Documentation for Landlord Record Keeping for Rental Property
Proof of income and expenses is especially important if you are audited. Receipts and cancelled checks prove the income earned and expenses incurred in case the IRS has questions. Supporting documents leave a paper trail and prove that your claims are correct. They also show the tax deductions you receive are legitimate.
Landlords with good recordkeeping habits will maximize the tax benefits of owning and managing rental property. Keeping track of income and expenses and maintaining supporting documentation will reduce the stress if audited and provide peace of mind. RentalIncomeExpense.com is a free and complete solution for landlords. Try it today!
Rental income expense tracking is an essential task for every landlord. Tracking helps landlords determine the health of their business. It also makes tax time easier as the rental property income and expense data is necessary to fulfill IRS requirements. For example, landlords usually need to complete Schedule E of Form 1040 for income tax purposes.
Expensive property management software like Renttec Direct or Buildium is overkill for the small landlord because it generally costs more in time and money than it is worth. On the other hand, a simple Excel spreadsheet is not nearly powerful enough because it cannot easily generate the different reports landlords need.
Easy to use and understand rental income expense tracking for landlords is highly desirable. Qualities of a great tool for landlords also include easy to generate reports like a profit & loss statement and an affordable price tag. Free is almost always the best!
The accounting needs of General Motors are not the same as the accounting needs of Joe’s Pizza shop. Similarly, small landlords do not have the same accounting needs as large real estate corporations. What does a small landlord need in their accounting software?
Ease of Use
Large apartment companies generally employ their own accountants. Small landlords must learn a lot of accounting on their own. For many, using accounting software like Quickbooks is time-consuming and not intuitive. Small landlord accounting software that is dead simple to use is a huge timesaver.
Income Expense Tracking
Expensive online software like Appfolio or Buildium often have a myriad of features. However, do small landlords need these features? Generally, small landlords just need basic income (rent) and expense tracking.
Once a landlord enters their income and expense information, they really just need a few helpful reports. The first is a profit and loss report so that a landlord can see how they are doing financially. Next, landlords in the United States need a ‘Schedule E’ Helper report which helps them report property income to the IRS.
Finally, small landlords often have slim budgets. They do not have hundreds of properties to spread the cost of accounting software across. They may just have one property.
Fortunately, there is online software that is perfect for small landlords and free. For many years, small landlords have used RentalIncomeExpense.com. This free service is easy-to-use, allows income expense tracking, and generates a few super important reports. Try it out at www.RentalIncomeExpense.com!
The rental property profit and loss statement is a report that summarizes revenues received and expenses incurred. Also known as a P&L or income statement, it shows how well or poorly the business is doing by its net income or loss. The majority of income is reflected by the rent landlords collect from tenants. As for expenses, they can vary and can range from general maintenance such as lawn care to property taxes. With the profit and loss report, landlords can identify areas to reduce expenses or make improvements to strengthen the business.
How do you create a an income statement? The easiest way is with landlord accounting software. There are free templates available, like the Zillow worksheet. Templates and spreadsheets are not the best choice for landlords because they are not powerful enough and can be one dimensional with limited reporting capabilities. Believe it or not, similar to templates, there is free landlord accounting software. For example, RentalIncomeExpense.com is an income and expense tracking tool designed for landlords. It is free and easily generates a rental property profit and loss statement. When using a good tool to generate reports, landlords can quickly determine how their business is doing.
Ever since some company named for a fruit unveiled the iPhone, the cell phone has changed from an important part of daily life to an essential part. From texts to emails to even (gasp! old school!) calls, most landlords today manage their rental property using their pint-sized touchscreen sidekick. Because it is so critical, cell phone related costs are a legitimate expense for a landlord.
What Phone Expenses Count For a Landlord?
There are two main components to cell phone expense.
The phone itself
The cellular plan (talk, text, and data) that allows you to use the phone on the go
Fortunately, both your purchase of a cell phone and the monthly cellular plan are legitimate landlord expenses. If you run your rental property business as a “pass thru” entity that shows up on your personal taxes (as many landlords do), these expenses will show up on the Schedule E of your IRS tax return.
Additionally, if you use just one phone for both business and personal, you’ll want to calculate roughly how much of your use of your smartphone is split between your landlording business and your personal use of the phone and allocate the expense appropriately (example, if 30% of the usage was for property management, expense 30%).
Where On the Tax Return Does Cell Phone Expenses Appear?
If your rental property activities are as a ‘pass thru entity’ (aka appear on your personal return), then your landlord cell phone expense can appear on the ‘Other’ line of Schedule E.
Does tracking rental property expenses seem daunting? Never fear! Look into a free online tool like RentalIncomeExpense.com. With this software, you can easily record property expenses and generate a Schedule E Helper report at tax time.