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Landlord Tips

Landlords Can Make Tenant Lives Easier

RIE Tenant Easy
Landlords can make tenant lives easier in just a few simple ways.

Much has been written on ways to help landlords succeed. This blog post is not wholly different other than taking the view of how to help tenants. Happy tenants can make landlord lives easier. If there are ways landlords can make tenant lives easier, then it is a win win for both landlord and tenant. Here are a few easy things landlords can do for tenants.

Ways landlords can make tenant lives easier

Many tenants today consider the use of technology essential to daily living. One of the basic applications of technology is communication. Many tenants have smartphones, which allow them to be accessible anywhere. Landlords who communicate via text or email make tenant life easier. Talking on the phone, mailing letters, and meeting in person are time consuming, slow, and unappealing.

Smartphones are powerful tools. Beyond the immediate use of communication via text, phone, email, or information gathering from the Web, smartphones can be the key to your rental property. Literally. Landlords can install keyless locks on their rental property. With keyless locks, tenants do not have to keep track of a key. Depending on the type of lock, tenants can use a code or their smartphone to open and lock doors.

Something as simple as providing in unit clothing washers and dryers is a way landlords can make tenant lives easier. Carrying around clothes – dirty or clean – is not fun. Dishwashers are a standard appliance in rental properties. Why can’t washers and dryers be, too?

All of these simple ways landlords can do for tenants makes happier tenants, and they benefit landlords. By tracking these types of expenses, landlords can deduct these costs on their taxes as part of their landlording business. Free landlord accounting software like RentalIncomeExpense.com is an easy way to keep track of such expenses.

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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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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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Landlord Tips

Rental Income Expense Tracking for The New Year

Rental Income and Expense Tracking for the New Year
Start the new year right with a better rental income and expense tracking tool

January is a new year with new promise. Unfortunately, landlords are still looking at the prior year as tax season nears. Wouldn’t it be great to have an easy to use and simple tool to expedite your rental income and expense tracking? Fortunately, www.RentalIncomeExpense.com is just such a tool. Best of all, it is a FREE service!

Do Not Do Income and Expense Tracking With a Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets make sense for calculations that you need to quickly do that are beyond a calculator. However, if you are using a spreadsheet constantly, you are probably not using the most efficient tool. This is certainly the case when tracking rental income and expenses.

Do you need to quickly create a profit and loss statement from your rental income and expenses? How about an IRS report for Schedule E? Or need to save keystrokes by reentering a common recurring expense? RentalIncomeExpense.com lets you do these things effortlessly.

RentalIncomeExpense.com is a Breeze

Get started by visiting www.RentalIncomeExpense.com. Change the way you do rental income and expense tracking! Signing up only takes a minute and the service is free, so there is nothing to lose.

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Landlord Tips

Better Alternative to the Zillow Worksheet for Income Expense Tracking

Better alternative to Zillow worksheet
RentalIncomeExpense.com is superior to the Zillow worksheet for landlord income expense tracking.

Zillow provides a worksheet for landlords to track rental income and expense. It is free to download, and that is pretty much the best part of the Zillow worksheet. There is a better alternative to the Zillow worksheet for income expense tracking. By the time landlords sink hours entering their rental property data into the Zillow worksheet, they realize its significant limitations:

  1. Designed for one to five properties. If you start using the Zillow worksheet, you’ll quickly run out of room if you have more than five properties. Or, if you have a roommate situation and want to track rent payment by individual, well, you’re limited again. There is a better alternative to the Zillow worksheet for income expense tracking.
  2. No reports. Want to know the profit and loss for your rental property? You can’t do that with the Zillow worksheet. The Zillow worksheet only totals the income and expenses for all properties and shows that number as a cell. There is no way to see profit and loss activity by month. Additionally, the Zillow worksheet categories do not align with the IRS 1040 Schedule E categories, which means this worksheet cannot easily generate a report for Schedule E.

RentalIncomeExpense.com is the Better Alternative to the Zillow Worksheet

A better alternative is RentalIncomeExpense.com. It is free. It allows landlords to enter income and expense detail that align with Schedule E categories. Reports such as Profit and Loss and Schedule E Helper guide landlords as they grow and prepare for tax time.

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Landlord Taxes Landlord Tips

Landlord Rental Income Expense Tips

Landlord rental income expense tips
Rental income expense tracking can make the tax reporting process easier.

In the US, landlords are obligated to report rental income received from tenants. The IRS’ Schedule E of Form 1040 captures associated income and expenses for each rental property. Most people do not get excited when it comes to preparing taxes. The IRS and many software providers provide landlord rental income expense tips and tools to make the reporting process easier.

The IRS provides guidance for landlords on how they can correctly report income and realize as many deductions as possible. Most taxpayers try to minimize what they owe to the government. Landlords can deduct expenses such as mortgage interest, property tax, and depreciation, which can be hugely beneficial. It is always good practice to seek the professional advice of an accountant with any questions or concerns.

In addition to deducting expenses, other landlord rental income expense tips include easy and complete record keeping. Landlords can use a spreadsheet to record income and expenses, but there are better tools, especially those designed specifically for the small landlord. For example, RentalIncomeExpense.com is a free tool for landlords. With this software, you can easily record expenses and generate valuable reports at tax time.

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Landlord Tips

Landlords Letting Tenants Renovate Rental Property

Letting Tenants Renovate
Tenants may want to renovate while renting property.

Over time, any type of property – rental or non rental – will need updating. Building materials will either deteriorate or become outdated. For example, paint peels or fades, carpets stain and wear away, and bathrooms and kitchens become outdated. If the unit is occupied and the tenant wants to make improvements, landlords letting tenants renovate rental property is not a bad idea.

If you’re happy with your tenant, most landlords will not want to displace their tenant in order to renovate. So when a tenant wants to do the renovation, it’s a good idea for landlords to hear them out. For landlords letting tenants renovate rental property, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Agree to the renovations: As the owner of the rental property, you should be in agreement to the requested changes. Should the tenant vacate in the future, you are left with the renovations. Ideally, you will want renovations that increase the value and attractiveness of your rental property.
  2. Decide who will pay for the renovations: There are a few possibilities when it comes to who will pay for the renovations. The tenant can pay for it entirely, the landlord can pay for it entirely, or both can split the cost. Usually, if the improvement will add value, most landlords may cover the cost since they ultimately own the rental property. If the landlord covers the bill, he/she can track renovation-related expenses in their landlord income expense tracking software such as RentalIncomeExpense.com.
  3. Put everything in writing: Landlords letting tenants renovate rental property is a driver for a lease addendum. It is important to address items such as what improvements will be made and who will pay for them clearly and in writing.
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Landlord Tips

Appfolio is Not a Fit For Small Landlords

Appfolio is not a great fit for the small landlord
Appfolio is not a great fit for the small landlord. But there are good options!

Appfolio is a leader in online property management software. Often times, when small landlords search online for property management tools, they encounter links to Appfolio. With some research, however, a landlord quickly learns that Appfolio is not for the small landlord.

Appfolio’s Pricing Is For Large Commercial Multifamily

As of 2021, Appfolio’s pricing page indicates that their pricing is at least $280/mo (the minimum monthly fee). Additionally, Appfolio’s “Plus” package starts at $1500/mo. Appfolio designates that service for customers with thousands of units. Clearly, small landlords need not apply. Small landlords generally do not have thousands of rental units, and many are on tight budgets, making cost a consideration.

There Is Free Online Software For Small Landlords Better Than AppFolio

Never fear! Appfolio is not the only option out there. For small landlords, there is free online property manager software. For example, RentalIncomeExpense.com (sign up at www.RentalIncomeExpense.com) offers free income and expense tracking with automatically generated profit and loss reports. Better yet, this free landlord software is easy to use and learn; there are none of the complicated features that Appfolio has that appeals to large multifamily customers.