Categories
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.

Categories
Landlord Taxes

Tax Breaks for Landlords

Tax breaks for landlords
Tax breaks for landlords can help them save money.

Landlords are entrepreneurs trying to find a way to build successful businesses. Collecting rent, managing expenses, and keeping tenants happy are just a few of the many things on the landlords’ “to do” list. Believe it or not, the tax code is one way landlords can follow to try and minimize expenses. We will share a few tax breaks for landlords below. We recommend consulting with a tax professional or CPA to best handle and maximize your tax return potential.

Mortgage Interest

If you have a mortgage on your rental property, you are most likely paying interest on your mortgage payments. Landlords can deduct mortgage interest at tax time, which for many landlords, is their largest deduction.

20% Pass Through Deduction

From 2018 through 2026, the 20% pass through tax deduction allows landlords to be taxed on 80% of rental net income. This deduction is only for pass-through entities where landlords run their rental business as a sole proprietor, LLC, or S corporation.

Maintenance Expenses

Landlords can deduct the expenses related to repairs to rental property. For example, the cost to repaint the house, fix a leaking pipe, or replace a broken toilet are deductible. To make life easier, landlords can use income and expense tracking tools. A free tool designed just for landlords is RentalIncomeExpense.com.

To maximize tax breaks for landlords, please consult a tax professional or CPA.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
General

Free Landlord Rental Income Expense Tracking

Free Income Expense Tracking
Landlords need an easy to use and understand tool to track income and expenses.

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!

RentalIncomeExpense.com is the best solution for landlords:

  • Simple to setup
  • FREE
  • Designed for landlords
  • Reports that matter (e.g., profit & loss and Schedule E helper)
  • Accessible from your smartphone

To setup a free account, get started at www.RentalIncomeExpense.com today!

Categories
Landlord Taxes

Understanding Landlord Auto and Travel Expenses

Okay, maybe not the right vehicle for work commutes in terms of mileage expenses!

One of the categories on the IRS Form 1040 Schedule E is for “Auto and Travel” expenses. Here is a quick explanation to understanding this expense category. By tracking and understanding landlord auto and travel expenses, you will increase your expenses and thus lower the taxes you owe.

Do You Have a Home Office?

First, it is important to understand if you have a separate office for your landlording activity or if you work from home. Working from home is more advantageous.

  • If you work from home: You can deduct any travel that you make from your home for activities related to your rental properties. In this situation, your home office must be your principal place of business and be where you do administrative tasks. If this is the case, you can deduct trips from your home office to your rental properties and back.
  • If you work from an office for your rental activity: Unfortunately, if you have an office where you do your day-to-day rental management, you are limited by the “commuting rule.” Commuting expenses are non-deductible expenses. In general, trips from your office or home to and form your rental properties are not deductible due to this rule. So understanding landlord auto and travel expenses can affect deductibility opportunities.

How Much Can You Expense?

You might think it will take a lot of effort to calculate your automobile and travel expenses. Fortunately, the IRS provides a “standard mileage” rate which is a shortcut to calculating this expense.

With the standard mileage rate, you keep track of the miles that you travel (like trips to Home Depot for rental supplies). Once you have your mileage, you multiply it against the “standard mileage” rate for the year.

You can also do the “actual expense” method. With this method, you track the actual cost of using your car. However, most people do not use the “actual expense” method because it requires more work. You would need to track gas, oil, repairs, and depreciation using your own methodology.

Landlord Auto and Travel Expenses Saves You Money at Tax Time

In conclusion, a lot of landlords do not take the time to track auto and travel expenses. However, tracking it is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve calculated your expense for a trip, you can enter it into free landlord software like RentalIncomeExpense.com so it is stored online and a report can be generated at tax time.

Categories
Landlord Tips

Move in Checklist for Landlords and Tenants

Move in Checklist
The move in checklist is a valuable guide for landlords and tenants.

Lists are helpful tools as they serve as reminders. Grocery, cleaning, and “honey do” lists are just a few of the many popular ones to mention. The move in check list for landlords and tenants is a valuable guide for both parties. They can complete the checklist together during the walk through of the rental property so all parties are on the same page.

Checklist Benefits

For landlords, the move in checklist for landlords and tenants keeps track of the condition of the rental property. It also serves as a reference to identify any damage that may have occurred during occupancy beyond normal wear and tear. For tenants, the checklist serves as guidance for what repairs or improvements should be made prior to or during the tenancy. It also gives tenants an understanding of the condition of the rental before move in.

Checklist Contents

The move in checklist for landlords and tenants should include the main components of each room in the rental property. For example, items to check for in the kitchen would be a working refrigerator and clean and empty cabinets. For each room reviewed, there should be an area to identify any needed repairs or improvements. The move in checklist can also inform tenants on items such as setting up utilities, managing pets, and throwing away trash.

There are checklist-related tools available for landlords and tenants. For example, Zillow offers a downloadable check list. And landlords can use RentalIncomeExpense.com to track expenses related to agreed upon repairs and improvements.