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.
Tracking income and expenses for rental property is a task most landlords do not enjoy. Without a doubt, record keeping can be time consuming and often mind-numbingly boring. However, maintaining good records makes tax time easier and provides peace of mind. Therefore, it is important to understand how the rental property business is doing, and good landlord accounting software makes this task easy.
There is a lot of choice among landlord accounting software. The primary differences relate to cost, ease of use, and features (like reports). With the aid of the chart below, we take a look at some common ways, from the simplest to the most complicated, for tracking rental property income and 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.
Landlords like to collect rent on time and in full. That’s the revenue side of the landlording business. The expense side can vary widely because of unforseeable surprises. Landlords can organize rental property maintenance expenses into two buckets – known and unknown. Understanding these expenses and preparing for them as best as possible are beneficial for landlording success.
Known rental property maintenance expenses as those that landlords expect every year. Examples of these types of expenses include mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and property taxes. For the most part, these types of expenses remain the same year over year, and they are rarely a surprise to pay when due. Known expenses are the easier to budget.
Unknown rental property maintenance expenses are more difficult to budget because they are . . . well . . . unknown. Many of these expenses are related to some form of repair. For example, the air conditioning unit could suddenly stop working in the middle of a heat wave, and you need to figure out how to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. Or, a pipe bursts and you need to quickly repair it to prevent damage to the tenant’s property or the rental property. To make life easier, it is wise to do your best to plan for the unexpected. Planning can include setting aside a budget for emergencies or a short list of professionals to help in a time of need.
Landlord income expense tracking is an important task. One benefit of tracking such information is that the data can be used to create helpful reports. When used correctly, reports gauge the health of the rental property business and to assist accountants at tax time.
Landlord Income Expense Tracking Report #1: P&L
The profit and loss statement is a report that summarizes revenues received and expenses incurred with managing rental property. It shows how well or poorly the business is doing by its net income or loss. As a result of using this report, landlords can identify areas to reduce expenses or make improvements to strengthen the business.
Report #2: Schedule E Helper
The schedule E helper report is useful at tax time. This report is unique to RentalIncomeExpense.com. RentalIncomeExpense.com is free landlord accounting software. Landlords file schedule E with form 1040 at tax time. The schedule E helper report follows the same income and expense categories as those on schedule E, and it generates a report to help accountants at tax time.
Landlord accounting software makes it a snap to generate reports. In contrast, using a spreadsheet alone to generate reports is much more challenging. In conclusion, by using a good system for reports and data, landlords can quickly determine how their business is doing.
Successful landlords want to increase rental income and the value of their rental property. There are some simple ways to achieve both goals. With any business, investing in your property so that you can offer more value can justify commanding a higher rent from tenants.
Boost Curb Appeal & Rental Income
One of the driving factors tenants consider when searching for a rental is location. If your property is located near parks, popular businesses like grocery stores, or main travel routes, stressing the benefits of the physical location of your rental property can boost interest and value. Following close behind geographic location is the curb appeal of your property. Is the exterior clean and in good shape? Is the landscaping neat and attractive? If the answers to these questions are “YES”, then you’re already one step ahead in providing value.
Take a Look Inside
You don’t have to do a major renovation to make the interior of your rental property feel fresh and clean. Instead, simple upgrades like a fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and brighter lightbulbs can create an attractive vibe. And something as simple as a good scrub – in the bathrooms and kitchen for example – make a clean unit go a long way. If the interior of your rental property looks and feels great, then it’s easier for you to find a tenant willing to pay your asking rent.
Who doesn’t like great amenities especially if they are included in the rent? You may be able to earn more if you charge a la carte for extras, but no one likes to be nickeled and dimed. If you offer great amenities just include them as part of your rent and thus get the asking rent that you want. Here are some amenities that can increase the value of your property and your rental income:
Online rent payment: Tenants want an easy way to pay rent. If rent payment is on auto pilot for tenants, it will make your life easier to get paid. Consider services like ClearNow or RentPayment for online rent payment.
Short term leases: Typically, rents tend to be higher for shorter term leases. So if you have a prospective tenant willing to pay more for a shorter than standard lease term, you can enhance your rental income.
Boosting curb appeal, improving the look and feel of the inside, and offering great amenities will help you increase your rental income and value of your rental property. These steps are easy to take and can make a lasting difference. Whatever you decide to do to increase rental income and the value of your rental property, be sure to keep track of what you spend. Tracking your rental property expenses with a free tool like RentalIncomeExpense or other form of rental property accounting software will make your life so much easier!
Landlords can manage their recordkeeping task in a variety of ways which can range from using a simple paper ledger to expensive sophisticated software. We’re going to take a look at RentalIncomeExpense.com as an ideal landlord accounting solution because it’s free, and it generates powerful reports when tracking rental property income and expenses.
FREE & EASY
Yes, you read correctly . . . RentalIncomeExpense.com is free. Landlords do not need to pay anything to use this tool. Most accounting software, like QuickBooks, Buildium, and RentecDirect, are fairly expensive, especially for the small landlord. Tracking rental property income and expenses is not the most exciting task, but it is a very important task. Making landlord accounting easy where you simply just record dates, vendors/customers, and amounts according to simple drop down menus makes the entire process painless.
Every business wants to know how well it is doing, and landlording is no exception. Generating reports from income and expenses that are tracked is powerful. RentalIncomeandExpense.com provides instant reports that matter, like Profit & Loss and a 1040 Schedule E helper. Because RentalIncomeExpense.com follows the income and expense categories used by the IRS’ Form 1040 Schedule E, the helper report makes tax time easier. You wouldn’t be able to generate such powerful reports if you were using a paper ledger or a simple spreadsheet for landlord accounting.
There is a lot of different accounting software to choose from. Because landlord accounting is such an important task, we encourage you to consider RentalIncomeExpense.com. It’s free and provides powerful reports that tell you how your landlording business is doing all the while making tax time a whole lot easier.
Tracking income and expenses for rental property is a task most landlords do not enjoy. This record keeping task is time consuming and, to be frank, often mind-numbingly boring. Nevertheless, maintaining good accounting records makes tax time easier, is important to understanding how your landlord business is doing, and provides peace of mind.
While tracking rental income and expenses is not the most desirable task, finding the solution that best fits the budget, is easy to use, and provides features like reports becomes important to make tax time easier and provide peace of mind. From simple spreadsheets to free accounting software to paid accounting software to general landlord services, fortunately landlords have a choice when it comes to finding the right rental property accounting software for their needs.