The Zillow Worksheet is a popular spreadsheet to download that Zillow provides for landlords to track rental income and expense. It is free to download and, at first, sounds like a great way for small landlords to track income and expenses.
Zillow Worksheet Has Many Issues
Unfortunately, by the time most landlords sink hours entering in their income and expenses with Zillow Worksheet, they’ll realize its significant limitations. Paraphrasing the old movie ‘The Untouchables’, Zillow worksheet is the technological equivalent of bringing a ‘knife to a gun fight‘.
- There is no individual income or expense item detail tracking. With the Zillow worksheet, you can only enter in the amount for a category and month. Do you want to know what the breakdown was for your ‘Advertising’ expense between different advertising options for a given month? There’s no way to provide that detail, just a dollar amount. Do you want to search for when you made a repair to the floor? Again, no item detail means you can never track this down. This will be a HUGE headache if you’re trying to make sure that you’re properly accounting for all the expenses (as you should, to reduce your taxes as much as you should be able to).
- The spreadsheet is only designed for up to five properties. If you start using the Zillow worksheet, you’ll quickly run out of room if you have more units. Or, if you rent to a roommate situation and want to track which individuals have made rent payment, you’re limited again.
- The Zillow worksheet has no way to generate reports. Want to know the profit and loss for an individual property? You can’t do that. 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 by month. And, the categories selected in this worksheet do not match up to the IRS 1040 Schedule E categories, which means this worksheet cannot easily generate a report for Schedule E.
When one really looks at the Zillow Worksheet, it is almost malpractice for a beginning landlord to use it – it doesn’t track income and expense item details, doesn’t show basic reports like profit and loss, and doesn’t grow with a landlord’s needs. It is surprising that for years, Zillow promotes this worksheet as a viable tool.
RentalIncomeExpense.com is a Better, Free Alternative to Zillow Worksheet
A better, completely free alternative is RentalIncomeExpense.com. It is free. It allows landlords to enter income and expense detail and Schedule E categories. Profit and Loss reports can be generated with just one mouse click. And, it allows an unlimited number of properties to be tracked.