Start Free Trial
Accounting

5 Tips to Simplify Your Rental Property Accounting

Unless you’re a chartered accountant or an experienced financial pro, managing your accounting as a landlord can be pretty overwhelming. And just like with any business, one financial misstep could cost you.

Having accurate and efficient rental property accounting then, allows you to maximize your rental property returns and free up your time. The right tools can help you not only keep accurate accounts but ensure you don’t miss deductible expenses as well as come with advanced reporting features to give you a clear oversight of your finances.

In this article, we explore 5 tips to help you set up and simplify your rental property accounts so that you can maximize your profits and spend more time doing the things you want to do.

1. Set up Different Bank Accounts

The first step is ensuring that your rental property bank accounts are kept separate from your personal and independent of other rental properties. Setting up a bank account per each rental property will work wonders for you. You won’t need to dig through thousands of transactions wondering what each one was for, which property it might relate to or if it was in fact a personal expense.

As long as you ensure all transactions flow through the respective property’s bank account, you won’t be burdened with chasing down receipts at year-end to remember what a certain expense related to. It’s important to note that your bank accounts do not need to be business bank accounts unless the property is owned by an LLC.

2. Track Your Expenses in Real-Time

One of the key issues that landlords have is forgetting to record certain expenses or leaving their accounting to the end of the month (or even the end of the year). The result is that landlords end up with a massive admin task and often forget to record some of their expenses. These expenses then don’t get reported on their Schedule E and they don’t get claimed back against their income. Ultimately, this mistake can cost a landlord thousands of dollars a year as well as creating an unnecessary, time-consuming and often stressful task.

Instead of allowing admin to build up it is recommended that landlords record their expenses as they happen. This is one of the key benefits of a cloud-based software. With Landlord Studio there is even an app which means that you can simply open your phone and add your expense at the point when it happens. An hour long task huddled over a spreadsheet is reduced to a few minutes here and there.

Additionally, one feature we released earlier this year is our Smart Scan Receipt. This allows you to snap a picture of your receipt, the software will automatically read and input the details of the expense. Simply hit save, and voila.

track expenses with landlord studio

3. Set up Automatic Payments

If you own multiple properties, then you’re dealing with multiple mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and more, month after month. Instead of dealing with these manually, set up automatic payments to come straight from your bank. As long as they’re scheduled to come from the correct, property-specific account, it should make managing things significantly easier. (Just make sure you only do this for set, recurring costs. Setting up autopay on bills that vary can cause serious cash flow issues).

Additionally, in Landlord Studio you can set up these expenses to recur in the software automatically meaning not only are the expenses being paid on time without you having to worry, but these expenses are being accurately recorded in your rental property accounting software.

Download Our Guide To Tracking Expenses

4. Prepare for Your Schedule E

At the end of the day, or at least at the end of the year, regardless of what expenses you deduct, you report your property income on the Schedule E, Form 1040. You rental property accounting systems should be designed with this end goal in mind.

To make your life, or your accountants life, as easy as possible you will want to break down and categorize income and expenses in the following manner:

  • Rents
  • Refunds from Tenants
  • Advertising
  • Travel
  • Cleaning & Maintenance
  • Commissions
  • Insurance
  • Legal & Other Professional Fees
  • Management Fees
  • Mortgage Interest
  • Repairs
  • Supplies
  • Taxes
  • Utilities
  • Phone
  • HOA
  • Bank Fees
  • Other

By categorizing transactions in the manner listed above, you’ll be matching the IRS Schedule E form. In Landlord Studio these categories are already set as default, though you can add or edit these categories as you see fit.

Once your data is inputted you can instantly generate reports, including our specific Schedule E report, and either print, download or email straight to your accountant.

You can learn more about different ways to split expenses from IRS Publication 527.

rental property accounting tax

5. Use the Right Tools

Getting your rental property accounting under control can seem like a bit of a daunting task. Thankfully though there are numerous solutions on the market design to do the heavy lifting for you. Meaning that your “passive” rental income is actually (almost) passive.

Landlord Studio, for example, can help with everything from income and expense tracking and reporting to managing tenant communications and tenant screenings, management and collecting rent.

testimonial
START FREE TRIAL

“Track income and expenses, screen tenants, set automatic reminders, and more with Landlord Studio.”

* 14 day free trial. No card required.

Income and Expensesincome expense trackingReal EstateReal Estate InvestingRental managementRental Propertyrental property accountingRental Property Expenses

Avatar
Ben Luxon

"Ben is an author and real estate enthusiast. His interest in all things entrepreneurial has led him to work with real estate professionals all over the world, distilling their knowledge into articles and Ebooks. His love of travelling has taken him to over 10 countries in the last year, where he has sampled the craft beer of them all."

×

Start your free trial of Landlord Studio

I'm a  
Start Free Trial