Registered: 1173312896 Posts: 7
Reply with quote #1
Hi All- I'm a newbie here. I've read through most of the posts and learned a bit. Love Kurt's posts, can somehow find humor in his stories even though I've experienced same type of frustrating deadbeat tenants. Sometimes you don't know if you wanna laugh or cry over some crazy thing they've done. Anyway, I have a 2 unit house and I'm looking for software to track rents, expenses, tenant info. I really don't want to spend $300 for something that handles over 50 units. I read some not-so-good reviews on Amazon for Quicken's property management software, so I'm wary of it. Does anyone know of something that might be a step up from my Excel spreadsheets? Or, if you've used Quicken, is it really that bad?
Registered: 1173730611 Posts: 3
Reply with quote #2
Hi there newbie,
I'm a newbie too. I just registered. I have three houses that I rent out and I don't use any software. I just keep track of everything in my head or on paper. My husband takes care of two other rentals we have in NYC and it's all done manually. Are you sure you need software? I guess we've all become so used to computers...
BUT, I'm thinking of buying an apt building. Then maybe I'd need something more sophisticated than a #2 pencil and a composition book!!
Good luck with everything!
Registered: 1173312896 Posts: 7
Reply with quote #3
gypsyluv, You're probably right...I probably don't really need special software. Since my original post, I've created a spreadsheet in Excel that I color-coded to show different types of expenses, etc. Things were chaotic last year due to a PITA tenant (rid of her now, thank the heavens above!) and a lot of other things going on, so I literally had the shoebox filing method going on with no time for sorting. The last week or so, trying to do my taxes, I've been scratching my head trying to remember everything I did last year, looking for proof of expenses, and wishing I'd kept better track of it all.
Registered: 1169270040 Posts: 3,753
Reply with quote #4
Some LLs swear by Quickbooks, but I just don't have the time for another system. I use a few different types of spreadsheets that I made up myself on the computer. One tracks my spending - repairs, expenses, improvements, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc. - on each of the rentals. Another tracks incoming monies - rent rec'd, late fees, NSF fees, SD (both in and out), pet fees, etc. A third tracks my travels to keep track of mileage deduction - date, to which unit, to what store, reason, etc. The last one tracks my time - office time, travel time, repair time, etc. If you make them yourself, you can further divide the repairs into categories (plumbing, electric, etc.). I find it makes the taxes much easier. I update them about once a week (and usually keep the mileage one on a clipboard in my car).
Registered: 1164592520 Posts: 20
Reply with quote #5
well I have been using renttropolis.com for the past 6 months. It is a new piece of software but I will tell you that everything that I have asked for they have added for me.
I would have to say that the best thing is that I can have my tenants pay me online. I have been using their paypal transactions and it cost me about 2.4% of the transaction but I have been adding a few dollars for the on-line transactions and my tenants love it. They can also get online and report repairs and view their payment history. If you would like to check it out here is a link. http://www.renttropolis.com?affid=8 Another nice thing is the affiliate commisions that I get when people sign up using the link above. Soon maybe I will not need my properties and can just live off of the money that I get each month from having people sign up. LOL Let me know if you have any other questions about the software.
Registered: 1163774960 Posts: 137
Reply with quote #6
yeah my stories can be a bit, and I know by far I am not the only one going through such...The fustration, the stupidity my god is the world really ran by such common thoughtlessness? Granted I'm not mr ghandi, nor am I the sharpest tool in the shed, but I figured give a clean, every thing working, no bugs, up front is what you get unit and I might get decent renters... was I ever an idiot.. Ok maybe I still am, but I try to do good as a landlord and yes I g et disturbed when A tenant turns out to be such a "special needs" person(s), or such a "intelectually challenged" imbisul!.. Jeesh I know I made my mistakes here, and lesson to learn Marie, if you make a mistake that can be money, some one is going to take advantage of it if given the chance. Problem is low income areas, some one hs to rent to em..Think of it thi way I have waited for a possible tenant to come view dana..yeah sounds great cause they worked and wanted space and seemed willing to look at a place in a known lower income area (meaning mr rodgers would be beaten, killed, and raped in this area (and not specifically in that order)). But once they drive by, they either see cops down the street breaking up an argument or a couple swinging a beer bottle at the other to make a point of who's da boss(ok havent had that..yet, but you get the point).. Some wisely enough never stoped driving (go martha go!!!!!). So waiting out the decent tenant on some low income areas is shall we say... rougher and tougher than john wayne toilet paper! Ah well I hope you have better luck with your unit and the two single moms do good as tenants.
Registered: 1163774960 Posts: 137
Reply with quote #7
short note/question.. WHy get software to track a few units cost's/ income? I can do the math in my head and figure out not making me money, or making me money.. Granted does better over time in keeping track of such than my nogen.. Just thought I would ask why on such..
Registered: 1164592520 Posts: 20
Reply with quote #8
Well I think the main reason that I use it is not just to keep track of rent and expenses but to offer more options to my tenants.
With the time that we live in 80% of all households in the US pay at least one bill electronically. With using the property management system that I do ( http://www.renttropolis.com) I can now offer direct debit and paypal payments. My tenants can view online what they have paid me and what they owe me. They can also report any problems to me online which helps with the communcation. Soon there will be options for me to offer login ablity to my vendors this way they can notify me of completed items and amounts online. Also the email notices that are sent to my tenant when their rent is almost overdue is a very nice feature also. Oh and one more thing that I like is the ability to advertise the apartments that have come up for rent, I have not had to use this feature yet but have talked to the programmers of the system and they tell me that they will be pushing for getting more tenants into the system which should drive up the results of finding a tenant through the site. So for me I really love the other benefits that I get from using renttropolis.
Registered: 1177088339 Posts: 6
Reply with quote #9
As a Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor and a Landlord I high recommend QuickBooks Pro for landlords and property managers. I have been using QuickBooks for 9 years and had also tried looking everywhere for the perfect software program.
Now I know that QuickBooks can look quite intimadating, and the colorful cartoon type software programs look more appealing, but no matter what software program you purchase you still have to know how to enter your data and how to do it in the right order and correctly. Decide what you want from a software program. Do you just want to enter bills and receive your rents and that's it? Or do your care about Reports and how to report it to your CPA? All this matters in what your choose and how much you want to pay. __________________ Nancy Neville, Landlord Consultant, Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor, Author of Property Management in QuickBooks, QuickBooks for Landlords, QuickBooks for Contractors, QuickBooks for Landscapers, How to be a Winner
Registered: 1182631077 Posts: 1
Reply with quote #10
I Have been searching the internet for software to bring our company into the 21st century and off of paper.......
I just recently found "Easy LandLord", a great basic program very user friendly and does everything i need and more. We have 130 apartments plus commercial. It gives you the payment reminders, lease experations and more, much more. And it only costs 49.95 and then 24.00 a year for the updates and what note. Put Easy LandLord in your web browser search engine to find the site. Its downloadable. Hope this helps ~Taylor __________________ Live every day like its on purpouse
Registered: 1182830121 Posts: 1
Reply with quote #11
I am in the process of converting to QuickBooks because I am purchasing multi family properties now...but when I just had houses and was operating as a sole proprietor (vs LLC) I just used Quicken. It's WONDERFUL. Give you all the reporting you need, tracks your expenses superbly, is CHEAP, interfaces with your bank(s), etc.
With a little imagination, you can get Quicken to do LOTS of things for you automatically. All my mortages are paid automatically, it reminds me when quarterly taxes are due. I have a separate (virtual) RENT account that serves as a "tickler" and automatically lists all my rents that are due, in the proper amounts, pre-categorized correctly for reporting purposes...each month. I merely change the date and mark each transaction as "cleared" when the rent is received, and when several are paid, I create a "transfer" to a "real" account. This creates a deposit transaction in that account, that Quicken will automatically match up with the bank when it connects (i.e. nightly). I have all my assets (properties) listed in quicken, and all my mortgages also. It tracks outstanding loan balances via the amortization table in the background and can tell me my net worth instantly with a single click. I have a (virtual) "receivables" account that serves to remind me of items that are due in the future. When I have a returned check, I "transfer" the amount from my real checking into this account. It then shows up as "due" again. When I actually collect it, I transfer back to the account where the money will be deposited. This gives quicken a transaction to "match" when it syncs with the bank that night. I have Categories created for all the expense lines on the schedule E of the 1040...and categories for all the typical income items I have (rent, late fees, application fees, etc). I use Classes for each individual property (Class 0956, for example = 956 Pennygent Street). This allows me to run tax-time reports for individual properties, to give to my accountant, or just to check and see how a single property is performing. At the end of the year, my CPA charges me about $700 to do my tax return...which includes over 20 rental properties and an apartment building, and probably 200 stock transactions. I give her a stack of reports that is about an inch thick...and she can do my entire return in a day. As stated previously, I'm transitioning to QuickBooks now. I need dual entry because I'm incorporating my larger properties. My business and personal financials need to be managed separately. But if you are still a sole proprietorship...I highly recommend Quicken. I know guys who designate a special credit card for each property...just to keep things straight. That's NUTS. I can use any account, my personal AMEX, my Visa, Cash, any of 4 different checking accounts, etc...to pay for anything...be it personal, business, or rental related...NO PROBLEM... PS: Quicken has a special Rental Version out now for $99. This is NOT what I'm talking about...I'm just referring to the $49 Quicken that you buy to manager your checkbook. It's GREAT for rental property...
Registered: 1183662031 Posts: 1
Registered: 1184010469 Posts: 1
Reply with quote #13
I have been in the real estate industry for many years and find DIY Real Estate Solutions to be a good solution. It is web based and very easy to setup and use. They even offer a portal to advertise your properties on the internet and to communicate with residents. I found the free trial handy to check out the software.
Registered: 1173312896 Posts: 7
Reply with quote #14
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! Funny story: Quite a while after I had looked at different software and posted my question here (and never made a decision, still doing the shoebox method), I found myself without internet access for a couple of days. Well, without the internet, I was just poking around the files on my computer and discovered that I ALREADY have Quicken 2002 For New Users which came with the computer. DUH!! In my defense, it was hidden way down in Program Files, where I hardly ever look I have used Quickbooks Pro in the past, and it's along the same lines, so no training needed. I've since entered a lot of info and will be setting up mortgages to show amortization and more as "Interlerp" has done. I like the idea of using the address of a unit as a property class, will try that too. Kurt--Originally, I thought I would be OK with keeping the figures in my head, but in the end I guess I want it down in black and white. Now I can look at the hard numbers and know that I've lost money. Things may be lookin' up though...my current tenants have paid every month since March, and I have not received any citations from the city for tall grass, overflowing trash cans, etc. Hooray!
Registered: 1207627235 Posts: 8
Reply with quote #15
Many of the products on the market cost a lot of money and are very complex to use.
Most people like to stick to shoeboxes and spreadsheets. Try SimplifyEm.com, it's FREE no matter how many units you have, and it's very easy to use. I'd like to hear what everyone thinks about it.