Is Quickbooks the best program for R.E. Investors?

24 Replies

I need help organizing my rental property finances, R.E. Balance sheets, Cash flow statements, etc.

It seems that many software programs are set up for accountants, or property managers (NOT owners.)

What do you use? Any suggestions?

@Justin R.
When it comes to managing your accounting records for your rental(s), Quickbooks is the software of choice for most investors. It’s there where you can consolidate your bank activity, PM activity, and mortgage activity. Once all transactions are entered and reconciled, you can then run financial statements by property ( or class).

It can definitely get overwhelming though. So it’s recommended to find a good coach or simply watch some lessons on you tube.

@Daniel Hyman Thanks for the input

Yes, it does get overwhelming for the "un-techy" like me. 

Even deciding internally within Quickbooks is detailed; with Online vs Desktop. Simple vs Self Employed vs Essential vs Plus.

@Justin R.

For my business (and most clients that I work with) the online version works great. Books can be accessed anywhere and multiple users can have their own log in credentials. Also, updates are added automatically. 

For rentals, you'll definitely want the plus version since that is the only version that allows for class-tracking. It's  costs a bit more, but well worth it.

@Justin R.

Quickbooks has been the standard, but I definitely think it's starting to show it's age.

For my money, you can't do much better than  Xero. It's a more modern, cloud-based product. It's used for similarly complex business accounting. It also synchronizes well with other platforms, including the one I use for expenses.

Thank you both for the reply. Perhaps I will check them both out and compare. 

I think a startup company in the silicon valley should create a software program soley for real estate portfolios. Keep it super simple for the basic people out there, like myself. 

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i started with Xero. It was ok but I have actually found QB more intuitive for me and switched to QB online. QB integrates with more software's. So if you want a property mgmt software or project mgmt software, etc it is the std. so more companies integrate with QB vs Xero. Now I have noticed more companies making strides to also work with Xero though. There were a lot of little details that pushed QB to the top. I'd list them but I'm not good with that stuff (have a bookkeeper) but 2 of 3 bookkeepers I have discussed this with stongly recommended QB. 

Great question! 

I've been using whatever program is on my Mac to create docs and spreadsheets and it's starting to getting out of hand and as I add more properties it really will become frustrating. I think I'm gonna look into the online QB as well. Thanks 

I'm leaning towards QuickBooks online at this point. Based upon the online examples, it appears the "real estate " version is intended for property management more so than an owners portfolio. 

@Justin R.

If the accounting software, in your case, quickbooks does not have the industry that you desired. You can set up the chart of accounts yourself or have an accountant do it.

For an owner; you can start with the following  basic chart of accounts for owners and modify it based your specific needs.

Cash - Security Deposits
Prepaid Accounts

Security Deposit
Payables to contractors

Rental Income
Credit check Fees

Auto and Travel
Cleaning and Maintenance
Legal and Other Professional Fees
Management Fees
Mortgage Interest paid
Other Interest
Office supplies

@Justin R. I am a fan and user of QBO and as @Daniel Hyman mentioned, Plus version is the way to go for multiple properties. They are also constantly improving the software by adding new features. QBO is a one size fits all software, but you can customize it to fits your needs. There are many ways to do or enter things in QBO, but one could be better than the other depending on what you expect to get from it. Talk to an accountant or QBO pro advisor with knowledge in setting up real estate industry to help you with the setup and establishing the process. 

Goodluck on everything!

Quick tip: Some accountants offer a discount on the monthly subscription, so if you're looking to save, ask somebody if they're offering one. 

Thanks @Basit Siddiqi & @Dan V. ! I understand Quickbooks has free help for a limited time as well. Perhaps I will use that benefit to get myself started. Thanks again for all the input!

I use both QB and QBO in my practice. For my real estate, however, I use the desktop version of QB. If you have anything more than a SFH tracking by class is a must.

Here is my take on for real estate investors:

  • Flips - use either QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online Plus
  • Rentals -
    • If you are using a property management software use either QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online Plus
    • If you are not using a property management software use QuickBooks Desktop

You might even say, Gita you said no to QuickBooks Online. That is right, it was a while, while ago. Intuit keeps on adding more functionality to the version and I am hoping one day I can say you can use QuickBooks Online for rentals. 

So stay tuned! 

@Gita Faust do you mind explaining what is missing from QBO that makes it bad for using with no property management software?

@Paul Bowers  

Mind you I am not saying QuickBooks or to that matter any software is bad.

If you are managing rentals here is a quick list you can accomplish in QuickBooks Desktop and not in QuickBooks Online

For landlords and property management companies

  • Property Owners List
  • Property List - date agreement signed, started managing property
  • Tenant List - current, moved and evicted
  • Lease start and expiration date - reports vary from week, quarter, month, year 
  • Repair request - working, completed
  • Auto enter payment received from tenant

For property management companies (with an Intuit App)

  • Calculate and post management fees
  • Create, post owners checks and maintain reserve funds
  • Create owners statement in summary and details with YTD to PDF
  • Takes only 1-3 depending on number of properties

And the list goes on. 

@Gita Faust you seem well versed in this topic, I appreciate your help. 

I am not tracking your suggestion for owners. I have 7 different property managers whom manage portfolios in each geographical region. I don't need to screen tenants, keep track of their deposits, keep track of rent payments, repair requests, etc.

I am just trying to track my income and expenses by property, property class, geographical region, create balance sheet, create personal finance statements, etc.

Which platform do you suggest for owners who don't manage?


Originally posted by @Justin R. :

I need help organizing my rental property finances, R.E. Balance sheets, Cash flow statements, etc.

It seems that many software programs are set up for accountants, or property managers (NOT owners.)

What do you use? Any suggestions?

 Quickbooks - money in, money out  - class it and also organize your expenses for your personal office

@Justin R. Use QuickBooks Online in your case. No need to track tenant details unless you hold the last month rent and security deposits. 

I too am looking at using QB for my accounting.   I already have a 2012 version of QB and have used it a little in the past but would need help setting it up properly for my needs.     Is anyone familiar with the "Landlord Accounting" ebook that is a guide to QB for landlords?    (I don't want to break a rule by posting a link here but if you google "landlord accounting" quickbooks, you'll find it easily)    

Most of the posts I've found on it were positive but older.  

I too have been looking for something that makes sense.  I have tried tenant cloud which isnt bad but having issues on how to separate business expenses from properties. Buildium was too complex for us. For 2018 i need something that is user friendly for my wife to take over.

Hi All,

I've been using one for my SFRs and Duplex called "PropertyTracker" (I don't think I'm allowed to post links so just give it a google). The software is fairly basic and doesn't have a ton of parts to it, but if all you're looking for is a way to track your properties, your tenants, property managers, lists of contacts, income, and expenses, this software does it, and does it pretty well in my opinion. It also creates some nice reports showing the full string of financial metrics (NOI, CoC, Cap Rate, IRR), and will even show you when your property will have a good amount of equity built in to do a cash-out refi (or when it would make sense to sell). I believe it also has a 30-day free trial.

The caveat with this software is, it looks like it has not been actually supported in several years.  They still sell it, but I put in an email to their support team once and there's been no response at all.  So, it's pretty much "as-is" as far as I can tell - last posts on their social media were sometime in 2013 I think.

I'll probably move on to something else at some point, but like the others on here, I'm not seeing anything that's really geared towards landlords like this software is.


@Justin R. - I have a super simple spreadsheet on my site that I use for my small properties. 

@Jay Helms I subscribed, and plan on checking it out. Thanks!

@Jim MacBean Sounds like Property tracker is leading the pack of turtles, haha. I will check this out too. I bought Quickbooks Plus and decided its not for me. Way to much going on. If none of the other options work, I will go back to Quickbooks and have a professional set me up the right way.

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